Thursday, October 12, 2017

New LIFE!! The barn that keeps on giving....

To my shock and surprise the other day...I walked into the barn to do my usual chicken choring...and what did I see??  Momma chicken hen and her FOURTEEN baby chicks before my eyes.

WHAT?  How did I not even know I had a broody chicken?  Never saw a nest of eggs, never noticed little hen sitting for weeks on end. 

Sneaky little buggar must have been laying on her eggs up underneath some shelving where I didn't even notice.

Regardless, young mom...is proudly protecting and teaching her youngins what it means to be a chicken.  And doing it well!

So very fun to watch...cute little baby chickens and how mom "talks" to them.  She seems to be a good teacher.  I'll try to get some better photos as time goes on.  The coloring on these little gals (or at least I hope they're mostly gals) is so unique and cute as a bug.  Some our striped and some are solid.  Black Beard is a daddy!!!  Way to go BB!

The timing is a bit odd...as to why so late in the season...might be a bit of a challenge to help grow these guys up as we enter into the cold months of the year...but...as usual...I'm up for the challenge.

Thank you for this gift of life.  The bad news of our pet losses this year was getting to be too much.  I needed some GOOD news for a change!  Welcome to our little farm little ones.  Hope you like it here.

Ode to Nells...

Our little family mascot Nellie sadly passed away last week.  Who could have imagined that a goofy, spitfire little guinea pig could find her way into our hearts?  From her squealing for treats and to notify us her water or food were running low...from being able to share with her my salad bits, celery and carrots and such....from her mere presence in the corner of the living room, Nellie will surely be missed.

She took up her rightful place in the family pet cemetery last week where we laid her to rest with a reflective goodbye ceremony. Rest in peace Nells.

Thank you for sharing your little spunky, spitfire energy with us.  The corner of the living room will never be the same.







Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A dear dear friend...gone.

It is with great sorrow that I have to report we lost Dodi in May.  It's taken me this long to be able to write this little Ode to Dode.

Our little white Toy Fox Terrier Theodore, aka Dodi, (who we also affectionately called Odie, Odessa and Theodorable) died of complications from Pancreatitis this past May.  He was 6 years old. 

My oh my what a little pack-o-punch this dog was!  FULL of spunk, spit and vinegar, tenacity, yet loyal as a mother...trucker....He was the companion of companions.  Dodi most certainly filled to the fullest the definition of "man's best friend."

He LOVED to swim...kayak, camp, chase mice in the barn (never successful at catching one those buggars though), challenge Reese (our other Toy Fox Terrier) to foot races...which he always lost...but he never quit trying, pushed Reese off her sniff spots, played toy-tug-o-war (if Reese would let him), greeted me with the "happy dance ritual" every time I got home from work and sit in my chair with me to end the adventures of each day. 

We have many many stories and fond memories of stunts and crazy goofy experiences with Dodi.  Like the time he nearly exploded in Chris' arms because Reese, who was on the ground was being approached and sniffed by another dog.  Dode wasn't gonna have it.  He defended Reese to the hilt when it came to other dogs.  And then there was the time that both Dode and Reese took off across the campground one summer...only to return with the "little mutt-of-the-camp-dog" hot on Reese's tail.  Only to be fiercely chased off (teeth and toe nails flying) by Dodi.  Way to GO Dodi!!  Get him.

Needless to say...it's clear that Reese is still in mourning for the loss of her bud and companion too.  Hopefully in time this will pass. 

They were the greatest of travel buds. My how stellar both Reese and Dodi were at traveling in the car together. And on and on the list goes with the memories and joy that Dodi brought to our household.

Naturally, like any dog...he had his naughty side too. He was a grandma biter (NAUGHTY), and among many other things... he was masterful at finding dog treats left in the car if we went into the store...totally devoured by the time we returned, evidence on the floor board...and masterfully he managed to get Reese blamed for the treasonous act.  Hah.  Made us laugh that one.

Oh how I miss this little white buddy of a dog.  Rest in peace Dode.  Come around for a visit any time you wish.  Thank you for sharing your joy with us.  You made us better people because of it.  Who knew a dog could teach you what unconditional love is.




Saturday, September 23, 2017

Thank you for a fantastic garden harvest!

A very special thank you and shout out to mother nature and nature's oversee-ers for a very successful and rich garden harvest!!

We had two "beef" tomato plants, four zucchini plants, two cucumber plants, various herbs and a cherry tomato plant.

For the first time we can remember...in a VERY long time...the tomatoes are SO very tasty this year! The flavors back!!  We have dozens of cucumbers, dozens of zucchini and buckets of tomatoes.

We have given many fresh garden gifts to others...so we weren't alone in experiencing our harvest.

I've even been able to make not one...but TWO...zucchini pies!  Yum!!  (Thanks mom for the recipe!) Zucchini pie is sort of like a quiche ...has chopped zucchini, onion, shredded cheese, oregano, basil, egg and mustard...all sauteed and poured onto a homemade crust. Then baked for 30 minutes.

Next year...I think I'll also try planting some sweet corn.  I also have plans for growing broom corn too.

I'm going to try and save some seeds from these tomatoes and create a do-over of this great variety next year.

Thank you mother nature for sharing your bounty with us!

the passing of a barnyard legend

Such a bummer to report that in July we lost our legendary male turkey...Tommy. (Yes, not the most original name for a tom turkey ...noted).

Tommy was approaching 5 years old...which for a turkey I imagine is a pretty stellar life!  He started to show signs of his aging...he developed a cataract in his left eye which eventually covered that eye completely...and it began to effect his ability to navigate around the barnyard.

July 4th I walked in the barn to feed and water everyone...and found him face down on the floor in the straw...as if he just layed down and that was it.  I worried that some predator would take him down...so I'm at least happy that he passed peacefully...and simply from old age.  He was always very healthy and spry...until his final months when his eyesight started to be effected.

We miss seeing him poof and gobble around.  We also miss the wild male turkeys that used to come around and hassle him in the Spring in a effort to gain courtship rights with Tom's female turkey (Sugar Pea...she passed in 2016).

So...rest in peace Tom.  He's now a member of the pet cemetery...with his own solar light.

introducing....Leg-o-Lot

We inherited a new rooster some months ago. He joined our flock primarily because he was young...and needed a home.  (He's one of those roosters that got caught up in the city ordinance scenario...sorry folks...you can't have chickens here (city limits)...especially roosters...so he was gifted to us (country life).

I named him after the Lord of the Rings character Legolas...adapted to reference his incredible long legs...tada...meet Leg-o-Lot!

At first he was shy...and stand-offish.  But it didn't take him long to learn his role of "protector of the realm".

He wasn't competition for the older rooster (Blackbeard) because they were in separate partitioned chicken runs. I did worry that Blackbeard might jump the fence and then pirate pummel Leg-o-Lot...which turns out that did happen...but only once...so they must have worked things out amongst themselves.

Now some months later, Leg-o-Lot jumps the fence and visits the "cougars".  And Blackbeard jumps the fence and visits the "college girls".

Two roosters are plenty to balance our flock of 35 hens. So if you're looking to re-home your rooster...you'll have to check with another farm. We're full up.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The chicks aren't so little any more

from chick to pullet to...

They've started laying!!!

It always make me smile when young chickens start to lay eggs.  They start out really small...the eggs.  Just a little bit smaller than a golf ball usually...then...over time...the eggs get bigger and bigger.  Sometimes they go through a short double yoke stage too before they settle into "normal sized" egg layers.

It's a fun process.  So long as I can keep the predators at bay...but that's info for a different post.  I'm in the process now of "integrating" the old girls with the youngins in preparation for winter...when they have to be kept all in one barn together (because of the cold temps and snow).

So far so good...they all seem to be adjusting to the reordering of things.

I'll be posting here soon about our new rooster...who you can see in the background of the below image.  More soon...

all grown up