Sunday, January 31, 2010

chickens venture into snow

the chickens have been on a self imposed quarantine from the elements. that is, until today.

only the bravest venture beyond the snow shed of the coop.

these chickens take their job of spreading out the cow patties very seriously.

this one even came up to say good bye to the pigs.

our pigs are going to the local butcher on tuesday. mike, tabitha's father, brought his stock trailer and backed it up to their pen. i cobbled a step and opened that gate so they could get acquainted with the trailer.

they are really looking good.

they are so friendly that when you scratch their back they wiggle against your hand. it is so cute.

astrid is doing very nicely. her training is going better than we could hope. soon it will be over and we will be only be affirming her behavior.

she doesn't look that white against the snow. but really she is..

she is so alert and notices everything. she doesn't really bark as much as henry did but that might yet develop. i miss his incessant barking at the slightest thing.

she really likes her chickens. they are part of her pack.

the chickens are really laying the eggs. yesterday we got thirty two eggs and managed a formal count of the hens. we have forty four hens and one rooster.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

hey mom, can i write my own proverb?

that is what tristan just asked tabitha.

tabitha "sure"

tristan "a friend is always nice to his friends"

i love it! he captured all the necessary elements of a proverb.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

winter weather expected

our local weather-people are alleging that by friday we'll be in the middle of a winter wonderland. the kids are already excited. now if we can only skirt any freezing rain we'll be very happy.

the chickens are really giving up the eggs lately. today we got twenty two. the other night we were so excited about the eggs that we had breakfast for dinner. scrambled eggs, pancakes and home fries.

one of the activities we accomplished during the warm weather of late was to try and rescue our greenhouse. the swiss chard got clipped back and new salad mix was planted. my role in this was to to disseminate praise and good cheer. now if we can just make it through the impending winter weather.

mike brought his stock trailer over yesterday to load the pigs before tuesday morning. i plan to give them constant access to it and feed them their daily treats in the back. by tuesday they should be rushing to the back. we'll miss them. this latest move of selling the second pig will afford us another pig for the summer months. that will be exciting.

our female cats are all with kitten. soon there will be a glut of kittens at the omelay homestead. hermoine's kits will be at a premium since she has a proven track record of producing bona fide farm cats. our cats are the best hunters and generally very friendly but not too needy. they are the perfect cats for a homestead. if anyone is local and interested in a farm kitten we might be able to oblige. if you want your cat to be a great hunter we let hermoine teach them to hunt before anyone takes possession. hermoine is small, tailless and can climb like a squirrel. her offspring have all been the best hunters.

Monday, January 25, 2010

the chicken or the egg?

our struggle with not having farm fresh eggs is coming to an end. we were down to two eggs per day and feeding them like we were in full production. we use a custom feed mix instead of purina chicken chow. our mix is based on diverse whole grains. it is a little more expensive but worth it because of our glorious eggs. well, when we are getting eggs.

a couple of weeks ago i ran an extension cord down to the chicken coop and installed a timer. there was little support for my logic until i discovered i was having no results and the people there made a few suggestions that really worked. i needed to extend my artificial daylight hours a little bit. then all of a sudden it happened. egg production started to pick up. five, seven, eight, ten, twelve and finally yesterday we got fifteen eggs. furthermore we have a whole group of hens molting, the twelve silver laced wyandottes. once they come out of it we'll really be in the eggs.

yesterday we tore down that old chicken coop.

oh, that thing was an awful eyesore. we will dig up around it and under it and collect the beautiful rich soil to amend our strawberry beds. i doubt that it will dry out enough before our impending wintry weather later this week.

i actually hope for a good freeze since mike will bring his stock trailer across our field this weekend. as the ground is right now it will just make huge furrows. we decided to sell one of our pigs to mike and have both hogs processed at the butcher. we are not ready for a butcher and smoking a bunch of meat right now since i have been working full time the last few weeks. selling one of the pigs will afford the butcher cost and allow us to buy a pig in the spring. further variables contributing to this conclusion are the general lack of freezer space and i haven't built a smoke house yet.

the spring pig will hopefully get butchered by me on our farm. when that time comes it should find us ready to smoke and process it ourselves. having a pig around to eat our table scraps is such a wonderful thing and we really miss it when without. the summer is an especially wasteful time of year having garden scraps left from canning.

this is my last week at my state job and i am looking forward to a small break. we will focus on disseminating our income even more to buffer from further vulnerabilities. i am excited to get these systems in place. even if my state job re-presents itself having these systems in place will be a great comfort.

tabitha can now easily comment on my blog and she is better at follow through. i expect your comments will be addressed more thoroughly. she downloaded chrome browser and loves it. it means that she can remain logged in in her browser and i in mine firefox. she also is switching back to blogger from wordpress. announcement to come.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

can a person be too well informed?

a few months back we took our heifer to rendezvous with a bull.

we had calculated her cycles and made sure that she'd be with the bull during our best guess at standing-heat. she stayed for over a week to be sure. we are really good at second guessing ourselves in these matters. so for the past two months we have had the question looming "is jocelyn pregnant?"

we use a method called bio-tracking to check for cattle pregnancy. this method can test for for pregnancy in goats, sheep, elk, horses, bison, and deer as well. you have to take blood from the animal but that is only mildly traumatic. they send a kit of vacutainers and some double sided needles. don't use the vacutainer part of the method described unless you are a trained vet or phlebotomist.

we used the tail vein. there are instructions that anyone can follow on their site. after a small trial we learned that a simple syringe can be used to draw the blood, instead of directly using the vacutainer and double needle. this is easier for the novice since you get more than one shot at the vein. the syringe can then transfer the blood to the vacutainer and ready for shipping. this is a real trick and should be marked if you might attempt to use bio-tracking.

after a few more days of wringing our hands the results came in last night by email on a saturday. she is pregnant. hooray we are so happy. but the numbers seemed a little high. well, really quite high. tabitha did some further reading and discovered that she is likely with twins. we are tentative about this to say the least. so back to my original question, can a person be too well informed?

what should have been a joyous sigh of relief still presents a looming question. "will she have complications delivering twins?"

Monday, January 18, 2010

springlike conditions in january

the bees were stretching their wings.

tabitha and i worked the black raspberries. we clipped, dug and tied them into a nice neat row. we had to put in the fence posts and wire. it was very sharp and scratchy business. we have been threatening to do this for many months. the task seemed so daunting.

we are very glad to have this behind us. we put a piece of old carpet between the rows and mulched them very heavily with wood chips.

it looks better than i could have expected it too. the kids will have a cozy place to stand while picking. these berries are unbelievable in pancakes.

after church yesterday we went to the park. the kids had so much fun.

rome climbed everywhere just like the big goys

toly had a blast too

tristan enjoyed himself

strong boy crossed every money bar set.

rome showing off


let me out!

over here

kassi was very princessly after she got over having to wear a coat.

too much fun


crazy baby

the slide was a little damp

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...