Sunday, December 16, 2007
Sunday, December 09, 2007
And on to the "outlyers", (that is the parents of Caesar and Jelly), Buff and Stenson, who live in a chicken condo of their own, mostly because they're bantams, so again, too small to be in with regular chickens, and also because too much sun and outdoors time would fade their plumage. It was also told to us that bantams are very broody, and the spearate digs were to encourage them to raise a bunch of show-quality chicks, however Buff emphatically states that motherhood is not in her contract, and Caesar and Jelly can thank their existence to the fact that broody hens don't care much about whose eggs they sit on, so long as there's eggs.
They have five toes. That's one more than normal for most chickens. However, the novelty of this is wearing thin, as they eat just as much as regular chickens. So they are stop # 6 on the Chicken Breakfast Express.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Actually very striking and pretty, this milk snake was about 18" long, still a baby. Hopefully, it finds a home in the rock wall and settles in before a serious freeze.
Speaking of settling in, there's a set of dpn's laden with alpaca calling to me...
Friday, November 09, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
(the old pheasant pen...a 4-H project...)
With old or green lumber, no power tools, no concept of level, and no directions...it's fantabulous! Or at least Madison and the poults think so...
That's one Narragansett, and three Bourbon Reds. Sex unknown. At least for now...These guys were the first installment on the new career (more about that coming), and a new "mentor" for the farm, and well, ...you'll see.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Friday, October 05, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
So does anybody out there want to try some? I will mail you a box with enough butternuts for at least a two skein batch and instructions. All I ask is that you post your results on your blog, or e-mail me to let me know how it came out. Of course, you're not obligated to dye yarn, but that's up to you. Mind you, if you were to send me some dye plant stuffs from your corner of the world that I could play with, I wouldn't mail them back, but you DON'T HAVE TO.
Today, in between bouts of cooking, I dyed with some goldenrod flowers and got the nice pale yellow on the right. The honey color on the left is red onion skins. What fun!
Thursday, September 13, 2007
But like so many other things, on our farm the reality does not come close to the vision.
As it is with the fox. Or foxes, to be accurate. There is a mother and her single, surviving pup, now pretty grown up. I say surviving, because grey foxes usually have litters of 2-4, and we have no proof of demise, but just assumed.
They ate Speedy. Speedy, for those who do not know, was a bantam rooster we hatched on the farm, and despite his fiesty and sometimes aggressive personality, he was my buddy. So we do not like these foxes. And although they have helped us curb the rabbit population, I would prefer nibbled veggies to losing our poultry pals.
So, we are hunting the foxes. We all would prefer to catch them and move them to the state land three miles down the road, but this has proved harder than we would like.
1st Attempt: Bait the trap with a rotisserie chicken wing and wait.
Although the right color, not exactly what we were hoping for.2nd attempt: Try a piece of the chicken skin.
Some sneaky little creature dug underneath the trap, and removed the skin by pulling it through the bottom. It's the right intelligence, but not the outcome we were hoping for.3rd Attempt: DH thinks we should use apples, since we have watched the foxes eat the windfalls, I think apples are too available, and opt for an egg.
At dusk, we checked the trap, and DH reported the egg was gone. So either this Einstein really did go in for the apples, which lay by the dozens all around, or it went something like this:
Rocky: Hey, what's that over there?
Rascal: Dunno, let's go check it out.
Rocky: Why don't you go in it?
Rascal: Why don't YOU do it?
Rocky: What? You chicken?
Rascal: OK, fine. Watch me.
Rascal: Hey! Get me out of here! You made me go in...don't leave me!
Rocky: Cool your jets, I'll dig you out. Wait till I tell the boys about this one...
Rascal: Shut up and dig, man!
Rocky: Sorry pal, but I'm not getting anywhere. What did you go in there for in the first place?
Rascal: Shut up.
4th Attempt: Bait the trap with cat food. We have also seen the foxes eating the cat food.
Just the distance of the photo should tell you what we caught this time, in case you can't tell...Needless to say, this one did not end with the same happy outcome as the others. (Animal Lovers: We are open to any tips on how to empty a live trap of a skunk without necessitating extensive bathing in tomato juice and driving to work with all the windows open...short of that, it was "Hello to Mister .22")
5th Attempt: (Still waiting for the trap to air out...)
Several weeks ago we found the feathery remains of something on the lawn. Too many feathers for it to have been a close call, or happy ending, and pretty much the look of a raptor kill. But the feathers were all a light grey, covered with polka dots of white. I was stumped.
This morning, as I went back up to the house for Mister .22, I found a carcass in the middle of the path.
The size of one of our laying hens, at first I thought that's what it was. Thankfully, none of ours match the description, and frankly no chicken I've ever seen has the grey and polka dot plumage...so I'm thinking young guinea hen? Any thoughts? Before you tell me to check the head, there was none.
And if anyone wants to weigh in on the predator...
BTW- none of our neighbors have guinea fowl. At least none of our neighbors within "several blocks". So that just makes the whole thing even more strange. So it goes around here...
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Of course, there were a lot of the usual blue ribbons in the 4-H barn, for her veggies, and this one for a tie-dyed shirt (thank you Uncle Richard!):
And even though all the ribbons were nice, the thing she loved the most was the chicken trophy she won for showmanship. Which, for the inexperienced, is when the kids have to take a chicken, and before a judge and the throngs of folks traversing the Poulty Barn, handle the bird, showing various features, answer questions about poultry raising and poutry trivia, and of course, keep the featured bird from taking off and freaking out the crowd as it runs around looking for any means of escape, or shitting on your clean pants. This year, Madison managed all of it. Not so lucky for some of the other kids....but that's what keeps the audience coming back!
Just so her little head didn't get too swollen out of whack, I paraded her through the Arts and Crafts Barn and Mommy's blue ribbon for hand-knit socks. Balance in all things, right? I took her through about 14 times. She reminded me each time that I had won only one ribbon. She has a chicken trophy. (Sigh)
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Here is the 4-H side of the barn (pre-chicken):
And the open class side: (I still don't know why it is that the 4-H kids clean the whole barn, even if they only use half....hmmm...)
But she will have, (fingers crossed here - we just lost Speedy the Rooster to the foxes, and I don't want them to get the "fever for the flavor"...if you know what I mean) 9 entries: 5 in 4-H, and 4 in Open Class.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
(Always time for a little Max love...)
Monday, August 06, 2007
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Karin is a very talented and artistic woman, I had an excellent time just watching her think through the colors and try variations of the process. She makes silk scarves, so she is no newbie to dyeing, but it is always interesting to watch someone come out of their primary medium into another. Here she is working on the second skein, thinking hard about what she wants to create...
Of course, we should have had critter pictures as well, but we forgot the camera on that part of the tour! But all in all, it was a beautiful day, rounded out with lunch on the porch. Here, some of our finished skeins hang from the front porch to dry: