Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Universe had something to say...

I work in a Maximum Security prison for youth.  So that means that each day when I get to work, I have to pass through a heavy gate in the 30-ft. high chainlink fence topped with a roll of razor wire, The gate only opens with visual identification from the guard booth.  Then I walk 20 feet or so to another heavy gate in another 30-ft. high chainlink fence topped with another roll of razor wire.  And that brings you onto some pretty nice grounds, all sectioned off with chainlink fences and razor wire. But being that we are in the country, we have the requisite fire pond out front, and a lot of resident Canadian geese who have decided to permanently re-locate to the countryside.

After passing through all the security devices, we must all be wanded to make sure we aren't bringing in a saw blade or some such thing (don't's happened-up North, in the "grown-up" prison).  It's a pretty awkward few moments as some man you barely know waves a large beeping device up around your boobs and between your legs, so most of us attempt some sort of small talk to make it less weird.

The other day, a colleague tried this:  "How the heck did the geese get in here?  I mean, who let them in???!"

(She was, sadly, referring to the geese who were inside the perimeter, instead of outside on the fire pond as she expected)

So, we all waited a minute to see if she was kidding, and then gently replied, "They flew in."

She looked blank.  I don't think she believed us.

Needless to say, we all laughed hysterically once we were out of earshot, and  several of us spent the entire shift repeating, "How the heck did the geese get in here?" and erupting into peals of laughter.  I confess - I was one of them.

Not exactly mature behavior, but it makes the time go by.  And I didn't regret it a bit.

When I got home, I went down cellar to start a load of laundry, and something very large flew very close by my head.  WTF??!??  I went back and turned on the light, and then I saw it and said, "How the heck did that goose get in here???!??"

Nobody replied.  (of course) And then it struck me.

Point taken, Universe.

So what WAS flying around my cellar?  It was a young female Hooded Merganser duck.  She had fallen down the furnace chimney and out the little door for cleaning ashes.  A few frantic laps around the cellar, and I finally caught up to her.

After removing the great quantity of cobwebs she had cleared up for us, we let her go off the front porch, and she took off like a shot.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Mish mash this and that

It's an apt description of how I manage around here...going from situation to situation and letting my ADHD have full reign...but it's been how I've gotten this far, so we roll with it for now.  Don't question the universe (I'll tell you more about that tomorrow).

Time to let the sheep out to graze for a bit...

We see this:

 Look closely, see the chick riding her back.....

Imagine it saying, "Mama?  Why can't we go outside for a bit?" (They are currently housed in a re-purposed duck pen, the electro-net is just there because I haven't wound it up)...

Decide they need a ramp to safely and efficiently get in and out of the duck/chicken pen....

Gather scrap just lying around waiting to be re-purposed or disposed of.....

Discover I do not have the right length nail to finish the job.....

Go up to the house to look for the nails

Notice the bag garden I started to put together for B......

Stop to put plants in the prepared soil....

Notice how much I REALLY need to paint the porch....(Thankfully for this story I do not have the paint yet)

Go back with the nails and finish the ramp.....

They wasted NO time in putting it to use....(note Mama top right)

Put sheep away.....


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day Hooplah

In fitting fashion, the mother hen sitting eggs decided to take her newly-hatched brood out for Mother's Day Brunch, and so I came upon her sitting rather awkwardly in the middle of the Lower Lot.  Closer inspection revealed she was sitting so oddly because 8 little chicks were attempting to hide beneath her, and she was trying valiantly to cover them all.

As soon as I got within reach, she flew into action, attacking me and sending the chicks running in all directions.  With each attack she tried to push me back in one direction, and jostle the chicks towards the cover of the wooded part of the lot.  Not that the wooded part is navigable for humans, which is just what she wanted - rather, it is overgrown with brambles (read PRICKERS) and vines, and fallen trees, and all manner of other crap to make it a painful and tedious place to be hunting chicks.

Nothing like this EVER happens when I have free time to spare, and as usual I was trying to get to work, but not before I FINALLY managed to return Mother Hen and all 8 chicks to the comfort of the Hayport.  Let's hope they stay for a while....
                                                               On the Way to Brunch

                                                          Back in the Hayport (for now...)
Drama aside, we have found hen-hatched and hen-raised chicks to be far superior to mail-order.  Not only is there no need for heat lamps, brooders, (not to mention cleaning all that) space in the house/garage/barn, and frequent need to check for blocked vents (chicks, not buildings) but they are healthier and most importantly, stealthier.  Mother Hen teaches them to hide in the bushes during the day (thus avoiding the hawks) and they all follow her to roost each night.

With 4-H behind us, we no longer need "pure-breed" chickens, so mutts do us just fine!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Have I still got it?

This seems so foreign to the time that I have been gone, even social media has evolved, and blogging is somewhat of a relic....but I want it back.  If only as a confirmation that all I dreamed of has not moved beyond my reach....and also as I way to make contact with others and even as a personal check-in for my recovery....

So while I struggle at the controls, bear with me.  I have to re-acquaint myself with everything...including the new computer.  It may be a bumpy ride....but hasn't it always been?
Speaking of bumpy.... trying to get a photo of this little bugger to practice photo importing and posting was bumpy like the Rockies bumpy...I don't remember kittens being this uncooperative, but it's been almost two decades since I've had a kitten  in the house, so perhaps my memory is a little foggy on this point....

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Chicken Anarchy

In 11 years of doing this farming thing (Gawd, has it been THAT long??) we have bought chickens, mail-ordered chickens, traded chickens, incubated chicken eggs, rescued chickens, and even sold a few...but we have never actually hatched our own.  Like from scratch....with a hen doing the actual work, and no human involvement.  Until now....
Into the Void, which is an apt description of a farm gone wild with practically no rules, structure, consistency or order (due to a medical disruption of my Former Life on a large scale when my husband almost died from Lyme, a stroke and other nasty complications) this hen decided to drop a chick.

I can honestly say I have NO idea where she brooded this little thing, but she managed to stay hidden for 21 days (not too hard given my almost constant state of harried frenzy and general lack of attention to detail) AND managed to stay away from predators (more impressive given our proximity to several fox dens and the new hazard of ranging coyotes that have crossed our property more than once this summer...) AND managed to totally ignore all the rules that said something like, "Do NOT make more work for the Lady" "Do NOT add more chores to Her list" "Do NOT grow the farm in any way since it's too much already for Her sanity" and so on, and so on...

And he/she is.  A Buff Cochin chicklet.  Sex TBD.  No rules.....No. Rules. It's Chicken Anarchy.

Monday, June 02, 2014

New Staff

Let me introduce the biggest addition to the farm....Zeva.

(The nut featured two posts ago...)

The decision to add another mouth/chore/critter to the farm was pretty easy after seeing that face....but really, it was about ticks.

You see, DH's NDE (Near Death Experience) was triggered by a tick bite in May '13.  Left inadequately treated, it led to a stroke, encephalitis and the NDE....amongst other things).  Anyhoo......

Ticks...eaten by Guinea Hens.  Guinea Hens...eaten by foxes.  Foxes...deterred (if not eaten) by large canine.  Canine...available by barter from a neighbor farmer, and, well, I love to barter. Viola!

She is a Maremma. So far....she hasn't eaten anybody (including chickens!) but we've had no losses to we're ahead of the game!

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Seems like a good way to start...

Leave it to Susan (who got it from Carolyn) to come up with the perfect way to cover a lot of ground and keep me busy (er) ....and I pretty much do anything she tells me/suggests/wants ..... so, here goes a month of blog postings...

...and in the spirit of the quotation....we'll see what seeds we can plant!