Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Springtime Neighbors

None of our visits to the place before we moved in had the neighbor cows in the field directly across the street. When the cows are rotated into this field, (about every 3 weeks or so) they become the closest neighbors. They are beef cows, and there is a new crop of calves every few months. There is a bull in this herd so the cows breed naturally. The picture below shows 2 calves from last fall. 

Some of the other visitors are not seen except for the very early morning hours or evening... just before sunset. This doe is here nearly every day and has visitors passing through during the night. We see the tracks and the others on the trail camera. One even came right up to the camera... to investigate. Yep, a close-up. I'll dig that up someday and post it!

There is a band of 5 male turkeys that have a routine... the second half of last summer they would come along the cow pasture every morning about 9. They were so skittish and shy that the only pictures I could get were from the house. This year we are hearing them in the woods behind the house. There is a flock of about 40 hens in the area too. 

We found this tortoise in the woods behind the house as well. Saw quite a few last summer and none so far this year. We don't have any turtles in the pond either, but if we find a snapper he will be heading down the road lickety split!

We have started prepping the garden. This place came with a garden area with raised planting rows, but the soil is terrible. So we started a 3 bin composting area, and added the first bin to the rows, and ordered up a load of topsoil augmented with some steer manure. A neighbor stopped by with his tractor and offered to move the dirt onto the rows for us. Hopefully, the garden will yield some fresh veggies so we can thank him for the assistance!

The weather turned back to winter for a couple of days with some really cold overnight temperatures, back to the low 20°s and daytime in the upper 40°s and low 50°s, and breezy. While it looks pretty outside you definitely need a coat outside.

More Later. Beth

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Meet the Clucks

Last August we needed to get some chickens. Not that we hadn't tried, but the big box stores insist that you buy 6 at a time... and then never seem to have any in stock. So the next best thing? A Facebook search turned up some 4-month-old pullets (females) of the Cream Legbar Variety. It was mid-afternoon when I set off to collect them. On my way out of the garage, I grabbed a large empty moving box and threw it into the back of the car.

The drive took me west and down some narrow one-lane roads, that for some reason were all paved!!! I did hear a bit of music while driving that sounded a little like the soundtrack from the movie Deliverance! Several times I questioned the GPS but eventually, I arrived at the destination.

The lady has a big spread all fenced in with free-range goats, sheep, chickens- several varieties, turkey 2 varieties, a bunch of dogs and cats... and maybe more critters that I didn't see. We exchanged the money for chickens, put them in the empty box, and I left for home.

The look on the DH's face when I opened the box and 6 half-grown chickens popped out. He was expecting chickens that fit in your hand. We locked up the pen and left them to explore their habitat.
The next day we explored more of what chickens need and set about acquiring the supplies. Finding chickens was so difficult that we were not prepared for immediate occupancy, but quickly caught up.

Its been about 8 months and the chickens love free-ranging around the yard. When we open the gate every morning to let them out 4 head immediately for the pond and a drink. Nevermind that they do that at the watering bucket first thing out of their coop too. Only 3 of the chickens actually have names. Loooucy and Ethel are the 2 that are least worried about people and Chicken Little. The name is obvious if you know the story. That chicken is afraid of her own shadow.

When I was growing up my dad used to call them "cackleberries", but we call them 'squakberries'. These girls are supplying us with 1-2 dozen every week, (even during the cold winter), so we are eating lots of eggs and giving some away as well. The girls lay eggs ranging in colors of pale mint green to a bright pale blue and they have large bright creamy yolks. The egg on the bottom is a store-bought egg for reference. Although now, most of the eggs are all a big Medium!

Its time to start recording some information about living here, the weather, rain amounts, additions or subtractions and the work or improvements we are making... on the farm. So far the weather this spring has been up and down temperature-wise, from the upper 20's at night to the highs in the daytime as high as 80 degrees. Many days that have been sunny have been tempered with a frigid wind from the north/northwest. The warmest just last week with a taste of the humidity that will soon be here. Typical for the power shift of the north versus the south for control of where the storms come from. This week we have had weather suitable for shorts and yesterday long pants and jackets. High winds are predicted from most of the day, up to 50 mph. An inch of rain fell on Sunday 4/13/2020 and 3/4 of an inch before sunrise on Monday.

As Always More Later! Beth

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Its Been a While

Not that there are too many visitors over here... and blogs are becoming passe because Facebook and Instagram are so much easier and less wordy... that quick snaps are easier. I like to add the words... to explain the picture... So here goes... Pictures and Words ...

The new place came with some extras. The previous owner had some cats, but she left us all the kittens. Seven ranging in age from about 3 months to 6 months. At first we weren't sure where they belonged... and they were very afraid of humans. But after 2 days I bought some food, and we claimed all 7.
All 7 cats

We spent 6 months trapping the cats and getting them spayed or neutered (2 females and 5 males). Their names started out as numbers #1 thru #7, but during convalescence, true names stuck. I can pet 6 of the 7 when the food is given, One really really doesn't want companionship at all. He is Mr. Meany. He earned his name because he is a bit mean too. The 2 orange tabbies Tommy and Tutone I can only stroke at mealtime, but they are hanging closer during the daytime hours and actually arch to meet a hand when feeding. Patience was a terribly fearful female and would wait to eat until I left the area. However, during her convalescence, she discovered a kind hand and is nearly the first to the feeding station each morning. The other 3 were friendly and trusting pretty early on. #1 was the first to seek and step up to me at times other than feeding, and his name stuck. The Prince got his name because he would just lay in his convalescent crate... for food to be delivered and revel in touch, but he was also friendly before his procedure and was called #2. And Prudence discovered people and is a trip hazard when I go out into the yard. She LOVES to be stroked and follows me around when the dogs are not out too. None are friendly with anyone but me.

More Later... Hopefull not quite so much later. Beth