Monday, June 28, 2010

Not very good pictures...

So it's officially summer now. And it's hot and dry in Colorado. There are forest fires. Sometimes they seem to happen out of no where, and in moments, entire homes can be lost. I am not sure if this one caused anyone to lose their home, but it was close. I went inside to get the camera to take a shot, and obviously the fire crews were working on it, because the smoke and the red glow were less intensive by the time I got my camera. As the days went on, the smoke lessened and turned to just a bit of smoke. Too close for comfort for me!

And just a few shots around the farm. Here is Goliath, rolling in the grass...

And his brother, Atlas, who is always watching over his sheep...

And this is a picture of one of our Ancona chickens. This one is special, because I hatched her! She has a "sister" too! these are, so far, the only straight breeds I have hatched. I know that their mother was an Ancona because the eggs were white, and at the time, the only roosters we had were Anconas. I currently have a hen and a roo that are about 12 weeks old, and another hen in the barn that is about 3 weeks old. Larry calls these "frankenchickens." I am sure the 2 older ones had an Ancona for a mother, because the eggs were white. It is likely that their father may have been a Silver Lakenvelder, but still, could have been an Ancona.

The younger one in the barn came from a brown egg, so it could have had a Silver Lakenvelder for a mother, a golden comet or even a black star. we'll never know. And I am expecting 3 more eggs to hatch in about 3-4 days. Brown eggs, so the mom could be anything, but the father can only be Ancona or Silver Lakenvelder. We'll see what we get! It should be fun!

Monday, June 7, 2010

June Update - Good Things Are Coming

It's June, and though we have had some severe failures this year (mice eating our seeds, nothing starting in soil blocks, and a giant sunflower in the greenhouse that we have no idea where it came from?) We are anticipating some wins this year too (though the failures can be tough to get over - like losing over 20 laying hens, and 12 or more new chickens...)

So on to the positive...

And they said it couldn't be done. Shortly after Bridget's arrival, we noticed her broken jaw and called in the vet. He gave her some pain killers and an antibiotic for her jaw and the pneumonia... and he told us you could never get a 5 week old Galloway to bottle feed. Really? Don't give us a challenge, especially when that challenge involves handling mammals. Yeah, she eagerly drinks 4 big bottles a day, and has taken to butting me in the arse when she wants more. Cute, but not for long as she just keeps getting bigger!

This is probably the most expensive shade structure we could ever imagine. But honesltly, the image of the wild, untamed beast hiding in the jungle, is really just our new truck in the pasture. The sheep were sleeping under it.

Speaking of sleeping. I managed to catch not one, but TWO dogs under the bushes here. You can only see Atlas in this photo, but Athena is behind him. Goliath was asleep in another shady spot, and Hobbes was following me around. What lazy butts!
Some other critters enjoying the shade of our backyard bushes - our Barred Rocks and Araucanas. I am not sure how we are ever going to convince them to go live in the chicken house. They have branches to purch on, pine needles to take dirt bathes in, protection from wind, rain and sun - and their protector dogs are never too far behind. But I don't want to try collecting eggs under there!
So some positives, that I hope stay that way... even though the garden is struggling (not much growing in the greenhouse, LOTS of cool stuff outside the greenhouse, but, as I hear, half of that got washed away today when someone let loose the irrigation ditch faster than the ditch could move it, and now our pasture is swamped again. I love free water, but how about the quantity!!) Anyhow, so my squashes, eggplants and beans are all washed down the Great Chicken Stink River Tributary System) What isn't getting washed out is my strawberry/raspberry patch and my fruit tree orchard. I did a quick survey of the trees in the orchard, and I have verifiable fruits budding on my cherries, apples, pears, and this below - PEACHES! Just waiting for the plums and apricots to catch up, and I'll have a full slate of food! I am thinking of pies, jams, cobblers... oh, the list is endless! YUM!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Work Work Work

I haven't taken any pictures lately for an update... I'll try to get some soon. But here's a short tick list of what's been going on.

  • Marlow is all better. Maybe too better? (I know, that isn't grammatically correct, just go with it) He's been pushing over fencing, getting out of the pasture, into the orchard, and knocking us around with his horns. Maybe I liked it when he was a little under the weather. OK, no, not really. He had pink eye, in both his eyes, and we've cleared that up. So he's back to his usual self. He was hanging out with me the other day, with his head in my lap, just wanting me to pet him. Biggest. Dog. Ever.
  • Bridget is also much better. She's happily drinking from the bottle, and eating grass on her own! Her jaw still clicks, but most of the swelling has gone down, and it isn't hot to the touch, but it sounds like some parts are still healing. it makes her stick her tongue out a bit.
  • We killed our second truck. I decided to go against all of my better instincts and pull a chunk of money from our savings account to buy a decent, 4x4 truck for the farm. We still got it stuck in the corral this weekend!
  • We ripped out all the corral fencing over the weekend, so we can put better fencing in its place. 5' woven wire with high tensile strands, to be exact. I took a look at some of the old franken-fencing and can't believe it kept ANYTHING in, not to mention 2 rambunctious dogs that really want to get on the other side to catch those coyotes!
  • Our greenhouse is a bust this year. We can't get seeds to start in soil blocks. We had mice in there eating seeds. So far, all I have growing are things I planted OUTSIDE the greenhouse. WHAT a freaking BUMMER! But I do have lots of radishes, lettuces and peas growing outside!
  • We have mulched half our strawberry patch, and planted a few new strawberries to fill in some gaps. It might not be this year, but the strawberries are winning the battle over the bindweed, and someday, that patch is going to RULE. We did manage to fix the fencing around it, and put in a gate on the proper side of the fence.
  • I ordered some fun new food plants to try, and so far am marginally successful. The hazelnuts seem to be growing, as does one currant and one honeyberry. Replacements are on their way for the ones that have died, and I am hoping to have some luck with the replacement kiwis, that died within 3 days. (Also, the magnolia and forsythias are doing well, but they are only there for shade and wind coverage!)
  • We should have baby turkeys coming REALLY soon. I can't wait!! And hopefully, 3 more baby chicks this weekend.
  • Last but not least, I am literally BREATHS away from posting our website. Just waiting on the other half to get the server set up in the basement so I can post all the files over. I'm looking forward to our web presence!
OK... any questions?