A family farm

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy Chickens

Happy chickens lay more eggs! We got a record 11 eggs today!!!!!

Deer in the Field

Eggs are a'comin'

Yesterday our 14 hens laid a record (for Decker's Haven) number of eggs: 10!!! They have laid 9 so far today, and the day is far from over! Could we hit one dozen? I don't know. All I know is that we have a very happy bunch of chickens since OH died Saturday and Chris put the window in Friday.

I sort of played with a doe this morning. I stepped out of the barn to get corn for the chickens and there was a doe, fairly large, only about 50 yards away from me. She saw me and started stomping toward me and stopped, snorting. She stared at me for a long while, and I noticed there was another largish doe off to the west a ways, but in the soybean field. She turned away, and I took a few more steps toward the corn. When she turned back at me, I stopped, frozen still. She looked at me very puzzled-like, as if wondering if I was still in the same place. She stomped and snorted some more and then got sick of it because I hadn't moved and turned away again. Again, I moved a few steps toward the corn. She did her act all over again. Her pal started to trot away, but by this time she wasn't 10 yards away from the top of the driveway. Eventually she stomp-trotted, snorting so loud she was whistling, away from me, toward the sheep pen. I finally got to the corn and fed the chickens. I went in and finished getting ready for work. When I left the house, she was back, along with a hen turkey, who upon seeing me, scrambled back down between the rows of soybeans. I do believe the sweetcorn has them vexed.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hens and Goats and Gardens

We finally sold little Faith, who's not so little anymore. We got $65 for her. I'm thinking we're going to need to build a disbudding box and get a burner to disbud our babies, and then we'll be able to sell them easier to 4-H kids. I think that might have been part of the problem why we didn't sell her right away. Then I got to thinking about if our girls have little billy goats, and they should be disbudded because they can get agressive. Either way, I think that is something we're going to have to look into. They paid for her on Friday and picked her up on Sunday. She is going to be the most spoiled pet!

Saturday, when I returned home after working all afternoon at the Cans from Fans food drive at Muskegon Summer Celebration, I found OH (Ornery Hen) dead in the chicken coop. I buried her under a pine tree in the front yard. Chris and I decided her orneriness and her old age is probably what killed her. The Bards are outside more and seem to be enjoying themselves more. They are coming out of their shell, so to speak. Since OH died, I've seen them out in the chicken coop's little yard rather than huddled inside. I think OH was trying to have her own little flock and very much kept them where she wanted. Oh, and since Chris put the window in the chicken coop, we've gathered 8 eggs per day.

Now - last night I weeded more of my garden. I weeded the rest of the onions, the carrots and the peppers. My garden is starting to look more like the gardens of people who don't work full time! Kellie is going to finish weeding the tomatoes today. That leaves the lettuce and the spinach and between the turnips yet. I can't believe how big everything is in just a few short weeks!!! Look for pictures soon!

Monday, June 28, 2010

How the Garden Grows

We have been pulling weeds and pulling weeds and pulling weeds! I'm not complaining, but the weather has been absolutely perfect for the garden to grow. The weeds have been amazing as well, and they are easer to pull the bigger they are! I have discovered which of my neighbors don't work full time. They are the ones with the gardens that are immaculate, and I mean immaculate - there is not a weed to be found. Perfect rows of vegetables grow and no green mucks up the black/brown dirt between these perfect rows. Ok, not only do I not have a completely weed-free garden, but my rows are NOT straight.

Hopefully later this week I can get the backyard mowed and rototilled for my new strawberry plants. I bought 24 new strawberry plants (Allstars), and now I have to move the patch. The plants were less than 50 cents apiece! Crazy! Looking forward to all new gardening soon.

Monday, June 21, 2010

on the farm

We had to talk to our neighbors (gulp - because we like our neighbors and absolutely hated to complain) about their sheep. They were getting out 4 - 6 times per day and eating everything and trampling what they didn't eat. Since Thursday night, we haven't seen those doggone sheep. It's not that I don't like the sheep - they are nice to look at when they are in their own pen. But when they trample my back viney garden and eat all the soybeans planted in the field we rent out, well, that just isn't a good thing.

My tomato plants (and I'm so proud) are nearly a foot tall already. I'm proud because I seed-started them indoors way back in March and didn't kill them! I also seed started all my peppers and they are also doing well. My garden just needs an enormous weeding. I've come to the conclusion that people who have these nice neat gardens in their yards (usually right out in the front yards) don't work full-time. That is how they keep them completely weed free. It has to be! I just can't keep up. And now (granted we need it) it is supposed to rain all evening, so I won't be able to weed when I get home either.

On another note - we (the entire family) went kayaking on the Rogue river yesterday. We had such a great time, and first-timer on her own, Kellie, did real well, also!

Monday, June 14, 2010

New Goats

A week ago we picked up Nanny from a family up in Grant. She's older, about 4 or 5 would be my guess. She has mastitis, in that she has the swollen teat, but not any of the other symptoms such as a fever or a hot teat or not eating or being lethargic. We put her in with the other goats right off for a couple of days. Freddie made off with her right away for two days straight. Poor thing. She looked so pathetic. In researching treatment for her mastitis, I ran across that her teat would need cooling to get the swelling down. So we separated her out and I started a nearly twice daily regimen of washing her teat with cold water. It did nothing. Then we added Lily, our very shy, very curious, white pygmy goat to her pen. We kept them together for nearly a week before putting Nanny back in the pen with the rest of the goats. When we put her back in, she was at first a bit shy, but yesterday, I spent some time out there with her and she is chasing off our head goat, Naomi, and bounding around the pen with the others like she was made for it. She has the most adorable sparkle in her eyes! Her legs are a bit stiff, but she is happy! She is so FAT! Oh, about her mastitis, I'm waiting for TSC to call me with a teat catheter so I can express the bad milk stuck in her teat. That should solve the swelling problem. Another item to add to my goat medical kit.

This past Friday, we bought Ginger. She was born about a month ago, and is an absolutely gorgeous 1/4 Nigerian dwarf/3/4 Pygmy goat. Her face is brown, streaked with tan and black. Her body is tan with white mixed in, and she has the classic Pygmy two-toned coat. She will throw beautiful kids! I'm so looking forward to seeing her baby(ies) next spring! She will probably be out last to breed because she was born late, but that will be fine. They can't all kid at the same time!!!
Oh, and I still can't find my pickling cucumbers! Where in the world are they?

Friday, June 11, 2010

How does this happen?

I lost an entire row of vegetables. I think I'm going to have to re-plant 1 row of pickling cucumbers. I keep going back to that garden and counting up my rows and I have sweet potatoes, then potatoes, then zucchini, lemon cucumbers, Japanese long cucumbers, buttercup squash, spaghetti squash, gourds, giant pumpkins and Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins. No pickling cucumbers! I could have sworn that we planted them, but I can't find the row ... I can't find the marker (we marked the ends of the rows with the seed packet and a clump of dirt ... and I can't find any extra seedlings popping up in a place they shouldn't be. It is frustrating!!!

Anyway, my gardens are doing well. I have to finish up my welcoming flower bed with mulch and some plastic liner, but it looks so pretty! My herbs are coming up well and will need weeding and mulch. My main garden seems to have everything coming up as well. I have to thin my turnips, but I'd really like to transplant some in a nearby row rather than simply throwing them away.

I have enough strawberries for strawberry shortcake. I think I'll make an angel food cake this weekend rather than biscuits. I like the light and fluffy non-fat angel food cake so much better. I still have to build a cage to keep the birds out of my berries. I think they have discovered them.

The chickens have been laying better. 6 - 7 per day this week. It was a lot cooler this week ... but hopefully the laying won't slow back down to 2 - 3 eggs per day. Pathetic when you have 15 hens!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

New Goat

We bought another pygmy goat last night. She is older, about 4 yrs., I think. She is black, jet black, with grey flecks of fur throughout and a big white splotch on her forehead. She also has a grey nose, and a white splotch on one of her sides. She is FAT! and no, she is not pregnant. She had gotten pregnant not long ago and had late miscarriages. She had been impregnated by a boer, which is a much bigger goat. We think she is adorable! She has such big brown eyes, and she is blacker than Freddie. He is more of a chocolate than black.

Little Faith is still up for sale. Anybody want a pygmy goat????