A family farm

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Goat Grandma Again ...

We have 2 new baby goats born to Naomi! She had a false pregnancy early this spring (think February). Then Freddie got hold of her again, and wa-la! Out pop two kids today! I can't wait to go home this evening after work and see them! This is all so exciting! I told Chris she was preggers! He didn't believe it. Last night he finally conceded that she might actually be pregnant. Well, she's not anymore! Pictures WILL follow tomorrow!

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Final Summit - Andy Andrews

I finished reading The Final Summit, courtesy of Booksneeze, a week and a half ago. It has taken me a bit of time to decide what kind of review to write for this book. I enjoyed reading it, but I don't think it was my cup of tea. I enjoyed the historical content and the ideas that were gained to try to solve the riddle that would save humanity, but I just didn't care much for the overall storyline. I suppose I expected more adventure. However, the main character, David Ponder, is seventy-four years young, and he is a very successful businessman, well-liked by his employees and peers. The arch-angel Gabriel then asks David to help save humanity, and he joins with a multitude of characters from history as they strive to answer the question on what will save the world. Apparently, this is a sequel, but I was able to read this book without ever having read the previous. I did feel that I missed out on a little of information, but this book covers that well. I did feel that as the story progressed, it was a bit predictable. I mean, if you are half-way through, you know that the answer they've come up with at this point isn't going to be correct. I did learn a few things about some of the historical figures that are highlighted in the book such as Joan of Arc, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and Eric Erickson. In that, this kept my interest. Without those stories of the historical characters, however, I don't think I'd have read much further than the first couple of chapters. A worthy read for anyone who likes snippets of history peppered through a fictional book.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Strawberry Jam

I don't know if I over boiled the sugar and strawberries, but I guess we'll find out later this week. I only came away with 3 pints, when according to the recipe, I should have been able to get four. Oh, well. The jam is a dark red, rather than the lighter red. I just hope the jam doesn't end up getting totally hard! It was really hard to tell if I'd reached the gelling point, and I don't have a candy thermometer.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Baby Chickies Over the Weekend!

Chickies started bursting forth out of their shells Saturday morning at 3:17am! Chris and I heard tweets at midnight when we went to bed Friday night, but we didn't see anything. At around 3am, the tweets seemed to have gotten louder! A dark little Ameracauna was greeting us! Then another at just after 5am! How exciting! By 9am Saturday, we hadn't received any more visitors, but knew that more would be coming. We had to leave for the U.P. for a wedding at 2pm in St. Ignace. We spent a wonderful two days traveling, visiting 7 State Parks and deciding on two that we would check out online for reservability. My friend, Michelle, who was farm-sitting for us, kept us abreast of what was going on in the incubator. Saturday evening we had four more. By the time we arrived home there were nine total. Eight were ready for their new temporary home in a bin out in the chicken coop. Chris is so smart - he just put the bin right in the brooder box with the marans and wellsummers. I had stopped to pick up some paper towel to line the bottom of the bin with, and we set eight chickies up with a dish of water and some food put in a plastic lid. This morning I put the ninth one in. There was a tenth one all wet and just hatched in the incubator yet, and I heard more chirping coming! Exciting times!

I also took a couple pictures of the marans and the welsummers - you can see just how fast they've grown!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Look what I built!

I finished the brooder box last night. We now have happy, not overly hot chickies! And they have 5'x2' to run around in! I suppose if you are in the market for a brooder box, I could take an order, and in a week's time, I could have one built for you! It would only cost you $100. Anyway, take a look at my box and my chickies (we lost one yesterday - a wellsummer - he/she was found drowned in the waterer. Bleh! Hopefully this box will keep the chickies happier and healthier. They are definitely not overcrowded. Oh, and at Alex's house, they successfully hatched eighteen chickies! Woo Hoo!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I didn't tell you what transpired on Sunday! Church was great! Then after, Kellie and I picked up some Chinese food, watched a Little House, made an Angel Food Cake and went outdoors to work on the back garden. I think it is finally pretty much finished. I was able to till out quite a bit. Kellie was instructed to use a shovel and square off my corners and shore up the edges, which she did on Monday, while I was at work. She got that done and so much more! I'm so happy! I'm going to have to give her next week off! We'll see. When I got out of work, I got gas, stopped at Menards and walked around the outside of the place before I found two 2"x4"x10' pieces of pre-treated lumber. I stopped by GFS and said hi to Chris and picked up salsa and chicken. It was even on sale! Then I hurried home and planted my squash, cucumber pickles, pumpkins and even four rows of corn! Kellie agreed that we had a bit of time to work on the brooder box and we got the entire bottom done and the whole frame! Tonight I'm going to add chicken wire and build the lid and get our chickies into it. I also have to make a little brace on the inside for a separator to keep the smallest chickies that should hatch this weekend away from the bigger chickies for a few days. Then they can all be together in a nice, roomy space!

Below are pictures of my back garden. By the end of summer I should have it tilled to the hill way in the background. We're moving the entire garden out there, and it will be huge! Probably the biggest garden I've had in my life! I'll have to mow down the tall grass. It's a real pain to till that. It should be three times what it is now, at least twice the size of my regular garden by the coop and the back garden combined. The teepees are for the squash and the pickling cucumbers to climb up. I'm trying to conserve some room here. Of course the pumpkins are planted by the corn (learned that tip from something Abraham Lincoln wrote), and they will sprawl and crawl everywhere.

Monday, June 13, 2011

New Chickies!!!

No, my incubator eggs didn't hatch in a week's time - they are still sitting perfectly still in the incubator. Saturday was way too wet to rototill the back garden ... no, that's not done yet! ... so I headed down to the auction. They even had pot-bellied pigs for sale this day! They had a couple of boxes of turkey chicks, so I stuck around. Chris had wanted me to bid on a huge roll of chicken wire, but when the price went over $20, I stopped. I did place a $1 bid on a small roll of 2x4" welded wire, and "won" that. No one else bid against me. I seem to do well when I open the bid. There were a variety of maran chicks and even a box of wellsummer chicks. A guy was bidding on every variety of dark brown egg layer there, but I won the wellsummer chicks at $1 apiece. I then asked the guy if I could trade six of my wellsummers for six of his cuckoo marans, and he said sure - so now, under a light in a big bin in the newly cleaned out chicken coop, I have six wellsummers and six cuckoo marans. I hope I get a at least half in hens. It would be nice if they all were, but I'm sure they haven't yet been sexed and are straight run. I also think the marans are older.

Friday, June 10, 2011

More Berries Today - Bob did his job!

I picked about 3 cups of berries last night. Not a single berry had a bird bite in it. My half a scarecrow did its job!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

1st Strawberries

The usual haul

Monday, June 6, 2011


This past weekend came and went like a whirlwind! Friday I had to leave work because my mind was just totally blown, and I could not function any longer. My thoughts were a mess, and rather than spoil any ads, I thought it best I just leave. I picked Kellie up from her trip to Chicago. The bus was a half hour late, and I met Chris at home. We ate grilled hot dogs outside on the deck. Chris and I candled all the eggs in the incubator and took out 6 that didn't look like they had any in them. I was correct on 5. The other did have a little chickie in it, but I cut short his/her life. Sorry! Saturday I was able to sleep in a little. Then it was off to drop Kellie at a friends house because she had a Girl Scout event at Blandford Nature Center to do some cleanup and volunteer work. I received a phone call from someone inquiring about little Evan, our last pygmy goat to be sold. I already had someone who said he'd call me in the morning, so I had to tell the guy that I'd call him if this other guy didn't call. I phoned someone I'd seen on Craigslist that had free blackberry bushes, and I dug up several and brought them home. The other guy didn't call about the goat, so I called the one that called in the morning and told him that Evan was his. He was excited and said he'd phone me when he'd be able to come out and get him. I told him I had to leave for the day at 3pm. He was fine with that. I stopped at the auction to see if they had any fertilized turkey or maran eggs, but no luck. They did have some blue maran chicks, but we're not ready for chicks yet. We have 2 weeks to put together a brooding box out in the coop, and move the freezer and the other junk out of that shed. I planted my blackberry canes and watered them well (However, they look as if they are dying now - but that's to be expected. They'll com back with a vengeance. I've planted berries like this with far less roots and had them come back well.). I started pulling out the large weeds from what will be our main vegetable garden out back. The guy who was getting Evan called and said he'd be over by two. I had our goats out in the backyard and was just bringing them back to their pen when he pulled in the driveway with his family. I was dirty and sweaty and apologized for my presence. I caught Evan and traded him for $65 and said good-bye. Then it was off to the shower to get pretty for a graduation party and a Whitecaps game. The Whitecaps won, but Kellie was the only one of us who really paid attention to what was going on. Sunday's praise and worship time was FANTASTIC!!! It was so much fun playing music like that!!! We really had it together, and I'm sure it's because of all the additional prayer! Wally's message hit home. Kellie and I stopped to get Chris some ice cream, and we also got some milk. We stopped at Subway and headed home. We brought the goats to the backyard again and after eating and resting a bit, we headed off to the back garden. With prayer, I was able to rototill a nice-sized section, but I'm only about half done. Hopefully, this week i'll have it nicely tilled and retilled and tilled again and ready to plant by next Sunday.

Friday, June 3, 2011

killing the birds ...

Last night when I returned home after working for nearly 11 hours, I didn't remember that the chickens were in the backyard when I let the dogs out. Kayleigh killed one chicken, right out, biting it's belly and scaring it to death. I felt so bad! Luke actually had nothing to do with it as he was on the deck waiting for his dinner. I'm not sure if Harley had a hand in it, however. I checked the rest of the birds after disposing of the dead chicken by putting it out in the swamp, and they seemed ok. Speckles was a little sluggish. Well, this morning I found Speckles dead. She had received too much of a shock. I'm not really enjoying today. We're down to 12 hens, now.

On a positive spin, my beans went from nothing showing on Wednesday to being 3 inches tall yesterday! What a wonder!

Been seeing does and fawns and even bucks in the field regularly. It's quite a sight!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

We Will Have Chickies!

I candled a few eggs last night while turning them. Two of the five I candled I could easily see a small red blob with red veins coming out and going around the yellow yolk. I'm now getting excited! We did let these eggs sit for a week before putting them in the incubator. We'll see how many come to fruition. Chris candled a few more later and we found that most had at least a red blob with veins. Exciting times at Decker's Acres!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Frustrated with the Rain

I tried to rototill my back garden (which will become my entire vegetable garden next year), and I ran into huge problems with moisture and huge puddles. There would be no rototilling this yet. Oh, my squash and pumpkins are going to be planted late, but I hope that doesn't hurt anything. I hope I still end up with a good crop even if I can't get it in until Sunday. I feel like I am planting so late! I didn't count on this and squash and pumpkins and pickles don't transplant well. We'll see. The main garden is planted, but I'd like a few more tomatoes. I'm not sure where I'd put them, however. Strawberry crop looks good so far. I haven't been looking for slugs, yet. Probably should.

We started some fertilized eggs Sunday morning, but they've been sitting for a week. I'm not sure if we'll get anything out of them, but they are started. We're now looking for lumber and chicken wire to build a turkey coop. I guess that's the next critter on our to get list. We'd like to be able to start making a little money off our farm. We'll more than likely go from turkeys to pheasants to peacocks. Welcome to Decker's Acres - the growing farm aviary!

Bruce was sold on Sunday. I think he's going to a good home. They seemed pleasant enough people.

Neighbors haven't planted our back 6 yet. I wonder if they'll be doing that this weekend yet. If so, I'd like to see if they could disc up my back garden for me. It would at least give me a start.