A family farm

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from Deckers' Acres!

Happy Thanksgiving! We had a great one that started out on the farm and moved over to Chris' parents' house. Chris and I woke up before the butt-crack of dawn only to get dressed up in our camouflaged finest and head out into the field and into our respective trees. Chris handed me a bag of apples that I tossed out in the field in front of my tree. I scattered them well and looked forward to seeing them shine red later when the sun came up. It was still dark with a sliver of light dawning on the eastern horizon as I situated myself in my tree, hauling out my book and setting aside my gloves as it was warm. As the sun came up, the wind picked up, and it became colder, but I could see my red apples strewn about the field as I knew I would when it started to get light. Chris texted me that there was a guy hunting about fifty yards into the woods across from him. Then our neighbor, having the day off apparently, started up his Bobcat and started cleaning out his sheep pen. At about 8:30am, I decided I'd had enough and texted Chris that I'd be getting out. He texted back that if there were any deer coming from the north that our neighbor would have kicked them up upon starting his tractor. I headed to the barn to take care of our critters. Quagmire (the narangansett turkey) was in rare form, gobbling and strutting like the tom turkey he is. He was strutting to show Donatello (blue slate turkey) just who the big boss man is. Turns out George (other blue slate turkey) is really a Georgie, and Quagmire is working hard at making her a mommy. I've got my work cut out for me this weekend, and I have to hunt Saturday as well. It would be nice to get a fine deer. But, first the turkey pen needs to be cleaned out, and I should make a nesting box for Georgie. Boy, we thought we had all toms! Perhaps Esau is a hen as well. Only time will tell. I have to also get the deck furniture put away. I have to have a tire repaired on my Forrester. I have to get more hay. I have to unbury the trailer in order to do that. I have to also use Chris' truck to do that. I have to check the fluids in my Forrester and make sure everything is up to snuff. I have to put stuff away in the barn and dismantle the turkey coop we started and get that put in the barn. I HAVE TO GO HUNTING!!! Somehow, we need to move the freezer out of the chicken coop and into the barn and I have to expand on the chicken coop. I have to move the blue marans from the turkey coop to the chicken coop. Oh, what a weekend this will be! I have to clean up my house. I also have to work late today just to get my regular work done. I need a vacation. :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Encounter - A Review of a Good Little Book

I read The Encounter courtesy of BookSneeze. At a mere one hundred and forty pages, The Encounter is a quick read. It is advertised as a parable, which I suppose it is, but after studying parables in my church, it is a little simple, even though I thought the ending did catch me a bit off guard. Maybe it's because I've had to live this lesson to learn it, but I wasn't thrilled or overjoyed with the book. I did think it was good and worth the read, but it's simplicity drives the point home in an almost cliche way. I would have been happier with the book if it had left a little more up to the imagination. The basic issue at hand is forgiveness, and the type of story that the book presents seems to have been done before. I did learn, in reading the author's notes at the end of the story, that the other part of the parable was more about uplifting the downtrodden. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to do this in our everyday living. Perhaps that's why I missed the point, or perhaps it was in the gift from the rich man to his lowly mother where I missed the point. You would have to think that a wealthy relative would take care of a downtrodden relative, especially in regard to the whole forgiveness part. It would only be in going beyond, perhaps helping a poor stranger, where the parallel to what God does for us every single day, blessing us with His best, would make more sense to me. I don't know. It was a good book. It was a worthy read, but it just didn't measure up to other parable stories I've read before. Perhaps therein lies my disappointment.

done molting?

Our chickens are starting to lay again! Oh, thank goodness! We collected three eggs yesterday and Chris called me with the news of there already being four eggs in the nesting boxes this morning! He also said one of the cuckoo marans was in a nest, too. Could our young chickens be getting ready to start laying? I really hope so! They are nearly seven months old and should be starting to lay any day now. We'd get dark brown eggs from the cuckoo marans, the two wellsummers and, in a couple more months, the blue marans. We'll really be able to share the bounty with our church members in the next couple of months. We'll have plenty of eggs to share! Between the younger (under seven months) and the older chickens, we have about twenty hens. It will really be something to get more than a dozen eggs per day from these birds. Then, in a couple months when the blue marans are of age, there will be an additional five hens. We'll keep one of the two roosters (Bert) as well. Mike, just so you know, is back to crowing again with his broken crower. Bert or the other blue maran rooster also crows like Mike. Could it be a maran thing?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Turkeys and Chickens and things

I had to clip the wings of my peacocks the other day. There's nothing worse than being in a hurry to leave your house and having one of your peachicks fly out of the barn into the hayloft area of another part of the barn, then out onto the back deck. Claude and Henri are still very little yet, about eight inches in length overall. It wouldn't take a very large hawk or another critter to take one down and eat it. I don't want that to happen yet. So instead of just catching Claude and putting him in the barn, I clipped him. Then I caught Henri and did the same and carried the scissors out to my Sub and took off. Claude is a pretty good flyer considering his age and body size. He's the braver of the two peachicks. He's always leading Henri around.

Donatello, the self-blue Blue Slate Turkey is developing a beard!!! It's almost an inch long already. I noticed it this morning when he let me pet him for awhile. I love how feathers are both soft and hard at the same time. You pet them, and it's like petting a soft, inpenetrable wall.

Mike is back to crowing (the only rooster we kept out of the twenty hatchlings and baby chicks we've raised). His crower is so broken, but it's neat to hear. One of the 7 month old Blue Maran roosters (there are two - I'll keep one) also has a broken crower and he sounds a lot like Mike. We're keeping one, and my friend Michelle has named him Bert. Maybe it's a Maran thing. The hens make much deeper sounds than their Ameraucauna friends.

Oh, Lily and pregnant friends are still fat. I think they are all just fat, now. Not pregnant ... :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Still Fat!

The goats are still fat - Lily and Ginger. Ginger is almost starting look more pregnant than Lily. Her youngun must be really growing inside her. I'm certain we'll have kids before Thanksgiving.

The peacocks - Henri and Claude - are starting to add some fantastic colors to their feathers. I'm noticing more green on them, and their head feathers are really popping up! I'm going to try to get some good pictures of them this weekend.

Don and Glenn Q. really have started gobbling. They'll talk to you all morning until you put some clover in their pen. Our roosters don't crow anymore. I don't know why. It's kind of nice, with the quiet, but it's kind of weird, too. Mike used to crow often with his broken crower (he doesn't cockadoodledoo like a regular rooster - he has his own crow), but I haven't heard it since we got rid of most of our roosters. I'm going to keep one of the two blue maran roosters as well. He's slate grey, spotted coppery brown. He hasn't crowed yet either. Neither has his "brother" who is slate grey with a white head.

I broke the toe next to my pinky toe the other morning, stubbing it on the doorstop by our back door while getting dog food. It hurts! But it's a little better. It does constantly ache, but walking is a little easier.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Lily and other things

We're all on Lily watch right now as she approaches the end of her pregnancy. It's always exciting when new baby goats arrive on scene. We weren't sure how good of a mother Lily would be, but she has turned out to be a pretty good mom. She encourages her kids to eat hay sooner than I'd like, but it didn't hurt them any. The saying around our farm lately is that she is still fat. I'd love to be able to call my husband and tell him that she did indeed kid today, and they are adorable, but it's not quite time yet. Ginger appears to be preggers as well. She seems to be about 2 weeks less pregnant than Lily. Both goats got Freddie going, and they'd stand by the fence separating the two pens making him crazy for a couple of days. It was almost as if they were in heat. If Lily wasn't so obviouly pregnant, I'd believe it, but I've even seen her kids kick. They just acted like they were in heat. Weird. Betsy is just pregnant. She'll probably kid in January. It's not the best month, but better too cold than too warm. Jade on the other hand has Joey (a wether) keeping her from joining with Freddie. It's making him nuts. He's been chasing William (our nubian wether) because he can't get to Jade. She's looking a little fluffy, but not pregnant yet.

We named out peacocks. They seem to both be males, though one could surprise us and end up a female after all. They are Claude (Monet) and Henri (Matisse). I suppose if one ends up being a female, we'll just change her name to Georgia (O'Keefe). The turkeys are doing well. I'm gearing up to get the chickens out of there, but I'd like the other chickens to get over their molt already and start laying eggs. We've finally been getting a couple - 8 to be exact - over this past week. That's 8 total. From nearly 30 chickens. The young ones just haven't started laying yet. The older ones are just starting to lay again. The older ameracaunas (well one of the two anyway) has started laying again. They are 4 and 6 years old. I'm impressed. We won't get rid of them. We'll just let them stay and live out the rest of their lives with us. There is no point in selling them off. They've been rather good to us.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Heaven is for Real

BookSneeze sent me another book to review, and this one is about the little boy that nearly died and spent some time in heaven. He returned to tell the tale of his adventure. This is an amazing story that inspires hope in Christ and the assurance that there is indeed something to look forward to after death. This child's story is amazing to say the least. At a very low point in this family's life, this story springs forth. With illness and injury on more than one front, Colton Burpo comes forward, little by little, with an amazing story of going to heaven while he is in surgery. He sees Todd Burpo's father, someone he hadn't before met, and meets a sister that he never knew he had (Sonja Burpo had had a miscarraige). There is so much more to this story, and I highly recommend reading this book. It will inspire you and give you hope of a future too glorious for us to imagine.