A family farm

Monday, November 19, 2012

Red Letter Revolution

I just finished reading the Red Letter Revolution by Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo courtesy of BookSneeze. I don't think I could say enough good about this book. Every follower of Christ should read this. I grew up thinking that God was a big judge up in the sky. I had to follow a lot of rules and condemn all the sinners around me to go to heaven. Since then, I've rebelled and came back to the church, but it is a far different church that I attend now than I did when I was young. It's been an insane journey. Today I attend a church that is very focused on outreach and community. Reading this book really was like reading a confirmation that I'm on the right track. It really wasn't like I was learning anything new, but I felt convicted by the book as I am a selfish person really. In pretty much everything involving our lives in the world we live in today, we are to set ourselves up as lesser than our neighbor. That's pretty much the gist of it all. I comes down to Love God, Love Your Neighbor. So many of us don't do that today, and here in America, we're all pretty guilty of thinking only of ourselves. There are a few haves but a great number of have nots. They gave examples of things they have done that have worked for them and helped those that needed it. They advocated teaching and uplifting rather than doing for or in place of those in need helping themselves. While reading this book, I ended up having a great conversation with a gentleman who asked what I was reading and what it was about while waiting for my daughter's band concert to start. It really was quite amazing to get into a conversation about Christ with a stranger at a public school, all just because he asked what I was reading. My Facebook posts reflected what I learned as I read this book. I can't say enough how much I recommend this book.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

It's been quite awhile since I posted here ... So I should give an update. I'll start with the cows. Sirloin is weighing in at a whopping 450 lbs. He is afraid of the weight tape, which is really quite funny. I think he just doesn't like getting his shots (wormer), and associates our sneaking up on him with the weight tape as if we were going to give him a poke. Tenderloin and Porterhouse both weigh about 375 lbs each. Porterhouse is the thinnest, and I think he's the most picky about what he eats. There's still quite a bit of edible grass out in their pasture, but we give them a square of hay in the morning and another in the evening. They sit there and bawl and bawl for it. They are worse than the goats.

Speaking of ... the goats are doing well - better since we gave Joey to my brother and his family. The rut went smoothly in their pen. Joey is a whether, but he thought he was a buck and caused a lot of trouble for Freddie. And thanks to Freddie, I do believe that Lily, Betsy and Ginger are all pregnant. Lily is gigantic!

We butchered about 8 roosters, 5 ducks and a couple of turkeys. The chickens have been tried, and I must say that they are quite tasty. I'm looking forward to trying the ducks and turkeys. We still have Lucy and Foreman and Quagmire and Georgie. We also have 38 hens, and I kept the pretty Wellsummer rooster. We're just not getting a good amount of eggs. I don't understand it! We get about 5 eggs a day. Tanto, the little Indian Runner duck lays an egg pretty much every day.

Henry is looking for a girlfriend. That poor peackock1 I can't believe how pretty he's getting!!! We do need to find him a lady friend.

That's all for now - even tho we got an extra hour, I'm beat - at 8:15!!!!!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Crazy Dangerous Review

It's been awhile since my last posting ... but I have another review to conduct, book courtesy of BookSneeze. I recently read Crazy Dangerous, by Andrew Klaven. This was just what I needed at the time. I'm not talking about the material, but about the adventure. The main character, Sam Hopkins, is pegged as a loser, an easy target for the bullies around him. Unfortunately, he pulls a stunt that lands him right in the thick of the bullies that really do stick him between a rock and a hard place. His new crowd, the guys that were really out to beat the tar out of him, are into some pretty bad stuff. However, Sam essentially has a great heart, allowing him to befriend someone he never thought would get under his skin. He finds himself defending her to the point of getting himself into a world of trouble. Also, in doing so, he learns just how odd she really is, but he learns that she knows the truth of what is really happening even if she can't articulate it in ways uneccentric, regular people just don't take the time to understand.

This was an odd book, and easy read, and I could recommend it to those looking for a bit of suspense and action. It is geared toward young people, but does include violence and sketchy subject matter. As it is a "Christian" book, (and I say that loosely because there wasn't much on that subject but dealing with living essentially the right way versus giving in completely to living as a bully and not standing up for the weak), the points were pretty obvious. I was pretty sure that Sam would end up doing what was right. This book was pretty obvious.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Death on Deckers' Acres

It's been a rough couple of weeks. T-Bone came down with bloat and the vet eventually told us we shouldn't bother sinking any more money into these calves. He said that he most likely had an abcess on his lungs and probably wouldn't make it. Chuck had died the day prior to general poor health. He tried hard, but he just wasn't going to make it. I think he might have been sick from the get-go, but we'll never know. T-Bone died a couple days after the vet told us we shouldn't bother with him anymore. It was pretty sad. Sirloin is doing well, now weighing in at around 170 lbs. He's a nice big fella.

23 pheasants hatched, but one by one, they died off. Now there is only one in the bin. I never saw signs of any fighting or pecking. I did have a bit of trouble with the lighting, and they'd crowd eachother. Perhaps we'll get the chance to buy another bunch of eggs in the near future.

We did buy 2 more dairy beef cows. One is actually a cow! A girl! They are twins, which is why we got the girl. She's what they call freemartin, meaning she's a she most likely born with male parts. Her twin is a little bull, and when you have one of each sex in the womb they share the same placenta and the makings of their reproductive parts get mixed up. She'll be infertile, which is why we got her. Her name is Tenderloin. The little bull's name is Porterhouse.



Monday, May 14, 2012

Pheasant Mama?

Saturday I was at the Ravenna auction waiting to bid on a dozen Maran eggs. They were a mix between blues and cuckoos, which I really didn't want, but I had to get them for a friend of mine. The eggs I gave her didn't work out. It looks like they only made it about 10 days before giving up and dying in the eggs. I say I didn't really want them because I was hoping for another breed of chicken like Americauans or Barred Rocks. I ended up buying Americauna chicks for 25 cents each and was sold some Campines (white egg layers, pretty chicken) for 25 cents each. It was a good day for buying chicks, not such a good day for selling them. There were quite a few people there, they just weren't buying the chicks. A man behind me was also bidding on the doggone eggs. The bid got up to $6.50, and I stopped. It was getting to be too much and I didn't know where the eggs came from. I wasn't 100% sure of the viability to go that high for chicken eggs. The only ones I would have gone higher for would have been black copper marans. I ended up losing on the eggs, but took home about 15 adorable chicks. I still had an egg problem. Someone reminded me I should call Randy, the guy who sells amazing chicks of all sorts, both at the auction and on Craigslist. So later that day I made the call and agreed to meet him at 6pm on Sunday.

Mother's Day went by pretty quick between church singing, the message and later the Hume Home service. Then it was back home for a quick lunch and the painting of the picnic tables. Kellie about turned green! I rototilled my garden until I nearly ran out of gas. Then I almost fell asleep in a chair in the sun. It was so beautiful.

It was time to head over to the poultry farm. As it turns out, Randy has quite a nice setup. He has about 4 rows of bird housing with everything from rare green pheasants to polish chickens in them. He is very careful about his breeding, being interested in the best of the varieties he has. In other words, out of two roosters of a particular variety, he kept the larger one to breed with his hens. He also cross-breeds color varieties of chickens to get a larger, better bird of the color he wants. He has turkeys as well: royal palms, red bourbons, blue slates and bronzes. He has high quality birds, and any chicks I've purchased from him at the auction have a very high survival-ability rate. I was impressed with his set-up. His birds are happy, not at all overcrowded, and the pens are clean and well-kept. I'm looking forward to the eggs hatching for my friend.

Chris informed me this morning that the pheasant eggs were cheeping and pecking holes in their eggs. We have 29 eggs that are getting ready to hatch. Just a minute ago, I learned that I'm a pheasant mama! I'm so excited! We're going to release them when they get bigger, and hopefully, we'll be able to see wild pheasants on the farm as well. Oh, the birds that Decker's Acres has been able to raise! Now if the calves would just get healthy and stay that way, I'd be happy!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Dreary Weather and Calves

When you have sick calves, the dreary, damp weather isn't very helpful. The calves have been battling pneumonia for the past few weeks, and it's getting old real fast. They don't want to eat much with the weather being so icky. It's dark and dampy and drizzly, and they just don't want to eat. We've been trying to get them three bottles per day to get them healthy and bulked up a bit. The additional food was supposed to help them pump up their health so that they don't get the pneumonia again. Two of them had shots from the vet that were supposed to ward off the symptoms for two weeks. One didn't want to eat late last night, and the other didn't want much and had to be pretty much forced. This morning the one that didn't want food late last night ate fine, but the other one I tried to force feed, but he didn't take much. He did want to eat hay, however. That I could not figure out. We'll see how they are when I get home. Perhaps they'll be hungrier, or perhaps I'll find the hay manger is half empty.

On a more pleasant note, during a cease in the rain yesterday, we let the ducks and turkeys out, mostly to get them out of their muddy, poopy pen and out in the grass for a bit, and also to see how the ducks liked the slugs. The ducks loved finding all those slugs. They have no idea just how many slugs they can have to eat, and all the better as well, because I don't want to lose any more goats to deerworm. Anyway, below are pictures of Kellie surrounded by small turkeys and holding little Leonard, and one picture of our lonely little turkey chick. I'll probably move him tonight.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

yesterday ...

Yesterday was bad enough being about 40 minutes late for work because I couldn't find my keys! How pathetic is that! I had to take Chris' truck and park way in the back. My umbrella was in MY car. When I walked into work it was downpouring rain, and I was drenched by the time I reached my desk. My jacket was still damp when I left to go home. The workday was busy, and it was a relief to pick Kellie up from school and head home. Unfortunately, my phone died on the way, and even more unfortunately, Chris had been trying to reach me because Chuck, one of the calves, was doing very poorly. He had his mom pick up some medication from the vet for the calf. I administered the shot, and by the time we went to bed he finally wanted to eat.

The turkey egg with the chick pecking a hole in the wrong place finally hatched. Since it seemed to be taking this one so long, I told Chris that he could help it with the membrane part if he wanted to. The doggone thing is all wrong, however. It won't get off its back, even when you put it over on its stomach. Its feet are curled and won't straighten. Right now, we've just tried to keep it comfortable and have helped it get water, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to go against everything I stand for and put it out of its misery when I get home. There is one other egg laid at the same time that hasn't started to hatch yet. I don't know what the deal is. It doesn't smell yet. Then there are four other eggs that should start to hatch today or tomorrow. There are four more that should hatch tomorrow.

Being a farmer is real hard sometimes. Animals get sick, some die and there's nothing you can do about it. Produce doesn't work out. I vowed the summer after we moved to this farm that I wouldn't ever do corn again because I had so much trouble, even with birds swooping down and snatching up the seedlings! For crying out loud, there's an entire field of corn at their disposal! I did corn again last year, after taking a year off, and it worked out! I was amazed! So even with plants, farming is hard. Last year I had amazing vines for my squash and pickles, but I didn't get much yeild. It's hard, but I wouldn't trade the lifestyle and the lessons my daughter and stepson are learning. There is a lot of hard work that goes into all this, but the payoff, when it works out, is huge. We pray for the calves to grow to be healthy and yummy. We pray for the goats to deliver their kids safely. We pray for the ducks to grow strong and love slugs. We pray for the chickens to lay great eggs, and we pray for happy healthy turkeys. Finally, we pray that our children learn and grow and do their best with their schoolwork and that they are a shining example of Christ.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Last Thursday, April 26, was the birthdate of our newest little Pygmy goat - we'll call him Leonard for now. I went out to the barn to do chores early Thursday morning and found that Ginger had drastically changed from just being pudgy pregnant with a big, growing udder, to a more streamlined goat with the kid visibly not on her side anymore. It was obvious that the kid had moved up into the birth canal. There was definitely shape in that direction. She also wasn't interested in eating anything, which is completely unlike Ginger. She might be our smallest goat, but she is a voracious eater. It came time for me to get on my way to work; Chris had already left for his job. There would be no one home to help Ginger if she had trouble with the birthing. I worried and prayed all day. On the way home, God provided a verse for me to stop worrying - you know, the one about the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, admonishing us not to worry. My first stop when I pulled into my property was to go out to the barn. William, our Nubian wether, is in the same pen with Ginger. We have a nesting pair of large hawks near our property. I thought that if Ginger kidded that he would help protect the youngster if those hawks got close. Well, William came walking into the barn when I did. Then Ginger stuck her head in her door. I couldn't tell if she was still big, and I didn't see a kid. I put some hay in their manger, and she walked all the way in and this little fella came in a moment after her. He was plump and dry and very healthy. She had to have had him within hours of me leaving for work. The front half of him looks like daddy Freddie. The back end of him doesn't look like either parent. Already, he's bouncing around and getting into mischief. Yesterday he was trying grass for the first time! At age 4 days!

Saturday we had three turkey chicks hatch. Sunday it looked like we were going to get a fourth and a fifth, but the fourth one died mid-hatch and the fifth has made his hole in the wrong place. He's still chipping away at it. Another egg was making pecking sounds last night. It would be a little early for that one to hatch, but I've learned that our turkeys, anyway, seem to hatch at around day 25 or 26 rather than 28. Also, turkeys have to be warm for their first week. I've found that the chicks I get from the auction, or even those that I've hatched, don't need to start their first couple days as warm as turkey chicks do. Turkey chicks also start to feather out much faster than chicken chicks. It is interesting. Right now, I have 29 pheasant eggs and 4 turkey eggs in the incubator. I have about 6 more turkey eggs in the hatching incubator which is in the bathroom. Also in the bathroom is a bin with a heat lamp for the young turkey chicks. We tried just a regular lightbulb overnight, and I'm amazed that didn't do the trick. They did need a heat lamp.

Also, we bought a kiddie pool for the ducks. They don't worship the washtub as much, now, but they have started to worship the pool! It's awful funny seeing four ducks laying around it with their bills hanging over the edge and three ducks swimming around in it, with one of the three being the Indian runner.

I'm looking forward to getting home and seeing my farm and spending time with my critters. I can't wait until I can tell if my 2-month-old turkeys are hens or toms. You'd think I'd be able to by now, but I can't. I did just think about checking for spurs, so I'll be doing that this evening.

The calves are sort of doing better. Two have been sickly with pneumonia and diarhea, but we might be getting over that. We're trying to feed them more, but we'll see. In a few weeks they'll have hit the 2-month mark, and we should be over these troubles. It will be a relief.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Book Review - Called to Controversy

I read Called to Controversy by Ruth Rosen, the daughter of the founder of Jews for Jesus, Moishe Rosen, courtesy of BookSneeze. I really enjoyed it. The book inspiried me, and it also brought home the mysterious workings of God in our lives. It’s funny when you read about how something happens to someone else in their life that is dedicated to what God has in store for them, and you see parallels in your own life and the lives of others around you. My family has opportunities to serve God and often we follow right on through like Moishe and his wife did when they learned that Jesus really was the Messiah. It’s inspiring to see the entire plan of God laid out (this is something always clear after it all when you look back on things). Moishe Rosen and his family are amazing people. They are outspoken, firm believers in Jesus and willing to do anything to reach others so that they, too, know the love of Jesus. The networking involved in this entire journey is just amazing to see laid out before you, as is the entire learning process as far as what worked and what didn’t work so well. Moishe Rosen did a great job in his life learning through trial and error what worked and what didn’t. There are great evangelism examples in this book. I do highly recommend this read for someone who enjoys reading about the life journey of a person, for someone who would be interested in evangelism, for someone who just enjoys a good historical read or for someone looking to be inspired. It’s called "The Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen and the Founding of Jews for Jesus." It is a very unlikely story indeed.

Friday, March 30, 2012

ok, better now!

Amazing the changes this past week. Luke, our German Shepherd, is feeling much better. It was very strange. Last Thursday, he didn't get up all day, didn't drink anything, didn't eat anything, didn't even go to the bathroom. Friday morning, he was up and at 'em, drinking water, going to the bathroom, and for the first time last week wanting to eat something. He ate again later. Now, his only problem is that he can't bark and his back legs are too weak to get him up onto the bed. I still have to be careful about not leaving anything out on the counters because you just never know. It was a tough week last week. I do believe that Luke was the worst of it all.

The calves are all doing fine. Their poos are a little runny, but they are alert, playful and constantly hungry. This morning I realized that I left their bottles in the barn last night so I had to clean them out in the house before I could refill them. I went about and did all the regular chores first. They were not happy with their milk replacer mamma going around them and doing everything else without giving them a bottle first. They mooed and kept their eyes on me as I did everything.

Finally, Kellie is in a blue cast. Many of her friends have signed it already. She's happy to have it, but really annoyed that she still has to put bags on it before she can shower. It just can't get wet or by the end of four weeks it will be smelly and moldy. Ew!

Friday, March 23, 2012

What a Killer Week!

This past week has been just plain awful. It did start with a wonderfully pleasant Sunday. I had let the goats out of their pens, first the 3 boys and Jade on long ropes so they could munch to their hearts content, but I could still keep track of them and keep them contained. Then I let the 3 girls out and I just watched them as I did the evening chores. During the midst of all this, Luke started to get sick. Luke is our German shepherd. He's eleven years old, skinny as a rail and his hips have been disintegrating for some time now. He started vomiting foamy water, so I put him out in the backyard for awhile. As I monitered the goats, he remained in the backyard and the vomiting continued. Chris came home and we fed the dogs, but Luke wouldn't eat. He couldn't even keep water down. We started to wonder if this was the beginning of the end.

Wednesday brought more trouble as one of our calves came down with scours and stopped drinking anything. We were afraid we would have to force fluid down him with a tube. Chris was home from work that day, and I was at work and called the vet who told us to tube him. I was so worried. I had so much work to do, and I was freaking out just a little. It wasn't pretty. Finally, Chris called me around 3pm and said he went into the pen to work on some of the wiring by the light fixture that's overhead and Chuck (the sick one) came up to him and starting to suck on his jeans. Chris tried the bottle and Chuck drank it right down. That made my day. I had been planning on stopping by TSC, purchasing the appropriate tubing kit and some medicated powder to ease the calf from scours, but Kellie and I were able to continue to church instead.

Kellie went to youth and had dinner, and I went to the sanctuary to practice the piano. I was going to play for the prayer meeting later on, and I wanted to be able to play and sing at the same time so I really needed to practice. We also have our Art Night happening on Saturday so I needed to go over the classical music I was going to start the night with. Around 7pm, Chris comes into the sanctuary with Kellie balling her eyes out following behind him. She had tripped backward over her own feet and landed full force on her left hand. We were afraid of a fracture so I took her to the hospital. Sure enough. After two hours, we found out that she did fracture her wrist in two places. After another half hour, she was fitted with a splint, and another half hour we left with instructions to see a specialist. Oh, what a fun week this has been.

Now that it is Friday, I'm happy to report that Chuck, the calf, is doing much better. He's not scouring and tonight he'll have his milk replacer. I have started all three calves on calf starter pellets as well. They LOVE the bottle, but they have to actually start eating solid food. I can't help but think of how we can be as new Christians, or young Christians. It's nice to get caught up with being fed a sermon and lessons (the calves' milk in a bottle), but we have to grow up and start making decisions about our lives and doing to help others as well. We have to learn to teach others. We have to latch on to the new, solid food and start eating that. It might not be as nice or as easy as the bottle that we eagerly suck down. It might be a little difficult to swallow, but we need to grow and move on to better food. The sweet alfafa and clover is next, and we don't want to miss out, but we will if we only have our eyes on that bottle.

Luke, also is rallying. I thought for sure he wouldn't make it through last night. I'm not saying he'll recover, but he was looking better. I'd really prefer he just die at peace at home rather than bring him to the vet to be put down. As long as he wants to live, I will not have him euthanized.

I'm still waiting for the scheduler to make the appointment for Kellie's wrist, but that, too will come.

Art Night is going to be a BLAST!!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Farm Grows

We have added 3 new additions to Decker's Acres! Meet Chuck, T-Bone and Sirloin! We had decided to purchase a couple of Jersey bull calves (they were only $25 apiece), but then a friend of ours decided he wanted a whole cow, so we purchased 3. Half a cow will remain ours while the other 3 halves will go to others who have joined our little cow-op.

The baby turkeys are growing fast and fine! I did try to put Miracle Max and the 2nd oldest in with the big birds, but Georgie and Lucy just chased them around pecking at them. I'll have to reintroduce again soon. They are getting big so fast. This behavior is very much not like those two big hens. I really don't know what has gotten into them.

On a sad note, our beloved German shepherd, Luke, is in his final stages of life. He started vomitting up saliva and foam yesterday and can't keep anything down today. He's 11 years old. He was a rescue. We took him when no one else wanted him and after he'd been wandering around for 3 months in Cascade. I can't say that he's been the best behaved dog I've ever had. He probably was the worst, but he loved big, too. When my Sam died, he took over and tried to fill my Sam's shoes. When Luke dies, there will be a big hole there. The silence of saying "Luke, quit!", "Luke, get out of the kitchen!", "Luke, lay down!", "Luke, get back here!", "Luke, stop itching!", "Luke, stop scratching!", "Luke, why do you have to poop all over!", "Luke, get that out of your mouth!" (get the idea?) will be deafening. When he was younger, he was always on patrol. As an older dog, he was always on patrol for something to eat. He ALWAYS just wanted love. So, when you are home, hug your dog. Give him/her a petting and let them sleep in your bed.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Little Ginger

We weren't sure if any of our goats were pregnant, but it looks like little Ginger, our smallest goat that still looks like a kid herself, will kid sometime in the next couple of weeks. Her udder is just barely starting to swell, and her back end is swollen as well. She'll probably just have one. I do pray that all goes well!

Oh, and the early spring is fantastic! So much for that groundhog's predictions!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Yes, we're expecting again ... We're on a list to purchase 2 Jersey bull calves from a farm around here as soon as they are born. I'm a little trepiditious about this whole experience, even though I grew up on a dairy farm. I'm terrified, actually, of losing one right off the bat. I watch our critters for signs of illness all the time. We'll have to bottle feed these calves colustrum for the first few days and then bottle feed them milk replacer after that. I know that all the calves born to my grandpa's farm were bottle and then pail fed milk replacer. He did not leave calves with their mommas at all. A few of them didn't make it including my beloved Albert. I'm also afraid of my husband becoming too attached to these bundles of beef. I'm just going to have to remind him that they are cute now, but they will be tasty later. Any advice on what I should do to keep them healthy the first few weeks? I do work full time so I can't stick around the farm every day, but I will be stepping up the doing of the chores, especially now that it's warming up - over 40 degrees F today!! In Michigan!!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Growing Turkeys

We have one more egg to hatch! That will make twelve! This was a pretty productive process in all. We started out with around eighteen eggs, and through candling, we narrowed that number down to thirteen. One chick died (not Miracle Max - she's still growing strong!), and one egg didn't hatch. We have eleven chicks right now, the oldest being Miracle Max and the youngest being the two that hatched yesterday. Miracle Max is almost three times the size of the young chicks. All eleven chicks are in a bin on top of my dryer in the house. Even with the heat lamp, it's still too cold out for them to be outdoors. We clean the bin out every day. If we didn't my mud room would stink up the entire house!!!!

And finally, Camilla (one of three white Amercaunas
we hatched last year - they are all named Camilla)
checking out the view from the deck ...

Monday, February 6, 2012

Miracle Max - a turkey story

Thursday at around midnight our first turkey chick hatched. Friday morning we had a 2nd - we're calling him or her Miracle Max. See, Friday evening we went out to eat, celebrating accomplishments of our kids. When we got home, we plugged in the heat lamp in the chicken coop. The box we're using is a plastic bin with a hand-made wire top. We put the two chicks in the box and went to watch a movie. We checked on the chicks when the movie was over and Miracle Max was all flopped over, laying on its side. Its eyes were closed and it was barely breathing - and when I say barely breathing, I mean taking a gasping breath every couple of minutes. We brought the box into the house and cleared off the dryer in our mudroom. Water spilled over and puddled near the head of Miracle Max, making its situation look even more hopeless. I took hold of the first chick that hatched - Number 1 or Riker if you will (named after William Riker from Star Trek, the Next Generation) - and started taking out the paper towel from the bottom of the box. I started to mop up Miracle Max with the wet paper towel, but Chris asked for the limp chick. I was snapping at Chris as this was going on because I was so upset that I had single-handedly killed one of our first chicks. I had been so excited that we were at 100% for hatching so far. I also hate when one of our animals, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant the creature is on our farm (except pests), is ill, injured or dying. This chick looked like life was something that it would never experience. Anyway, Chris took the chick and placed it in the incubator. There was a 3rd chick in the incubator as well, and I hated that Chris was putting this dying chick in the incubator sucking all the hope of a good life out of the 3rd chick hatched. I ended up putting Riker in there as well because it was too hard to try to clean the box and hold a shivering chick at the same time. I got the box all dry and clean and went to get Riker. I noticed that Miracle Max was alternating between taking a gasping breath and a real chest-rising-and-falling breath and that the breaths were coming more frequently. I put Riker in the box and went to get a thermometer so I could better regulate the temperature. Once that was settled, I checked on Miracle Max. I couldn't believe my eyes. This chick was taking regular breaths, its chest rising and falling pretty regular. I told Chris that this chick was breathing better. I also said that I'd still be surprised if it made it through the night. About five to ten minutes later Chris told me that the chick was opening its eyes and moving around. Soon it was standing. By the next morning it joined the warm and toasty brooder box with Riker where it took its first drink and at a bit of food. It was truly a miracle - Miracle Max's miracle. See, while I was snapping at Chris, he was praying for the chick to live. I'm an idiot. God is not to be underestimated. He even cares for the smallest, insignificant little creature. Imagine how much he cares for me.

Friday, February 3, 2012

First turkey hatchling

This is the first bird that was laid at the farm that we hatched!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Little Henri

I thought I'd post a picture of my little peahen. We're pretty sure she's a she ... Henrietta Matisse. She practices laying on a nest and all. Her brother (died) used to fan his tail all the time. She only very rarely will stretch her tail feathers.

Monday, January 30, 2012

This week ...

This week should be the week we hatch our first turkey poults. I'll have to stop turning two of them after tomorrow. We've been candling them about once a week. In fact we candled several yesterday because Alex was over. It was quite funny with Chris, Alex and I squeezed into the closet looking at the chicks in the eggs. We were hoping they'd be moving like they were the other day, but no luck. It was disappointing. Kellie got to see the chicks moving in their yolks, but not Alex. We have his mom's incubator right now, and I'll be putting the eggs that aren't ready to hatch in that incubator while I put the hatching ones in our incubator. That way I'm not making a mess of Alex's mom's incubator.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

turkey chicks

We candled all of the 14 turkey eggs we've been collecting and putting in the incubator tonight. Well, we didn't candle the egg we picked up tonight. Chris and I looked at eggs that had been in the incubator for about 10 days and watched a rounded figure inside the shell dance around. We called Kellie out to us to see the dancing chick inside the eggshell. What a sight! When we hatched chicken eggs, I recall seeing something moving inside the egg, but it wasn't near as obvious as the turkey chicks. Even one of the eggs that hadn't been in the incubator for very long and was just a red blob with veins was moving around. Only one of the eggs that you could still see a figure inside seemed to be sleeping. Apparently we woke the rest of them up. The earliest eggs from Jan. 6 (two of them) and the egg from Jan. 8 were nearly impossible to see anything other than a little room at the very tip of the egg and the air pocket.

In other turkey news, Georgie started working on building a nest on the old drain field right next to our house. Yesterday Chris said she was digging in the dirt, but was having a hard time doing it because the ground is nearly frozen. I remarked to Chris today that I was surprised at how big the hole was that Georgie had dug, and he said it wasn't that big yesterday so perhaps she made it bigger today? We walked over, and he said it was bigger. He said we should keep our eye on the hole because she probably will try to lay eggs in it. So far she has not been broody at all, wanting to lay on them. I find that odd behavior. You'd think she'd want to lay on them and keep them warm. After all, we have to keep the incubator temperature at a stead 100 degrees to hatch these chicks. I don't think a frozen egg would hatch. I don't know why her instincts have taken over. Hatching fowl has been interesting. Right from birth chickens start scratching and pecking for food. It really is amazing how this all works. I mean, without a mother to teach them how do they just know how to behave? It really is quite something. It amazes me.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Alienation - A CHAOS Novel by Jon S. Lewis

Well, I just finished reading Alienation, a CHAOS Novel by Jon S. Lewis, sent to me by BookSneeze. It wasn't the easiest book for me to get into, but I had just finished reading two other books that were very big on the action and adventure, and I was really in the mood for something else. This was a page-turner, no matter how much trouble I had getting into it. There was action nearly every other page. If I had been a kid that was into reading a little bit, I would have thoroughly enjoyed the book from cover to cover. As it is, I didn't think it was bad. The story line was great, and not having read the first book, I wasn't lost, yet this book didn't rehash much from the previous book. It was nice to be able to step into the story even though I hadn't read the first third of the series. I also liked the comics and drawings both in the beginning of the book and at the end, although it's also nice to make up in your mind what you think a character looks like. I think this would be an easy enough read for any kid around the age of twelve. Big kids, if you like to read what your kids are reading, you will also enjoy the book, provided you like action and adventure and stories of what may seem impossible. I do recommend this book for other readers.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Farm in Winter

I haven't been on the blog in quite some time ... In fact, we've had a Christmas and now it's next year! Finally, the weather has turned to January. We're struggling with keeping the buckets of water from being frozen over, but other than that, Decker's Acres is going pretty well. We are concerned for our turkeys, however. Sometimes they just seem so stupid! Georgie is laying eggs now, and we have about a dozen going in the incubator. Of course, when they hatch, we'll have one a day hatch, as that is how we are getting the eggs. Georgie is a Blue Slate, the daddy, as far as we can tell, is Quagmire, a Narrangansett. Either way, they'll be pretty birds. We do have a Blue Slate tom, Donatello, but he's not dominate. He's the self-blue color and is just lovely! Anyway, the other day, when the weather turned, Georgie thought it would be great fun to stay out in the rain. She got herself all wet, and then the temperatures dropped down into the teens. She's fine, now. Then Foreman, our Red Bourbon tom, thought staying outside, perched high up on a beam would be a great way to spend the night as the snow blew around him. Duh! Lucy, our Red Bourbon hen, also likes to get out and roam the farm, but she hasn't acted dumb yet.

The goats are doing well. Betsy kidded today, but had problems and the little buck died. He was a cutie. I couldn't tell you if Lillie or Ginger were preggers, however. They should be. I witnessed the act, and later that week, Freddie showed no interest in them. Jade is going to have to get out of the bachelor pen. She's had multiple opportunities, but putting her back in with the girls isn't a good idea either because she keeps the other girls from eating. She's a bit crazy. She's always bleating. You'd think there was something wrong with her because generally a goat that loud and obnoxious has some sort of health issue. Not Jade. She's just loud. We've had her for almost a year now, and she's always made her voice heard.

The chickens are laying pretty good. We have about 25 pullets, and they are really stepping it up! The barred rocks lay well, and one or two of the ISA Browns do as well, but it's the young Americaunas that are really bringing it on! So with the 35 or so hens we have, we're getting about ten eggs a day, at least half of them are green or blue. The Marans and the Wellsummers are starting to lay as well, and usually once a day there's a dark brown one in the mix.

Well, enjoy the pictures! It's back to work I go!