Saturday, June 30, 2007

Injured turkey doing ok.

The dog attack victim from yesterday is still alive and is eating and drinking... all good signs so far. It is limping on one leg but is bearing some weight on it. I have stretched out it's wings and it doesn't seem to mind that either. I think it is mostly bruised and has lost a lot of feathers. It is depressed but as I said it is eating and drinking. I will leave him by himself for a few more days to recover more before putting it back with the remaining 12 turkeys.

The other turkeys I have put into the cattle panel poultry tractor for now. They are unhappy about not being able to free range but since they are flying in with the dogs they will have to stay in there until I come up with something better.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Turkey Trouble!

I am quite sad this evening as I write this post...

Three of our young turkey poults must have flown over the six foot high woven wire fence into the female alpaca pasture. Two are still missing and I can only assume that they were consumed by our 7 month old (75lb) anatolian shepard dogs as I found the third missing turkey being "played" with by the pups. I wasn't even sure he was still alive when I ran the pups off as he just laid there limp. But as I scooped him up he showed signs of life. I took him the brooder in the chicken coop and he was able to walk, all be it, slowly. Most of it's feathers over it's back had been plucked out and his skin looked all raw! Poor thing... but at least it's alive for now.

Going back to the pasture I found more feathers and turkey entrails so I know that the pups killed at least one of the two missing turkeys if not both. I am sad about loosing the turkeys but honestly I am more sad about the pups. I had hopes that the pups would grow to gaurd the poultry here on the farm in the pastures as they do the alpacas. But now that they have played with, killed and eaten the birds it is unlikely I will be able to train them not to continue that behavior. I am not sure right now how I am going to be able to keep the chickens, ducks and turkeys out of the pasture that contains the dogs as I want the birds to free range in the pastures. I will have to clip their wings to prevent them from flying but I will also need to create a buffer zone around the fence line.

I am feeling so many emotions I am not sure how to proceed. I did e-mail the pups breeder to ask for advice... I will see if she has so good thoughts.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Happy Birthday McKayla!

Today is McKayla's 3rd birthday. It is hard to believe that she is that old all ready. I have seen such a change in her this past year too. She has matured from a toddler into a little girl... a little girl with her own personality. We are so happy she is part of our family!

On the mundane side of life... the kids and I went to town today to run our errands. We needed to go the the recycling center, the post office and to pick up more chicken feed. The kids were so good I stopped at the little service station coming out of town that serves hand dipped ice cream and got us all a treat. Once home the kids wanted to try out the pool. I told them it was still pretty cold as it hadn't had enough time in the sun yet. They wanted to go anyway... it took a few minutes longer then usual for them the get all the way in the water but once they did they were in there over an hour. They just love the water which makes it nice having even the small pool right here at the house.

Got 4-5 more boxes unpacked from the office area tonight. You can now move the chair in front of the computer desk in and out! I am so happy. There is still soooo much we need to unpack I get overwhelmed but I am trying to unpack an average of 2 boxes a day over the whole week. It will take some time but it will get done. Hopefully, before we have too many people coming to visit us!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Weekend at the lake... sort of

We spent most of the weekend at a camp ground on Lake Kerr. Neil's parents had rented an RV in Durham, NC and got the camp site on Lake Kerr for the week. We went over yesterday to visit with them and celebrate the kids birthdays. Evan's 5th birthday was just four weeks ago and McKayla's 3rd birthday is tomorrow. We had waited to celebrate their birthdays until Neil's parents could be here to share it with us.

We had a fun time. The kids went swimming in the lake... a lot! We had our little "party" for the kids which included balloons, cup cakes and a few presents each then Neil's parents took us all out to dinner at the Mexican restuarant in Clarksville, VA.

Today, we headed back over the lake to do some more swimming. Neil, McKayla and Neil's Mom went out in our little boat to see some more of the lake. Come lunch time we all headed back here to our farm. Neil's parents hadn't seen it since we started coming up again this early spring. Lot of changes around here and lots of new animals! We had a big lunch of steak, baked potatos, and corn of the cob.

It was a relaxing weekend but we didn't get anything done on the farm.... oh well!

Friday, June 22, 2007

The pool is up!

Neil got home from work early today and with him was the final load of sand we needed to finish the base of the swimming pool. Once the base was all leveled out we got the pool out of storage in our front entry way (which we don't use). Getting the pool all stretched out and flat was the hardest part of the pool set up. Of course, we had it all flat when we realised that the inlet and outlet for the pump was not were we wanted them. So, we spun the pool 180 degrees and had to flatten it all out again. We started filling it with water tonight... it will take all night to fill and then some.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day!

I would like to report that for Father's Day we were lazy and just relaxed all day... unfortunatly I can't. The day did start out with me making Blueberry Sourdough Pancakes though. Yummy! But after that we needed to get out and get stuff done around the farm. Now that Neil has started working we really only have the weekends to get some of the bigger projects done.

Today it seemed to be a lot of little projects but still we got a lot done. Neil built the sliding chicken door for the chicken coup so I don't have to keep sliding a heavy pallet up against the opening to keep the chickens in the coup at night. We built a brick planter in the front side yard. It covers an area that had a large boulder sticking out of the ground that we couldn't mow over anyway. We built the planter then put a liliac bush in the center for now. This will be a work in progress. I did more raking out behind the barn. There is just so much glass and trash I get overwhelmed at times. I can clean up an area and then walk back over it and pick up another handfull of glass bits. After it rains around here I know that I need to go around to look for more glass as the rain washes off the dirt on the pieces I couldn't see before. I guess I shouldn't give up hope it is so much better then it was only a few months ago but there is still such a large area I haven't even started on yet.

Neil had some things he needed to get done before work tomorrow but by 5pm we were ready to call it quits and go have some fun finally! We hooked up the boat and took it over to Lake Kerr in VA. We went to a different boat landing closer to Clarksville this time as it was late. We found a sandy beach and jumped in the lake to cool off from our day. After about an hour it was getting late and it was time to go. After getting the boat loaded up we stopped at a favorite reasturant in Clarksville... Mexican... for Neil's Father's Day dinner.

By the time we got home it was after nine, which ment feeding the animals in the dark. At least the chickens had put themsleves to bed and were all in the chicken house!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Chicken Run.

Neil put up the temporary chicken run off of the chicken coup today. It is only 3 foot 2x4 woven wire so it will only do until they get old enough to start to try to fly over the fence. But for now it seems to be containing them just fine. It took them about an hour before they would brave the outside. Even those few that either fell out the doorway or were pushed by those chicks behind them quickly jumped back inside. By early evening most of the chicks were scratching around outside like they have been doing for weeks. I will be locking them in at night to keep them safe from whatever might be out there.

A few weeks ago I had placed an ad in the North Carolina Ag Review, which is an agricultural only want/for sale listing. The ad was for the two smaller of the four half silos that the previous owner had used to house his pigs. I got a call yesterday from a gentleman that wanted to come and look at them. This afternoon he came and ended up taking one of the silos and a small pig self-feeder that he saw back in the woods. Yeah! Two large items no longer in our woods! Plus, we got paid for them instead of paying someone to dispose of them for us. Got to list a few more items for next months Ag Review soon.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Bottle Babies

I realized tonight that I hadn't really mentioned how much fun we have been having bottle feeding our new little goats. We are feeding them four times a day right now. When I go into their pen with the bottle all three come over and jump up on my lap to be the first to get the bottle. It usually goes that I feed Gabby first, then Pepper and finally Little Joe. While Gabby eats, Pepper is normally either nibbling on my nose or jumped all the way up onto my shoulders.

I enjoy them so much. I know that by the time they are 10 weeks old I will probably be happy to be finished with the bottle feeding but right now it is just so much fun!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I am bushed tonight...

Spent the day around the farm just doing a little of this and a lot of that. Mowed a bit of the lawn, got a bunch of stuff moved around to their proper homes, took some brush back to the brush pile, etc. But most of my day was spent getting the goat barn fixed up for the new kids (the goat kids that is).

First I had to move it to where I wanted it to live... the tractor helped with that. The little "barn" was a mobile poultry house in it's former life. To keep the poultry in the house when it was being moved it had two layers of wire mesh attached to to its entire underside and attached to each of the three ground level crossbeams. All this mesh needed to be removed as it was difficult to walk on for the little goats and for us. I ended up having to use wire cutters on every stapled attachment. Once it was free from all four sides and the three crossbeams getting it out was another challange. Again I had to cut each piece of both layers into sections to get them out from under the crossbeams and out the small door. All this must have taken about 3 hours if you don't count stoping for lunch for the kids (the human variety).

Once that job was finally over I then raked the ground inside the barn. I had already raked this ground prior to moving the barn over it but this is part of the property that is covered the worst with broken glass and other trash. After I raked it a second time it was time for getting down on hands and knees to pick out the remaining bits and pieces. Like other areas I have cleaned up I know that as the animals stir up the ground more will be found and I will be picking it up for months yet... but it is a clean as I could make it for today. Once I was happy with how that looked I covered the ground over with shavings to give the kids a nice clean ground to play in.

Through all this the little goats were hanging out in the dog crate to keep them safe. But they were pretty bored after spending most of the afternoon in there. It was so much fun to watch them in their new and improved barn. They ran around twirling in the air, jumping up and down, head butting the other kids and just having a great time! They are oh so cute to watch!

By the time I finished up with the goats it was time to get everyone else fed for the night. It was dusk by the time all the rest of the livestock was fed and I took some time to just lean on the fence and enjoy the sight of our animals grazing out on the pasture, the puppies (our 70lb livestock gardian dogs) chasing each other around the field and the fireflies twinkling among the grasses. It sure was a peaceful sight to me. It was quickly broken by the screaming of children asking for me to swing them... sigh... so much for my peaceful moment. :)

Oh, Evan caught his first firefly tonight all by himself! He came up to me with a juice bottle with the firefly already in it. An important event in a young boys life.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Got our goats today!

The kids and I drove up to Bent Mountain, Virginia today to pick up our Nigerian Dwarf goats. We got them from Ed Kinser of Enchanted Hill Farm. Ed is a goat judge and has the oldest NDG herd in Virginia and one of the oldest herds on the East Coast. It also happens that we got two of our alpacas from Ed last spring; Peter Piper and Celtic Woman.

When I found out last year that Ed raised Nigerians I got my name on his list for his spring kids. It has been a long wait but I know that we are starting out with some really good stock and as these will be our future milking goats I wanted does with good udders. So, we now have two little doelings, twins, and a tiny little buckling that will be gelded in a few months. He will be a pet and companion for the does.

Our two doelings: Gabriel (Gabby) and Peppermint (Pepper)

The little buck in the lower right is ours, Little Joe
Ed also raises chickens (and a few other things too). He had some young Welsummers that I wanted. Welsummers are a fairly rare breed that lays dark chocolate brown eggs, plus they are gorgous birds. I came home with four Welsummers, two hens and two roos. Ed, also has been developing his own breed of chicken he calls Hill Roamers. These are pretty birds that are white laced with black spots. They have beards, are good foragers and lay blue eggs. I came home with a single hen and a roo. I look forward to having them in the flock. Here you can see two of Eds Hill Roamers (these are not the ones I brought home):

Monday, June 04, 2007

First day on the job.

Today was Neil's first day on his new job with Balenger Paving. Back to the grindstone for Neil and working the farm will be my job now. Hope all goes as planned.

Friday, June 01, 2007

And the winner is....

Well, Neil did it! After two days he finally pulled that pontoon boat out of the lake. The owner was as good as his word and he signed the title over to Neil so we are now the proud owners of a very dilapitated 28 foot pontoon boat. :)

It has potential (we think) and Neil will be working on it when he can to get it water ready. That may not be till next summer though.

It was just in time too as after several weeks of no rain we are expecting rain in the next 24 hours.