Friday, October 19, 2007

Sickness continues...

We are still recovering from sickness here so didn't get anything done today.

We did got four eggs though! Unfortunately, one was cracked open and eaten by the chickens. So we only had three for the house.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

No new bunnies today.

Today is the day that Purslane, our American Chinchilla Rabbit doe, was due to kindle. I have had my doubts that she was actually pregnant this past week since she hasn’t swollen in size at all and she hasn’t shown any nesting behaviors. So, I am afraid we may not get rabbit kits today.

Our buck, Sassparilla, did get in with her for an unknown amount of time about 4-5 days after I put them together for breeding. I will wait a few more days before I put them together again to see if their second meeting was more successful.

This will be Purslane’s first strike. Three strikes and she will no longer be considered part of the breeding program here. Strikes can be given for several reasons such as slipped pregnancies, very low birth numbers (1-3), poor mothering, etc.

The kids and I are all suffering with head colds today. Running noses, coughs, soar thoughts, lethargic. I think we will veg-out on the bed in my room and watch TV and try to stay hydrated all day.

We got one egg today.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

House improvements.

Neil and I worked for a while on installing the insulation under the house today. We have no basement so under the house consists of a crawl space of about 3-4 feet high depending on which side of the house you are on. Which makes working under there for any length of time a miserable job. To make matters worse, since the house was built in the 40’s, the spaces between the joists are not the standard width of today’s insulation. We had to cut additional 5 inch wide strips to fill the spaces completely. It made for slow going.

After a few hours of insulating we moved on to a smaller project, one that we could finish in a short period of time. Our little goat barn only had one door into it and that door opens into the pasture. That meant that during the day when the goats were out grazing they could not go back into their barn because I always need to have that door closed so the donkeys and cows don’t go inside and eat the goat’s pellets. So, my solution was to create a smaller door that was goat sized that only the goats could use to come and go from the barn at their leisure. Neil whipped up a great sliding door to one side of the existing door. It works great and now the goats have access to their barn all day if they want to. Yeah! Another project off the to-do list!

Butchered two roosters today too.

We had two eggs today.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Painting the new farm sign.

Spent most of the day working on painting the new farm sign. I got one side all done and I really like it. I was afraid that hand painting the farm sign might make it look at little cheesy but I think it is coming out really well!

The sign is so heavy that I can't flip it over myself to paint the other side without risking scratching the finished side so I need to wait for Neil to be here to flip it over. Then we just need to decide where the best place to install it will be.

I will post photos once it is all done.

I only found one egg this morning and it was on the floor of the coop and slightly cracked. Most likely stepped on by one of the birds. So, that egg went to Tate, our Entlebucher Mountian Dog, on his breakfast kibble. He was happy!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Kitty Update...

Today the kids and I headed into town to run some errands and go to the grocery store. Other then that is was just a day to relax.

I realized that I haven't given un update on our new little grey kitten. Who I have started calling Sweet Pea. She is still with us and if our dog Tate is not outside near us she will come over to get some loving. Evan has really taken a liking to her and has been very good about sitting still and letting her come over to be pet.

The chickens did give us two eggs this morning. Tonight for dinner we made spagetti and meatballs and when McKayla cracked one of the eggs from this morning into the meatball mix it was a double yolker! Something three year old McKayla had never seen before... she was thrilled!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Cleaning day.

Today was a cleaning day around the house.

There were two eggs today!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

A rude awakening.

I hate waking up abruptly. This morning it was noises out on the deck. At first I thought it might be the cats jumping down from the railings but I after a few more heavy thumps I knew it was something bigger then a cat. I jumped out of bed to look out at the deck and was not surprised to see Emmie and Berk, our Anatolian shepherds, up on the deck knocking over chairs. I threw on some clothes and went outside to get them back in the pasture with the alpacas where they belong. I had taken about 5 steps across the deck when I saw through the railing the donkeys across the driveway on the side lawn! My heart stopped for a second... how did they get out? I went back to the bedroom and yelled to Neil that the donkeys where out and I needed his help.

If the donkeys were out on the lawn that meant the pasture fence was broken and the cows and male alpacas could be wandering around somewhere too! Since the donkeys were happily grazing I first dealt with Emmie and Berk. Berk followed me down to the barn and into his pasture but Emmie was more interested in exploring. I needed to rattle some food in her bowl to get her to follow me into the pasture. Once the dogs were secure I grabbed some donkey cookies and called to Mal and Inora. Thank goodness they have become treat hounds and followed me around to the back of the barn. And that is where I found the walk through gate wide open. So, at least it wasn't the fence that was broken just an open gate. A few more cookies and both donkeys were back in their pasture too. Then I quickly scanned the pasture to do a head count on the cows and alpacas and everyone was accounted for! Yeah!

By that time Neil had come down to the barn to get an update on the situation. The gate was easy enough to explain... last night during chores Evan went out the gate to go to the front of the barn while McKayla and I went through the cow stall in the barn. That gate is covered in no climb fencing to keep the goats from squeezing out and because of that it can be a hard pull to get it to latch fully. It must not have gotten latched all the way and the donkeys discovered it open and went exploring. I am just glad that no one else discovered it as well. As far as the dogs were concerned I was not sure yet about that. Neil went and walked their fence line and found where they had pushed the fence up and crawled under it again. A little bit of wire to tie the fence to the T-posts hopefully solved that problem too.

What a morning... I finished up chores and we had breakfast before we normally even wake up!

There were no eggs this morning.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

An egg-citing thing happened!

Yes, I discovered our first two eggs in the chicken house this morning. I am so excited as I did not expect any eggs until at least November. They were both brown eggs so I know that they did not come from the Easter Egger or the Hill Roamer hens. Most likely they are from my two Welsummer hens as they are about 4-5 weeks older then the rest of the chickens.

It was nice that there was two eggs as both Evan and McKayla were able to have one to hold. McKayla wanted to cook hers right away so we settled on pancakes for breakfast and used her egg in the batter. Evan wanted to put his back in the coup so we could have a baby chicken but I finally convinced him that we should wait until next Spring for baby chickens.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

It's a mystery!

Well, I don't know how he did it but when I looked out the window after waking up this morning I could see our LGD Berk sleeping OUTSIDE the pasture along the gate. I don't know how he got out or why. Once down at the barn Berk was very happy to go back into the pasture for his breakfast.

It's a mystery that Berk is not giving up!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Time flies...

I can't believe that it is time for my mom and grandmother to leave already! Where did the time go? We had such a nice visit I wish it could have been longer.

The kids and I drove them down to the airport this morning.

Back home, we rested for a while and then I worked on the painted letters for the farm sign and got one side done. I hope to get the sign done by the weekend so Neil and I can install it.

Monday, October 01, 2007


We have quite a bit of this plant in different areas of the property. It is a fast growing plant with red stalks, broad green leaves and, this Fall, large dark blue berries all over them. I was unsure what is was but was hoping that the beautiful looking berries would be edible. A quick internet search proved otherwise.

It turns out this is called Pokeweed. The Iowa Extention office says this on Pokeweed:
"The entire pokeweed plant contains a poisonous substance similar to saponin. The alkaloid phytolaccine also occurs in small amounts. Most authorities regard the plant as poisonous. Birds are apparently immune to this poison. Animals usually do not eat the plant because of its bitter taste. Humans have been poisoned by eating parts of the root, which is the most poisonous part of the plant. Children are often attracted by the bright crimson juice of the berries and can be poisoned by eating the berries. Indians used the juice for staining feathers, arrowshafts, and garments. Indians and early settlers used the root in poultices and certain drugs for skin diseases and rheumatism. If taken internally, pokeweed is a slow acting but a
violent emetic. Vomiting usually starts about 2 hours after the plant or parts of it have been eaten. Severe cases of poisoning result in purging, spasms, and sometimes convulsions. If death occurs, it is usually due to paralysis of the respiratory organs. Cases of animal or human poisoning should be handled by a veterinarian or a physician. Because of the danger of human poisoning, pokeweed should be eradicated when discovered. This is especially true if the plants are in hedges, gardens, and other areas adjacent to a home where children may be attracted by clusters of berries."
So, I guess I need to make the time to go out into the pasture and remove the weeds from there. We also have some closer to the house which I will remove. But there is quite a bit in the woods away from the animals and kids that I will leave for now for the birds over the winter.