Friday, October 30, 2009

Finished the hat!

I finished hat number 2 for my niece's birthday present last night. (Hat number 1 was too small once completed so I had to knit another.) H's birthday was 6 days ago but knitting a second hat put me off schedule.

Here daughter McKayla is modeling the finished hat.

So we went to town to run our errands and mail the hat off to H. Although it was fun to knit, I am happy that project is done.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Baby Bunnies

Our American Chinchilla rabbit doe, Chamomile, gave birth to five robust little kits today. They are snuggled in their rabbit fur lined nesting box. I stay pretty hands off with the baby rabbits for the first week. They will be ready to go to new homes about mid December.

I ordered a new mini donkey sized halter for Inora and it arrived yesterday. It fits well but it is out as far as it will go. Now that I have ordered from this company and know how they fit I will get a couple more one size larger. She looks great in it though!

Seeing this picture makes realize how many rocks I still need to get out of the cow pasture... sigh.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

New home for Emily

Our last spring 2009 Nigerian Dwarf Goat doeling found herself a new home today.

I wonderful family called about her last week and today they stopped by the farm to meet her. Emily will be one of four young doelings that this family will be purchasing to begin their goat adventures with. Interestingly, when I inquired about the other doelings we discovered that they were also purchasing Emily's twin sister Elizabeth. I sold Elizabeth several months ago to the farm I got our doe Belva from. I was thrilled to know that the sisters would be reunited.

Emily will be staying here for a few more weeks while the family finish preparing their farm. Emily will also be exposed to our young buck Jeepster before she goes.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Happenings on the farm...

The day started out chilly and raining but it turned into a pleasant Fall day.

Neil took the chainsaw out behind the garage and cut up some deadfall trees for the woodstove. I will bring it up, split it and stack it over the next few days.

Neil and I then started work on the framing for the base of the new rabbit hutches. I am so excited to get started on them. What I am currently using for rabbit hutches where built by the previous owners as poultry breeding pens and were not designed with chewing rabbits in mind. The interior framing is almost gone in some places. Plus, the new location I am moving them too should stay drier. Which means I won't be standing and slipping in 8 inches of mud this winter and spring! Yeah! I still need to get more wire for the hutches and build the wooden nest boxes but I was thrilled to get that project started.

Today I also weighed our two Nigerian Dwarf doelings, Miss Olive and Miss Cheddar, that we got four weeks ago. Miss Olive is up to 19.5 lbs and Miss Cheddar is at 18.75 lbs.

Made a couple of pizzas for lunch; a cheese and a onion and pepperoni. Yummy! Then this evening my mom (who is visiting from Maine) made chocolate chip cookies for the kids.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

It has been getting quite chilly for October in North Carolina. We have been piling on extra blankets at night to keep the chill away. So, this morning I decided it was time to get the first fire of the season going and chase the chill out of the house! It didn't take long for the living room to feel warm and toasty again.

My mother is such a help around the place. While I was doing the livestock chores this morning, she took the tractor into the woods and brought up several loads of cut up firewood to the house. McKayla and I split enough for a few days and stacked it up under the deck. Winter will be here soon.

Sold a young tom turkey to a local gentlemen as a mate for a lone hen he has. One more turkey saved from the holiday table. :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Day in town.

My mom accompanied the kids and I on our trip into town today.

Had to stop at the recycling center, the post office, McDonald's for lunch, Southern States for livestock feed and finally to the grocery store.

For dinner mom and I made a spinach, feta and Swiss cheese quiche. So tasty! Mom also whipped up a pumpkin pie... Evan's favorite.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Chirp, Chirp, Chirp

That's what I heard while in the barn this morning.

I sound I hear a lot of around here... in the spring!

I went to investigate the chirping in the chicken coop and could hear it coming from above the brooders. I called to my seven year son, Evan, to come help. I boosted him up the seven feet to the brooder ceiling to find the babies I could hear. He found them in an old cardboard box; nine little chicks.

He passed them down to me and I put them one of the brooders. Once we started handling the chicks it quickly became apparent which of the chickens had hatched them out as she came flapping over to me protecting her babies. I quickly captured her and deposited her in the brooder with her chicks. She fussed over them making sure they were all there and safe.

Since it was so late in the year and a bit chilly at night I put them into a box with a brooder light over it. The hen is able to come and go from the box at will. It didn't take long for them to settle down.

Funny to have chicks this time of year. But no matter when they come they are always cute!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Pumpkin Custards

I love Fall! The cool days and crisp air inspire me to cook (yes, even more then I already do). And our favorite thing to cook with this time of year is pumpkin! This morning McKayla requested pumpkin custard so the two of us mixed some up and it is baking right now and Mmmm the house smells good!

Pumpkin Custard Recipe

1 12oz can evaporated milk
4 eggs (farm fresh of course)
1/3 cup sugar
16 oz pumpkin puree (homegrown is best)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Mix all ingredients together and pour into 6-8 ramekins (depending on size) and bake in a water bath at 325F for 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and refrigerate for 2 hours. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Days update.

Well, first off, our rabbit made it through the night! She is tucked in the far corner of the hutch but her ears are up and she seems alert. I will not consider her out of the woods until another day or two and I see her eating and drinking again. But, she looks good for what she went through yesterday!

Neil's Dad came by early this morning so he and Neil could get the last of the four concrete stabilizer footings poured on the garage. Yeah! Now that that is done they can continue work on the end walls and doors to button it up for the winter.

We have two alpacas that are due with crias at the end of this month. One of those is Eloise. While feeding the girls this morning I noticed a large lump by the tail head of Eloise, so large that it actually pushed her tail to one side. I went up and felt the lump and it was firm. I pressed on it and it retracted back! A few minutes later it reappeared... I pushed on it again and it retracted once more. This was the nose of the cria! So, Eloise is now on cria watch.

My birthing stall has had a gate broken on it for some time (the cows share one side and rubbed on it until the wall broke) and since my need for that stall my come sooner than I had thought... Neil removed the half wall that the gate is attached to, rebuilt the framing, covered it with pressboard for strength, reinstalled the wall and then hung the gate again. Now I am all set if I see any signs of impending birth. I will put the two girls in there in another week regardless so that they don't give birth without being separated from our LGDs who are so protective of babies that they keep the dams away too!

Sold the three little ducklings to a neighbor I sold some turkeys to this summer. She called yesterday to see if I had any ducks for sale and was pleased that I had little ones available. Funny how things work out sometimes.

I weighed our two new Nigerian Dwarf goat doelings again today to see if they are growing. They have been here two weeks now. Miss Olive, who weighed in at only 16.75lbs two weeks ago, was up 1.5lbs to 18.25lbs. Miss Cheddar on the other hand remained the same at 17.75lbs. I am sure this is due to the week long bought of diarrhea she went through when she first arrived. She has recovered fully and is doing well now. I will continue to weigh them over the next few weeks to keep my eye on their growth.

Finally, Neil set up the volleyball net for the kids in the side yard so they could play badminton with it. Evan played for a bit but then went off to set "snares" around the farm. McKayla and I played badminton for almost an hour. What a sight we were... playing badminton with a volleyball net and racket ball rackets... but we had a blast!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Sanity day at the races.

Since Neil works long hours off the farm we don't get to spend as much time together as a family as we like. There are times when we just have to look at our never-ending list of projects that need to be done and agree that some family bonding is more important! Today was one of those days!

After chores we packed up the kids and headed north to Clarksville, VA to meet up with Neil's Dad. Clarksville was hosting a weekend of Hydroplane Boat Races which none of us had ever seen in person before.

We had a wonderful day out by the lake watching the races and water skiing show. The kids got sno-cones AND ice cream so they were thrilled! After taking all the walking and sun that we could handle we headed back to the suburban. On the way there we passed by a petting zoo (of which we had all the animals at home, plus more) that was having pony rides. Both the kids got to ride sweet Madeline the pony. Since it was late and they were packing up both kids got a double ride.

It was a good day... until we got home...

This morning while doing chores I discovered that a rabbit hutch door was opened and one of our new quasi-chinchilla rabbits was missing. Neil and I scoured the area around the barn and the woods but found no sign of her. I was disappointed in the possibility of loosing her but knew that she may not go too far and we might catch sight of her over the next few days if we were lucky.

Fast forward to this evening... we returned home from our day, the kids ran out to play and Neil and I headed inside with Taylor. Moments later the kids came running into the house to let me know that Emmie, one of our Anatolian Shepards, had the rabbit and she was "killing it". My heart sank and I ran down to the barn and there was Emmie lying down in the pasture over the rabbit. I feared the worse but walked closer to Emmie to see the condition of the rabbit... she was still breathing.. she was alive!

I knew that I had no chance of getting the rabbit away from Emmie. Once Emmie has something she will fight to keep it. I tried my old trick of trying to lure Emmie away with food but she had no interest in leaving the rabbit. Then the rabbit made a break for it and Emmie was right after it... picking it up over the spine and carrying it around... all the while the poor rabbit was screaming. I just couldn't let Emmie keep her. I used the only weapons I had with me; my voice and the metal food bowl I was still holding. I began hitting Emmie over the head and yelling at her to drop the rabbit. This of course infuriated her and she turned on me (which, in a way, is what I wanted), she dropped the rabbit to attack me... biting at the bowl which I held in front me and then she grazed my right thigh. Meanwhile, the terrified rabbit squeezed through the 4x4" goat fence to safety. I managed to back through a gate and get it closed before Emmie bit at me again.

Neil and I managed to find the poor rabbit hiding behind some sheets of plywood on the far side of the barn behind the milking stanchion. It took some doing to reach her with out risking her bolting again but we got her out and returned her to the rabbit hutch. She was panting pretty hard, her fur was all wet and missing in places but I couldn't see blood anywhere. The stress alone could be enough to kill her. I didn't have much choice but to just let her be for the night and see if she makes it through.

Neil said, "Well, no matter the outcome now, at least you'll know." And he is right, if she had just wondered into the wood and never returned I would never know what happened to her... at least now I will know.

Oh, and my leg will be fine. Two puncture wounds in my jeans and a small abrasion on the skin is all the evidence of Emmie's rage. Emmie, by the way, returned to her placid wonderful self within minutes of the rabbit's escape. She only guards what she feels is hers... if she has nothing to guard her aggression quickly recedes.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Ram loose again....

That foolish white ram was out again this morning. This time though he was ready to return to the pasture right away and I didn't have much trouble getting him through the same gate as he went through on Wednesday. I hope this doesn't become a common occurrence.