Monday, June 25, 2012

Sorry About The Pause In Posts...

My computer decided to bite the big one last week. Along with my computer totally crashing, our modem/wifi decided on the same day to commit hari-kari.
I am posting this from The Girls wee little laptop that looks and feels like an absolute toy.

Other news in the last week. Little Tibby died. I doubt that any turkey chick anywhere had so many tears shed over it, ever. He fell into his water dish and got chilled and went into shock. I found him still alive and dried him off, but the damage was done. I held him in my hands and warmed him up, but even though he rallied for a bit, he was too far gone to fully recover. He chirped a few times, relaxed in the warmth of my hands, snuggled down and died. I buried him out in the flower bed in front of the house. The Girl cried herself to sleep that night and I cried over Tibby's loss as well. Such a sweet, personable little bird! We miss him.

We got a call from Roy, a young man that is the Darlin' Man's "animal connection" at the feed store. Roy lives in a one bedroom apartment with his lovely girlfriend. Roy is also a frustrated farmer. He called sounding quite desperate. Seems he had "a few animals" in his apartment and one of his neighbors heard the critters and he was being threatened with eviction. Could we PLEASE take his animals...temporarily, of course, until he could sell or trade them or find a more permanent place for them?
One bedroom apartment?, I figured. I mean, how many animals could that be?
2 ducks
35 chickens (mainly half grown roosters)
2 puppies (dacshound type, 6 weeks old)
1 three week old male goat

And he had been keeping them ALL in one walk in closet!
The wee goat was obviously taken from it's mama too soon. They were bottle feeding him water and feeding him alfalfa hay. He had scours...BAD. (For those of you that don't know what scours is, think explosive diarrhea!) So, I immediately put the little cuss on goats milk and his scours are clearing up gradually.
We only kept the pups and the ducks for two days and then they were off to their new owners. (whew!)
12 of the larger roosters are gone now.
He had already sold the wee goat, but the new owner has not picked it up and he can't get a hold of the guy. I figure by the time the guy shows up for him, the little buck will be over his scours. I hope so, anyway.
 We have worked out a deal with Roy for the upkeep on the critters and he has brought over food for them. Roy's girlfriend, looking very relieved, told me she got the apartment cleaned, including steam cleaning the carpets (which I suspect they REALLY needed).

So, that's what is going on right now...I am mourning a turkey chick, nursing a buckling back to health (we call him Buddy and he follows me around constantly) and listening to a bunch of adolescent roosters attempt to crow. (Quite funny to hear!)
 My posting will be a little haphazard until I either get a new computer or get my old fixed and we get the new modem/wifi thingie. (Currently, we are piggy-backing on a neighbors wifi with their permission)
Hope all there are doing well!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Doing Our Land Search

Well, the landlord calmed down about making us move. So, we have more time to find our own land and make a move.
Still, it made us realize that the Darlin' Man's retirement date is creeping us on us and we have to find something soon.
So, I have started doing a search online in the area we intend to move to.
We were looking at Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
After looking at gun laws, property laws and property taxes, population density, proximity of such things as chemical plants, nuclear power plants, etc., plus military bases/posts, we finally sorted things out to Vermont.
Nothing against the other two places...we also included property prices, agricultural laws, zoning, business laws/taxes and so on and so forth.
THEN, after settling on Vermont, we had to figure out the specific county.
Different counties have different property taxes, zoning laws, etc. I even got down to the nitty-gritty of checking crime rates, school graduation rates, number of government assistance recipients, number of police officers, etc.
I went to the local papers site online and read up about each county.
Yeah, I put in a lot of time on this.
NOW I am looking at property ads online in the county we finally chose.
Our parameters are kinda picky. First and foremost, the property MUST have it's own water. Two water sources are better than just one. We were hoping for a fast running stream/brook or river bordering the property so we could explore the possibility of a small hydro-electric power source for the homestead/farm.
Second, 10 acres is our absolute MINIMUM. More land is better. Some woods, some open. AND the land must be able to be classified as *organic*, in other words, no pesticides or herbicides used on it for the past 10 years.
Third, since we aren't going to have the time to build, there has to be a house.With our limited budget, we are okay with a *fixer upper*. But the house has to have "good bones". No falling down shacks or one of those new constructions that are poorly built. It has to have at least one bathroom and two bedrooms.

Yeah, the land search is going...slowly.
When I go to Vermont in August, I hope to have a "Top Ten" or at least a "Top Five" list to go see.
Right now, I have found exactly TWO properties to look at.
Once I get up there to look over whatever properties we find, a visit to the local Agricultural Extension office will be order. I need to ffind out which of the properties I am looking at will be best suited for our needs.
Gardening, livestock pastures, hay, etc.

A search for land is NOT easy.
But, when we are done and finally living on our land, it will be well worth the effort.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Our New Little One...

No, not a baby (human type), but he is just as demanding and LOUD!
I went out to check the turkeys about 5 days ago and found, sadly, two newly hatched and dead poults. Turns out that as soon as the wee ones hatched, Tim Turkey attacked and killed them. I read up on the subject and discovered it's not unusual for the toms to do that, as it means the hens will be more agreeable to mating again.
Anyway, I moved Tinkerbelle and looked at the remaining eggs and one was hatching!
I scooped it up and cradling it in my hands, took it into the house. Within 10 minutes, a tiny chick was peering up at me.
I named him Tiberius (Star Trek fan here...hope you get the reference!).
Nickname: "Tibby".
He is demanding, he is loud. He thinks I am his mother.
He has also charmed the socks off of everyone who has met him.
Say hello to Tibby:

We all take turns holding him. His favorite activity is running up someones chest, hopping onto their shoulder and then snuggling in their hair, making himself a make-shift "nest".
He also follows me around the house when I take him out of his box and let him run around on the floor.
Yeah, he has imprinted me as his mama. I don't mind. He is just so stinkin' cute!

Our other chicks are doing fine. Betty's chicks are growing by leaps and bounds and will shortly be put off the screened in porch into the brood house (formerly chicken annex pen). Lynard and Nugget and Yolko are fine, but Teeth has come up missing. I suspect that Teeth got off the front porch and the feral cat had a very small chicken dinner.

The new lambs are still very shy, but have finally gotten used to the goats and chickens. Still very shy of people, however.

The heat has taken hold here. We have already had some 100 degree days with more expected Sun., Mon., and Tues. That means every two hours I go out and check the animals water and check them all for heat exhaustion. For the bunnies, it means putting a frozen 2 liter bottle (filled with water) in their hutch. I also freeze bottles to put in the chicken coops in case the girls get too hot.
Hope you are holding out against the heat where you are!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch...

The new lambs are fitting in well here. They are still skittish around people, but a couple of the goats are okay with them.
Initially, the goats stared at them, wide-eyed, like they were viewing some exotic creature in a zoo.I kept the lambs in the pen for the first few days and the goats would literally line up to stare at them!
Now I have turned the lambs loose with the goats. Nola and Lilac try to play with them and Champagne seems to like them. Lily is okay with them. They scare Gabby a little! Nina just wants to head butt them. Then again, Nina tried to head butt ME!
A few not so good pictures, but it gives you an idea of their size.

Hard to see them in the pictures, but I hope you get an idea. They are cute. Cori, especially, has the sweetest face!
Betty and her chicks are doing well. Someone gave us four chicks they did not want and I tried to get Betty to accept them, but, nope, she didn't want any part of them. So, I am raising the wee orphans. One escaped out of the box they were delivered to me in and has been surviving in our yard. Between neighbors cats, neighborhood feral cats, snakes and everything else, it is surprising that he (she?) is still alive and kicking---three days after escaping!
I have named the little cuss "Lynard" as in Skynard...*Freebird* reference, lol!

Speaking of cats, we discovered my neighbors gray Persian cat has given birth...under our house. From the looks of the kittens, she had them about 4 to 5 weeks ago. We haven't caught them yet. There are 4 of them and we want them OUT before they get hurt, start crapping all over the place, go after our chickens, etc.
So, besides stalking and capturing Lynard the chick, we also have to catch 4 semi-feral kittens!
Hope your weekend is going well!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Baa Baa Black Sheep, Have You Any Wool?

Still in a musical mood here!
Last night, the Darlin' Man got a phone call from Roy. Roy works at the feed store. He has bought some of our excess animals and we have bought some from him.
Roy had mentioned to the Darlin' Man about 3 days ago that he knew of a guy in New Mexico that had an excess camel.
Yes...the Darlin' Man was actually thinking of getting a camel.
Fortunately, the call from Roy was to tell the Darlin' Man the price of the camel and...WHOPPEE!!! was way too expensive for us to even consider.
HOWEVER (and you KNEW this was coming, didn't you?), Roy was calling from a small ranch that had sheep and the owner asked him if he knew anyone that might want to get a few of this years lambs.

(Do I really need to finish this post? If there is ANYONE out there that doesn't know what happened next, then this must be your very first time reading my blog! Back read a little and I am sure you will catch on very fast! )

Ahem...yes...anyway....late last night we took delivery of two ewe lambs (ewelings?)
Both are solid black, although one has a white patch on her forehead. They are three months old and so darn cute it is ridiculous.
The Darlin' Man named them Celine (the one with the white patch) and Corizone (he says that means *heart* in Spanish), so Celine and Cori.
They are still a bit skittish, but we hope to get them tamed down.
Best thing is...the fella has agreed to NO MORE LIVESTOCK until we move.
We have plans to get a puppy, but no livestock. Also, no camels, no ostriches,  no wallabies, no giraffes, no get the idea. I basically went through ALL the species I could think of to extract the promise.
I even threw in reptiles and amphibians while I was at it. (C'mon, do you blame me?) I also included feathered livestock in the list. Except those birds that are hatched here. The geese are starting over, as all the eggs failed to hatch, btw, and I had to clean out Heloise's nest...such a smelly job!
So...the new lambs are comfortably snuggled down in the milking does pen, our does are in the big pen and Nola and Lilac are in the kid pen this morning.
I'll get some pictures later. My camera went completely kaput, so I am using the Girls cell phone to get pictures and I have to wait until she gets home from school. (Two more days until her graduation!)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ob-la-di-ob-la-do-ob-la-di-OH, Life Goes On

Now that I have butchered a Beatles song in my post title...
Yes, life goes on here at Frippery Farm.
Ugly Betty and her chicks have completely taken over the screened in front porch
They are out of the box and Betty pecks at the door when she wants food or water. I guess it is time to build them a small coop in the back yard (ANOTHER project for this week!)

The goats are doing fine and the two little ones are so big now!
Nola's favorite place to hang out

Lilac relaxing with her mom, Lily

Nina trying to get Nola out of the wagon--with no success!
Pender and his girls are happily scratching in the yard...
Pender checks out the loose hay box

Goldie, one of our new Buff Orphingtons

Large Marge stays under the back steps to escape the sun

Calypso (an Americuana) hard at work!
Our landlord stopped talking about selling the place. But we are still going ahead with our plans to move. The Girl and I are heading to the Northeast to scout properties in August.
We have to decide how we are going to travel, bus or train.
The Darlin' Man wants us to take the train, The Girl wants to fly, and I think we should take the bus.
Flight time :under 8 hours (with plane switching and layovers, etc)
Train, almost 5 days with LONG stops (7 to 10 hours) in Chicago and D.C. (ugh!)
Bus: 2 days and 18 hours. A couple of long stops (2 to 4 hours)

Expense-wise, flying is the most expensive. Train is next and bus is cheapest.
Comfort...well, I guess flying would be the most comfortable, train next and last, bus.
Then there is the TSA thing.
If the TSA decides to grope me, it WILL make the papers...and not in a good way!
TSA has been paying more attention to rail lines recently, so they may show up there.
Not so much with the bus, although it is still a possibility.

So...decisions, decisions...
We have a while to make the decision, but if we buy tickets 30 days in advance, it will cut the cost of ANY transportation a lot.
In the meantime...Betty is pecking the door again, so I guess she needs the water bowl refilled!