Saturday, June 29, 2013

I See a Bathro.....uhm...Bad Moon On the Rise!

Been listening to a lot of CCR the past few days. (If you don't know what CCR is, go away! You are obviously too young to read this blog!)
The heat here has been draining on everyone. After feeding and milking in the mornings (right after the sun peeks over the horizon), we water...heck, we OVER water. Extra buckets in the hens coop, extra bowl in the bunny hutch, etc. I put frozen 2 ltr. bottles in the bunny hutch, too.
We have hit triple digits every day for most of June.
One of our peahens died and two hens. I think it was the heat. Just too much stress on them.
Heck, it's too much stress on me!
I sleep through the hottest part of the day and do my chores in the wee hours of the morning and late in the evening.
The goats were a little startled about getting milked before the sun was completely up, but they have gotten used to it.
Things are changing around here as the Darlin' Man speeds towards his retirement. Our housing search has intensified, I am on Zillow three or four times a day.
(Any blog readers in New Hampshire? We are looking there!)
Found one property that looked promising, but then we found out a lot of herbicides and pesticides had been used by the previous owners for their farm.
Not good.
I have found a handful of properties that look like *maybes*.
Our current parameters for a property:
House built before 1920, Victorian farm house a plus!
20 acres or more
A well and one other water source on property, preferably a year round stream/brook/creek or river frontage. Pond would be nice, too.
Some open meadows/pastures as well as woods. Sugar maples a plus. Fruit or nut trees a plus.
NO HOAs or other restrictions on property.
Outbuildings would be nice for barn, chicken coop, etc...

Not much to ask for, huh? LOL!
Anyway...trying to avoid the heat here, I hope all of you are staying cool!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

So, You Want To Be a Farmer/Homesteader......

We have visitors here all the time. Co-workers of the Darlin' Man's, people we meet at Farmers Markets, people we meet online, people we meet at local events like the March Against Monsanto, etc.
Some are serious, some just think they are serious. Oh, they want organic milk and cheese and farm fresh organic eggs, but they aren't so sure about the work it takes to to have those things.

So, here's a few things to wave bye-bye to if you decide to take the plunge and populate your life and property with livestock, poultry, gardens, etc....

Goodbye to:
Manicures and pedicures. Seriously, you can't have those long witch-y nails and milk goats. The goats will NOT be happy! Pedicures? HAHAHAHAHA! Wait until the first time you run outside in your Crocs (and no socks) and step in a nice fresh pile of manure.
Maybe for a special occasion, but don't expect your nails to stay looking salon fresh!

While we are on the subject of salons:
Fancy hair dos. Trust me on this. Either get it cut short or braid it or toss it back in a ponytail. Life will be easier that way.

High heels EXCEPT for very special occasions. 'Nuff said, I shouldn't have to explain.
Same goes for fancy designer clothes. Yes, I know, keep a few around for special occasions, but realize a situation might arise that will have you in that lovely silk blouse in the middle of a pasture helping to pull a calf.
Everything HAS to be washable. Dry cleaning is a horrible thing. Finding the time to get something to the dry cleaners and then to pick it back up is a fantasy.

Your birthday, anyone elses birthday, Christmas, Easter, the Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, Nascar, World Series, the Olympics, in general.
Think it is hard to get a babysitter? Try getting someone to *sit* your farm and all it's animals.

Your animals don't care what day it is....they WILL go into labor/get sick/injure themselves at any time.
Usually on a day/night when you have made other plans.
Okay...things to get used to...not always a bad thing...
Starry skies at 2am.
Fuzzy chicks snuggling up to you when you take them out of the incubator.
A duckling swimming in your bathtub.
Baby goats or little calves romping around.
The best eggs/milk/cheese/vegetables you'll ever eat.
Falling into bed exhausted.
Dirt under your fingernails...but you don't mind as you got it there digging potatoes, pulling carrots, etc.
Friends/Family members/Neighbors wanting fresh veggies/milk.cheese/etc.

If you can deal with all that, you are good to go!

This heat has been draining the life out of me. It makes me grumpy.
Taking Daffy the duckling for a swim in the bathtub cheers me up. Daffy enjoys it, too. I sit on the edge and watch as he swims and bobs his head under the water and just generally has a great time.
Perfection, our peafowl chick is doing great. He won't be contained in the rubbermaid tote anymore, so he stalks around my sons room and sleeps perched on the headboard of the bed. Best alarm clock EVER! When Perfection the peachick decides it is time for my son to get up, he jumps on his head and pecks him and chirps at him until my son gets up!
Hoping everyone out there is having a good week!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Setting Hens

Look at the three pictures. All three are the females of their breed setting clutches of eggs. Heloise the goose, Rosie the hen and Daphne the duck (Tinkerbell the turkey is also setting a clutch, but turned her back on the camera). All three will defend their nests with their lives. When their little ones hatch, they will teach them to eat and drink and run back to the nest when danger threatens. They will teach their young everything they need to know to survive.
Long ago, *setting hens* were considered extremely valuable. A good setting hen would ensure that your flock of chickens would grow bigger. More chickens meant more eggs and more meat on the table. Precious protein at a time when grains and greens made up a large part of peoples diets.
Then, in the past century or so, when commercial farms took over from family farms and more and more people bought their food at supermarkets, *broody* hens became a liability.
Egg farms didn't want them, they just wanted eggs...the more the better. Meat producers didn't want them either...incubators reduced losses and were more efficient.
Chicken breeds were bred to reduce the natural instinct to set clutches of eggs.
When a hen goes broody here, I let them set a clutch of eggs, protected from the other chickens. Rosie is in the old rabbit hutch where Nugget and her little ones used to be. (They now have their own coop)
But Rosie isn't setting her own eggs...she is setting peafowl, duck and turkey eggs. She went broody a couple of weeks before our new incubator arrived and after our old one was full.
So, I tucked a few eggs from our other fowl under her and removed the two eggs she had laid and was setting. Chicken eggs hatch faster, so, it will be a bit longer of a *set* for her with these eggs. I removed her eggs, because when the first chicks hatch, the setting hen will only wait a couple more days for the rest of the clutch to hatch.
Rosie (and Daphne and Heloise and Tinkerbell) are all doing their jobs well. Whether it is their eggs or eggs that suddenly appeared overnight beneath them (yes, that is how I snuck the other eggs under Rosie!), all are taking their jobs of setting seriously.
As I read the blogs other people post, I realize that we are *setting hens* (doesn't matter if we are men or women!).
Our knowledge and experiences are the eggs we are setting on. Protecting this knowledge for a generation that may not even be here yet. We teach our own children and anyone else that wanders into our *nests*.
There may come a day when this knowledge is valuable again. When knowing how to garden or store food or milk a goat or any of a thousand skills bloggers post about will be the difference between life and death for some future generation. The more skills we pass along the more likelihood that someone out there that needs that knowledge will stumble across it....and then pass that knowledge along to another.

Friday, June 7, 2013

No, That's Not Weird At All..........

Our brood lamp hasn't arrived yet. Should be here by Tuesday.
HOWEVER....a peafowl chick finally hatched.
So, I am wearing a smocked top sun dress (with spaghetti straps and really it on zulily!), so, to keep the wee bugger warm, I have wrapped it in a soft piece of fabric and tucked him under the smocked part. That way he is kept warm and I can still get stuff done around the house.
Yes. I have a peachick in my cleavage.
Not weird at it?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Good News, Everyone! and Bad News, Everyone!

The Darlin' Mans retirement papers have finally been approved! We can see a tiny wavering light at the end of a very long tunnel finally!  Come November he will be done, done, DONE! Between now and then, he has to go to some classes, get medical reports filed for his disability and get the rest of his paperwork for various things completed.
We are relieved and anxious and happy and full of anticipation for the future.
Bad news...
Yesterday evening I found Ugly Betty dead. It looked like she blew out her oviduct.I found her in the little coop I built for her and her kids. Yesterday morning she was fine.
Betty the first time I saw her...hence her name. In full molt and looking quite bedraggled and sad.
I had scant hopes for her then, but she won me over with her determined attitude and mother hen skills.

Betty, feathered out and looking good.
She set and raised clutches of eggs and was an attentive mother.
We have some of her *kids* still, Inky, Bo, and her new ones, Cinder and Ash.
Goodbye Betty, we will miss you!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Well, That Was` Enlightening!

It seems like my rant offended someone and they quit *following* my blog.
Ah well, maybe they will go follow someone else that doesn't offend them
I just don't have time or patience enough to be "politically correct". If I occasionally post a rant expressing my opinions and it offends someone, tough.
Grow up people and realize not everyone on this planet has the same opinion about everything.

On to the farm!

The heat is killing my goats milk production. Feed and water...they get plenty. My girls just want to browse a bit and then rest in the shade, get up to drink, go back to the shade, lather-rinse-repeat. Their milk production is down by at least one third.
They sleep a lot of the day and are a bit more active than normal in the evening hours.
Anyone got suggestions on how to get their milk production back up?

My birds....sheesh!
They are ALL laying like gangbusters! Peafowl, chickens, turkeys, ducks....a crazy amount of eggs! My incubator is full, Heloise the goose is setting a nest, Daphne the duck is setting a nest, even Tinkerbell the turkey is setting a nest! The peahens just lay an egg and wander off. Wish I could get them and my gimpy turkey to set!
All the chicken eggs....well, I have sold some, given some away and I use them in every recipe I can find.
Having deviled eggs with dinner tonight. Had chopped eggs in our salad last night and egg salad sandwiches for lunch yesterday. I know I shouldn't complain, but I wish my hens would slow down just a bit!
I am down to 15 hens and I am averaging between 10 and 12 eggs a day!
I am using some turkey eggs in baking and the occasional peahen egg in baking, too.
The Darlin' Man ordered another incubator so we can try to hatch out more of the peafowl and turkey eggs as those chicks sell for high prices around here.
For when they do hatch, I am converting our front porch into a brooder room. We have the hanging lamp and ordered a bulb for it when we ordered the 2nd incubator. They should be here by early next week.
Have to get another plastic wading pool for the actual brooder, though.
Debating about what to put in the wading pool brooder for the hatchlings to walk on. Some people use wood shavings, some use sawdust, some use newspaper, some use straw. I will probably go with newspaper. Never had a brooder before, so all suggestions are welcome!

I plan to get out and take some pics of Nugget and her brood and some of the other critters later.
Hoping all out there are having a good day!

Monday, June 3, 2013

June is FINALLY Here, Thank Goodness! And a Bit of a Rant.

Although I despise the heat here, I am glad to see the month of June arrive! May was so miserable for so many people. As if to make me feel better, Mother Nature granted us a short rainstorm and a cooling breeze last night. Yes, I went outside and walked in the rain and enjoyed the breeze!

On to my rant.

Though I may not see it in my lifetime, I can see the writing on the wall.
America is done.
Within 50 years states will become *regions*, regions will splinter and fracture and the whole idea of a *United* States will become moot.
I don't see the country becoming a banana republic, but I do see the country becoming a chaotic continent of regions, some living peacefully side by side, some constantly warring.
At least one region, possibly two, will come into total domination by the backwards, archaic, violent Muslim population. ( Dearborn Michigan and Paterson New Jersey are already dominated by high Muslim populations). If you live in those areas, get your ass out now, unless you want your children, grandchildren and other future descendants living under Sharia law. Islam allows for ONLY three outcomes for the non-Islamic: Conversion, Enslavement or Death.
There will be massive violence as those areas transition.
Please, do NOT protest this and say *But it's the religion of peace*. We all know that is bullshit.
Read your history books. There has NEVER been an Islamic country that lived peacefully.
If they lived peacefully with their neighbors, then they committed acts of violence against each other...raping young girls, beating their wives,honor killings, male rape of young boys, killing neighbors because they wouldn't sell their 10 year daughter into marriage with a 45 year old man, etc. And all of it condoned by their *faith*...which, in reality is NOT a *faith*, but is an all encompassing political/cultural/religious movement.

We have become a weak country. Seriously weak.
We no longer value self-sufficiency, courage, independence, critical thinking, freedom, or ANY of those qualities that made America the Republic a nation to be envied and held up as an example.
Now we arrest kids that take a plastic GI Joe to school that has a less than 1 inch gun in it's holster.
We don't ask immigrants to assimilate into our melting pot....we *celebrate* their cultures...even if they practice Female Genital Mutilation , taking hunks of broken glass or lids of tin cans to slice and dig out the inner labia and clitoris without anesthesia  in the belief that it keeps girls pure and chaste. Oh yeah...celebrate that shit! Such damn cultural diversity, it makes me want to puke.
I had an uncle (now deceased) that fought in World War II. Korea. AND VietNam.
Three Purple Hearts. A couple of Silver Stars and a Bronze Star. In addition to several other medals and decorations. He saw the horrors of the Nazi Concentration Camps up close and personal. Bodies being loaded onto flat bed rail cars like cord wood in Korea. Infants booby trapped and placed in the road by their mothers in VietNam because the VC knew American troops would want to save the baby and would get blown up with the infant.
What he did NOT see? A diagnosis of PTSD. He retired after 34 years in the service, went onto a successful career in real estate and enjoyed his remaining years with my aunt...taking vacations and enjoying life.
We used to be made of sterner stuff, I think.
Through my Darlin' Man, I have heard of current soldiers who never went into a combat area being diagnosed with PTSD (and getting disability for it!) because they HEARD of a friend getting killed in combat.
Spare me.
I had eight friends that were killed in VietNam, perhaps I should apply for PTSD related disability.

We have coddled ourselves to death. Unfortunately, it means the death of our country.
Those individuals (call them *preppers* or *survivalists* or whatever catch-all term is being used this week) that value self-sufficiency, freedom, etc. are rapidly "detaching" themselves from society. They still attend their churches or community events or go to the cinema or concerts...but they are talking less and less about their efforts and/or preps. It's called "going gray (or grey for my British friends). More and more are doing it. They are attempting to take their lives "off grid"...maybe not literally (as in no electricity or other utilities), but they are lowering their profiles. No credit cards and/or bank accounts. No cell phone with GPS capabilities. No GPS in their vehicles. Becoming self-employed and moving to a state with no state income tax or sales tax to lighten the load of all the invasive paper work. They home school. They grow as much of their own food as possible. I think they are the smart ones.

Our government has betrayed us AND the intent of our Founding Fathers. (Will someone please go check the graves of Tho. Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Geo. Washington, Thomas Payne, et al? I am sure those gentlemen have spun so much in their graves all the dirt must have been kicked off by now!)
We have corporations that wield more power than any politician or elected official (including the President). Monsanto being a good example. Monsanto poisons us and the band plays merrily on....due to the fact that the halls of Congress and the Executive Branch AND the Supreme Court are populated by former Monsanto lawyers and employees. Of COURSE GMOs are safe! We wouldn't lie to you! Colony Collapse in bees? Oh no...our genetically modified corn, wheat, canola, etc and herbicides wouldn't have ANYTHING to do with that! And we are sure the Monarch Butterfly numbers are decreasing rapidly because of some other reason...

If you are not angry, you haven't been paying attention!

I continue to blog in the hopes that it will help someone out there, somewhere, to wake the hell up!
You have the internet (obviously) because you are reading this.
Use (they don't save data to hand over to the government!) or, if you must, google.
Check out:
Cotton suicides (Monsanto), GMO bans, FGM, Sharia Law, Honor Killings, "Going Gray".
Check out financial pages and see how the bankers are giving us the shaft.
The Icelandic Revolution (woefully under reported by the main stream media)
Educate yourself.
It is painful, but it is necessary.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Animal Update

No pictures, but here is a quick update on the critters here at Frippery Farm!

Ugly Betty and her chicks: Betty and her two chicks are fine. The chicks are half grown and Betty has started treating them with benign neglect. They sleep on their own roost and Betty on hers and Betty has been making noises about joining the other chickens in the regular coop.

The Goats: Still getting plenty of milk out of all the milking does. Nikki is growing like a weed, though still trying to nurse off her mama, Nola. Lily, who we thought was dried up, starting producing milk again...and I found out it was because Lilac was nursing on her now and again and sorta kick-started her. Lily has a bit of mastitis, but I am milking her out thoroughly twice a day, so that should resolve itself rapidly.

Nugget and her chicks: Healthy AND noisy! We are getting ready to move them all out to a mini-coop as they have outgrown the re-purposed the old bunny hutch we have them in now.

Other Assorted Poultry: All the turkeys, peafowl, ducks and geese are fine and laying eggs like crazy! I have filled the incubator, so I have a broody hen that is setting on some of them and I am letting Heloise the goose set her own eggs.

Incubator Chicks: So far, I have had two chicks hatch and live. One, a goose and the other, a duck. We hatched out a turkey, but the little cuss died. The gosling (Ryan) we sold to someone that very much wanted a pet goose for their little farm. The duckling (Daffy) is happily living in a large Rubbermaid tote in my sons room. Daffy is aptly named. He runs around his tote like crazy, stops to eat or drink, and then sprints about some more chirp-quacking the whole time. We take him out several times a day to swim in a large dishpan. He LOVES that! He also has a habit of nibbling on any people that pick him up or pet him. Within two weeks we should have several more chicks hatch. I am REALLY hoping for the peafowl chicks to hatch.

That's my update...more later, hopefully with pictures!