Monday, March 18, 2013

Loving Spring

This week has been exceptionally warm.  The fodder sprouting beautifully, when we had the cold weather it was slow to sprout.  The turkeys love the fodder. 

The baby chickens are getting along wonderfully we have taken out the screen that divides them.  We have put the cage that holds the chickens inside the chicken coop that has the roosters in it.  Hopefully all the chickens will get used to each other and be able to be in one pen.

The cattle are in a pasture with a lot of grass in it right now but I am still giving them some fodder and hay to help the pasture last longer.  All the cattle except Onyx, our old Lowline Angus girl have been eating the fodder for weeks.  This week even in a pasture with a lot of grass Onyx started eating the fodder. 
The sheep are in an area with lush green grass and they don’t eat the hay or fodder we give them at night when we put them in their coyote proof enclosure. 

Life is beautiful in our corner of the world.  
I need to remember to reflect and be thankful. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Turkey Coop

We woke up to another cold wet rainy day.  Darling Husband needed to finish the turkey coop.  But, for some reason before he could start he and Teen Son needed to go to the feed store.  They came home with more chicks!  We don’t have a place for the turkeys and now we have more chickens???  They put the new baby chickens with the older baby chickens and the older chickens start pecking at the babies so we divided their cage by putting a screen in that has openings big enough for the baby chicks to go through if they want. 
The guys discovered that one of the turkey hens had laid an egg.  Teen Son was so excited to show it to us he tripped, dropped, and cracked it on the way to show it to us.

Then Darling Husband left to run some errands and one thing led to another and the turkey coop didn’t get finished until the next day.  It is beautiful!  If I had to do it again now that the turkeys are in it, it would be deeper (don’t tell DH that).  It is beautiful the turkeys are happy, since then we have 3 more eggs.
 One thing I will say is it is amazing how huge turkey poop is.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


The day finally arrived to pick up the turkeys.  The turkey coop isn't ready yet.  No surprise there.  It started pouring the night before we were supposed to pick them up.  I got an email from their owner they had snow during the night so we need 4 wheel drive to make it to her house now or maybe we should wait for better weather.  OK. 
Darling Husband has no work that day because of the rain he thinks he will finish the turkey coop before we leave so I should not put off picking up the birds.  This means we are putting the turkeys in the suburban instead of the back of Darling Husband’s truck.  We take the back seat out of the suburban and go to put the animal crate in the suburban and it will not fit.  We once again empty out the cat’s night time enclosure because that will fit in the suburban. 
We pick up youngest son from school and head out on our adventure.  As soon as we get up in the mountains we realize the heater we just had fixed isn't working.  Fortunately the suburban has a heater in the back so that keeps us from freezing.  We used Darling Husbands sweater to wipe the windshield every few minutes. 
It’s snowing, very cold, windy, and muddy at the house we pick up the turkeys.  We get 2 hens and a tom.  They are beautiful. 
The problem with Darling Husband building a coop on a rainy wet day is it is rainy and muddy where we are building the coop.  He has other things he can do without getting muddy and wet.  So we get home and NO the coop isn't finished.  It is raining and wet so we put the turkeys in a safe temporary place and go into the house.  

Monday, March 11, 2013

I Want Turkeys Part 2

I still want turkeys.  I found a trio of adult turkeys at a good price not too far from home.  We found a coup Darling Husband can build without too much expense and looks easy.  We contact the seller and set everything up for the weekend.  That gives Darling Husband 6 days to build the coup. 
Darling Husband has a friend who has a radiator shop he has kids who love hatching chickens and an uncle with access to a lot of free eggs.  He regularly needs to get rid of the chicks that hatch because there are only so many chicks a man can have and his kids like hatching eggs - not the adult chickens so much.  Somehow he ended up with a lot of birds at his radiator shop.  The city found out, you can’t have birds in the industrial part of town.  He called us to see if we would be willing to take a young but breeding pair of Black Silkies.  Sure why not.  He has only a few days to get rid of all the birds.  Instead of building a turkey coup we now had to build the chicken coup we will need when Laurel and Hardy get bigger.  It needs to be done in hours not a couple days.  Some friends gave us their old dog kennel it’s about 4 x 5 so Darling Husband decided to adapt that to fit the chickens.
 Great but it didn’t get finished so he brought home the Silkies and put them in a box on the kitchen counter every time one Caw-ca-doodle doo-ed our poor dog started howling.  I put them outside so the cats could explore the outside of the box but not make my dog go crazy.  Finally the coup was ready and we put the silkies in it.  I thought they both looked like roosters but DH said no they were a breeding pair.  Neither of us know what we are doing. 

The next morning I went out early to watch them as I was feeding the rest of the animals and both of those silkies make rooster noises!  UGG we have 2 roosters.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Happy Birthday!

Our son turned 15 Yay!  For his birthday celebration he wanted to have a few friends spend the night then have a bunch of friends come for the day and then have kayak races and run around the property with a February birthday often we have to be inside but I like his positive attitude.  Let’s try it!
We need to move the sheep and cattle into different areas.  The cattle we moved into a pasture with our neighbors horses to eat what the horses wouldn’t eat for just a couple days and somehow that turned into over a week with us not getting around to moving them.  One of the horses liked the fodder so much he chased the cows away from it. 

The morning of the sleep over, while I am making breakfast for all the boys, Birthday Boy informs me he made arrangements for the horse he is taking care of to get its feet trimmed.  Ok, so now while his friends are over we need to try to catch a horse that sometimes is an angel and you can put your arms around it and sometimes you can spend hours chasing it to catch it.  Great what fun!  While Darling Husband is eating his breakfast I remind him we need to move the sheep but think with all the kids here we can let them free range for the day.  Darling Husband says, “You are adding chaos onto chaos!”

We finish breakfast and go out to take care of the animals.  I walk up to get the fodder while Birthday Boy walks his FFA Lamb.  Then we let all the sheep loose and feed the cattle and try to catch Magic.  Magic doesn’t want to be caught.  Every once in a while one of Birthday Boy’s friends walks towards the sheep as if he will pet them but they run away from him.  We ask Stick Boy to keep an eye on the sheep.  After 30 minutes of almost getting a rope around Magic’s neck we ask Stick Boy where the sheep are “What Sheep MOM?”  So 8 of us start looking for the sheep, who had decided to go visit a neighbor.  We get them back on the property and they start eating happily.  Darling Husband turns to me “I told you this was a bad idea.  I thought I was clear I didn’t want the sheep out today”.  I said “You said I was adding chaos onto chaos.  I thought that was just our life.” 
We get back to the business of catching Magic with only 10 minutes until the Ferrier arrives.  Magic runs from me with hay in my hand.  Magic runs from Birthday Boy then stops and stands still.  Birthday Boy walks up and puts his arms around the horse’s neck, I walk over and we gently put a rope around his neck and then get the halter on.  Magic gets his hoofs trimmed and everything finishes up just as more boys arrive for the party. 
Mother Nature gave us a beautiful hot day!  The boys had kayak races, played bumper kayaks, jumped off the rope swing into the pond.  The sheep would wander over and check out the boys every once in a while and didn’t go visiting any neighbors.  Fillet that naughty steer found ways to get out 2 times.

All the boys were supposed to leave at 5:pm and I let them know any that stayed late would help us move the sheep fence.  At 5:20 we still had 3 boys so they helped move the sheep fence and set up the solar charger.  By 6: all the animals were where they belonged and fed.  We still need to move the cattle but tomorrow is another day.

It was a great day!  Happy Birthday to my son!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

I Want Turkeys Part 1

I want turkeys.  I have been looking up information and want to stick with heritage animals.  I have chosen a breed.  I have not been in a big hurry.  We are busy enough.  We got our oldest daughter chickens for Christmas we do not need anything else for a while. 

Darling Husband was driving by a local feed store and they were having a Chick Extravaganza.  He came home all excited!  “We should go!” 

“I don’t want chickens”

“It will be fun, we don’t need to buy anything!”

“I have a lot to do, I don’t want to go!”

Then Teen Son joined in, “Let’s go check it out”!

“We have friends we can get free chickens from if we want chickens.”

“We are not buying we are just looking!”

Yes we went!  Yes looking into Darling Husband’s eyes and Teen Son’s eyes I had to stop saying no.  They melt my heart even though buying these chickens made no sense.  Chicks were dead in the boxes we were looking at, they were too young to buy.  We had no coup, we were not ready for chickens.  We brought home 6.  We cleaned out a cat crate and put them in it with Chicken Starter and water.  They were not in good shape.  In 2 hours 2 of them had died, by bed time 1 more was dead, and in the morning 1 more was dead. 

The two survivors started feeling better and moving around by the afternoon they had discovered they could get through the holes in the cat crate so we had to put cardboard around it.  Laurel and Hardy seem to be doing well and thriving.  

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Rodenator

The squirrel holes have gotten so bad we are worried a horse will break a leg.  We fill in the holes but because we don’t fill in the dens they just show back up bigger than before.  Darling Husband borrowed Bargain Finder Friend’s Rodenator.  The Rodenator works using a long tube to put oxygen and propane into the hole and then a spark is sent into the hole and BOOM, the hole explodes, the tunnels collapse, then we fill in the fallen earth and hopefully the squirrels are gone. 

We put our dog in his crate and went to work getting rid of the squirrel and gopher holes in the front pasture.  It was a family affair Stick Boy and Pre Teen Daughter would search for the gopher holes and squirrel holes and put sticks in them.  Darling husband operated the Rodenator.  Teen Son would fill in the holes when we were done. I drove the truck and helped whoever needed it.  It worked great.  We kept an eye on the horses, sheep, and cattle.  The cattle were not interested after the second blast.  The horses wanted to see what we were doing and occasionally we had to chase those curious critters away.  When we had a loud blast the sheep would look up and run around then go back to eating. 

We were all productive and happy until we went into the house. 

Our wonderful dog panicked every time the Rodenator went off.  He tore apart his crate and pulled everything off the top of it.  Chewed on lots of my plastic containers, broke a bottle of syrup, pulled trash bags out of the cupboard and ate them, took a bit out of each potatoe in a 5 lb bag, chewed a bottle of soap ……. All of this was on the floor of the kitchen when we came up to make lunch. 
After the fire scaring our dog, us being out blasting the rodent holes scared our poor dog every time we made a noise.  After lunch I stayed in the house with our dog.  Darling Husband and the boys went out to work until they ran out of oxygen.   

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Thankful Day

Friday was a beautiful day!  Finally the weather turned warm. The youngest 3 and I cleaned the house.  A friend gave me a wonderful product to clean windows called “Gleen” It worked beautifully.. I defrosted and started cooking some pork ribs.  Darling Husband came home early and we had some nice relaxing family time.  We moved the cattle into another pasture. 

When it was time to do the evening feeding everything was as relaxed and enjoyable.  We locked our dog in his crate.  I went up and turned on the water for the fodder, got 2 trays of fodder for the cattle, stopped by my daughters chickens and gave them a small chunk of fodder, and headed down to put the sheep away and feed the cattle.  Stick Boy and Pre Teen Daughter were running around playing.  Teen Son walked his FFA Sheep and was talking with a friend.  Darling Husband and I scratched the cattle as they munched on their fodder.  Then we walked up the hill.  I went to turn off the water at the fodder. 
Darling Husband called me before I got very far up the hill.  I ran down the hill as fast as my Shit Boots will allow me to run and saw smoke coming out of the door.  One of the batteries we have in a bin in the pantry must have shorted out and started a fire.  Thank God Darling Husband walked in when he did and we have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. 

We went to bed incredibly grateful we have a house. 

It turns out one of our 9 bolt batteries had shorted out on a flat round battery like the CR2032 batteries and got hot enough to start a fire.