Friday, August 8, 2008

rufus and station

So here's Rufus now. He's pretty big. I love that he's pretty much afraid of the hens. I was hoping he was a gay rooster, but no such luck, as it turns out. Hopefully he'll just be a gentle creature who isn't needing to attack the hens every minute. The other rooster who hid during butchering days is quite aggressive, and he'll be in the oven soon. I'm so much less inclined to put up with roosters sneaking up behind me to attack me then previously. That gets a bit tiring. Like I can't even be comfortable in my own yard because this bird that weighs 8 lbs can freak me out? Seriously.

And the little chicks are finally starting to lay! They are all in the big barn now, which is really so much easier for us. The turkey hens will get moved this weekend after I have cleaned their coop out. That will make it even easier, I think. We'll put Lizzy in there with them, and perhaps one male as well. She tends to chase the chickens around and is a bit rough on them. That's no good for laying purposes. We'll see how the mr. turkeys get along with the young boys, which will give them more room to roam. If they don't, I'm not sure what I'll do about them. Wouldn't another barn be great?

Oh, so I counted like 67 hens the other day and I have only been getting 6-8 eggs a day. I'm thinking this doesn't make sense, but then again, what do I know? Maybe it's the heat. Maybe they are eating the eggs, maybe they are still hiding them. I can't find new nests anywhere, so I've no clue. I'm starting to go out there to collect eggs every few hours. Yesterday I got a dozen eggs, and at least half of them were from the new chicks. Pretty small and cute. Hopefully they'll all start laying soon.

(Looks like I'll have to upload pix later. For whatever reason, they are refusing to load.)

on electric fencing

Finally! It is up and running. Jarvie came over to help me hook it all up earlier this week. And it wasn't that I couldn't do it myself, just that I was freaked out about doing it and needed moral support. And someone to touch it when it was all finished so we could test it and see if it worked! Of course, she refused, so I let everything sit for a few days until yesterday I decided to just go for it and let the girls out. The worse that could have happened was that it didn't work and they would have broken through it, and the best was that it worked fine.

It worked fine!

Here's the thing about electric fencing: it isn't a physical barrier but a psychological one. These girls weigh at least 200#, and at 135#, I get dragged along behind them whenever I try to lead them anywhere. They flip me like a rag doll unless I am really digging in my heels. And even then.

So here are these big girls with these little wires. A touch of the nose here, and then over there, and again over there was enough to give them a healthy fear of the fence. It was so awesome. Once they figured out the boundary, they just ran and ran. At first, they'd run right for me and I was sure they'd simply fly into the fence, but they'd turn at the last minute to run the other way. They were SO happy to get out of their pen. I can't quite figure out how they can run so fast being so fat, but they managed.

I wonder how much the world around me is like an electric fence. A shock here, a shock there, and suddenly I have this psychological barrier that keeps me from doing and being all that I can do and be. What limits me, really, save for a few strands of wire? A story about some events that happened in the past?

Ooops. As I was writing so philosophically about the electric fence, Hershey got out! Dammit! See, I don't want an electric fence to limit me, but I certainly want it to limit her! It's possible that the 5 strands being hot are making it not so shocking. I'm not really sure. It's got a 50 mile radius, so that should be enough. What do I know about these things anyway? I put her nose to the fence a few times, and maybe that will work. But she was actually standing on the wire and I'm betting she wasn't feeling the shock through her hooves. Well, we shall just have to see. I'll make sure nothing is touching it, perhaps put another ground halfway around, and see what happens.

Seriously, goats are the most stubborn, strong, annoying, delightful creatures that one can take care of. If this doesn't work, I really have no idea what I'll do, other than keeping them in a very limited area. That would be a bummer for them, but then again, at least they'd be safe there. As would my gardens, the ducks, the chickens, the turkeys, the house, the barns, and anything else they could get their paws on. Seriously, who in their right mind would possibly think of taking care of adolescent children who weight over 200#? I'm a freaking nut case!

Friday, August 1, 2008


Well, I haven't written much these last few days, mostly because I really haven't done anything. I did get the wire for the electric fence up, but still need to tag it so people don't run into it, and also put the unit up. I found a copper pipe by the little chicken coop that had a ground wire attached to it, and think it might have been for the phone line that had been there. Or it does look like there was an electric fence that had been attached to the coop at one point, so maybe it was for that. Regardless, figuring that part out has been taken care of. Now it's just a matter of attaching the wires to the unit and plugging the thing in. Gulp.

On to Richard: there has been an interesting development in the fate of Richard. Amlan is concerned that there will be too much of Richard to consume without any of him going to waste. It is so interesting how the way we think about these things changes when we are connected to our food sources. There is way more to think about, actually. We are taking a life, and in that taking, one of the ways we show our respect is by making sure there is no waste. I love this.

If Amlan can't get any partners, he has committed to adopting Richard. This is awesomely cool. I have found myself growing increasingly fond of Richard now that Flower has her own pen and he isn't taking nibbles off her wool or harassing her for her food. He's turning into a kinder, more gentler, Richard. This afternoon I went outside and found the 2 little chicks sitting on his back roosting. He was just looking at them, and didn't move a bit. I think he really liked them there. I tried to get a picture, but by the time I got back with the camera, they had jumped off. But it made me like him even more.

So I'm hoping that Richard stays. And if the girls truly are pregnant (Amlan told me I can give them a regular pregnancy test to find out), then this means he can continue to be the farm stud and Isaac can become a wether. I like this idea. Flower will have an ideal companion, and we can love on Isaac when he gets older without smelling like a billy goat. Hate the thought of the process, but I think it will be worth it. I'll hunt up a pregnancy test this weekend to make sure, and then I'll call the vet to get Isaac taken care of. I'm thinking the sooner the better.

Well, I didn't get much work of any kind done today, and it was supposed to be one of those days! So goes it. Now I'm heading for bed with the fan on so Vanna can't hear the coyotes. It's the only way to get any sleep these days.

Oh, and the guys come home from their vacation with Tim on Sunday. Woohoo! I've sure missed them, as have all the animals.

I have to remember to take a picture of Rufus. (Remember him? He's the little chick that got his beak ripped off who fell in love with Dan. He's been hanging around the house these days. I really like him. Except I forgot how we spelled his name, originally.)

Anyway! Goodnight!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

our white bantam

She's pretty cute, isn't she? When she was in the little coop, she always hid. Now that she is in the big barn, she is starting to get brave. I love to see her out running around.

As of yesterday, I am not letting the chickens run in the front yard, and am forcing them to play out back behind the barn where the new fencing will keep them safe. I have to say that I am a bit saddened by this. I loved going outside and seeing them everywhere. Now when I come in, it's all quiet out front and seems kind of lonely. But they are safer, and I guess that's a good thing. Yes, how great it would be do have this whole place fenced in so they can run wherever they feel like it.

A good reason for controlling their running room is that this way I will be able to find their eggs. I hope, anyway. Who knows where they are laying now? I have no clue. I only know that sometimes I am lucky if I get 8 eggs. And this from 25 laying hens. I'm going to have babies spring up everywhere. Cool! I hope so.

goat barn continued

I am really getting there on the goat barn. Boy, what a long drawn out process. I have to say that if I didn't have goats or I didn't care too much about them being able to graze, I would never complete this project. I've kind of forgotten how long it takes to do these kinds of things. Since the main part of the house was done, I could work on things little by little and it didn't take forever to see some real change. This seems to be taking a very long time. The good news is that Flower's pen is pretty much completed, although I still have some more stuff to do. She slept in there last night, at least. The problem is that it left poor Richard on his own, and he did a bit of crying over that. Flower cried a bit, too, but at least she could hear the other goats. I've been putting Isaac in with her during the day so they can graze together. We'll see how this system works. So far, I really like it. And Flower will be able to get outside in the winter, too, which she'll love. I don't think she minds the cold at all.

WOohoo! We are getting there. And since I'm not so afraid of electricity, it will be easier to put the fence up. Still not quite sure how to get around the gate. That's my hang up. But what usually happens is I just decide to do something and it ends up working fine. Even if it takes a few tries. Such is life.

Anyway, here's a picture of the right side almost done. I'll take another one today, hopefully, so you can see what it looks like with a door on it.

Where the electric fence will go for the girl goats:

Where the electric fence will go for Flower and Isaac:

Speaking of girl goats:

Junk from the barn I have to find a place for. Man!

we die right on time

It's now my new belief. For real. I could say it was a new religious belief, but what does religion have to do with it? Seems like we either think we die perfectly on time, or we don't. And I've always kind of said this, but I can see that I never was really quite sure about it. Until now.

See, I almost electrocuted myself this past weekend. I'm scared of electricity, and it's the one thing I've never done on my own. Not even have I attempted to put in a light fixture. Yep, I'm chicken about electricity. So I find it pretty ironic that I cut the main power cords to the house using bolt cutters. Yep, bolt cutters.

And I didn't die. But only because I'm going to die right on time, and this weekend wasn't right on time. I'm pretty happy about that, really.

It's not like I would have cared, as I'd be dead, but think of the boys! They would have to tell people that their mom died when they were 15 because she cut the power lines to the house with bolt cutters. How embarrassing.

When I had someone out here working on the house in the early days, we talked about those wires sticking up all over the place by the barn. Probably old wires, because if they were the new wires, they wouldn't be sticking out of the ground like that. Well, they weren't old and they had plenty of juice.

What's crazy about the whole thing is that I never felt a thing, and then proceeded to work the rest of the day on the barn--moving and dragging fencing and who knows what else all across those cut wires. See? Right on time.

The cool thing is that now I'm not so afraid of electricity, and I think I am not so afraid of dying. And it might even be easier to accept if someone I don't want to die does. Of course, I'm hoping I don't have to find that out. But I'm 41 and haven't really had to deal with that up close and in person, so it is bound to happen sooner or later.

Unless, of course, my time comes first. It probably won't be due to bolt cutters.

Here's the wires:

Here's the barn cleaned up--well, besides the mountain of manure:

Where I'm putting the Mr. Turkeys until I figure something else out. I think they were scaring the hens in the barn and creating chaos in general. I might have to talk to the boys about 40 lb tough turkey dinner. I'm not sure yet.

The little turkeys not quite so little:

Sunday, July 20, 2008

on the new goat barn!

The horse barn is slowly and steadily being converted to the goat barn. I would like to have the whole thing finished already, but I reckon that these things take time and finish when they are ready to be finished. The girls have a new stall in there, as does Isaac. Isaac seems pretty happy in his, but the girls are totally freaking out. They truly are like 4 year old humans. As long as they can see me, they stop crying. The minute I go out of view, they start bawling again. All day long. It will take them a while to get used to their new home, and I know that once they do, they will be way happier there. Or maybe it's me that will be happier!

Anyway, yesterday I bought the fixings for the electric fence I want to put up, and started working on it a bit. I am going to divide the pasture into 2 sections, one for the girls and their babies (if they ever have them, that is!) and the other for Flower and Isaac, until Isaac starts getting horny and then I'll have to move him farther away from the girls. Richard, in the meantime, will have his own little section in the barn, and will pasture to the side where he won't actually be too close to the girls, yet will be able to see them. So many people isolate the bucks from the rest of the herd and they just die of loneliness. I'm not willing for that to happen. Flower and Isaac will be in the pen next to him, so they'll have contact with each other. Isaac is less of a butt than Richard, and hopefully he won't like the taste of wool. I think it gets a little old for Flower to have Richard tasting her whenever he gets bored or hungry! What a nuthead.

Once the fencing is finished, I'll start working on the chicken house that the girls have totally destroyed. What a mess that place is! I think I'll open most of it up and build a lot of nests for the hens that want to set. The new girls will be laying soon, so we'll have plenty of eggs for selling.

I'm going to get rid of the fencing in the front of the barn, and put in some new deer fencing in the back. They can forage in the trees without us having to worry about the fox and coyotes getting them. It will make things SO MUCH nicer. It's very exciting to think about!

The turkey hens will go in the now chicken coop, and I'll build nests for them to set as well. The male turkeys will stay where they are for the moment, as they are going to be Thanksgiving dinners. (Not looking forward to that!)

Then, once that is all done, I'll be able to reconvert Flower and Richard's house to the wood shed, and start working on the wood supply. Ok, now I'm freaking myself out with all the work that needs to be done. And this isn't even counting my dissertation work that I haven't been doing! AHhhhhhhh!

It's so great to know that everything gets done when it needs to get done. And anything that does get done makes life around here that much sweeter!

Here are some other pictures that Benj took:


Isaac chilling:


Which reminds me, the ducks have a new nest that I can't find. All those eggs sitting there, infertile, that could be in my frying pan. Bummer! They are SO sneaky!