Saturday, February 25, 2006

32 Degrees and Overcast

It's 32 degrees F. and overcast as I type this. It's been busy here on the farm. We are inching toward Spring and all the frenzy which is usual in that season.

We've had a little snow since I last wrote, but for the most part, it's been dry and sunny, if a bit cool. The lettuces and cabbages, peppers and tomatoes are up in the greenhouse and looking fine. I noticed that the daylilies in the middle section have sort of perked up and are responding to the direction of the Spring sunlight. It won't be long before they are developing flower buds.

Outside the greenhouse, daffodils and crocus have large buds which will, one day soon, burst open with bloom.

Our little Growers' Group met yesterday to discuss the farmer's markets we'll participate in and plans for marketing produce this year.

Goats are looking pregnant. I've got March 1st marked on my calendar for giving the CDT booster shots which are the annual protection for mothers and passively immunize the babies.

Tiny black calves -- seven -- are cavorting and looking cute out in the front pasture. Soon, we will be able to drive them into the next pasture as the fencing project winds down. They will need the waterers that will be installed in pasture #2 and between #3 and #4 pastures. We've also contracted to have one put in the newly fenced area which has never before been grazed. All the sink holes are fenced out and gates installed, so we're almost finished.

There's a tiny black chicken setting on a "hidden" nest under the flight cage where I've parked three adolescent roosters. She is convinced that no one knows its there and seems determined to hatch out some chicks this year.

Eggs are increasing daily. The peacock is displaying his newly grown tail feathers with great enthusiasm, but the peahens are studiously ignoring him.

I tried giving the guineas pumpernickle bread yesterday, but they still will not touch it! What a bunch.

Saturday, February 11, 2006


It's been coming down steadily all day and the forecast is for blizzard conditions until tomorrow morning. We all knew we couldn't dodge the bullet. It looks nice, anyway.

The netting over the chicken yard will surely bog down again. All my work was for nothing. We'll use new netting later in the season. I think my husband took a knife and cut it where it attached to the fence to avoid pulling the entire fence down.

Speaking of fence, all the cross-fencing is up. There are still gates to be installed and ball waterers. I'm thinking that'll have to wait until the snow melts. It could be a couple of weeks. I'm glad we took advantage of the good weather.

I read "One Woman's Army", by Janis Karpinski. It was worthwhile reading. I have a much better picture of Iraq and of the situation that led to the scandals. If you are interested, I'd encourage you to read it and make up your own mind about things.

'On the last chapter of "Freakonomics", which is also very interesting. If I get stuck in the house because of the storm, I'll definitely finish it and whatever other books I've started. Then, when the decks are cleared, I'll read "The Last Fine Time", by Verlyn Klinkenborg, sent to me by my brother and sister-in-law. Thanks, guys!

Monday, February 06, 2006

First Goose Egg of the Year

Yep. I wasn't really expecting it yet, but the first goose egg showed up in the nest box of the brown Chinese geese today. Spring's on its way. The chicken egg production is up, as well.

Winter has returned. We all knew not to let our guard down, of course. It was very cold today, but sunny. Yesterday, there were snow flurries, but none stayed on the ground.

I'm cleaning chicken coops and we replaced nest box floors in the chicken house. This time, I'm trying scraps of greenhouse plastic cut to size. This stuff is double-walled and thick. Last year, I tried metal flashing material, but they managed to make holes right through it. If you've got chickens you may understand what I'm talking about. We've tried cardboard, metal roofing material, and the flashing but nothing lasts more than a year. I think it's all the moisture built up by the hens' setting.

I also worked on repairing the aviary netting over the chicken yard attached to the chicken house. It's a pain. I wish we could come up with a better system.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Zounds! The Scarlet Pumpernickle!

Guineas are wacky birds. They are also LOUD. The bunch of fourteen, as I like to call them, have matured. They are big and beautiful and LOUD and squawky. They do not act refined, like the chickens they share space with. They are interesting to observe.

Yesterday, I gave them some black bread as a feed supplement. They eyed it cautiously, circling with suspicion. Normally, they dig in to the white or whole wheat bread, but this was obviously different. It must be a trick... someone was trying to poison them or something. The pumpernickle bread just sat there for the whole day, untouched by guinea beaks. I finally gave it to the chickens, who scarfed it down quickly.