Category Archives: babies

MORE BABIES!!!

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We got our new chicks yesterday.  I’m interested to see how this will play out.  Paul didn’t want new chickens six months ago when I said the hens were broody, now we have mucho.  I think the tally is a whopping 75 head of fluff.  I’m still in the dark as to what the variety of chickens these are, this being addressed to Tabby who is just dying to know…aren’t you.  Tabby, and every one else, they are being kept in the green house at present to keep them warm and such.  Here are some pictures of them arriving.

Everyone was excited.

Doesn’t Karen look happy to be holding a baby chick?!

I told you I’d get a better picture of you Emily!

Did you know chickens were born in a box?

A temporary home.

In other news, Emily, Kyle and I made cultured vegetables for the first time.  We were winging it.  I watched a few YouTube videos and we went for it, but dear reader, it seems to be working.  There are so few directions, so it seems to easy to be true.  I’ll let you know in a few days how they taste.

Here is a picture of them this morning doing their thing.  There is beet, cabbage, kale and collard greens in here.  We also added salt, ground coriander and cayenne pepper.  What a terrible picture!  Too much coffee.

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Be careful what you wish for

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Brrrrrrr!  Just two weeks ago it was over 100 degrees and unbearably hot at night.  I would tout that I was going to roll around in the snow naked and embrace the cold this year.  Well, the last couple of nights and mornings have been brisk, leading me to find a sweater and socks.  I feel like a little kid with my arms crossed screaming “I don’t wanna!”  I feel like a hypocrite.  Maybe, dear reader I was speaking out of turn and didn’t really mean what I said.  Maybe I will keep my clothes on when there is snow on the ground.

In other farm news, we were anticipating getting 75 new baby chicks this morning.  They unfortunately didn’t arrive this morning, so tomorrow will probably be the next day.  Don’t ask what variety they are, I have no clue.  I didn’t even know we were getting new baby chicks until a few days ago.  Maybe I’m being kept in the dark on purpose, hard to tell.  Also, a bear attacked the pen that was constructed in the orchard to house all of these chickens.  I say bear, but it was more likely a large deer that ran into it, freaked out and karate chopped it to the ground.  Pictures will follow, it’s pretty amazing.  There is a metal pole in the ground that was bent in a 90 degree angle, and now laying flat.  The moral here is, don’t let your chicken fence get in any deer’s way.  The deer will always win.

Babies! And other things

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Don’t count your eggs before they’re hatched, or so they say, well we DID count them before they hatched and there were three dozen.  Post hatching, we were delighted to have 10-ish join the flock.  Now I say “ish” because there were two or so that died during the first day.  One of the chicks was hen-pecked, and had a head that was oozing.  So, I, wanting to be a day saver swooped up this chick and put it in a box in the house and treated its head wound.  This chick which I have since nicknamed “Spaz” lived in our house for about a week, then I reintroduced it to its siblings.  The Mamma hens were in this new coop with the babies and they knew Spaz was back and pecked at it again.  Ok, plan B, “Get rid of the Mamma’s”.  Well, easier said than done.  Through experience, I am an expert chicken catcher.  I have an accurate swoop, and through training am no longer afraid.  I threw the mammas into the coop with the bigger flock, and both mammas and babies started freaking out.  The crafty young somehow snuck through the fence and joined the big flock with no apparent side effects such as other hens nipping them and the like.  Leaving sweet Spaz all alone in the new coop.  Such is life.

Babies just hatching.

Little “Spaz”.  Since Spaz had been in the house, it didn’t know how to be with the other chickens.

Mammas and babies trying to figure out what happened.

And little Spaz again, trying to figure it out.

In other news, the Missouri Angels are gone for two weeks.  They will return, to over-winter here, this is great news for their help is so valuable.  Also, Paul Pakis, a previous WWOOFer, has just came back from a week-long vacation.  It’s funny, I have pictures of Paul P. and have never posted them, so to you dear reader, this may be your first introduction to him.  Paul who?  Exactly.  Paul came to us from Little Rock Arkansas, he stayed with us here for three weeks, left for a week, then came back.  He told us last night that as soon as he left and was home for a couple of days, all he could think about was coming back.  He said he had never eaten healthier, or felt better in his life.  That the farm life made him happy.  Things like this make us happy too.  It feels good to create an atmosphere for people where they feel good.  This farm is therapy.  Also, I could mention that right before Paul P. left, the Frenchies, David and Marine have returned to France.  I’m not sure how they’re doing, but I bet they’re relieved to not have to be awake and at breakfast by 6:30 am!  Happy trails to you both.

I said something about a head count

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The kids and I went to the library before lunch, and that’s where I blogged about the chickens earlier.  Anyway, when the kids and I came home, we checked on the baby chickens.  There were two that I felt compelled to rescue at that moment.  I found a small box and brought them in.  One didn’t want to stand up and want to walk and it’s eye’s were all crusted shut with dirt.  The next had a head wound from being pecked on by one of the mammas.  I brought them inside the house, sure that at least one of them would be dead by dinner.  I am happy to say that they are still both alive.  I washed out eyes, and treated a pretty gnarly head wound.  I felt this overwhelming need to save these birds.  After such a traumatic loss maybe?  Hopefully they’ll make it.

Talk about a Barn Burner! A story of life and death.

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The heat “wave” in these parts is becoming unbearable.  Not even those lucky enough to have air conditioning are safe.  Crops are failing, the earth is soooooo dry.  We are outside with a hose everyday, trying to keep our plants alive long enough for the fall, because maybe then it will be cool enough for the tomatoes to set fruit.  It’s limping along, to put it nicely.  The heat is the prime topic of everyone’s conversation, especially those who have lived in these parts their whole lives.  Yesterday it hit between 108° F-110° F, reports vary.  Still, that’s the hottest temperatures this region has EVER seen.  Coming from the Central Valley of California, those temps aren’t too surprising, but I will agree with the locals, this isn’t supposed to happen here.

This morning, I went to take care of the chickens, feed them and bring them water.  I let out the birds, and I notice there aren’t as many.  I walk into the coop and see our red rooster dead and laying on the side of the laying boxes.  Hmmmm.  I look around and Peter, our turkin, is also missing.  At this point I panic.  Did something get into the coop?  Where are the other bodies?!  I walk back and find Paul and tell him about what I saw and didn’t see.

“Oh, yeah.  There were six dead chickens yesterday, probably from the heat.”

This damn heat.  Those poor chickens!  My beloved Peter.

The baby chickens, about a dozen have hatched and have been moved into their own home.  We have lost two due to heat or pecking, I’m not sure, but there are ten now.  We’ll have to take a recount at the end of the day.  Yesterday the kids pointed out to me that one of the baby chicks had the bald neck, “It’s a Turkin!” they said.  When I saw it, I felt tremendous joy.  I looked over at Peter in his separate coop and told him congratulations!  “You’re a father!”  It pains me to write about his death today.  He was one of two birds in our flock that I said we’d feed until they died because we all were so fond of them.  Here is a link of how he entered our lives.  It was such a neat story, scroll down to the entry titled “Crazy Freak Weather”.  R.I.P. Peter.  Hopefully your child is also a male.

Today there is cloud cover, and there were some raindrops, maybe ten.  Just enough to say yeah, remember this wet stuff that falls from the sky?  Well, I’m going over here, I’m not playing with you today.  We’ll see.

So much excitement and all before 8am!

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So much excitement and all before 8am!

This morning Paul comes in and tells the team over breakfast that plans have changed.  The original plans were to work on digging more row space or picking blackberries.  However some of the eggs under the rumps of our diligent chickens are starting to hatch, so plan B, make a new coop for the baby chicks.

Paul and Patrick are discussing plans for the new coop.

Finding materials to work with.

There are always usable pieces lying around.  Pat is putting the pieces to be used into a pile.

PS.  Don’t call it a come back!  The Missouri Angels were gone for about ten days visiting their family and such.  They made plans to go to New Mexico, but the farm there told them they were full at the moment, so they came BACK.  They couldn’t get enough, and I guess neither could we.  It feels really great to have their help once again.

Jake and Laura are stitching the holes in our deer fence.  So far so good on the security front, the sweet potatoes are still there.

Laura is going to LOVE this picture!  Sorry girl, I caught you blinking, but it’s funny.

So I’m in the house doing some activities with the kids, when Paul comes in and tells me about a problem with the chickens.  He mentioned how he had about four dozen eggs under four broody hens and that we have lost some to what he thought were other chickens.  That may be true, but within his next breath he mentions a SNAKE.  I gasp at the thought.  We were all excited about the possibility of babies, I don’t want to hear about a large rat snake entering the coop and eating them all.  For some reason it made me think of the book Rikki Tikki Tavi.  Then Paul tells me that it’s dead.  Dead?  Did you kill it?  I ask.  He explains that it somehow slithered  through the top that is covered with chicken wire, realized that it wouldn’t fit and came back out.  Mr. Rat snake must have been greedy and hungry, because it stitched itself back through the chicken wire one more time, only to meet its untimely death.  Chickens 1, snake 0.

It totally grossed me out getting this close to a dead snake.

An inside view.

Jake “Snake” Jones, sharing a moment with his brethren.

Crazy huh?  We don’t know what to do about it.  I personally don’t feel like cutting that snake out of there.  So if there are any volunteers, please raise your hand!  Maybe the snake can serve as a reminder to others to steer clear.

 

The day the fennel and my glasses died

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The day the fennel and my glasses died

Once the tomato tasting and the farmer’s market was a distant memory, meaning later that afternoon I took a look at my “Bronze Leaf” fennel plants and noticed that they were nothing but stems.  The culprit(s) were little caterpillars who eventually turn into the blue swallow-tail butterfly.  At the time there was only one of these critters on the plant, but there must have been more that escaped my radar.  These types of caterpillars attack dill, fennel and parsley.  When you touch them these orange feelers pop out of their head.  It must be their defense.  That and a sour stink that they produce.  It doesn’t wash off easily, so if you see these beings and you don’t want them to destroy your plant(s), I suggest wearing gloves to remove them and fling across the yard.

The culprit…atleast the one who I caught.  These jerks stripped this plant clean.

This is me touching it to get it to show its defenses.  Also, I should note that my glasses fell off my head here and landed near my feet.  I decided to leave them there since I was going to take more pictures and they weren’t hurting anyone there on the ground.  Make a mental note Amanda, I thought to myself, your glasses are right there.  Don’t step on them.  Check.

Here is this creature showing its orange defenses, before I flung it far, far away.  CRACK!  What!  Oh NOOOOOOO!  I just stepped on my glasses and broke them.  Now I dislike that critter even more, and my fingers stink from touching it.  So consider this a loss on all fronts.  My fennel is toast, my glasses are toast AND my fingers stink.  Serendipity.