new era in weather reporting

We seem to be over the various sicknesses we’ve had of late and this weekend we actually made some progress on various and sundry things. They’re not hugely important tasks, but things that need to get done regardless. Saturday we did a rather fun thing… we set up the weather station that my folks gave us for Christmas.  Yes, I know we’ve had weeks to do that, but it’ts really the first time we’ve both felt up to figuring everything out. You know how it is when you’re sick… your mind just doesn’t want to take on anything the least bit taxing. Anyway~ here’s the skinny. Continue reading

it’s seed catalog season

SeedCatalogsSo, here we are – finally Friday! Been waiting for this day all week, right? Me too. Friday is a regular blog day for us, but I have absolutely no idea what to write about. Plus, I’m a little brain dead from doing year end tasks, processing payments, and messing with membership stuff at work. I’m not really a numbers person, but find myself working with finances a great deal lately. My mind is tired today. I find that when I’m particularly tired, one of the fun things to do when I get home is go through the mail and look at all the seed catalogs we’re getting. I like to compare prices, see new varieties, and try to think about what would work really well here. What are the new things we’re going to try? It’s time I should be putting together an order!  Continue reading

ongoing winterizing

nesting box barSo far, we’ve had a rather mild winter.  Only one really hard freeze and last night was the first horrid windstorm. All along, we’ve been trying to make sure the chickens stay wind shielded, warm and dry in their various little coops and shelters.  Sue has been adding to the hay bale wind breaks as much as possible – plus they love pecking and scratching at it.  She also added another layer of hay to the inside of the coops, keep up on that deep litter method, which helps Nexting box bar 2to keep the temperature warm inside the coops. We’re kinda hoping that, if we keep them happy, we’ll still continue to get some eggs through the winter – enough to keep our regular customers supplied. As part of that, Sue gave the newer nesting boxes, on the biggies’ side, an addition. They were consistently using the box at the far right end, because they can easily get in there from the ladder, but the other boxes were getting used less and less. So, Sue decided to add a little roosting bar to them, so that they could more easily access the others. It’s a great addition… and the chickens have enjoyed having it there; however, still just finding an egg in the end box. Must be someone’s favorite! Continue reading

what’s in a word?

organic-Lately, we’ve been fielding questions about our eggs. Although it sounds a bit personal, what people are really wanting to know is how we classify the chicken eggs that we sell. There are also a lot of “buzz” words flying around out there, different labels and certifications, which are sometimes misunderstood by the public in general. Everyone wants to purchase eggs that are fresh and healthy, and also, many people are now trying to be conscious of the quality of life of the animals who are producing the food that we eat, but how can you tell what you’re getting? Do the labels help at all? What does “Organic” really mean???  How about “Cage Free”, or “Free Range”?  I just thought we’d talk briefly about those terms and then about what we’re allowed to label the eggs that we sell. Continue reading

are the ducks too fat?

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Roma (the goose), Mandrake (the male duck), and one of his Ladies (we call the ladies the 3 busybodies).

This was the question of the day. How do you tell if the ducks are too fat? Sue mentioned that she wondered if they were because they were having difficulty getting over the curb, but as I watched them this afternoon, I thought that it might be more that the dirt inside the coop area has become quite compacted lately. Still – how do you tell if the ducks are fat? I have no idea… so I did a little bit of research online. There’s not a great deal of information out there about how to tell if your duck is too fat or not. If you pick them up a lot, you’re supposed to be able to feel for their “keel” and if you can’t feel it, then they are too fat. We don’t pick up our ducks a whole lot, only if they are injured, it makes them a bit stressed out when we try. How else can you tell? Continue reading

a new year has begun

New-Year-2018A new year, indeed. Did you know that 2018 is the year of the dog? But it doesn’t start really until February 16th, so we’re technically still in the year of the Rooster. Both actually suit us just fine, I suppose. As far as new things happening… there aren’t that many. As I write this, both Sue and I are battling the flu that has been so pervasive in the community. We’ve been fighting through out the holidays, I believe. Sue thought she was over it, but it kind of rebounds on you. As I write this, I am sipping a hot toddy and Sue is taking a nap, before we go to choir rehearsal where she is going to be the substitute pianist tonight. I’m supposed to be rehearsing a solo in a song tonight, so we’ll see how well we both do. We had to make a midnight run to the airport last night to pick up a solider flying in from Virginia and take him back to Fort Huachuca. It has about done us in! We’ve done well just keeping up on the normal stuff! Continue reading

Just another Friday update

The weekend is here… seems like such a long, short week. Sometimes this last week of the year gets all muddled; I posted a meme yesterday that said something like “Welcome to that time between Christmas and New Year, when you don’t know what day it is, who you are, or what you’re supposed to be doing.” That’s kind of how I’ve been this week.  Sue has been out of sorts as well, but that never stops her from accomplishing tasks around the farm. Continue reading

Night Moves, yet again.

It seems that our “littles” have all gotten just a bit too big! We knew that was going to happen and Sue had been renovating the little chicken tractor to give the Banty babes a new place to grow up, which would allow the little layers to “go [outside] into the light, Carol Anne!” (If you don’t understand my obscure movie references, my apologies.)  Anyway~ We worked on getting things all set up for them yesterday, and last night we were able to move the banties out.  Continue reading

Christmas Barn Dance

IMG_2202Wednesday night and most of Thursday, we had some fierce winter winds. They were blowing like crazy!  On the littles’ side of the coop, the wind was just barreling through the small chicken door – heedless of the wind shield Sue put up for just this reason. So, Sue went and picked up some straw bales from Gem’s, our local feed store, and arranged a wind break for them.  You can see Imen there, inspecting for bugs today.  This is really the first day they’ve been out with the bales, because it was so bitterly cold and windy yesterday – they allIMG_2203 hung around inside. Today it was warm and calm enough to have the door open for a few minutes when the sun was shining right inside. They love to hang out in the door way and sun themselves.  Anyway~ Sue also added three bales on the other side for the biggies as well.  Just so their food pallet would have a little protection as well. The biggies were out a bit more yesterday than the littles, but they are all still quite interested in the new hairy lumps that have been added to their run.  I was out there watching them this afternoon, and I goy the distinct feeling they think that the additions are for a Christmas Barn Dance.  I saw them making all kinds of little preparations….

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small renovations

IMG_2199Sue is really good at building and rebuilding things, re-purposing, re-using, re-configuring. It happens on and off… build something that the ducks don’t like and repurpose it for the chickens.  Build something as a tractor, reuse it as a shade shelter, or in this case. Take something that was a tractor, then made into an above the ground shelter and now repurpose it back into a tractor.  The photo shows the tractor on it’s back, the legs have already come off and then Sue’ll begin to take the chicken wire from the bottom. This one sits right on the ground, so she didn’t want the chickens to tear up their feet as they try to scratch through wire.  We’ll be moving it out near the “leaf pond”, setting up a fence around it and putting the Banties out there to have some fun in those leaves. We’ll put hay down inside the tractor and surround it with hay bales as well. Eventually, we may be able to let them out of the fencing to free range in the yard – even just an hour to begin with.  They’d love it and they could help with bug control in the spring. We’ll see how it goes. Continue reading