Monday, May 27, 2019

No More Turkeys

In my efforts to downsize and do better at the things that I do I decided to give my turkeys - the adults and babies - away to a young man whom I know to be very good with animals.  The turkey pen had become a muddy mess and I thought hard about the time and effort it would take me to get it into a nice living environment and decided I didn't want to put in the time.  

The turkeys were cool as could be and I'll miss listening to their gobbling and watching them strut.  But it's time.  

I have a dear family, horses, beekeeping, an enormous vegetable garden and yard, fruit trees, chickens, swimming pool, cats, dogs, maple syrup production, community involvement, and running a house to keep me very busy.    

The husband and I have become empty nesters and would also like the opportunity to do a bit more traveling! 

Hence the decision to downsize one more thing. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

This And That

Lots of odds and ends to talk about.

I've been working with Lochlin (Loch) with desensitization training and part of that is taking him for walks.  We were going through a forest and suddenly his head went up and he snorted.  I never realized how much this log looks like it has mean eyes.  

We looked at it and walked gradually closer until he realized it was nothing scary - just a log.  But it sure does look kind of like a scary monster eyeballing you. 

My turkey hen has been laying eggs and I've been gathering them.  I gathered six eggs before one of the other turkeys decided to bust the rest.  Very frustrating.  Out of the six, I was able to hatch two little ones.  I didn't expect any because there had been a problem with the heat source to the incubator.  It was a surprise when one of the eggs started cheeping.  Here is a picture of turkey chick number two hatching.  I apologize in advance that you have to turn your head sideways.  The tricky part is raising these little (I hope) girls to adulthood.  Turkey chicks can be very delicate.   


We have now added our second Viszla to our family.  Our adult (almost two-year-old) is named LadyBird and our second girl is named Anna Belle.  She's as sweet and mischievous as can be.  I've heard Viszlas called "Velcro dogs" because they always want to be with you and that is definitely true!

We've gone through horse shedding season.  Bandit is a furball any time of year.  But at the end of the season, one could stuff a mattress with the amount of hair that comes from him. 

Maple season is over now and garden work and mowing has begun.  Sometimes I feel like my nose is just barely above the water.

I was looking at my description on the right of the blog page and realized that it's a bit obsolete.  My children have grown up and are both members of the U.S. Air Force - stationed in Washington state and Germany.  I'm so very proud of them.  

Go Air Force!

Monday, April 29, 2019

(Im)Patient Bees

Saturday, April 27th, was bee pick up day.  Unfortunately, the weather did NOT cooperate for the bees to go in their new homes.

Temperatures for Saturday and Sunday night were predicted to go down to 30-degrees or lower.  I surely didn't want to take the chance that my poor queen bee, trapped in her queen cage and waiting to be released, would freeze before the workers could get to her.  

So the bees have languished in my dining room until today - Monday - when temperatures will climb and the nighttime lows will not be deadly.

It's kind of freaky in your home to hear thousands and thousands of bees humming.  I"ll be happy when they can get in their new homes. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Battle Against Predators Continues

The battle against nature continues here on the farm.  

Yesterday, I found a bunch of white feathers and knew they were from our very old rooster, Foghorn Leghorn.  He's been around for at least five years or more.  So I was very sad to see that it looked like "something" got him.  

I thought it might be a red-tailed hawk because there wasn't any sign of a trail leading to the forest.  The chickens have a huge area in which to forage, so putting a cover over them is impossible.  I've put up this version of a "scarecrow" before and it seems to keep critters away.  I hang the dress on a double shepherd crook plant stand and the sleeves blow and the dress bottom blows so it looks like it's moving.  This year, I put a plastic Halloween pumpkin head it to make it even scarier!

The dogs kept sniffing at a small hole that goes under the chicken coop and we thought maybe there was some critter under there running out and grabbing up my chickens.  Did I mention that I'm down to seven adult hens?  I have a bunch of chicks in the barn to go out to the chicken coop, but they're not quite big enough yet.  The live trap comes out every time we think something is trying to get my girls... last time it was old Mr. 'Possum

We tore open the bottom of the barn and got out our heavy duty flashlight and looked in and what did we find? 

Foghorn Leghorn!

All we can guess is that maybe a predator went after him and he flung himself through a tiny hole under the coop... or maybe one of the dogs was being very, very naughty and found him outside the chicken fence and thought he might be fair game.  

We left the hole under the chicken coop open so that Foghorn could find his way out and later he was in with his girls.  

I swear this rooster is like a cat with nine lives!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Spring Is Coming And Things Are Happening!

The grass is greener, the horses are fattening up and losing their winter coats, chickens and turkey are laying eggs, and the temperature is rising.

Spring is coming!

Red Bourbon Turkey has laid eight eggs.  I took six and put them in the incubator because domestic turkeys are notoriously bad mothers.  Hatch date:  May 18th.

Lots of little seeds have been planted and the garden plan is done.  

Now for the threat of frost to go away!


I love the spring.
For every day.
There's something new.
That's come to stay. 
Another bud.
Another bird.
Another blade.
The sun has stirred.

~ Unknown

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

No More Idaho Pastured Pigs

For many reasons, one of which is that we've become empty nesters and don't need the amount of pork that one pig brings in, and because I'm tired of feeding and watering pigs during the wintertime, we've got out of the Idaho Pasture Pig business.  

Also, our pigs didn't breed for two years and we're not keeping them as pets.

So to the butcher, they went.  

We plan to raise one or two feeder pigs each year and sell all but a half of a pig each year. 

That means we'll get a piglet in the spring and raise it until the fall and then have it butchered.

I'm happy to say no more piggy winter care!

Friday, March 22, 2019

Maple Weekend Success And More!

Thank you to everyone who showed up to make the Potter-Tioga Maple Weekend a success!  We had so much fun showing you the sugar shack and the rest of the farm and I hope you liked it as much as we did!  Bones N Banter provided lunch with their delicious brisket and pulled pork sandwiches.  I hope everyone got one because you really missed out if you didn't!

We were excited that our little sugar house made the Bradford Era!
Fitz is explaining how the evaporator works.

The maple season came late this year.  We had a few good runs of sap and then it got cold again.  The positive side of the cold snap is that it kind of "resets" the maple season.  Yesterday was a good run and I hope to have a lot of sap in the tanks today.  There's a specific sound that makes the maple syrup producer's heart soar.  You can hear it below:

The sound of sap running into the tanks!  We're not "on vacuum" which means all the sap in our lines is fed into the tanks by gravity instead of a vacuum pump pulling the sap from the lines.  So that sound is pure sap running downhill from many, many trees.

Just in time for the Maple Weekend I had some new chicks delivered.  I wanted the children coming to have an opportunity to look at the cuteness.  The new members to my flock will be buff orpingtons,  easter eggers, dominique, cochin, barnvelder, welsummer, and giant whites.  

Finally, some sun and the animals sucked up the sunshine!

The turkeys have decided it's the breeding season and are courting the poor lonely hen!

And the horses are getting to go across the road to their summer pasture during the day.  

Here, they follow me to the gate from the barn...

...And here, the walk off into their ten acres of grass.

The old girl, Sassy, is 31 years old and she's having a harder time with the cooler weather.  As an old horse, she's starting to get gaunt looking. She wears her blanket to give her a little more warmth so she doesn't shiver off her weight.

I don't know if it's possible that the animals are happier than me that SPRING is coming!