Saturday, November 9, 2013
The 3 black roosters are now safely moved into the coop with the girls. They have settled in and seem to be accepted as part of the flock, but probably not ruling the roost just yet.
We had some excitement here at Lester's Flat this week. Sophie took a wander down the middle of the road while I was walking Woody. She usually hangs out close to the house, and when I left her, she was walking toward the back, but I guess she changed her mind. She was picked up by a caring young couple. I was out searching frantically for her when they called on my cell to say they had her and were bringing her back home. Luckily both phone numbers are on her tag because I was outside and not planning on coming in until I found her.
That same day we had a little visitor, young Abe the studly goat (right). Karen, who sold us our 3 goats, brought the little guy over to spend some quality time with Lucille, who is in heat. After chasing Jack around the pen a few times, Abe found his new girl and took care of business.
Helen (top photo with bigger piggies in the background) looks a little confused by this whole situation. We are hoping that she goes into heat by tomorrow, before we have to return Abe. There are moments when they are all out there looking like best buddies, and then moments like a few minutes ago, where Helen and Abe were butting heads to the point of becoming a little bloody.
I think that means she is coming into heat, but I don't have much experience recognizing the signs. If both girls are bred, we should have kids by sometime in March.
Life goes on...
Saturday, November 2, 2013
When I was hunting for this Tough Guy photo of him, I found it was taken on the same day as this one of Soda Pop, my friend Jane's cat, February 19, 2012. When Jane passed away (we miss you, Girl!) her husband did not want to keep Soda anymore. He is hardly ever home, has 2 beagles, and is not a cat person. So I made it my job to find Soda a new home.
It took a year and a half, but I finally, about a month ago, found her a great home with Marcia in Clinton. Soda got a styling ride home in a new silver Mustang! Marcia just called this week to say how Soda was a bit shy for about 24 hours, but has very quickly settled in and become the loving cat that we knew she was going to be. Thank you, Marcia for giving that cat with the beautiful eyes a beautiful new home.
And since I was looking in the February 2012 photos, I found out that we got the 3 new red hens and the blue-egger the day after I took these other 2 photos.
So that's pretty much an even mix of the good and the bad, life and death here at Lester's Flat: Poor Mr. Roo, a Happy Soda, 4 Happy Chicks are now 4 Happy Hens, and a reminder to me that we lost the other blue-egger chick to my Big Lester only a few weeks after we got them.
R.I.P. Rooty Toot, blue-egger chick, Red Sweetie (the red hen who just disappeared), the black hen who lost her life a few months ago to some attacker that got into the Coop at night, one of the black chicks who was killed just a few days after we got him, and of course, my Big Lester who is still very much missed here at Lester's Flat. I had a dream about him just the other day... He said he is happy in Pooch Heaven...
Sunday, October 27, 2013
But Tuesday morning comes around and there is Rooty Toot out in the coop looking all healthy and eating and drinking like normal. Some of the girls were in there with him, I think to protect him. They told him this was his only chance to make himself look good...
So I went to the vet and picked up the antibiotics that may or may not cure him, but at least now he has a fighting chance. He is in the garage in Chicken Hospital, under the heat lamp with his food and medicated water. He is standing tall and looking pretty proud of himself.
I think we will take this opportunity to move the 3 "baby" roosters back to the real coop. That way there won't be any competition for Roo until he's back to his fighting weight—he was awfully thin when I picked him up to carry him back to the hospital!
Now the little boys will only have to defend themselves against the big girls!
Be nice, big girls!
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Saturday, October 12, 2013
We picked up the 3 new piggies, 6 weeks old, this morning from Tammy, our pig breeder in Smyrna. The last photo is of the 3 of them in the back of the haywagon (the CR-V). The 2 lucky ones got to ride in comfort in the dog crate. We thought it would be big enough for all 3, but these little piggies must have been eating up a storm because they are much larger than the ones that we picked up last year and the year before. Poor little black piggy had to be stuffed in the cat crate...
As usual we had a tough time picking names for them, but we decided on Alice, Nora, and Irving for a few of our favorite authors. (Up to you to guess which authors we named them for...) Alice is the mostly red one, Nora the black one with pink go-go boots in the front, and Irving, the only boy, has the most white and the most spots.
I got out of work a little bit early yesterday due to some computer virus at the newspaper office. I came home and tried to fix up the pig shed in time for their arrival today. I got about 4 nails hammered in when I must have disturbed a wasp nest. Even though I got stung twice, I am happy that we found out before we had all the little babes in there. As much as I don't like using insecticides, there's nothing like a good can of wasp spray when you need it!
Pigs are settling in nicely. Goats are curious about their new neighbors. Dogs just went out for a walk with us and checked out the newbies.
For the first time ever, I just noticed while we were out there that 2 of the older hens were lying down in the shade with our 3 young roosters. The young ones are still in the "baby coop" at night, but young and old hang out back here by the house for most of the day. They are all free ranging together.
Finally: Blogger will you PLEASE fix this error code that comes up every 5 seconds or less while I am trying to write this post. It is really difficult to think with this annoying message in my face the whole time!
Sunday, October 6, 2013
The box in the photo is exactly one bushel. I found out that the easiest way to measure is to pick them in 5-gallon buckets. 2 buckets=1 bushel.
This was quite a banner year for apples here, and I probably could still pick another 20 bushels from our property, but it gets a little difficult when you get all the low-hanging apples from the close and easy trees, and then have to venture into the weedy, goldenrod-infested wild territory.
So we made $50 for easy pickins, and then I spent $20 of that in their store before I left.
I did, at least, find out that our wild apples are not all that wild, and at least some of them are probably Northern Spy apples.
I also cooked up my first batch of homemade apple butter, and am quite proud of the results! Yum!
Next weekend we pick up those baby pigs from the last post. More pics to follow!
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Tammy, our favorite pig breeder in Smyrna, allowed us to visit the new piglets today. They were born to 2 different sows, on August 30 and 31. Because I only like "pigs of color"—no white or pink pigs for me, thanks—she was pleased to show us pigs of all different colors. The boar (Mr. Burlington is posing for his close-up) is a red/white belted pig. Moms are both black, one of them in the photo with her babies.
I am used to seeing either belted or spotted or solid color pigs, but not belted/spotted together, and not pigs with socks! Of course those are the ones we chose, the little oddballs. We got the 2 red/white belted pigs with spots (the darker red one a girl, the lighter one a boy) and the black one with long white socks in front, and white toes in the back (also a girl).
They are not even a week old yet, so we can't take them home until mid-October, but that's OK because we have vegetables still growing in the pig yard. By mid-October the plants should be pretty much done.
The rest of the garden had a rough start with the crazy spring weather and the deer and rabbits eating everything as it came up. I think The Husband has saved a single ear of corn from his usual 10' x 30' corn planting, but the pumpkins and tomatoes are really doing well. We haven't had much luck the last 2 years with the yellow and green Zephyr squash that usually does well here, but The Hub did find the big baseball bat squash out there with a few smaller ones. The cantaloupe is not from our garden, but we have a few thousand more apples to match the one on the table. Maybe the first year we can make some cider...
Sunday, August 25, 2013
On this beautiful day in the neighborhood, we took a tour of the Farmer's Museum and Fenimore Art Museum, both a part of the New York State Historical Association where we are members.
The golf course is between the 2 museums. This photo is for Brian (hope you're feeling better!).
The Farmer's Museum is usually a great place to learn about raising pigs and chickens and goats and such, although today there were not the usual number of helpful employees.
The 2 employees we did find however, were very helpful. The Husband's cousin, young Emma, was dressed in period costume and working in the farm kitchen and the print shop for the day.
We also saw Karen, from Swamp Hill Farm where we got Lucille, Helen, and Jack, our goats. The Husband was discussing with Karen the possible future breeding of Lucille and Helen with one of her bucks. He is a farm animal addict, with no cure in sight!
Wants some cows too, doesn't he...
The final photo is of the porch brackets that I should have designed for our house. I am still disappointed in the ones that I copied from our wooden screen door that was transplanted from the NJ house. The design might be OK, but they need to be more substantial, like these. Maybe some day I will get around to replacing, or reworking the ones that are there. This will be my inspiration.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
It was a typical Woody Wednesday, where I take both dogs up for a run at Don on the Hill's. The WoodMan has been very much improved as far as staying with me while I am walking with Sophie on the leash. As soon as I sit down with Don to have a beer however, he takes off into the woods, while Sophie just hangs out with us enjoying the view and begging for cookies.
Woody came back once before covered in blood, and it turned out to be the tiniest little cut on his ear. Yesterday, he came back covered in blood with the tiniest little cut on his ear, but it would not stop bleeding. He bled all over himself, Don, Don's house, Sophie, me, the car... I kept putting pressure on the end of his ear, and he would shake his head as soon as I let go, and then we'd start all over again.
I put Sophie in the house and hosed down my big red dog, but soon realized pressure was not stopping the gushing ear, so I called the local vet, Pam Lea (not Woody's vet, mind you) and she was kind enough to take us in even though it was after hours and she was still busy with other patients.
She sedated him, wrapped him up tight, unsedated him and sent us home. Thank you Pam! He was very well behaved about not picking at the bandages, but I couldn't stand seeing him look so pathetic so I just took them off a few minutes ago. He started bleeding a bit again, but it stopped pretty quickly.
It was The Husband's idea to create the "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog". Poor Woody was already horrified that I wanted to take his photo (can you tell?)...good thing he doesn't know everybody can see him as Vincent van Dogh with the bandaged ear.
Monday, August 12, 2013
Sarah, Brian's daughter, did make the trip with Jason and Claire and Ella. The girls are old enough to not find us as amusing as previous years, when they stayed with us for a few days, but at least they had time to visit with us and the goats, chickens, chicks and ducks. Sarah took these goat photos with her iPhone. The phone didn't work so well out here in the sticks, but the pictures it takes are amazing! Of course it helps that she is an amazing photographer.
Woody and Sophie happily welcomed their girlfriends from last year, but Woody decided that it was his job to bark almost the entire time they were here in the house. I guess that's his idea of a party. Hard to believe we have had him a full year already! We had gotten him just a few days before the NJ visit last year. He was much better behaved for that party...I guess he didn't know he could get away with being so bad...
It's also been a year that I have been working at the Freeman's Journal/Hometown Oneonta newspaper. I design ads for them 3 days a week. The pay is not great (really not great!) but it's steady work and good people and it helps to pay those darn bills. I didn't realize how difficult it would be owning 2 homes. We are planning to put the house back on the market next summer. Losing the rental income will hurt, but losing the high taxes and crazy new fees imposed on landlords in Palmyra will definitely make up for it.
Now we just have to hope that someone can love our NJ house as much as we did.
Anybody wanna buy a house?