Thursday, April 10, 2014

Two days old

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

One day old

It was late this afternoon before the kids ventured outside to soak up some sun. Mom spent a good bit of the day outside, leaving the kids all curled up in the hay. We are only mildly concerned that they don't seem to be drinking enough of Mama's milk, but when I tried to milk her today to relieve the pressure, she would not allow it. Mama knows best!

Karen, who sold us Lucille, Helen and Jack, is coming by tomorrow to see how everyone is doing...including us. She is going to give the kids a shot of selenium which should stimulate their desire to feed off Mom.

Other than having a full udder, Mom seems to be doing well too.

The Kids Are Alright!

Too late to make a post... Lucille delivered 2 kids, we think a boy and a girl, and we missed both of the births. The Husband got home from work probably minutes after the buckling was born. And when he came inside to feed the dogs and call me, the little girl was born by the time he came back out a few minutes later.

More pics tomorrow. I got home from work about 10:30 pm, but I did sneak out to catch these pics just after they were born, around 5 pm.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Expectant goats, bigger chicks, and a sleeping dog

Lucille, Helen's mom, and Helen are both due to have kids very soon. Lucille, the black goat, is actually due today, and Helen in about 2 weeks. Tara (from work) stopped by the house today to check on Lucille and took this pic of her and Jack. They didn't want to come out and greet her.

All 3 goats have been lying outside in the grass, enjoying the warmer weather and showing no signs of any impending activity.

The chicks appear to grow bigger every day. They are starting to lose their downy baby feathers, and their real feathers are poking out, making them all look a bit disheveled. They are also more active and much noisier. I think at least one has jumped up out of the bin and onto the edge of the bathtub to have a look around. Probably in the next week or so, I will have to move them into the big dog crate. There will be no escaping the dog crate, but I am not sure how that will fit in the bathroom where they are now. I need an enclosed space so that the heat lamp can keep them at a warm and toasty 80°, and so they are protected from interested dogs and cats.

Sophie is not very impressed by the chicks or any of the other activity at Lester's Flat. She will be 14 in the next few months (we think) and she spends most of the day sleeping, and most of the night waking us up with her pacing and wanting to go outside. This morning she woke me up at 4:30 am, and then again at 5:30 when she saw something outside from the upstairs window and decided to bark and wake up the WoodMan. The WoodMan is always willing to join a party at 4 or 5 am...whatever it takes...he's up for it!

And, just in case you are paying attention: Happy Birthday Kathy Yohe!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Chick Close

More chick pics. And a little tiny shout out to one of my favorite artists, Chuck Close.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spring brings babies and bacon

Sadly, the three not-so-little pigs went to market (Larry's Custom Meats) on Tuesday. I just found out the hanging weights (less than the actual weight) were 216 and 222 for the girls, and 268 for Irving! He would be the big boy who jumped the gate when we were trying to coax him up onto the truck. He would be the big boy who gave me a big ugly bruise on my leg when he made his temporary escape.

Even so, we were sad to see them go. We've been getting pigs for 3 years now with the intention of raising them for meat, but knowing that doesn't make it any easier. Especially when they are smart enough to know that going on the truck is not a good thing...when they do their 200+ lb best to avoid the truck...

Tuesday was also the day the new baby chicks were born. I picked up 7 Araucanas (blue-eggers) and 3 Buff Orpingtons (brown eggers) yesterday. A local store just happened to have 2 of the breeds I was interested in getting.

I took the 3 photos on the right when I had the red heat lamp turned on. I took most of the color out of the photo so they wouldn't be all flame red. In the color photo, the Buffs are the 3 blondes with no spots, and they will be a pretty buff/tan color when they get older. The rest are all Araucanas and will be all different colors when they get their big girl feathers. It will be interesting to see them change.

It's a lot of work raising them from chicks, but we are guaranteed that they are all hens. Better than buying them on Craig's List and ending up with 5 roosters like we did last year, or trying to beat those odds if one of our hens manages to hatch her own babes.

Woody is very interested in the peeping fluffballs who are, for now, in the bathtub downstairs. I have no other good places to close them up in a warm place, away from interested dogs and cats. So we go in there a few times a day and introduce him to the pleasures of fatherhood. I tell him it is his job to keep his babies safe, and to make sure they don't become dinner for him or anyone else.

He's a work in progress, as a father and in every other way.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Enough already!

I promised myself to lay off the weather rants for awhile, but it seems that's all anyone is talking about, even in NJ. Cold, cold, cold, snow, snow, snow, ice and more snow...

I am just back from a drive to Utica. When I left it was nice enough, other than being FREEZING COLD AND WINDY, but driving back home the snow kicked in. I couldn't even see the road for all the snow blowing across it. These photos are from just after I got home. No more pretty snow pictures, this is just nasty!

Of all the animals, I think the chickens have the worst of it. When it's even close to being decent outside, they make their way through the snow and come back here to hang out with the ducks. But when it's like this, I close both doors to the coop because the wind and snow just blow right through. That, and the wild birds come in through the half-closed door for the chicken feed and can't find their way back out. That, and it's been so cold that the chickens with large combs, especially the roosters, have really bad frostbite. Keeping the doors closed keeps some of warmth in there, but those chickens just aren't happy being closed up for this many weeks/months.

The poor hens are locked in there with 3 rambunctious young roosters who have found their favorite girls and are beating up the unfavored ones—not allowing them any food or water. I've also seen the larger 2 of the roos gang up on the other one. At one point when I came in, he was face down in the hay like my old Roo. I thought we were going to lose this guy too, but he bounced back after a few days. Now he's hiding on the top bunk with the black hens and my blue-egger. She jumps on my head and stays there every time I come in the coop. Safe haven, I guess.

A few days after I saw the struggling roo, we lost one of the blue hens. There were no apparent injuries, but the more I see how they are acting, the more I think it was the 2 mean roos and maybe some of the bad girls who did her in. I can't even bury her because I can't dig a hole in the frozen ground.

We're just hunkering down, waiting for spring. That's all we can do.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Snowed in...again!

Colder than normal, more snow than normal, but according to some of the locals this used to be the norm. About a foot and a half on the ground, more snow for tomorrow, but going up to 40° by Wednesday. WooHoo! as Little Sister would say.

Actually, I find the snow very beautiful, at least when I am looking at it from inside by the woodstove. Mr. Kelley does all of our snow removal, so we don't really need to do anything other than sweep off the front steps. In NJ we didn't have a garage or even a driveway, but we did have sidewalks. Between cleaning off the cars, digging them out from being plowed in, AND clearing the sidewalks and steps, the snow just wasn't quite as pretty.

I promised a close-up of the sleeping Sophie. (She's in competition with the WoodMan for face-time on the blog.) She was sleeping peacefully, until I took this photo and woke her up...

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Better than Grumpy Cat—Waiting for spring at Lester's Flat!

I am fully recovered from my ugly flu, and getting back to being a non-grumpy person. A lot has been going on here at Lester's Flat that I haven't been able to share with the general public.

The Husband resigned from his bank job and has had these 2 weeks off (to take care of sick and grumpy wifey!). He starts Monday with a local non-profit where he expects to be promoted to director after a bit. It's much closer to home and less stress, leaving more time for his farming (ad)ventures.

Those farm animals have been braving below zero temperatures combined with lots of wind and snow. The 3 little piggies are not so little anymore, and they're getting a little crazy in the cold. We had to zip-tie a piece of metal bedframe to the pig fence at about 8 pm one night when the 3 of them decided that they wanted to go out on the town. They were biting at my hands and head-butting the wimpy wire fence the whole time that we were out there, freezing, working to keep them where they belong. What does one do if the pigs escape?  I hope we never find out! I can't even imagine trying to convince a few 200-lb animals to come back to their not-so-cozy home...

Our 2 pregnant female goats, and their buddy Jacko, don't seem to mind the cold so much with their nice winter coats. Kids expected in early March!

Chickens and ducks are impatiently waiting for the thaw. Most of the chickens have frostbite on their combs, which looks painful. All have stopped laying eggs, except for one frozen chicken egg today—the first sign of spring!

And finally I have started putting together some artwork to sell in the little gallery in town. The Old Blacksmith Shop Gallery in Schuyler Lake was exactly that—an old building beautifully restored by a guy named Bill Isaac. I have been talking to them about bringing in my artwork for the last 2 years, and I am just about ready. These first 2 pieces are actually gifts (not for sale) but I have settled on these barnwood frames as the best way to present the printed canvas. I also have 2 stretched canvases that I want to mount on some barnwood from the falling down horse barn across the street.

The WoodMan photo is just for kicks. He looks so handsome sleeping in the sun! Sophie chooses most often to sleep on the slate floor. I guess the radiant floor heat feels nice on her old bones. I'll get some new pictures of her one of these days coming up, and if we see blue skies again any time soon, I will make an effort to get some new piggie and pregnant goat photos! Lucille is out there right now, sleeping in the baby crib full of hay. It seems to be the favorite spot on sunny days.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Grumpy Cat comes to Schuyler Lake

I am just now feeling normal again after being beaten up by some flu bug on January 19. It kicked me hard! Having never had the flu before, I was pretty cocky about not getting a flu shot. If I was at the doctor's office and they offered, I got it, but I think that only happened once, maybe 2 years ago.

The worst part about this flu was that I caught it from the owners of the newspaper, but they came down with it 2 days before me and had the weekend to recover (sort of). I got stuck with feeling the worst on Monday and Tuesday, the 2 most important days at the paper. Even though I do not believe in working when sick, especially this sick, I had to go in because the paper has to go out!

I was so bad, I even locked The Husband out of the house on the coldest night in forever. He went out to check on the animals, and I locked the door and went to bed. I couldn't figure out why someone was knocking on the door at 10 pm, even though I had just locked it maybe 10 minutes earlier... Sorry, Babe...

There is no photo that can describe the ugly flu-infested mess that I was, so you will just have to imagine me with the Grumpy Cat face and thank me for not posting a real photo of me.