Monday, August 18, 2014

Big chicks, big fawn and LITTLE baby ducks

 One of our 3 female ducks disappeared about a month ago. The 5 male ducks are unrelenting in their "abuse" of the poor girls. At first we thought she got tired of the boys and moved on, or maybe she was killed by something, but then she would reappear every so often, coming out for food or water.

Missing for this long, we figured she must be sitting on eggs, but could not find the nest anywhere (good mom!). Just yesterday morning we looked up how long for a duck to hatch eggs—28 days. Right on schedule, she showed up yesterday afternoon with 8 little brown puff balls.

I captured them all a few minutes ago inside the fence where the chicks were. Mom is not happy, but I think they will be safer in there. We have 2 tom cats who have been patrolling the area lately, and those darn male ducks are a little too happy to have their girl return...

Where the chicks were: Chicks are now all big girls, except for the one big boy. We bought a 10-bay nest box at a garage sale this weekend just in time for the young hens to start laying eggs. We started last week to carry them from the fenced area back to the main coop at night. Hoping that they figure it out soon, because it isn't easy escorting 10 of them all the way out front every night. I feel better knowing that the mean roosters aren't in the coop to beat up on my little girls. So far the Buff Roo is a very well mannered young man.

And that little fawn has been hanging around with his mama for the past few weeks. Only recently without his mama. He (or she) is all grown up now too.

Birth—this is the good part about life on the farm.

But I do not know what we are going to do with all those ducks!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Visitors from NJ and FL—and an animal update

Brian and Eve from NJ, and Josh and Lisa with big boy Colin from FL, all came up to stay for a week on the lake. We had a welcome dinner at The Lakehouse on Friday—a perfect evening for dining on the deck while the sun was setting over the lake.

If the weather cooperates, we are headed this afternoon to FlyFest, an outdoor concert in a cornfield in Fly Creek. Thunderstorms are predicted, we are hoping to avoid them...

A lot has been happening here at Lester's Flat. I was going to write a post called the Sex Change Operation, but I was afraid it would put you all in a tizzy.

We found 2 female ducks on Craig's List (2 grey girls in first duck photo) that we bought in order to even out the hormones in our little bevy of ducks. We had 5 males and 3 females, and the poor females have been getting beat up by the bad boys. (4 of the 5 drakes in the brown duck photo)

So we bring home the new girls only to have them beat up and run off by the bad boys. For the first night, the girls hid in the weeds somewhere that we couldn't find them. The next 2 nights, the girls found their way into the duck house, and as far as we know everything was fine. But then bad boys got a little too frisky and chased the new girls away. For now they seem to have settled into the chicken coop. The 2 girls stay on the front of our property, the 8 others stay back here by the house.

And, the same weekend we got the new girls, one of the other females disappeared into the weeds. She has reappeared a few times, so is obviously still alive. I think she is sitting on eggs somewhere.

Now we need 2 separate duck houses and who knows what will happen when the new babies come along.  So much for settling the sexes.

We had almost the same problem with the chickens. Bought what we thought were 4 hens and 1 rooster, ended up with 5 roosters. We lost one to some unknown critter, gave another to a friend who wanted a rooster for her hens, gave another to our Greek friend who wanted a rooster for some stew, and just about 2 weeks ago gave the same Greek friend the last 2 because they were also beating up the girls relentlessly. We found out that 1 of the 10 baby chicks is a rooster, so he is going to have to grow up and take care of all the girls. Right now we are at 18 hens and the handsome, and so far well behaved Buff Orp boy.

We also traded our Tony (baby boy goat) for Bart (more colorful baby boy goat) only to return Bart until his Mama made him healthy again. Bart has returned, but now some of our other goats have come down with the need for Pepto. :)

For now, the girls rule the goat house!

The Husband is saying new pigs by Labor Day, and is threatening to add a dairy cow or 2. Or maybe sheep... Farmer Husband is never satisfied!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Silly Dog, the Sick Goat Boy and Zombie Chickens

Not sure why exactly, but a certain big white hound dog decided to leave the comfort of his favorite chair (seen to the left with the cushion he's been chewing on) and hop onto the table out in the backyard. When I went out to question him about his plans for his next move, he gave me the I-am-guilty look and held his ground. Only when I came back inside did he concede that it really wasn't that comfortable after all.

Little brown goat boy that we named Bart got sent back to his first home for special care. We are going back to get him this weekend, but not sure if we are going to take him or his twin brother. Kid brother was smaller to start, but has been healthy the whole time even though many of the other goats in the barn got the same virus that he had.

Steph, a co-worker of mine, had a dream the other night about coming to my house and seeing "zombie chickens" lined up at our front door each presenting an egg to me. ???

Our non-zombie chicks are almost full grown—grown enough that I can tell at least one of them is a rooster (the Buff Orp in the last pic). The Ameraucanas turned out to be Easter Eggers, meaning they are a mixed breed, a "chicken mutt" that still lays blue or green eggs.

They are really pretty chickens, all different colors, and some of them have the cheek feathers of the Ameraucanas. The one with the white head is the one that was the smallest chick in my earlier photos. She has definitely caught up to the others in size.

They are still not laying eggs, at least not anywhere that we can find them. And the older chickens are doing a fine job of hiding their eggs in all kinds of crazy places: in and under the hay manger in the goat shed, under the car, in the weeds. I also caught one young lady eating the eggs in the nest box. She came out with egg on her face, and the egg in the box had a nice beak-size hole in it.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Not for Sissies

We had a beautiful 4th of July weekend here in upstate NY! A few of The Husband's cousins were up from various parts—including Terry and Kimball from FL. Kim and I went to a lady's lunch on the veranda at The Otesaga on Thursday. Friday The Hub and I mostly did some work around the house. Saturday we went to Cousin Greg's for a BBQ with T&K and Brian and Maria. They all went out on the lake to see the fireworks, we came home to shut up some animals.

Then, today we took a ride up the hill to see all the work that T&K have completed on their humble abode in the woods. They live in FL most of the year, and stay up here for about a month in the summer. Terry built this house himself several years ago, and just now the 2 of them are getting around to making it livable. (Thus the need for the lady's lunch on Thursday! Kim tried to get a pedicure in Coop'town, but apparently Coop'town don't do pedicures...)

They celebrated work completed with 2 Coronas today before leaving again for FL on Tuesday.

The Airstream provides all the comforts of home (sort of) until they whip the house into shape.

Friday, June 27, 2014

A few more photos from up on the hill

Went up to Don's yesterday with Woody and Sophie. It was a beautiful day for walking dogs and having a couple of Saranacs. Large photo is looking down to Lester's Flat, but all you can see through the trees is the horse farm across the street, Charlie's brown barn at the end of our driveway, and our little blue garage further back off the road. Second photo is Canadarago Lake. Third is Woody, thirsty for a pale ale. All three were taken from my seat on the bench up on the hill with Don.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Nice day on the hill with Don and the dogs

About once a week when the weather is nice, I take the dogs up on the hill to Don's house. His real name is DOTH, for Don on the Hill, and I am KPDB, for KP Down Below.

Most of the time, I take Sophie for a walk on the leash, while the WoodMan runs free. Sometimes he comes back, sometimes he does not. Don and I sit and enjoy the lake view with the tired Old Sophie Girl, we have a beer (or 2) and then I either take both dogs back home, or I take Sophie and he calls me when the WoodMan comes back.

Today, for reasons unknown, Woody stayed around the whole time. I call this serious progress. It must be all that rigorous training...

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Happy 100th Birthday Lester Flatt!

For those of you who have not been paying attention, Lester's Flat was named after our dog Lester, who was named for Lester Flatt. The real Lester Flatt would be 100 years old today! Happy Birthday!

As for the latest goings on at the Flat: on Sunday night we traded Saanen Tony for another young goat, an Oberhasli. The Husband wants a young buck who is unrelated to our "herd" so that we can use him for future breeding. We both wanted a goat with color, and the brown and black little Obie was a good choice, although a week younger and much smaller than the strapping young man we traded away...on Father's Day no less! Our first born son...

Only problem is that the Obie, who we named Bart, had a case of the runs that didn't improve after 3 days on Pepto, so I took him back to his first owner to see if she could make him healthy again. Better that she take care of him than to have something go terribly wrong after he is all ours!

The Husband says they have already "bonded" so we must get him back. And we will, I am sure.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Scanning old photos...

Because I wanted to scan the 2 photos of Rita that are in my earlier post, and because there was extra space on the scanning bed, I got this one of me with the family at the 1964 World's Fair. It is proof that I was actually too skinny in my younger days...

The Husband says it looks like an album cover.

Does anyone know which of the buildings that is in the background? I'll do a bit of searching online and see what I can come up with. I went there I think twice with my parents, and once with my Grandmother. Fond memories from my childhood. Even more distinctly than I remember the "It's a Small World After All" song (from the Pepsi exhibit?) I remember a lot of the other exhibits about what life would be like in the oh-so-distant future. I also remember getting samples of the wild new soda, Fresca!

And, we had our photo taken by the local NJ newspaper, The Burlington County Times, while we were waiting in line for the Monorail. I'll have to look that up, I think Mom saved that somewhere.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Rest in Peace, Río Rita

Tim's Mom, Rita, passed away on June 5.

If you scroll below to my earlier posts, you will see that we got to spend almost a week with Río Rita, just a few short weeks ago. Thank you, Rita, for the good times we had.

While Tim was back in NJ, he picked up some old photos. The one of his Mom and Dad fishing we already had, but the larger one, of my mother-in-law and her mother-in-law Eirene is new to us. It was taken in 1965 in Willingboro, where both Tim and I grew up. I love how they are both looking right through the camera.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Evil Ben Dog and the Goat Boy

Ben, who used to be the cute Jack Russell Terrier that came across the street to visit, instead came back to attack our chickens. And this is not the first time. Previous times he really badly injured a few of the hens and the rooster. This time he killed one of the younger red hens, and 2 of the original black hens went missing overnight. I saw one of them wandering off with a bloody butt and one remaining tail feather. She came back the next morning, and I put her in Chicken Hospital (the dog crate in the garage). We found the other missing black hen dead in the hay bales back here by the garage a few days later. She made it back this far only to die anyway...

I am happy that I did not let the baby chicks join the big girls in the coop! They are getting close to full-grown size, but would have been no match for the formerly cute Ben Dog. I returned him to his owner and she swore that "this will never happen again". She was almost in tears, and so was I, but I can't blame her or the dog. My dogs are no angels either, they are dogs.

Tony and Rose, the big baby goats are getting really big! We were going to call the little one Little Rita, until we found out she is a he. We are trying to sell him/her, and are going to trade Tony for a different breed that we can then use to breed our girls next year. Little Rita doesn't need a new name if we aren't going to keep him. If we can't sell him, we'll just have to name him! That is him play-fighting with Jack in the top photo, and the handsome little guy by himself in the second.

Say a prayer for Big Rita. She made it home safely and then ended up in the hospital again. We are both happy that she had a (mostly) great week's stay with us up here. She said she truly enjoyed her stay, although I'm sure she could have done without the Woody-bashing. In my campaign to get her to eat more, I got her to drink a root beer float with me 4 nights after dinner. Now every time I have a root beer float I will think of her.