Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Uncle Al

As I said in my last post, it is quite the coincidence that I found some NJ cousins up here on Canadarago Lake, just about 2 miles from our property in Schuyler Lake (former name of the same lake).

Diane, one of my cousins, gave me this large photo of the Keenan side of the family in 1951. Mary Keenan, on the right on the couch, is my Irish grandmother's sister. Her husband Hugh (standing, right) I think we used to call Uncle Huey, but that was so many years ago.

Far left is Uncle Al, who married one of Hugh's sisters, Ella, seated with the dog in her lap. This photo taken at their home in Orange, NJ. Are ya still with me? Here's the tricky part, the second coincidence. When my grandmother was in her 90s, she started dating Uncle Al. Ella had passed years before. He even proposed to her, although she turned him down. He was either an antiques dealer, or just a collector, and he gave her many gifts. She passed a few of them along to me. And there it is, over Al's shoulder, the framed needlepoint Grandma gave me a long time ago.

I can see that I have hung it incorrectly. Not sure if I will make it historically correct...

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Truck Pull, Found Cousins, and Goat Friday part 2

Always fun to be invited to the Schuyler Lake Truck Pull. Great place to see neighbors, and even sometimes relatives. It takes weeks of preparation, lots of money and lots of hard work to prepare for this event, which benefits the Schuyler Lake Fire Department. At least we have finally seen some sunny weather, and a large crowd showed up to watch.

But seriously folks, what is the big draw? The noise started at 7 am, and they are still going strong out there at 3:30 pm. There are different classes to compete in, big trucks, not so big trucks, diesel, not diesel—ALL very noisy and spewing exhaust while they pull a weighted platform as far as possible. Just a good reason to sit around and chew the fat and wash it down with beer... I guess...

As for the relatives: Hub's Cousin Chris was at the last one we attended, didn't see him this time. And some of my cousins from NJ were there this morning before we showed up. We just found each other on facebook about a year ago when I saw a pic of Debbie on a paddle board on Canadarago Lake. Hmmm...bet there aren't 2 Canadarago Lakes in the world... What a coincidence!

Got to hang out with them lakeside yesterday. Nice to see them all again!

And finally:

Goat Friday - Chapter 2
In spite of flash flood warnings and lousy weather in general, Goat Lady Karen and I made the trip to Boonville to sell our goats. Karen did extremely well with navigating truck and trailer that she was not sure how to back up. Luckily we didn't have to.

First pic is Rika and Zena in the new barn with new friends (who you can't really see in the foreground). Second pic is a close-up of my girls looking confused as to what just happened. "Our whole world has just changed! Is this a good thing?"

Once they get over the shock of being taken from Lester's Flat, their kids, and the goats they know well, I think they will adjust well to their new life with Judy, the new Goat Lady, and the new goats they don't know well at all. Her barn is certainly more serious than ours, and eventually they will have a whole pasture full of weeds to tackle, as soon as she can finish the fencing.

Good luck, my good girls. We miss you!

And the ending of Goat Friday was a trip for little Roger to get banded. Hub had to make the trip without me, I didn't get back from Boonville in time... Darn!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Goat Friday

Chapter 1
The beginning of Goat Friday is going smoothly. We are selling 2 more goats, Joseph's Rika and Zena. That will leave us with 5 females and 4 males, and we will sell no more until next year.

The Husband and I just dropped off the girls at our friend Karen's house. She is the Goat Lady who sold us Lucille, Helen and Jack, our first goats. Rika and Zena will stay in her trailer until she loads the 11 goats she is selling to Judy, a woman who is starting a goat dairy in Boonville, NY.

We expect to leave around noon with all 13 towed in the trailer behind Karen's pick-up. Thankfully none will be making this 1-and-a-half hour trip in the back of the Kia, which is how they made their way to Karen's.

When we get back from Boonville, we will take Roger Ramjet to our other Goat Lady friend, June, to be castrated (poor guy!). Believe it or not, not an awful procedure, but I won't share the details. That is the only way we can keep him, and as I mentioned before, he is definitely a keeper!

The eagle was spotted on the way to Karen's, and on the way back when Hub took these photos. I am thinking this is a good omen for Goat Friday.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Johnny Cash and the goat drama

I don't expect The Husband will allow this pic of him to stay here for long, so I am distracting him with the title of a goat drama. Captain Greg took us on a wine cruise on Canadarago Lake last night. Absolutely perfect weather for an evening on the lake. Much fun was had by all.

As I mentioned in the last post we are selling off some goats to make room for more. We did sell His Royal Goatness, Sir David Bowie, on Saturday morning to a nice gentleman with a nice farm in Jefferson, NY.

No sooner did Bowie leave the premises in the back of a 1984 Toyota pick-up, than we were off to Norway, NY (just north of Poland) to pick up this little Alpine who has just a hint of Nubian in him. He doesn't quite have the "airplane ears" that our Nubian crosses have, but they certainly aren't normal goat ears!

It took a while to come up with a name for the new big man. We tested out Stanislaus, Martin, Bart...but Man in Black, Johnny Cash it is. He has started to settle in, less crying than the past few days, outside lying down with Roger and unnamed doeling when I came back from the PO today.

The drama has to do with the selling of the other goats. Bowie was easy. Beatrice and one doeling went to a great home in Mt Upton. Charlotte, who purchased them, sent a friend Adam to pick up the other 2 doelings the next day. All good.

The 5 bucklings were all going to Greek Joseph last week, but one of them escaped and somehow ended up in the barn across the busy road. ! Joseph went home to the city and called us to retrieve him, on a Tuesday when we were both at work. ! We did it only because we felt bad for the woman who owns the barn where little one was wreaking havoc. ! Her husband was out of town, she had pneumonia, and she was helping to birth some little lambs in addition to all of her other farm chores. ! (2 little ones just born in the last photo) Joseph was supposed to pick up errant boy on Saturday, but he's still here. 

More goat drama, more goats leaving, but not worth the telling...

When all is said and done we expect to have 9 goats: Lucille, Rosie, Blossom and Rita (the girls); Jack, Rico, Roger and Johnny Cash (the boys); and Joseph's little doeling who still needs a name. She will be the only remaining offspring of David Bowie so we can't give her up!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Fewer goats :) Fewer chickens :(

HRH Sir David Bowie

Lucille, Bowie, and Jack, the only poser
We sold 9 goats this past week leaving us with 5 adults, 4 yearlings, and 2 kids. It is much calmer in the goat pen now. We still have David Bowie up for sale, but are asking a high price for his royal purebred highness, so we don't actually expect to sell him. Mr. Handsome will probably be the big man on campus for at least another year.

Little ones getting big feathers
The one remaining doeling and the 2 Saanen yearlings belong to Joseph, our steady egg-buying customer and lover of all things goat, so we cannot sell them. The other kid still here is the amazing Roger Ramjet who survived a very rough beginning of his short life. He spent some quality time in our bathtub, made a couple expensive trips to the vet, and then stayed for a few months with our friend the goat lady who did an excellent job of nursing him back to health. He is a trooper, and a keeper, but tough to catch in a photo because he stays right by my side.

We were not so lucky with our chickens this past week. Something broke through our not-too-sturdy wire fence and reached through the very sturdy wire dog crate to kill 3 of the 10 teenage chickens we raised here. The remaining 7 were trapped in the crate with the carnage of their siblings until morning when The Husband came out to find them. He took pictures. I won't share them.

The good news is that the 2 little chicks that Buffy Mama hatched are still alive and well and thriving. They are already getting their big chick feathers. Looks like neither actually came from a Buffy Mama egg.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

More square chick pics

Hangin' in the shade with Mama

Watching me, watching them

One tiny chickie butt!

Mama, where's your head?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Flowers and bugs, no chicks

Buffy hen hatched the 2 chicks last week, and had 19 eggs left. After 21 days of just sitting there, she is either bored, or maybe she knows the rest are not fertilized. Either way she seems to have given up the egg-sitting. Now there are only 8 eggs. She broke the rest and ate them (from what I could see it was just egg). Today I put the crate on the floor and let her and chicks out to wander. It has been warm enough that if there are still any upcoming chicks, they might hatch without her help.

My irises are blooming like crazy this year! Last year I lost a few stalks to the painter who was doing the trim on the porch. This year I have 4 good stalks all blooming at the same time. Yellowy green flowers in the front are Lady's Mantle, an heirloom plant from The Farmer's Museum.

Next is some pretty purple dame's rocket. It looks like tall phlox but with only 4 petals. It is an invasive weed in the mustard family that still looks awfully nice in the back 40.

And some really adorable violas the church ladies gave me for Mother's Day. My favorite color combination!

Last but not least, the biggest moth I have ever seen was fluttering around the front porch lamp on Monday night. Google tells me it is a Polyphemous Silk Moth. I can tell you it was YUGE!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Still only two

I guess we missed on the 21-day hatch date, our fault not hers. Two of the chicks hatched yesterday. One looks totally blonde like mom (which doesn't mean anything) the other is mixed. It is possible that she, our only Buff Orpington hen, was bred by Big Roo, also a Buff. It is probable that some of the eggs she is sitting on are hers, so we will get some more Buffys. There is definitely a mixed bunch of eggs in there—17 hens, 2 different roos—so we will get a mixed breed bunch of chicks if any of the rest hatch.

The 2 chicks were out and about this morning, and mom had a hard time trying to keep an eye on them while still sitting on the remaining eggs (19 to be exact). I had to move the eggs, and then coax the chicks and momma into the dog crate which will be their home until most of the remaining eggs hatch, or don't.

It is still too cold at night to have chicks and/or eggs not under mom for warmth. Where they are now, at least they are all in one place, and no other hens can lay additional eggs in there. That's how we ended up with 21 total. Every time Momma left the nest box with the eggs, another hen would jump in there and lay some more.

A mother's work is never done...

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Coyote or wolf?

There have been mentions of a wolf sighted up here, but I am not sure I believe it. We did just see what was probably a coyote bouncing through the weeds on our property this Sunday morning. Since he was coming from the direction of the chicken coop, I was worried, but at least he took off and crossed the creek going to the back. (The Husband checked. The chickens are fine.)

He (or she) was staring right at us with a big round face and red ears, looking more like a fox except easily the size of my dogs. I always thought of coyotes being skinny with long skinny noses, but I have never seen one staring me down like that before. This close-up coyote pic I found online looks just like the face I saw, but the body was much lighter in color, not much grey or black.

He came back about a half hour later, but the barking dogs sent him back to the creek again. At least I hope so.

Free-ranging chickens are always an experiment in danger, but I really didn't think a coyote would be hungry enough to come for Sunday breakfast.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Waiting on Buffy Hen

I didn't note when our buff hen started sitting on these eggs, but we are thinking the 21 days are probably ending soon and we should start to see some chicks. Today I can see there is a broken shell, but she would not let me look around to see if there was a chick that came out of it. Could just be a broken shell.

And this is a roast pork dinner I made last week that The Husband thought was worthy of a picture. It is a little messy, not my best "plating", but it was pretty darn tasty!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

On cloudy days

On cloudy days there is no benefit to sitting outside in his favorite chair, so the WoodMan is content to spend sometime inside on the porch chair. This is my favorite handmade Adirondack chair that I bought on Long Beach Island almost 40 years ago. Wow. That makes me feel old. (And getting older yet on Wednesday...)

Second pic is MonkeyCat sitting with us on the same porch watching a thunderstorm rolling through. This cat has no fear! Big Bad Cyrus, on the other hand, was hiding in the bathroom. And WillieCat in the basement. All my big tough guys!

Susan the Horse Lady came to pick up 2 of our chicks today. She needed some companions for her one lonely hen.

Going to Cousin Greg's tonight for a little Memorial Day eating and drinking. Still cloudy, might rain, but always a good time!

Monday, May 22, 2017

A fine time

The last time we had Buff Orpington hens, we sold them because they went broody. Their problem was that they weren't very good moms and didn't always sit on the same eggs, making it hard for us to remember which eggs we could sell or eat.

Not long after we sold them, a friend gave us 2 more Buff Orpington hens. 13 months passed and no egg-sitting, so I thought maybe these girls just weren't the mommy type.

So we bought 12 new chicks at the end of March figuring none were going to be hatched here. Now, just as those chicks are big enough to graduate from the garage to an outside pen, the remaining Buff goes broody. (We lost the second one to an illness.)

As of yesterday, Buffy Hen is sitting on 8 eggs. Since we kinda don't need 8 more chickens at this point, I can only hope they don't all hatch. Last year there were about that many and only 2 hatched, both roosters, so I don't think the survival rate is very good, but only time will tell. 21 days to hatch a chick. I think we are about a week into this.

These 3 photos of the grown up chicks are from Saturday when we moved them from their crowded box in the garage to an outside pen. They were still checking out their new surroundings when I took these pics. In the large photo: the 2 girls up front are the blue eggers. Mixed breed, so never sure what they will look like. The one on the right looks like one of our older blue eggers, the one on the left looks like a mix of the other 2 breeds that we bought. The black and white ones are Barred Rocks, the others are Golden Laced Wyandottes. This little redhead has the pattern of the Barred Rocks, and the coloring of the golden girls.

Keeping an eye on the BR behind the water bottle in the top photo. Bigger than the rest and already has the chin wattles. Hope you're not a rooster! We welcome all chickens here at Lester's Flat, but we already have 2 roosters, and only the well behaved ones get to stay forever.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Number 3 born today

Hard to get a good photo with an iPhone when walking a dog on a leash along the highway, but here is the third foal born at the Quartier Horse Farm this year.

Lightning Bolt from yesterday was right up at the fence nosing with Cyrus, but didn't have the phone with me for that cuteness...

Sunday, May 14, 2017

New foal season

White one was born May 3 (or thereabouts). Little brown one just today. I guess the horses wait until the apple blossoms finally open to bring their kids into the world.

Apple blossom photos to follow as soon as we get some sun to show them off. I think this is going to be a good apple year, as opposed to last year where I think we had a total of 2 apples from our many trees...

Friday, May 12, 2017

Willie and Monkey

The cat boys never get top billing, so in a quick post late at night, here are the 2 boys in the closet. Nothing like a pile of laundry to catch their interest... Willie left, MonkeyCat right. Their second best choice is when I am changing the sheets on the bed. Maybe pics will follow.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Chasing rainbows

Coming back from New Jersey last night I was chasing rainbows coming down Route 88. The temperature in Palmyra was 72° when I left in the afternoon, and 46° when I got back up here. Clear skies most of the way until just before Oneonta when I could see the black clouds ahead and bright sun behind me. Just one little chunk of rainbow in there would disappear and then reappear as a bigger chunk. It took over the whole sky as a double rainbow right before my exit. We get a lot of them up here, but they are always awesome.

At the old homestead I finished all my gardening, dead-tree-removal, lawn-mowing, room-painting, and ex-neighbor- and ex-mailman-hugging in just those few short days. Fingers are crossed for a good Open House on Sunday. If we don't sell this house soon I might just lose my mind...

Kept Charlie and PeeWee entertained for a night or 2. My boys were all thrilled that I came back to entertain them. At least that's what they told me. 2 of the big guys are insisting that I walk them RIGHT NOW even though it's cold and raining and I don't feel like it...
Charlie (back) PeeWee (front) hogging the bed
while I am trying to change the sheets
and get out of Dodge

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Cats are sleeping. Kids are big. Pit is fixed.

Monkey and Willie, yin and yang, but backward.
4 goat kids with airplane ears are almost as big as the 2 mamas in the background.
Firepit all finished by the amazing Mr. Grady. It wasn't cheap, but it is well done.