Friday, February 28, 2014

50 lb bags and a farm

It seems that there are 50 lb bags every place I look. Horse feed, chicken feed, sheep and goat, dogs and cats.You may not like snow, but it does have it's value to me . I can transport 50 - 100 lbs of feed via toboggan across an acre or 2 with little effort.
I just bought a 50 lb bag of semolina flour because it makes the best pasta. Whatever will I do with 50 lbs of semolina flour? Divide it 3 ways between friends who are like minded. Semolina is too expensive in the 20 oz. bag distributed to grocery stores to make it worth your time going to all the trouble to make. However, buying in large quantities drops the cost dramatically.Semolina flour also makes great pizza dough.I also buy 50 lb bags of carrots and divide it with my daughter.They keep in the cellar refrigerator for many months. 
I store my flours in gallon glass jars that I get free from places that make subs and use sweet peppers or pickles. They will give them to you.They are great storage containers and keep out those wormy webby evil creatures that make their homes in your spice rack . Plastic containers just don't keep them out.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bullying and abuse in the animal kingdom

We are all aware of the abusive acts that humans impose upon animals and other human beings who cannot fight back.,but I have seen similar  miserable behaviors dished out by animals and birds.Animals are territorial and they are jealous. They establish a pecking order and will kill the weak.Sometimes they will share and go to great lengths to help others and other times ~ "It's all about me".I noticed that when my children were growing up that 2 friwnds together got along fine, but not 3 friends. The third caused conflict. I have seen the same pattern with horses.My third horse was always tip toeing into the barn to get at a morsal of hay and at the slightest whim was chased out.I've had roosters freeze to death in the snow because the head honcho refused to allow him into the coop for warmth. I bought a winter coat for my Belgian and had one ordered for the Percheron. It turned out that the one for the Belgian was a few inches too small. Therefore I switched and ordered a larger one for the Belgian and gave his to the Percheron cross.Even though he was wearing his new coat, he grew angry that the Percheron(Misty) had his previous  coat.He bit her, he chased her, he refused to allow her into the barn to eat.After 24 hours he was a better boy and got over it but he lost respect in my sight.Now, ONE of them figured out how to open the chain on the gate!!!   Wide open 2 days in a row !!   I want to know who's doing that?  (I'll bet it's the goats).

My pretty girl Misty

This is my pretty mare Misty. She's a Percheron.Quarter horse cross who is jet black and beautiful! (The camera flash creates brown highlights that are not her characteristic colors)

She's a beautiful horse who needs training and I'm fed up trying to progress at my place because of soggy wet ground or frozen ground that inhibits any activity here. 

So I called my friend Melissa McHenry who trains horses and is a real sweetheart and adores horses and the next thing I knew.....Misty was being trailored to Bloomsburg for training camp. 

I had to sew her coat with fishing line because she tore it up by her withers.But only good ol' DUCT TAPE would do the real job of holding it together (hidden from sight).And so I posted 60 different purposes for duct tape that will get you out of a jam (on F.B.)
She nickers across the driveway to other horses. She's a social gal who loves company...and people (:>

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Winter Sports for Chickens !!

The new group of Leghorn chickens have finally made it out of the cellar and into the nursery coop outside.They hatched from the incubator and 25 peeps yelled Happy New Year !!!!  Now, seven weeks later,  12 of them were crowing in the cellar.Yes, I have 12 roosters in this bunch.Now they are becoming acquainted with their new house,whispering to each other,"WOW, this is a mansion!". They scratch through the fresh pine shavings and can actually run around.

This little guy stayed glued to the door and kept looking outside , probably in wonder of the environment around him. "You mean there's more to life than the four walls of that brooder?" 

I believe in winter sports for chickens , so I took them for a toboggan ride across the farm .I have five brooders similar to this one but I prefer to make less trips so half the chickens went into each trip. 

I actually think they liked it. They had never seen the sun before.Their parents live in the adult coop on the other side of  the house, about 1.5 acres away.Eventually they'll join them.I still have 25 Jersey Giant peeps in the basement , but they are still little.They will take over the nursery coop in another 2 weeks or so. I shall look forward to new crowing from the bottom of the cellar stairs.

The daylight hours are growing longer and egg laying is dramatically picking up. Some renegade hens send me on egg hunts to the spring house, under junked appliances out back and now recently......this is why you must remember to close your car windows at night. A sudden leap in the car while you're racing against the clock to get to work........just might make you late. This is why I must always keep an extra clean uniform handy , waiting to greet me from its hanger. I never know WHAT experiences these animals will bring on any given day.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Beautiful Snowy Winter February 2014

I don't remember seeing the ground since the end of December, it seems. We have had snow on top of snow. While the lower areas had snow melt,  my village is on top of the mountain and barely does snow melt but more arrives to squelch that idea. Right now I trudge through 18" of snow accumulations in the back yard to get to the nursery coop that I have been trying to get set up.I currently have 25 Leghorn chickens, born in January, in the cellar in brooders that are crowing. I also have 25 Jersey Giant peeps that are 1.5 weeks old. Still not a problem and they will remain downstairs for a few more weeks until they are feathered out.Hopefully I'll be able to finish the nursery coop today.

Turkeys are strutting where they can find a shallow snowy area and the chickens prefer to remain on their roosts in the adult coop.

Ducks plow along the surface in the deeper snow and fortunately don't sink The depth is over my knees here. They come to the garage to get their grain and socialize.The pond is frozen with only a smaller little circle of water where a spring bubbles to the surface. These guys are on their way there now for a little swim.As my friend April would say,"You know it's cold out when you see cattle walking across the pond !". I got a good laugh from that one.
 Country roads  have the appearance of "All Quiet On The Farm" during frigid winter days that is deceiving because within the barns new life is being born .We had 2 little lambs born to Sweetpea,our ewe.

These babies were leaping and playing even though temps hit zero degrees the night after they were born. How do they survive such cold?

They grow so fast and they are so affectionate Here's my Little Lamb (:>  (I'm referring to the one in the brown hat with the moustache)

I don't know what Johnnycake is laughing about. He just got his tail banded.