Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sky








One thing I didn't realize I missed while living in town was seeing the sky. I love seeing the sunsets, the storms rolls in, going to the top of the hill and getting a great panoramic view. These pictures are from the other night, I couldn't stop snapping pictures because the clouds and colors were constantly changing to something even more awesome than the previous minute. However cool the photos are it really doesn't compare to the real deal.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Catch Up, Mustard

Here's what the beginning of spring has looked like on our farm.



Poor birdie flew into the window (happens quite a bit), I picked him up before a cat could snatch him and right after the picture he was able to fly into the trees to finish his recovery.



It was like wild animal rescue week here, we spared a few baby bunnies from the jaws of the cats and dog and tried to nurture them but failed.





My garden before any planting took place.







We burned the pasture on my birthday and a couple weeks later started seeing the lovely green return.





Duck eggs!



This is what happens when you don't listen to Mommy. When she says stop, you should stop otherwise you might just walk through a big patch of stinging nettles...




We did our first IMAX movie at the zoo since it comes free with our membership and somehow made it through the whole 45 minute show. Probably won't be doing that again for a while however.



Our first hatched babies that came from our own chickens. So far we've hatched two purebred Iowa Blues and one Iowa Blue/Rhode Island Red cross (yellow one). We had another that didn't make it and almost had a duckling but didn't make it past the pip. We have a new incubator on its way as ours is quite unreliable.


 7 new ducks that are much bigger now and an assortment of purchased chicks.



Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Eggs



We've been getting around a dozen eggs a day from our chickens and ducks this spring. Mason's new job is to go collect the eggs in the coop at some point in the day. He loves the responsibility and the fact he gets to do it by himself makes him so proud.
Our hens have done a much better job at laying in the coop instead of having secret nests all over like last year, but there have been a few incidents. They were laying in a bucket right outside the coop, which was convenient. However, they decided to up their game and make things more difficult.


This is the burn pile. It is a bunch of sticks, boards, etc. awaiting a calm day to be set to fire.  Wynona, our young silver laced wyandotte made a nice nest in here. To get to the eggs you have to somewhat climb into the middle of the of the pile while the sticks poke you in the head and get stuck in your hair. She hasn't laid there this week so hopefully I don't have to do that anymore.



This is an old grinding room, a small room on the side of the barn that obviously doesn't get used. There were a handful of hens laying in here, to the left of the spiral-y thing under the pvc pipe in the photo. It was a bit treacherous to walk into the room, but the part I hated most was I always collected the eggs at dusk and just knew there would be a raccoon or skunk waiting for me in there at some point. Luckily that was not the case and there haven't been eggs in there now recently either. Phew. 


Here's a popular nest, under the coop. One night I found a clutch of 18 eggs under here. After I finally got the feisty Iowa Blue hen off, I reached under to grab them and of course they are just out of reach. The nest is like a hole in the ground so it took me what seemed like twenty minutes laying on the ground with a stick carefully sliding the eggs out of the hole and close enough for me to reach. I was covered in straw and probably bits of poo by the time I was done. We don't eat eggs we aren't sure how long were in nests, so I popped them all in the incubator and some of them are developing nicely. I've also found a cat on this nest. She sat on one egg for two days, I got a chuckle out of that.


Our incubator is maxed out. End of the month we should have some of our own barnyard raised chicks and ducklings. Each time we candle them we get a bit giddy about how well they are doing. We're trying the dry incubation this time as opposed to messing with humidity levels and it is really working much better for us.

Friday, March 27, 2015

A Duck Duh Moment


We have four ducks (all to the right in the photo). Two females, the white ones, Whitey and Quackers. Two males, grey one with awkwardly short legs is Jeffery and the black one is Patronus. We used to have 2 more, but we think our previous dog Jax chased off the male which was also black named Shawn and a grey female, Jessie, that was eaten by a hawk. We got them last year around this time and they've been good little duckies. That's their pond in the background, the turtle sandbox. They love it and always wait for it to be filled with fresh water in the morning.
We learned last year how to figure out the sexes of our ducks via the internet because we had no idea otherwise. The quacks of males are completely different than the females plus a male's tale feathers curl up as you can kind of see in the photo on Patronus (the black one). If you want to listen to the differences in the quacks, go HERE.
Our males, especially Jeffery, are very feisty when it comes to the ladies. At some point during the morning you usually see a male on top of a male on top of a female. It's silly. Jeffery is smitten with the chickens, too. He'll bite them on the neck and climb aboard with his short legs, which is normal duck mating practices, just not sure he realizes he has the wrong species. Eh, he doesn't care.
So, to the duh moment. Tyler and I were recently discussing how it sucks we haven't got any duck eggs yet. We were beginning to wonder if we'd sexed our birds wrong and we actually got all males. That wouldn't be cool. We've never seen any of our ducks lay an egg. They are never sitting on a nest when we come into the chicken house. There have been days at a time when we have had the coop on lockdown so they couldn't be keeping a secret nest somewhere successfully. What is wrong with our ducks, are they duds?!
Fast forward to this morning, Tyer says, "You know, I think the white eggs we've been getting are duck eggs." Hmmm. We went through the breeds of chickens we have and realized none of them lay white eggs, so... turns out we've had duck eggs for quite some time now. Fertilized, obviously, nonetheless! Do you know how many ducklings we could have hatched by now? A lot.


See the front two eggs all the way to the right? Duck eggs. They are always a bit odd, kind of like you can scratch the bloom off the outside and their shells seem much thicker. I always assumed one of our chickens just laid weird eggs. It is quite funny we didn't put two and two together sooner. Guess we'll be eating the last of our duck eggs for a while because the next ones from the coop are headed to the incubator!

In case you curious how duck eggs and chicken eggs compare...


Friday, March 20, 2015

Life Lately

Helping me plant some seedlings.

Discovering olive fingers.

Watching Mason ride the tractor up and down the lane with Grandpa.

Covering his ears the entire ride.

"My turn my turn my turn, Brampa." --Finnley

Lots of beauties each day, so long as Maggie doesn't beat me to the coop.

Roo, our lone rooster for now.

Did somebody say treats???

Lego maniac.

Not quite tall enough.

Chased her down the lane twice. Workout complete.

Meatball (Mason's name choice).

 Thankfully she stopped chasing the chickens with a stick to sit down with me, even if for a short minute.