Monday, August 27, 2012

Update on Baby

Little Baby is not so little anymore!  She gets along well in the chicken run.  She and her mom Goldie have a tendency to wander off into the weeds at the back of the pen, where they forage for most of their food.

Here are the latest pics.  I was lucky enough to catch them at bedtime.  Enjoy!



Sunday, August 12, 2012

Little chick

Yesterday when I got home from market I couldn't find Goldie and her chick.  Of course, I worried, but I finally came in the house.  Goldie has taken to going out of the pen with her in the late afternoon.  I open the gate at that time so that they can forage outside of the pen for a few hours before they go to roost.  Also, if there are any chickens out and about, Campines being the usual escapees, an open gate means they can get back in the pen before Clay gets there to close up the Moop for the night.

Sunday is Clay's day off.  I went out at the crack of dawn to open up the Moop, hoping that Goldie and Baby would be inside.  They were - in a nest!  These nests are at least four feet off the floor.  I guess the box is out - I'll take it to the burn pile and move the baby chick waterer and feeder back to the storage area.  This chick has let me know from Day One that she is a BIG girl!  Okay, maybe it's a boy, but I am hoping it is a girl.

I am more convinced day by day that this is a full blooded Campine.  The egg was white, so Mama was a Campine.  Just a matter of whether it was Ricky Ricardo, Tiny or Buster who did the deed.  Any chick with wings no more than an inch and a half long who can fly out of a box with 18" sides when it is only a couple of days old has to be a Campine!  And she was two weeks old on Friday, and already able to fly up into the nests - a top nest no less.  Yup, has to be a Campine!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Summer Squash run amok

On Monday, I went back to Illinois to have lunch with my cousin Bess.  We were born six days apart (she's older!!!) and we have begun setting aside some time to get together, farm, grandchildren and all else that takes up our time forgotten for a day.

We met at the Igloo, an institution that is dear to many generations of people from the LaSalle-Peru area of north central Illinois.  Of course, we had porks.  I didn't have the buns - low carb, you know.  I did scarf down the crispy breading however.

I also stopped to see my 95 year old Auntie Vey (I'm named after her), and another cousin, her daughter Alice stopped by.  So we got to talking and looking at pictures, and I got home pretty late, sun was almost down.  I had to get green beans picked.  They don't like to be picked with morning dew on the plants - they are very prone to getting rust.  So I picked until I couldn't see anymore and called it a day.

The next morning, I had to prepare six market baskets for my CSA.  I dashed through the garden and was pretty sure I got all of the summer squash that were ready.  There were plenty of cukes, too.  By the time I added a bunch of kale to every basket, I had plenty and so I left the garden.

When I got home last night, I was tired and figured I would just finish the picking this morning.  Just got back from the garden.  The squash fairy obviously visited last night.  I could swear I got all of the squash yesterday morning, but what do you think?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Chick pics

I have named the new chick Baby.  Baby and Goldie, her/his mom, are inseparable.  I know there is danger out there, letting Baby run around in the midst of the big chickens.  They can be mean.  But I trust Goldie to watch out for her baby.  I know that they are both happy, doing their chicken thing.  Goldie has gone broody repeatedly, and it is obvious that she is a Super Mom.  I'm glad I let her set, even though there is only one little chick to show for it.  :)

Here are some pics, from the birth of the two chicks (the little one didn't make it) to several of Goldie scratching in the dirt to find food for her and her babe.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The new chick

The chick that was injured at birth didn't make it.  The remaining chick is healthy.  It too fell out (or jumped out) of the nest at birth, but was running around on the floor. I immediately put chick and mom in a box with VERY deep sides. 

Today when I got home, mother and chick were running around the chicken yard!  They had run out of water, so my guess is they went looking for more.  I have no idea how that chick could have gotten out of the box - unless, of course, it is a Campine.  Only a Campine, barely a week old with wings that are not even 2" long could pull off getting out of a box that is at least 15" deep!  Yup, I am quite convinced I have a full-blooded Campine, which makes me very happy.  I hope it is a pullet, but I'll take another rooster.  Buster and Tiny could use some company.

I will get pictures soon.  Just so busy with the garden right now!  It is in full swing.  Picking took a good two hours this afternoon, and the bins are overflowing with cukes, zukes, peppers (both sweet and hot), melons and tomatoes.  The people in my CSA are going to be very happy indeed with their boxes of produce tomorrow!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

This winter . . .

After a brutally hot summer that is still going on, I am listening to the sound of the deer hunters unloading wood for the winter.  The deal is, they keep me in firewood in exchange for exclusive hunting rights here on the farm.  We are both happy with the arrangement.

It is hard to heat a house with wood.  I come home on a cold day and no matter how carefully I banked the fires before I left, the house is chilly.  There is no speedy heat recovery with wood stoves.  I have two, a big cast iron one in the lower level family room and a small soapstone stove in my bedroom on the main floor.  They keep the house toasty warm, but as I said, it is work.  I keep a wood box by the stove in the bedroom.  The wood is stacked outside near the door into the family room.  I carry armloads of wood from there to the bedroom, up sixteen steps, and last winter it was with a bum knee.  The knee has been fixed, but now I have found out the shoulder pain is serious.  I have a torn rotator cuff.  How will I manage carrying wood upstairs?  During my recovery from the surgery, it will be out of the question.

Sometimes I tell myself that it is silly to heat with wood.  I have a very efficient heat pump.  But the heat is just not the same.  I have talked to other people who heat with wood, and they will tell you the same thing.  They want their wood stoves burning, they want to feel the special heat that wood fires bring to a house on a cold and blustery day.

All of this is leading up to something I want to share with you -- my farm is for sale.  Farm land is selling at a premium right now, and while the housing market is heating up a bit, houses are still depressed.  So it is the perfect time to sell the farm and move back into town.  Financially it makes a lot of sense.  And as you can see from this post, my body is wearing out.  Now if I could live out here and become uninvolved in the physical activity of farming, maybe I could stay.  But this morning, there was a cow out, wandering down the lane as I left for market.  I guess I could have just keep moving - after all, Androo was here and I could have called him to take care of it.  But instead, I got past Sweetie Pie and turned the car so that she wouldn't continue down the drive, then called Androo who came from the other direction in the golf cart, and between the two of us we got her back in.  As I said, I have a hard time staying uninvolved!

I have no idea how fast the farm will sell.  I have such mixed feelings about moving from here that I really don't care.  I will let the market tell me whether I go or stay this fall.  However, as I listen to the sound of the wood getting piled up, I am thinking that I could stand a vacation from loading fireboxes several times a day.  Whatever happens, it will be okay.  I will adapt. 

If the place sells quickly, I will have more time to write -- until my memory runs out of farm stories.