Friday, March 20, 2009
Well, she did it. I wouldn't have put money on the possibility of that hen actually hatching out any of those banty eggs, but on each of the last two days, an egg has hatched, revealing a teeny, tiny chick! Yesterday afternoon, after one of the chicks fell out of the nest box (about 3 feet off the ground)and survived, I decided I needed to move chicks, surrogate mother hen, and the rest of the eggs to a lower and safer location. This was somewhat tricky because once I moved everyone, the hen could have abandoned the nest. I cut a cardboard box to resemble the nest box and filled it with some straw. She was very indignant when I started pulling the chicks and eggs out from under her! I managed to catch her and put her under my arm, and with the chicks and eggs in the box, I moved them all into the 10 X 10 dog kennel. When we put the peahen and her chicks in there last summer, we put netting around the bottom of the pen to keep the little ones from wandering outside the safety zone and getting picked off by the barn cats. I was so relieved to see her settle back on the nest and tuck those babies right under her wings. They are so tiny, it's a little scary to try holding one in my hand (the spool of thread gives you some idea of their size). She still has 6 eggs in the nest, so time will tell how many more (if any) will hatch.
And don't you just love that expression?
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Before and after
Today is a glorious day with temperatures in the 70's and all those naked ewes are lazing about enjoying the sunshine. I hope there's the promise of warm, sunny days ahead wherever you are!
Monday, March 16, 2009
The name of the game..
We are still waiting for the first lambs to arrive. The shearer was here last weekend to shear the pregnant ewes and, finally, I could get a good look at them. I think at least one of them will lamb this week and the monitor in the kitchen is turned on all the time now. No matter how many years I have experienced lambing season, somehow it doesn't seem quite real until the first lamb is born.
I was pleased with the condition of this year's ewe fleeces. This fleece is on the skirting table waiting for my attention. My skirting philosophy (if there is such a thing) is to skirt heavily and take out anything that I personally would not want to pay for or spin. There were no breaks in the fiber from illness or stress and very little vegetable matter. I'm thinking the lamb/yearling fleeces are not going to be as nice. Most of them are black and have sun bleached tips and they have been in the barn nearly every night through the winter. (I have spoiled them, I know.) I'm planning on cutting just the tips off the black fleeces before the shearer comes again, in hopes I can salvage at least part of them.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Not cars or birds, but hummers of the four footed kind. (Be sure your sound is turned on when you play the video.) Sunday afternoon I put Strawberry and Pippi in with the yearlings and then put the alpaca boys in with the male llama. I was hoping everyone would get along and, so far, they have. Pretty soon I'm going to need to wean Pippi and I thought having her in with the yearlings and being used to them would help during the transition. The male llama is not happy about being separated from Strawberry and has spent the last few days walking the fence and vocalizing (that's the humming you hear). Strawberry has acted oblivious. She's been giving him to cold shoulder and refusing his attentions, so I'm hoping that means she is bred. In any case, I think he is going home around the end of the month. He's a lovely boy and has been absolutely no trouble at all since he came here last fall. Pippi is crazy about him and she will miss him when he's gone---much more so than her mother will, I think.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
What makes chickens happy?
This little guy is our resident rooster, "Doo" (short for Cockey-Doo, so named by his previous owners). He's a Golden Laced Cochin Bantam and we have one little hen to match him. "Doo" has been on thin ice lately because he has decided he doesn't want anyone coming into the hen house but me. Every time my husband goes in to feed, "Doo" comes after him! Needless to say, this behavior is not well received. I'm hoping when the chickens can come outside everyday and expend more energy scratching around in the barnyard and beyond, he will settle down and be a nice boy again. Mike can handle his grumpy disposition, now that he knows to look out for him, but I don't want him terrorizing the grandchildren.
One last picture from the chicken house. This girl decided she wanted to be a mama nearly two weeks ago. I spent a week taking her off the nest, only to find her right back on it next time. I've given up and she's been allowed to keep six banty eggs to see if she can hatch some chicks. By the way, she is not a banty. She's a Black Australorp and one of the biggest breeds we raise. I figured she'd be big enough to protect the chicks, if she's successful. Stay tuned for updates on this.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Sunday, March 1, 2009
What is she thinking?
Today was the scheduled day for the shearer to come do the pregnant ewes, since we are only about two weeks away from the first lambing due dates. Thank goodness I had second thoughts about the weather and rescheduled for next weekend. Though the daffodils are pushing up through the dirt and will be blooming soon, we had snow on the ground again this morning. I'm hoping the forecasters are right and that we will have a warm up this week.
I'm still on the finishing track around here. This mitered square shawl has been languishing for many months, but was finally completed last week. It's a free pattern from here. (They have a fantastic selection of freebies.) In spite of the fact that I abandoned it for many months, it was an enjoyable experience. I love knitting miters. There was just enough going on to keep my interest. I used Noro Kuyreyon, color 214 and, for better or worse, I didn't even attempt to plan how the colors would work out. This will most likely become my "house shawl"----one I use for watching television and knitting or reading in bed after the furnace has cooled down for the night.
Hope you are having a great Sunday afternoon. I've got a cozy fire going and some knitting waiting for my attention.