The Three Little Bitties…whose mother sleeps in a tree at night

"chicks must be gathered up in the evening to prevent preditors from eating them
There used to be seven, how we have three.

These are the three little chickies that must be gathered up every night as the sun goes down because their mama flies up into a tree, leaving them prey to the foxes and opossums that have begun to prowl the buck shed and old milker shed since we moved the milkers up closer to the house and their guard dog came with them.  I didn’t realize how many species of sharp-toothed wildlife Malachi was keeping at bay at night with his barking and patrolling the fenceline until we moved him out of that area.  Now he and the milking girls have a much bigger pasture but the poor chickens have been left unguarded.

All the chickens are free range, but at one time I kept them locked in a yard with a shed until the baby goats tore up the chicken wire run.  (Chicken wire and goats do NOT mix!)  The chickens still roost near the old shed, but use the trees now and not the shed and I can’t seem to talk them into roosting in the old milker shed at night…which is nearly predator proof.

So, baby chicks have to start fending for themselves just as soon as they are feathered and their mama’s think they should be able to jump up into the trees with them.  It happens with every clutch of chicks without casualties.  Until now.

So, for a while I get gather them up at around 5:30pm, which is when mama hen jumps into a tree, and bring them up to the house for a safe nights sleep.


More Snow Today

I’ve been outside and it sure is pretty! This is our firewood pile.  To the right of the picture you can see part of a tarp which covers a tree cut up into lengths, but not yet split. Our front porch is also covered with firewood.   Our firewood pile grew by leaps and bounds Christmas Eve morning, right after Santa gave CG his Christmas present early…a new Husqvarna Chainsaw!  No more cutting wood with a broken chainsaw, or our other “new” chainsaw that was 30 years old!"snow in va, wood pile, oak firewood"

This next tarp is covering a months worth of hay that was delivered on Friday.  We go through 800 pounds of hay every week for our 5 horses and 9 goats.  Luckily, we found a really great hay farmer that sells these to us for a great price and delivers too!  And, it’s really nice, really clean, barn-kept  hay.  This is one of those things that has really made my life a lot easier….not having to scourge the country side every week or two for hay.  Now THAT was stressful!

"storing hay outdoors in winter"

This next picture was taken from the front porch. (actually they all were, I was still in my pj’s)  The first big tree is a Chestnut tree which drops thousands of sharp spiked chestnuts in the fall, and smells like a dead animal in the spring!  The tree behind it is a big cedar tree that we love, but that we will have to take down or top out because it’s growing right in front of our yard light.  The baby goats were fenced under these trees during the summer and ate the bark off the lower half of the cedar tree, but it’s still green.  Must be a pretty hardy tree.   Plus it’s grown around an old dog chain that is still attached to the trunk.  Most  of the trees here on the property are growing around either old dog chains or collapsing fences, making them worthless as lumber.  Behind the trees is our fall-rut buck pen.  Atticus and Finland have been out with the horses until the snow.  We moved them back up to the pen for the snowstorm.

"snow, goats, winter in Virginia"Hope your day after Christmas is warm and cozy!

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We’re Back To Winter Weather Again!

The weather report last night said a dusting of snow…but all the schools would be starting late.  We wondered why.

This morning I figured out why…it’s 15 degrees out there, and SLICK!

This is our driveway that leads down to the road…I tried walking out there for a moment.  YIKES!"snow falls in central virginia"

Luckily, we got another load of wood that burns nice and HOT!  It’s white oak and it keeps the fire going all night long.  In this picture we’ve been limbing some cedar trees that are a little too close to our chimney.  The goats get all of these boughs and strip every needle and every piece of bark off of them.  They also do that to live trees standing in their pasture…not so good for tree health. "limbing a cedar tree and stacked firewood"

Hope that wherever you are you are staying warm and dry!

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Chestnuts and Other Farm Happenings

Like to go barefoot outside?

Well, if you were to try that in my yard right now you’d have to have soles of steel because right now the chestnuts are dropping their spine-covered nuts just about as fast as I can pick them  up.

Although the nuts are touted as being wonderful for your health and terrific tasting, picking them up has proven to be hazardous to my personal health because when  a big ball of prickly spines full of heavy nuts falls from the top branches of a tree, 100 feet in the air and hits a person in the back or head…it hurts.

I’ve given up for the day, but not before I got three big bowls of chestnuts picked up off the ground and de-hulled of their spiny outer shell.  I’ll have them at the market this weekend too!

"chestnuts_off_our_chestnut_tree.jpg" "chestnuts_at_the_danville_farmers_market.jpg"

Sorry if I’ve missed you at the Danville Farmers Market the last two weeks.  We finally rented CG’s house out, which is a true blessing for us as it was quite a financial strain to be carrying two mortgages.  We had to finish up some last minute projects and then get all of his stuff moved out.

We managed to squeeze the contents of two full sized houses into our one small farmhouse.

We can still walk around in here, but it’s not too easy.  Some of this stuff has to go!

Anyway, I’m over run with eggs that I normally sell out of at the market…no more room in the fridge for ANYTHING!  So, I’ll have plenty with me this weekend.  We ate the oldest ones and saved the freshest for our customers…anyone find a blue egg in their dozen lately?

We’ve got one hen that lays blue eggs and we are trying to put one of them in every dozen.  Of course we have the normal green and brown and light brown…but this is the first time we’ve had blue!

We got up a buck pen made out of cattle panels.  Boy oh boy is that SOOOOO much nicer than trying to keep them in electric fencing….they ALWAYS know when it’s off, and I won’t go near it unless it’s off, and yep, if you’ve read my recent blog posts you know what a time we’ve been having with girls coming into heat and too many bucks..and too many relatives we don’t want breeding with one another!

We also put up a pen for the baby girls.  Of course, at around 80+ pounds, they really are not babies anymore…but their still babies to me.  I still have to install a gate…made out of a cattle panel…easy, easy, easy.  I also have to put up a cattle panel shelter in the buck pen before it rains tonight.  They’ve got plenty of shade from the garage the pen is built next to, and cedar and pine trees outside the fenced area, but nothing for rain, and it’s supposed to be pretty severe tonight.

I have to take apart another pen to get the t-posts I need to use for the shelter…which is why I decided to come inside after picking up all those chestnuts…it’s exhausting just thinking about it!

And for some reason, the humidity came back today.

Thanks for visiting.

Hope to see some of you at the Danville Farmers Market on Sat.  I’ll have soap of course, lotions, (some new soaps too) rainbow-colored eggs, and chestnuts.  I’d have some birdhouses made out of gourds I grew last year too if I had the time to get them painted, which I don’t.

Okay, back to the grindstone.

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The Bird Died

The little bird who fell out of the tree on Saturday seemed to be doing pretty good.  He was feathering out and singing like crazy all the time.  I had to take him everywhere with me so I didn’t miss a feeding.  I nearly wore myself out.

I thought we’d finally got somewhere yesterday morning. He had started to sit on my finger and was chirping up a storm whenever I walked by.

He accepted me as his adopted mum.

I was somewhat pleased about that.

I  stopped by the pet store Sunday for some worms or something for him to eat and they talked me into feeding him dog food soaked in milk, along with the egg yolks, and even gave me a number to a rehabilitation place that I was only too happy to take the bird to.

Anyway, everything seemed set.  The bird was happy.  He eagarly opened his mouth for food whenever I walked by.  He was pooping like normal.  And then..without warning…he croaked.

I came back in the house after milking the goats and he was lying there on his side, feet in the air.

I couldn’t believe the little chirper would up and die on me like that when things seemed to be going so well.

I never have had luck with baby birds.  I can raise just about anything else, but not birds.  Maybe he had a hematoma in his brain from falling from the nest that looked to be about 100 feet in the air.  His brothers had already died.  Maybe it just took this little bird a little longer to kick the bird bath.

I still haven’t found my cell phone, and I couldn’t talk sprint into giving me a loaner or a free cheapo phone, although I tried pretty hard.  They did offer me a phone for $20 bucks but I would have to sign a new contract binding me for another year.

I guess the lady in the store hadn’t talked to the same lady I talked to last week on the phone who was trying to get rid of me as a customer because I use too many roaming minutes.  My roaming minutes are “free” and unlimited with my plan.  I thought unlimited meant “unlimited”.  Apparently, unlimited does not always mean “unlimited” but sometimes means something else like “unlimited within limits” or something like that.

I’m still seeking a physic phone finder.

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A Little Bird Fell Out of His Nest

Today I was outside doing a little “guinea chick rearranging” and found two dead baby birds in the yard.  One of them was REALLY tiny, and the other was normal sized.  Malachai started chasing something that was jumping, and it turned out to be ANOTHER baby bird!

The mother was frantic about it, but the nest is way up in a tall tree and none of my ladders are tall enough to reach, so I brought it inside.

Don’t know what a baby bird is supposed to eat so I gave it some goats milk from an eye dropper.  I guess I have to chop up some bugs….that just doesn’t sound fun.

This little guy has some feathers, but is no where near ready to fly.  I mainly brought it inside to keep it from dying in the heat and the mother being so frantic about it.  It’s jumping all over the place which I guess is how they all happened to fall out of the nest.  I did not see a nest anywhere, so I’m assuming the thing is still up in the tree.

I’m not very good at saving baby birds.  At least we don’t have any cats living in the house to eat it.

I raised a bat once.  I named it Shelby.  It did great and grew well…until it got out and the cat ate it.  I was so sad.

This little bird is about the size of fifty cent piece.  The mother was a very tiny little thing, barely bigger than a hummingbird.

Maybe I can do something with it.  I suppose I’ll have to look up the best solution for food and housing.  I wish it had a buddy.  I thought about putting it under the mother hen, but since chickens don’t feed their babies I’m just guessing that would be a pretty bad idea.

Anybody want a baby bird to try and take care of?

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Tea Tree And Patchouli Oils Just In

I finally got my tea tree and patchouli oils in and will be soaping these this week.  Talk about expensive oils!  I only ordered 8oz of the patchouli…I really don’t know how many people actually want this soap.  I get about one request per week, and I’ve never soaped with it, so I’ll have to see how it goes before I order more.

The tee tree  I get constant requests for and really should have had it all along.  I plan to do a pet bar with it also.  It’ll probably be just my basic recipe, but I may add some pine and eucalyptus and peppermint too.  My dog smells great after his peppermint/eucalyptus bath.  He normally smells atrocious.  I’ll have to say I can actually pet him now without my hands reeking and needing a good washing!

The lemongrass I ordered is on backorder and they didn’t give me a time frame. Hopefully it will be soon.  People seem to really like those citrusy scents in the summer time.  Plus they help keep bugs away.

The girls managed to lock themselves in their shed today.  When I came home from Lynchburg they were screaming to get out.  All except Alicia.  She was lying under some shade trees calmly chewing her cud and looking positively delighted.  I would not be the least bit surprised if she was the one who shut the door and locked them in.  They aren’t very nice to her at times and would have served them right.

And they are hollering now for their evening milking. Happy rest of this Monday!

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