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Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

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Here is our new rescue kitty, Maddie. We’ve had her for over a month. The 3 cats are not best friends yet, but they’re getting better. One reason for the conflict is that Maddie won’t back down from anything. She showed that today, as she stalked a deer, taking her chase all the way across the street!

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Memorial Day weekend seems to be the typical time for fawns to appear in the neighborhood. This year, we’ve seen an abundance of twins. I spotted one set in the front yard this morning and had to grab my camera.

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Momma wasn’t far off, and it turns out I’m not the only one who noticed.

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Maddie Cat was fascinated, and not at all intimidated by the massive size difference.

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Quietly stalking

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Unsuspecting Deer

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Off she goes across the street

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Uh-oh. Caught it, now what do I do?

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Deer took off, guess it is time to head home

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Catching some air

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Back home safe and sound, and still fearless.

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Hank is a mini Alpine and Larry is a mini Nubian. These two are permanent additions to help keep the weeds in check.

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One of our ducks, Priscilla, is super friendly but a notoriously terrible mother, hatched 3 guineas but then quickly abandoned them. We had 3 tiny guineas running around the chicken yard. We weren’t sure how they were going to make it, until our lone chick, just 3 weeks old, took over momma duties.

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Not only did she show them how to eat, but lets all 3 climb under her for sleeping and protection.

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Elsewhere in the chicken yard, we have a chicken and duck raising 7 ducklings together. They sat together on the nest for 28 long days and once they hatched, they are sharing duties.

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Here’s another momma with ducklings. Wait a duck raising ducklings? Something’s wrong around here …

We currently have 15 ducklings, 1 chick, and 3 guinea keets

*Sorry — all pics with iPhone this time

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All Bees Welcome

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After a very long winter (by Texas standards), Spring has finally arrived!

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The bulbs … Tulips, Narcissus and Hyacinths

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Irises

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Front bed — Betony and Lantana. Nestled up against the house, this lantana bloomed all winter

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Bluebonnets — mine are a little late, but coming along

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Wisteria

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My first Mountain Laurel bloom ever!

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Yucca Bloom

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The veggies — tomatoes and peppers are planted. A few winter veggies are still going, and I’m letting things bolt for the bees

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Citrus

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Even the chickens know it is spring. Here are two sitting on eggs. One is using an old rabbit nesting box. We’ll have to keep an eye on her, as she’s about  feet up in the air.

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Guinea Keets

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We have babies!

A few months ago one of our 3 guinea hens decided that she liked our neighbors much better and took off, leaving us with only 2 guineas. Then a little over a month ago, another one disappeared. We heard her, so knew she couldn’t be too far away, but she stopped coming around for food in the morning. We finally found her sitting on eggs. Normally we wouldn’t mind, but in this case we only have guinea hens, which means no fertilized eggs.

Being the resourceful person that he is, Eric went on craiglist and found fertilized guinea eggs. We put them under our hen and 28 days later, woohoo!

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We have 6 keets. The two females are raising them together, what a cute little family.

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Shearing Day

Although my daughter has been shearing lambs for a few years, this was our first go at it.

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Her 2 lambs were already at the farm, and they have shearing stands and shears, so we loaded up our other 2 lambs and headed up to the farm.

Me, drying a lamb

Me, drying a lamb

The first step is washing and drying the lambs. The dirt in their wool, will dull the sheers, so they’ve gotta be clean.

"Wrangler"

“Wrangler”

It’s quite a task getting the lambs up on the stand, but once you have them hooked in, they are fairly content. You have to watch them closely though, as they tend to slip off every now and then.

Aspen, shearing one of our girls

Aspen, shearing one of our girls

Eric, shearing Wrangler

Eric, shearing Wrangler

Of course, Aspen was great at shearing, but who knew Eric would be such a natural? He was such a perfectionist, we had to pretty much pry the shears out of his hands.

Look how fluffy and white!

Look how fluffy and white!

Exhausted from a busy day

Exhausted from a busy day

Overall, we did pretty well. We washed, dryed, sheared, and cleaned up in under 3 hours. We definitely got a better appreciation of what my daughter has been doing the last couple years.

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Homestead Update

So much has been happening, I don’t even know where to start …

Let’s start with, I do have a queen bee. Yea! I opened up the hive on Sunday afternoon and found capped brood. This means that eggs have been laid, and covered up. Unfortunately, with the heat, a piece of comb about 2X2, containing capped brood, melted off and fell to the bottom of the hive. When I talked to my bee-mentor, she said that if it’s a small piece, leave it, and the bees will recycle it. Lesson learned — don’t go in the hive in 90 degree weather, things are too fragile. On the bright side, the hive is buzzing along nicely, with plenty of honey and new babies coming soon.

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Berm my daughter made to try and keep the rain away

Berm my daughter made to try and keep the rain away

Next up … 2 new chicks and 1 new duckling. This is good and bad. For the chicks, Maribel was one several eggs and only one hatched. The second chick I found under where the turkey had been sitting, but apparently she up and abandoned it. I gave the chick to Maribel, and she has accepted it as her own – good mama. We had 2 ducklings sitting on large clutches of eggs, but only 1 live duckling. Our Peking, got scared off the nest and got up, the few viable eggs (with pips) dried up and the ducklings didn’t make it 😦 Our second duck, the Lavender Peking lost 4 chicks in the 5″ of rain a few weekends ago. Luckily, one had hatched before the majority of the rain came in. The others sadly drowned. It looks like we may need to incubate if we are wanting ducklings this year.

On to a happier note, the garden is coming along great. I am harvesting tomatoes, zucchini, butternut squash, okra, jalapenos, green beans, and tomatillos daily.

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I made this caprese salad with cherokee purple, wyche yellow, and emerald evergreen – plus basil from the garden.

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I’ve also starting this year’s canning, tomatoes, salsa, sweet pickles, and dill pickles.

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Due to the new induction cooktop, I had to get a new canner. Considering my other one was just a not-quite-big-enough-pot, this was not a huge sacrifice. Canning was so much easier with the large canner, and water that boils in no time.

We also just redid our kitchen, new counter tops, brick backsplash, farm sink and the afore-mentioned induction cooktop.

Before …

Double sink, difficult to clean large pots

Double sink, difficult to clean large pots

Split-Level island and centered cooktop took away all of my prep area

Split-Level island and centered cooktop took away all of my prep area

Crappy tile, which made rolling out dough a pain

Crappy tile, which made rolling out dough a pain

After …

New Farm Sink

New Farm Sink

New Island with so much prep area

New Island with so much prep area

Updated computer area

Updated computer area

We also have 4 new lambs. My daughter got her 2 FFA lambs, 1 medium wool and 1 southdown. We decided to replace our Dorpers with Southdowns. The Dorpers just weren’t very friendly and considering we will need to take them to see a Ram once a year, we didn’t want catching them to be a monumental chore. Plus, it is fun to have lambs come up to you and eat out of your hand, rather than take off in the other direction. The one negative is that we will have to sheer the Downs, but I know people who can turn wool into yarn. This weekend is sheering day, I’ll have to update on how it goes.

Think that should about do it for today …

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