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Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

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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A Little Wildlife

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We spotted our first baby deer this weekend. Since we let our grass grow out for the wildlife, Momma thought it was a perfect spot and left the baby for the day. She was watching from afar, but the baby just stayed put and napped. Every once in a while you’d see a little head pop up. Hard to believe this cute little guy will grow up to be such a nuisance.

I chased this guy around for about 5 minutes, and this was the best picture I was able to snap.

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Golden-Fronted Woodpecker

These two have a nest in the pole of the basketball hoop. This is their second year with the same location.

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Black Crested Titmouse

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Today ended up much chillier than I anticipated, and with the drizzle, I wasn’t feeling too motivated to garden.

I took pictures instead (and attended a hands-on a bee class – post to come later)

My MIL worked tirelessly last weekend and this Saturday helping me clean up around the yard. Last weekend was the vegetable garden.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Onions, Carrots, Lettuce, Melons, Squash, Peppers

Onions, Carrots, Lettuce, Melons, Squash, Peppers

Newly planted pepper bed

Newly planted pepper bed

First Squash - pass-along from Ms. Black, my daughter's FFA teacher

First Squash – pass-along from Ms. Black, my daughter’s FFA teacher

First Tomato

First Tomato

Beans and corn planted yesterday

Beans and corn planted yesterday

Yesterday was the back yard, weeding, raking, and general cleanup.

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Finally got my garden gates back from the powder coater, just in time for my climbing rose to take off.

Finally got my garden gates back from the powder coater, just in time for my climbing rose to take off.

Grape Hyacinth

Grape Hyacinth

California Poppy - I miss these from Phoenix, and finally have my own

California Poppy – I miss these from Phoenix, and finally have my own

Next I took a tour outside the fence, trying to capture wildflowers

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Our lambs grazing in the background

Our lambs grazing in the background

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My garden helpers — These guys follow me around everywhere. The guineas are usually in 3s, but today she was off wandering.

Carl

Carl

Guinea Hen

Guinea Hen

Checking on some of the poultry …

Our 3 peafowl, we don't know the sex yet, no full tails until 2 years of age

Our 3 peafowl, we don’t know the sex yet, no full tails until 2 years of age

Gobbling with me ... a favorite pasttime

Gobbling with me … a favorite pasttime

Waiting for scratch?

Waiting for scratch?

And on to the orchard

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First peach!

First peach!

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