Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Chicken Run

Laura's egg business had been booming. Sales were fantastic and overhead was low when she had her 16 Golden Comet hens.
Then the neighbors' dog systematically picked off 11 of the newly laying ladies.

Laura had seen that the Red Mule in Phenix had chicks, so she asked if we could make a chicken run.
Yep, we can do that.

Gooseberry thinks they'll taste like chicken.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Peculiar Items which Farmers Think are Perfectly Normal

As I was rushing out the door to soccer I noticed the syringe full of cattle wormer on the kitchen counter next to my leftover breakfast, so I snapped a quick photo to warn you what will happen to your idea of what's normal if you farm long enough.

A couple years ago, I had sold a calf who got shipping fever, so I bought some injectable antibiotics, and carried the full syringes with long needles in the cup holder of my van for the next two weeks.
I'm pretty sure if a city cop had pulled me over, I'd have had some 'splainin' to do.

Over the years, we've helped many goats and other momma mammals deliver their sons and daughters. Mostly, birth goes well. But after our first situation involving reaching inside for a dead baby, J-lube became a commonly stocked item.
When the maids came to clean, I suddenly realized that having multiple tubes of K-Y jelly stashed in the pantry, kitchen drawers, first aid kits, and shelves is probably suspicious to those uninitiated into the goat midwifery club.

Our duck was setting on her eggs one year when an uncharacteristically wicked blacksnake started eating many unhatched ducklings each day. After his second snack in as many days, my nine year old daughter marched into the house, went to my room, and strode back through with a .22 rifle slung over her shoulder, clip in hand. I asked her where she thought she was going fully armed, and she replied, "I'm going to teach that blacksnake a lesson!"
When I told my vet that evening how I had of course stopped my 4th grader from shooting the snake, he looked at me quizzically and questioned why I thought she wasn't capable of shooting the snake.
Well, gee, I'm from the city where we don't entertain the idea of responsible young marksmen actually doing something useful with their target practicing!
Now, just a few short years later, I've become inured to armed youngsters taking care of many unpleasant tasks around the place.

If you need a powerful drug injected in a hurry, just ask. I may have it right here in my purse...

Friday, April 19, 2013

And Suddenly, A Maple Tree!

In the busyness of the spring soccer season, I turned my back on Mother Nature for a day, and voila!, everything's suddenly green and verdant.

Now is probably a good time to get the lawnmower running.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Buzz

Here are the newest livestock on Providence Farm.

Dan and I picked up one package of bees on Saturday, and in our typical last minute fashion I stayed home from soccer to frantically build their frames and get the queen installed in her new home.

They've already slurped up a pint of sugar water and are bringing in pollen on their little legs.

I'll check the queen's cage tomorrow and make sure that they've freed her and that all is well inside their hive, then my work is done.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Nascar Day

Laura went with Dan to see a car race.
She took excellent pictures!
Here's Danica Patrick being driven around then smoke covering Jimmy Johnson who's doing donuts in celebration of his win.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Peaceful Evening, Finally

I took this photo of Becky's dairy cows while I was enjoying nature in springlike weather for a change.
Penny loves the new cow and her calves.
I wormed all four cows and put them in the yard for extra abundant and delicious grass on the day we got the new ones. Penny's milk production has gone up substantially. I don't know if it's equally because of better grass, worming, or company, or some combination thereof, but I'm glad it's plentiful and tasty!

It was good to smell the planted pines and hear the cows tearing up grass and chewing.
I wish you could all experience it.

Friday, April 5, 2013

No School for You!

Gooseberry is opposed to Katie doing her school.

She and Katie are in agreement on this issue.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Rest in Peace, Tom Kitten

Tragedy has struck Providence Farm.
Yesterday Tom the Kitten wanted to go outside. I let him.
When we came back from Katie's doctor's appointment and soccer practice, Tom didn't greet us. He didn't come home last night or this morning.
Laura found his body this morning down in the woods.
Dog or dogs had killed him, quickly, at least, with no marks, just a quick shake.
I'm almost certain it was my own dogs.
Debbie, the kitten hating cat, was out when we let Tom out, so we think that he ran away from her, triggering his own friend dogs to chase him.
If it had been the neighbor's dog, he would have climbed a tree in time.
I'm very angry at the two guilty seeming dogs.

These pictures of Tom are from yesterday. He loved looking up at birds above his head. Recently he'd hunted an army helicopter in the hope of bringing it down. Tom had big dreams.
He'd been enjoying practicing hunting on the weird bee/flies that frequent the cow patties in the yard.

He was Becky's special friend. He slept with her every night. I've never seen her so enamored with a pet.
That it was he who died makes me angrier and sadder than I would have imagined.

Lately the words of C.S. Lewis from The Silver Chair have been occurring to me often: "Which just goes to show how little anyone knows what is going to happen to them next."
Once again, that is true.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Why I Didn't Build the Bee Hives at all Today: Part 2

Katie stepped on a dirty, rusty nail in the barnyard and it bled a lot and I freaked out and felt sick and wanted to faint and couldn't get the doctor's office on the phone for a long time.

But then they answered and said she'd be fine and to come on in for a tetanus shot.

I had calmed most of the way down by the time we left the doctor's, and by the time soccer was over, I was ok.

Katie? She was perfectly fine throughout the whole ordeal.

Why I Didn't Build the Bee Hives at all Today: Part 1

I didn't want to paint over the beautiful wood grain of my new bee hives, so I decided to buy polyurethane in town while I dropped Laura off for her hair cut and highlights.
I did buy the clear coat and the brush.
When I got home, however, I still didn't have a chance to start the exciting adventure of reading directions and assembling the hives. Story to follow...

Here's beautiful Laura after her big salon day.

Bee Housing 101

This weekend two packages of bee families may be coming from Georgia to take up residence on Providence Farm.

After an extremely busy and exciting day of buying cattle and hay yesterday, we rushed out to purchase and prepare two bee hives in case the blessed event happens Saturday.

These are 8 frame hives which are smaller and lighter than the standard 10 frames. The best part though is the charming copper roof.

What bee wouldn't be honored to make this hive his abode?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Jersey? Sure!

Becky and I just happened to scroll down the Craigslist "farm and garden" ads today, and there just happened to be an ad for a Jersey cow with two calves at her side.

I called the number, I asked the questions, I headed out.

We instantly fell in love with the momma cow, and her son, and the orphaned heifer who nurses from her.

We swiftly paid for them and arranged their transportation home.
By the time we stopped at the feed store to pick up some Cydectin pour-on wormer for cattle and got back to the house, they were pulling into their new home.

If you're used to dealing with Craigslist, you know that the people you meet up with are good old salt-of-the-earth types. I particularly liked these cowboys and completely trusted them.

Imagine my surprise when we opened the trailer and there were absolutely no calves inside!

After my initial gasp of horror and disbelief, the man walked to the back wall and PHEW! opened it up to reveal two fuzzy babies inside a very secret compartment.

Penny is happy to have new friends. I hope to have an update about milking the new cow pretty soon.

Soccer Friends

Here's a candid shot from a soccer Saturday of home games at Charlotte County.
My daughters have a blessed, good old-fashioned childhood.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter Vigil

We went to the Easter Vigil on Saturday night and our friend caught the children on film during the candlelight service.
It was a beautiful sight to behold.

Laura's Homemade Rolls

Laura is learning to perfect a variety of foods from watching Chef John and other professionals on Allrecipes.com.

Here are her delicious hot dog and hamburger buns.

I'm glad that the girls are all good at cooking and baking, but I do wish that our family doctor would fork over a prescription for diet pills for me.