Thursday, April 28, 2011

Where Mr Storm flirts with Jessica and Chicks learn to swim

All day yesterday the weatherman predicted heavy severe storms. Flood warnings, Tornado watches, all the fun stuff. When I left work at 6 yesterday it was 80 and perfectly sunny. I knew better than to trust the skies. I knew once night came, we wouldnt be able to see the storm clouds approach. I knew this. Last night I fell asleep watching and listening to the thunderstorms that did come as predicted. I opened both the french doors in the bedroom, so that the only thing protecting me from the raging storm flirting outside, was the double screen door. I sat in bed reading, until the lightning was too tempting. I turned off the lights and let the storm tell me a bed time story.
I woke up to the very same storm, still sticking around in the morning. Actually Mr Storm woke me up before 5 with rain pelting my face. At 6, when hubby got up Mr Storm was still around. He lingered around until I couldnt sleep anymore. I thought I would get up early and start the morning chores. I looked out my window to see a man standing in my driveway, dressed all in black, holding a black umbrella. I rubbed my eyes and looked again. Mr Black slowly turned and walked up my driveway and across the street. Hmm...
I got dressed and made a pot of coffee. I have figured out that if I start the coffee before my chores, I will be rewarded with hot coffee as soon as I am done. I headed downstairs to get my work shoes. Imagine the sight laid before me as I headed down the hallway downstairs. Water was coming in the laundry room door, pooling in the laundry room and heading right down my carpeted hallway. No doubt if I hadnt kicked it out, it would have continued on its merry way. No sir, Mr Storm was not going to bring all his baggage into this relationship. I tried to end the relationship right then and there. I put a towel on the outside of the door to discourage any more water from coming in. Figured I would shop vac the water when I came back in from chores.
I opened the door to even more standing water. I guess standing isnt really the word. Water was cascading down the steps onto my back porch. Some people pay to have water falls in their yards. I just court Mr Storm, and get them for free! I dreaded heading out to the barn. It was then, that the man in black appeared. Turns out, the man in black, is really my neighbor, whose elderly dog went missing in the storm. I assured him, that should I find his ailing dog, I would return him, or keep him safe until he could be returned. On to the barn I went. One foot in the barn, and the water came up over my shoe. Not. Good. At. All. A barn is supposed to be dry. A barn is supposed to keep its animals sheltered from the storm. Oh no, not this barn. Checked on bunnies in the barn. Everyone was fine, since their cages are well off the ground. The pullets I wasnt worried about, since they have nesting boxes and roosting bars to get up off the ground. It was then that I turned to check on the chicks. With only chicken wire for a base to their brooder (so that they can eat the grass when outside) the same water that was hiding my feet was in their brooder. The poor chicks had water up to their wings. Luckily these chicks are older and meat chicks, so they arent lacking in the floatation device department. A little distressed? sure. A little wet? yup. Any worse for the wear? No siree. I piled them all in a plastic tub, brought them into my less wet than the barn, laundry room. I proceeded to find them a suitable cage, and set them up to dry off in the laundry room.
Once back inside, I faced the dilema of the water in the laundry room. I got out our shop vac (shop vac- i will be a spokeswoman for you anyday!) and cleaned up the floors. I cleaned up the hallway (carpet is so much harder to clean). No wonder the carpets are stained! I am thinking of putting in concrete floors. Wouldnt that be so much easier? I could just mop and be done! Well, maybe someday we can put in hardwood instead of carpet. Someday.
The moral of the story is dont flirt with Mr Storm. Sure, some men send flowers. Mr Storm tempts you with gorgeous boquets of lightning. But, like any rejected man will do, he does not leave on nice terms. No, he brings all his baggage into the relationship and will leave it in your laundry room!
PS- I do NOT advise you to purposly see if your chicks too can swim. It is not an experience my chicks wish to revisit and its definitely not safe. I am extremely thankful that no one was hurt in my fling with Mr Storm.
PPS- The thunder and lightning just started again. Perhaps Mr Storm is mad i am blogging about our relationship...Sorry Mr Storm, I just wanted to warn the other young women out there...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Heat Wave






We have been hit with a heat wave here, and we are loving it! Thunderstorms at night, 80+ during the day... if this is just the peek at summer, I am going to buy myself a kiddie pool and join the critters. Everyone has been loving their kiddie pools that hubby brought home one day. The pool in the goat/duck pen empties real quick. Lately, Jumpy has taken to curling up in the empty pool and sleeping. Everyone gets extra water and shade to help keep cool.




Yesterday I painted Hubby's shed. When we bought this house, there were 4 outbuildings. One we tore down right away as it was super un-safe. The other three were the barn, the random shed, and the playhouse. The playhouse became the chicken coop. The barn became the barn. After this weekend it now holds pullets too. And the rabbit cages to get them out of the sun and heat. The random shed became Hubby's shed/workshop. All 4 buildings were different colors and looked "cluttered". We painted the chicken coop red and white. Finally the shed joined the ranks and is now red. It looks a million times better! Once we fix up the barn, we will paint it to match. I dont want to paint it, and then redo the siding and waste all the paint. The red buildings blend in so much better now. We still need to trim the shed in white, but its looking better already.






The goats are enjoying the weather too. Hugs is able to be out in the open (he has access to shelter/shade at all times) and is so fun to watch. He is just starting to jump sideways. Its as if he is on a pogo stick. Kisses is a doting mother. I never tire of watching him nurse. Its amazing! All my research says to let the kids have complete access to the milk for the first two weeks. Then its ok to milk mama for human use. I ordered milking supplies today, and will be watching the mailbox non stop. Look forward to milking supply pictures! We have not decided what to do with Hugs. We could keep him intact but he would require a whole different pen, with super strong fencing so he couldnt get in with the ladies. We could neuter him, but then what would we do with him? If we neuter him, we will have to take Jumpy and Jackie to a stud next year. If we keep him, we could breed him to them. I have read mixed reviews about breeding a buck to his own mom and am still unsure. At least we know for sure he could be Jumpy and Jackie's baby daddy.














Speaking of babies, Batman, one of our rabbits (given to us by my friend Nicole) is starting to nest. She should give birth within the next couple days. This is the first time she will have a litter here at the farm. Nicole said she had a litter before, but they all died. Hopefully its because it was her first litter and this time go around she will be a great mama.









The chickens are enjoying their free ranging days, not that its not rainy, snowy, sleety, or muddy. I attempted to make bean soup in the crock pot and it was a huge fail. At least the chickens enjoyed it...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Hugs




Today was one of those days that started off not so great. I slept through my alarm, raced to work (made it on time) and had to run a bunch of errands. I came home and was exhausted. I wanted to take a nap, but Hubby kept reminding me we needed to work on the chicken coop. On one of his attempts to get me out of bed (where I had collapsed before changing into farm clothes) he said there was an extra goat in the pen. I thought he was just trying to get me up. Then I realized he was serious. There was an extra goat in our pen. Extra goat. In. Our. Pen. Kisses, the goat we thought maybe, might possibly, not quite sure, perhaps might be pregnant, apparently was for sure and for certain, pregnant. Without our knowledge or help, she delivered a healthy little buckling. We are assuming he is healthy as he is walking around, she cleaned him up, and he figured out where to get milk. She has milk! Can this day get any better? Talk about a 180. My day went from just another blah day to a date which will be recorded in my farm records book (aka my daily planner). Since Hubby and I were illprepared for this birth, once we were assured Kisses and Hugs were fine, we raced to Tractor Supply to get the needed supplies. So far we dont have to worry about bottle feeding, as Mama seems to let him eat. We took some chain link panels and sectioned off an area just for Hugs and Kisses. Jumpy and Jackie can see them, but not bother them. If it wasnt dark outside I would be out there watching the new little one. For now I can look at the pictures, order more supplies from Hoeggers and research what else needs to be done.
We have the horrible task of disbudding to conquer, which I am really dreading. I wont think about it though, until I need to. For now I am super excited (can you tell?). Tomorrow we are picking up some turkey poults to raise for Thanksgiving. Tomorrow I will have my camera attached to my hip!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Not your average day off















Today was my day off. A day of rest before the business at the bank that is friday and sat. My plan was to have a girlfriend up this morning. The afternoon found on the schedule- picking up ducks and selling a bunny. Sounds simple, right? Well, my girlfriend came up around 11, with her two kids and Nana. We walked around the farm playing with the animals and feeding the goats. When it came time for them, her 5 year old declared she wanted to stay here forever. Quite a compliment! We agreed that she would miss her mom too much, but she could stay for the afternoon. I didnt mind if she tagged along to get the ducks. Her mom, her nana and her baby sister all went shopping. Not exactly sure what I should do with a 5 year old for the whole afternoon, I called another girlfriend. Maybe she wanted to join us on our duck outing. She did, lured by the idea of a road trip and lunch out. The 5 year old and I drove to girlfriend M's house. We picked up her and her two boys (4 and 2). My truck found the backseat crammed with 3 carseats (they all fit!). Together we drove up to PA to get some ducklings. Kid conversation is hilarious! They entertained us the whole way up.









When we got to our destination, the kids were super anxious to see the baby ducks. We were taken back to a barn, where the girl explained why she was selling her flock. Apparently a fox broke into their barn 2 nights in a row, killing over half their flock. Roosterless, the flock has no protection. She decided to cut her losses and sell the remaining chickens and ducks. Our ducklings were born on 4/5. They are Welsh Harlequin and super adorable. As anyone who has read even one post of my blog knows, I am a sucker with a capital "S" when it comes to animals. Did I want any chickens she asked? Well.....ok. We picked out 3 banty (mini) chickens that will lay green eggs! We stuffed them all into the duck carrier and headed back home. The new additions rode in the cab in the back where the kids kept a vigilant eye on them. The 4 year old kept exclaiming he saw an egg. We told him he was wrong, they wouldnt lay an egg on the car ride...never tell a 4 year old he is wrong unless you are dead sure. When we were home and unloading everyone, there indeed was an egg. A green tinted egg that matched the 5 year olds sweater. Strike one for the smart adults. The kids were all passionate about holding the ducks.










Once everyone was settled in the barn, we all played outside before retiring in to make cookies. A guy stopped by to buy a bunny for Easter. I made back half of what I spent on the ducks/chickens (did I mention they came with a bag of feed? awesome!). We had a grand afternoon of baking cookies and talking. Dinner was made, Hubby came home to spend time with the kids before everyone left.









Hubby and I are now exhausted and its not even 9. Having kids around sure made the day go by fast. I still got my to-do list checked off and had fun doing it. It was priceless to see the kids in the goat pen feeding everyone hay and treats. I am sure the animals had a blast too. Tonight is supposed to be in the 30s, so I have the ducklings inside where they will stay warm. And I miss having cuteness in the office since the baby bunnies moved out...There are soft peeps coming from their cage as I type...

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Green, clean kitchen, Pink Hydrangeas and Blue Eggs


We continue noticing colors around Victory Garden Farm. This week I have vowed to keep the kitchen clean, and the counters as clear as possible. The mixer stays on the counter, covered by an antique needlepoint from Pella, Iowa. The coffee corner stays and the rest of the counters are just that. It is so refreshing to have a clean kitchen!




Hubby surprised me tonight by bringing home flowers...of the potted variety. He knows I love hydrangeas and he brought home four new plants! Two of them are blue and are already planted in the ground. The remaining two are pink, and I think they will be exchanged tomorrow for blue plants. The pink is a bit much.

We have been getting 1 blue egg a day. Today we had a total of 13 chicken eggs! The blue is really obvious when you see the eggs in person. The pictures dont show the true color difference.


We were hit with a big storm this weekend, and although muddy, we cant complain too much. There was a tornado semi-nearby so things could have been a lot worse. The radio was telling our area to take cover until the danger was passed. So I baked a cake instead...while the mixer had power.

Today was gorgeous and we got to work outside. I had a new friend over to the house along with her two girls. Watching the girls amazement at all the animals made me smile. We are expecting more thunderstorms tonight and tomorrow. I will enjoy the time to hunker down and knit or spin.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Birds, The Bees and the ... Bunnies?

Our week this week has focused on three things (mainly). The Birds, the bees and bunnies. The birds- the chickens are developing like crazy. The chicks are huge! We are planning a massive coop redesign for the up and coming chicks. The bees- Our bees are scheduled to come next week. Up until yesterday, our hives still had not arrived. Me, being the self appointed stresser of all things, was worrying my head off. What am I supposed to do with a hive of bees, and no hive to put them in? I lost sleep over this one. Finally, they came in the mail. Today I rushed out to Home Depot to buy paint. The paint is fittingly named Araucana Blue. Which I take as a sign, since today we got our first blue egg from our Araucana hen. See? It all focuses on the birds and bees. You are wondering where the bunnies come into play? No new births or deaths in the bunny world. An angora did manage to escape but Hubby found/caught it. Bunnies make it on the blog because they are too darn cute. See pictures for any explanation.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring!

Our unidentified tree in the front yard is blooming and its absolutely gorgeous! Everytime I walk to the truck it greets me and I smile. I know its blooms will be short lived, so I will enjoy them while they are here. The peonies I planted are starting to emerge from the ground. The hydrangeas are settling in, and we can see shades of blue already. Today, the weather is gorgeous! I took the dogs on a long with with one of my girlfriends. It was so nice to be out in the sun, walking after having been cooped up during the winter. Welcome Spring, I hope you stay!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

togetherness

Me "so what do you want to do now?" Hubby "it doesnt matter...i just want to hang out with you" Now, if that doesnt just melt your heart, I dont know what will. We spent the better part of today working side by side. together. we went into town to have a late lunch/early dinner at Texas Roadhouse. Roadhouse is a treat as we dont normall dine there. We promised ourselves when we got our tax money back, we would splurge and go on a date to Roadhouse. It didnt dissapoint. We continued on to Lowes and finally Tractor Supply. We added yet even more veggies to our garden, curtesy of Lowes. We walked out of TSC with goat fencing and Chicken Coop Building for Dummies. We continued our afternoon working in the garden and raised beds. We mixed in rabbit compost with our garden soil and planted our newly bought veggies. On the side of the house Hubby added blackberries. We already have a "hedge row" started of raspberries and blueberries. We are trying to make the backyard more private, and figured a berry hedge would do just that. Tomorrow we will plant our new plum tree. It will join the peaches, apples, and pear trees already established. Together, we added the entire roll of fencing to the ever enlarging goat pen. Currently the goats are confined in a large chain link enclosure, just waiting for hubby and i to finish their ultimate pen. We need one more roll of fencing and then it will be done. We had to quit working outside when it got too dark. I have to say I like this togetherness. We hauled trees together out of the goat pen. We planted jalepeno peppers together. We fed the goats together. We dined together. We laughed together. We had a great day, together.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A portrait of a man

This is what sits on top of Hubby's gun cabinet. The beret is finishing up drying, all stiff and new. The flag is a flag Hubby flew in the skies of Iraq. This is coming from a man who is required to report to work without knowing when he will get paid. If the government shuts down as planned, there is no telling when soldiers will get paid. All that conisdered, when I came home from work tonight I found hubby shaving his beret. To get the perfect shape, he soaked it in water and proceeded to walk around until it dried (using the hairdryer to speed it up at some point). Hubby bought new combat boots today. He takes pride in his job and the uniform he wears, no matter what the pay. Being proud to wear a uniform doesnt get the mortgage paid, or dinner on the table. Being proud to wear the uniform means we will shell out gas money to get hubby to and from work, and trust that the government will work everything out. I could go on and on about how mad I am at the government. How I have no idea how we are supposed to pay bills if we arent getting paid. But what would be the point. No matter what hot mess the government is in, we support our country. Come Monday morning, Hubby will put on his uniform, zip up his jacket, lace up his new combat boots and don his perfectly shaped beret. He will go to work for a government and not ask "when". He will do what needs to be done, along with all the other soldiers. He is proud of his job, of his uniform, of his country. And I am proud of him. Thank you Hubby for all you do for the government, the country and me. I love you!