Monday, May 30, 2011

parade day

A very quick post, because we have houseguests for the next few days, but I didn't want to break a running tradition.

No sheep this year; just couldn't pull it off, so Primo brought a sheepdog instead.

No rabbit this year; he is recovering from a nasty bout of flystrike. We think he will pull through but he is still pretty fragile, so Secondo carried the banner instead.

No walking this year, yet again; Terzo rode the float the entire parade route.

No other driver this year, so my LSH pulled the float for the first time, and a very smooth job he did too!

Most of all, no other reason to do this every year, except to remember today those who gave some, and especially those who gave all.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

days of quiche and omelets

We are back in business.

That is one week's production (all except two eggs) in the egg tray: 19 total.

Time to start thinking up ways to use them again!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

operation turtle

One of the projects I am picking away at right now is installing lamb-proof fence on our middle pasture. It is temporarily derailed by the fact that our local Tractor Supply has run out of the fence. I hope to have pictures of the finished project up soon, once they replenish their stock.

When I went out to feed a few days ago, Dusty pointed out that I had also inadvertantly turtle-proofed the pasture. A snapping turtle was stuck on one side of the fence, and a trail of flattened grass showed that he/she had tried with no luck to find a way to the other side.

We get snappers in our yard every year around this time. Usually the pattern is: Dusty finds one; I run and get the camera; the turtle is long gone by the time I return. This one seemed a little tuckered out, because I checked on it for the next hour and it was still in the same spot, so I decided it needed some help.

Every snapping turtle that I have ever seen around here has been headed in an easterly sort of direction, which means that it has to cross a fairly busy county road with a 50 mph speed limit. Two years ago a HUGE snapping turtle was fatally struck. This one would escape that fate, thanks to my help.

You see where this is going, right?

Got it into a trash can; surprisingly, it didn't take that much persuading.

Loaded it onto its chariot.

Freed it on the other side of the county road.

It immediately decided it wanted to cross the other way, back toward our farm. I convinced it that it was just a little confused by the ride, it needed to take time and check its bearings and then it would realize that I had done it a huge favor by shortening its journey.

It agreed and headed off for far horizons. Patted myself on the back and drove off.

Luckily, I doubled back just to check... and found it trying to cross the county road again. It was a very determined turtle.

Back into the trashcan so I could carry it safely to the other side, praying that no one was watching the crazy lady with the turtle in the trashcan (and that sucker was HEAVY). Note how the turtle is hightailing it away from me, doing everything in its power to avoid another trip in the trashcan.

Drove off again, doubled back again; turtle was still heading toward our farm. Checked for the turtle on the road the rest of the day.

Actually saw it near nightfall, trying to cross the local road in front of our farm. Convinced it to think twice and turn back toward safety.

Can only imagine its turtle thoughts.

Haven't seen it since. Hoping that he/she made it to wherever destination it was headed for in the first place, with absolutely no interference assistance from me.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

the right place

I found such an exciting surprise when I visited the chicken coop this morning!

Can you tell which egg was laid last?
Hint: it doesn't have any muddy footprints all over it...

The fact that all three hens are settled enough to be laying is exciting enough... but the fact that they are actually laying in the "correct spot" had me dancing next to the chicken coop.

My LSH built a most beautiful and secure chicken coop. He calls it Fort Cox; it does its job beautifully unless some idiot leaves the door wide open. It is portable, so you can move the chickens to fresh ground every few days, and even has a little built-in door for egg collection purposes, with a nest box conveniently located on the other side.

Unfortunately, our former chickens cared not a whit about our convenience. One of them laid her eggs on top of the roost box, under the eaves, requiring the use of a small ladder to check every morning. Survivor Chicken, unable to fly up there due to her missing wing, settled for the far corner of the roost box instead, not always the cleanest of spots.

When we readied the coop for its new inhabitants, we debated taking out the nest box altogether, because it was so unappreciated. We ended up leaving it in because it holds up the roosting branch (the place where they sleep most nights; you can see the end above the eggs in the first picture) and we couldn't be bothered to figure out an alternative support.

Funny that an entirely different group of animals got it, that it appealed so basically to their innate sense of "a proper place to lay an egg."

Sunday, May 22, 2011

new residents

For a while now, I have been meaning to blog about Survivor Chicken starting up with eggs again -- since March, or was it February? Faithful Reader Amy kept reminding me that I had to update the "currently harvesting" category to include eggs, and I kept forgetting. I even took a picture of the darn eggs we were getting every other day or so, and still no update...

One of these things is not like the others;
can you pick out the store-bought yolk?

And then nature and my own stupidity took care of the situation for me. The night before we left for Maryland, my brain was in a complete fuzz and I forgot to close the chicken house door after they roosted for the night. You can guess what my LSH found in the morning. Lots of feathers, but no chickens.

Insert [guilt-ridden feelings] here.

Yesterday, a few new recruits joined the farm team, after reassurances that we would be a bit more mindful in the future. We are very fortunate that someone in our 4-H club sells laying hens, because they can be hard to find.

From front to back, Blackie, Goldie and Lacey;
an Australorp, a Rhode Island Red, and a Golden-Laced Wyandotte.

The old chickens are dead; long live the new chickens!

Friday, May 20, 2011

nice weather for ducks

Hoo boy, has it ever been around here this week.

Apparently the ducks agree, because this pair was checking out the conditions in our front yard today. Mind you, I am not complaining. People in Mississippi and Louisiana, now they have reason to complain in spades. People in Wyoming, who are on a winter weather alert today for up to three feet of snow, have reason to complain too.

I will just try to dry out my soggy boots, find somewhat dry pasture to put the sheep on, and keep my fingers crossed that the ducks soon have reason to take up residence elsewhere.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

it's outta there

Yep, it's definitely (finally) gone.

His smile is making us all smile this week -- not that we can usually resist him.

Monday, May 16, 2011

who's got the button

Can't believe it has taken me so long to get this post up. Part of the reason was that it took my butt a good five days to catch up to the rest of my body-- seems I left it behind in Maryland. Good thing too, because there definitely wasn't enough room in the car for it.

While I spent most of the week in the ACR booth, my folks ferreted out some great buttons for me.

Reflecting my dedication to all things fiber, except the nutritious kind:

And my fandom of the hand-knit sock (though if I could only wear socks I actually knit, my choice would be between two pairs):

This one was my original quest; I am tempted to wear it to Little League games and watch the shunning begin:

But nothing could top this one. I know my Aunt Paula will love this as much as my sons do:

A girl can dream, all right.

Monday, May 9, 2011

MDS&W 2011

I am so pooped that I cannot come up with a clever title, so a descriptive one will have to do.

My parents, my two older sons and I headed down around noon on Friday. Our car (a Ford Flex) was packed to the gills, which are slightly smaller than the gills of the old van, which was traded in about a month ago. Poor Secondo had to put up with random things falling on his head every time I made a turn. Of course his older brother was right there to document that for the record.

The boys and I set up the Coopworth breed display in record time, but I have no pictures of that, mostly because nothing fell on Secondo's head. (And maybe also because it only took second place this year.)

We had a great time at the campsite with my wonderful, patient, long-suffering, I-don't-know-how-I-would-do-this-without-them parents, complete with great fires, outdoor cooking, hiking, and card games, but no pictures -- again, probably because Secondo suffered no bodily harm, just an excess of good fun.

Then onto the Coopworth sales booth... the lack of posts last week was due to the fact that I was beside myself getting stuff ready to sell. When Debbie and I and our various minions were done, the booth looked like this from the front:

On the inside (the colored roving is mine, along with some of the natural colored roving):

And from the side (you can see my greeting cards displayed on the wire rack that fell on Secondo's head all the way down to Maryland):

Pretty good for our first attempt all by ourselves!

I spent most of the weekend in the booth and it was great fun. One of the highlights was a visit from a long-time friend, whom I had not seen since Secondo was a baby. She just moved back from LA to the eastern shore of Maryland, and I was thrilled that she could take time out on Mother's Day to drop by the festival. What a wonderful treat!

Now, remember that packed-to-the-gills car at the beginning of this post? Well, around noon on Sunday, my kids and three friends from their 4-H club decided they wanted to spend the afternoon at the festival together, and all ride home with me. This is why my only criteria for a new car was that it have a third row of seats.

I put them in charge of figuring out the logistics. Much in the manner of a hot air balloon that needs to get over a mountain, they jettisoned every unnecessary item into my parent's car and/or the truck of the 4-H parents that had to go home earlier. Somehow, they managed to make it work, even if they did have to ride home with a table in front of their knees -- and they stuck to their promise of no complaining.

It was the perfect -- and very fitting -- end to a wonderful Mother's Day weekend.