Monday, August 30, 2010

Chicken and duck questions...

Okay all of you poultry experts...A couple questions for you...

1-Do pullet's only go into the nesting boxes when they are ready to lay??? Our's use the top which is sloped as a stepping stone to their roost...they fly up to the top of the nesting boxes and then fly over to the roosting bars...

2-Do you put your feeding trough outside of the coop or leave it inside??? I have our's inside the coop...but was wondering if I should keep it outside the coop during the day versus inside the coop???

3-Is there a problem having more than one rooster??? Not that I plan to get another one, but just wonder if they would fight if there was more than one???

4-Do ducks roost or do they stay on the floor of the coop???

5-Do ducks use a nesting box like chickens???

Monday morning garden visit...

Morning everyone!!! Took a brief walk to the garden this morning to pick some veggies...had to stop and capture more shots of our sunflowers, although their life is coming to an end...nonetheless, they are still vibrant and anxious to greet the morning sun!!!

Peace...R Dean


The one in the center has to be close to 12ft. tall...

Good morning Sun...

One of many Cherry's that need to be picked...

Variety of freshly picked tomato's still cool and moist...

Squash, a lone cuke and zuke, all of which are slowing down...maybe another half-dozen of each for the season...


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday evening closure...

Sitting at the computer with a tired one and a half year old (almost) Chocolate lab named Nitschke at my feet as I type our final blog of the past week...We spent our Sunday relaxing...we did NOTHING!!!...Well, we picked up breakfast at Butch's...our favorite haunt in St. Nazianz, ate, took a nap...took the four-leggers out...read...what a great way to end the weekend...Oh...and for you faint of heart...please stop reading now...

Had to pull out Ol' Faithful today, twice...my new name for my vintage .410 gauge shotgun from my Great Grandma Ceile...I was out near the burn barrell this morning about 7am-ish and saw what appeared to be a "very" large chip munk sitting in the dog kennel munching on what I suppose was food stolen from the chicken coop...hmmmm...not a good situation I thought...I have never seen a chip munk out near the chicken coop nor in our kennel, so that was not good...So, I "nonchalantly" meandered back into the house and grabbed Ol' Faithful...When I got back out there, he/she (not sure) was still sitting on the block...(bad decision buddy), just munching away...so, I did what any normal guy would do...I shot him...BANG!!! Bet I woke our new neighbors up....I'm sure they're thinking...HOLY SHIT...he's GOT a gun!!!! hahahahaha...yeah I do!!!

Well, one less rodent to steal food from the chicken coop...Later..(turn's out it was a double donkey day...made that saying up just now)...saw the four-leggers nemesis (and  mine) that is digging holes galore on the property sitting high and mighty looking around...mocking us...Unfortunately for him/her, had another Ol' Faithful moment...BANG!!! What a day!!! Two bagger...Score: Two-Legger (2) Rodents (0)

Nitschke just ripped a real bad one...so I'm signing out for the night to go find some Visine and some fresh air...

R Dean aka Rodent Sniper...

I sneezed 304 times yesterday...

Well, maybe that is a "bit" of an exageration, but it felt like it!!! Weed and grass were the pollen's of choice in our area yesterday and are forecast to be moderate today. I opted to only cut and trim the back part of the property, for two reason's, that is where we spend most of our time and it was the area that needed it the most...pretty sound reasoning for a man, huh??? I timed it and that took me 4 hours!!!

Oh, and before I forget, Nitschke killed another snake...I need to design a badge for him that I can add to the blog for each kill...kinda like the WWII pilots put on their planes for each plane they shot down...Unfortunately (obviously for the snake) but also for Nitch is that we will really have to watch him very closely now when we travel, because up here in our area, the snakes are non-poisonous, but other regions of the country have both...yikes...

Friday night we went to the Manitowoc County Fair to look at livestock and eat junk food!!!

I think next year we are going to try and expand our flock to include a few ducks and perhaps a few Barred Plymouth Rock's. We saw some really cool ducks, one that caught our eye was entirely black...don't know the breed, but very pretty!!!

If I was to make one improvement at the fair, I would have a booth set up in each livestock area that is manned by experts in that particular livestock breed, so people like us could ask questions...

Today we are going to chill, get some more stuff done, but not exert ourselves too much!!! Sunday's are for relaxation or should be anyway...until later...hope everyone enjoys their day!!!

Peace...R Dean

Breakfast time...

Russell Crow enjoying a soft tomato and one of the girl's enjoying a corn cob from last nights dinner...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wake up call...

Had a beautiful sunrise this morning, it was in the high 40's, maybe a bit into the very low 50's, but just chilly enough to see your breath and it was MOSQUITO FREE!!!

video
Wake up call from Russell Crow...



Sunrise series from this morning...

Tomato's, tomato's everywhere...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Swimming in a sea of tomato's...

Wanted to post some pictures of our tomato harvest to date...Definitely worth the trouble of putting on mosquito repellent, mosquito netting and wearing long sleeve shirts and long pants in 80+ degree weather...

Purple Cherokee Heirloom...

Just picked...Purple Cherokee's on the right...

Variety of Cherry tomato's

Destination...spaghetti sauce and salsa!!!

Yellow Pear's and Chocolate's...

Nitschke officially meets our neighbors...before we do!!!

Yesterday, my greatest fear became reality!!! Nitschke heard our new neighbors and bolted through the woods, barking up a storm all the way there, preparing to welcome them or perhaps warn them of his impending assault on their Sunday afternoon peace and quiet!!! Embarrassed, I ran after him, hearing him bark so loudly it was echoing in the trees...I can't recall exactly what I said in the heat of that frantic embarrassing moment, but the likelihood it may be a word or two deemed inappropriate language for my blog is a high probability...I went down the back trail, hoping to see him and them not see me running after him (because I am a short fat guy, so running is not my strong suit), then I saw the neighbor walking back toward their home with her dog clutched in her arms...I could only offer a "sorry about that...is everything okay???" Her response..sure!!! Not really a convincing response but it could have been much worse I suppose...By that time, Nitschke must have realized that he was in deep doo-doo and bee lined it back home...He got time out in the kennel for thirty minutes...

I didn't know I wasn't suppose to go to the neighbors house...




Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sunflower pictures...


We had a great harvest of sunflowers this year...here are some pictures...based on my estimates, some of them got up to 12 feet tall in the garden...whew!!!



Egg Recall

Here is an up to date listing of the companies that are recalling their eggs...

http://www.fda.gov/Food/NewsEvents/WhatsNewinFood/ucm223536.htm

Hmmm...glad we now have our own chickens...we can't wait for egg production to begin so we are in sole control of our egg needs...

If you aren't raising your own poultry yet, perhaps now is a time to reconsider it...for your healths sake!!!

R Dean...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lucky Lucy...

Well, Lucky Lucy is coming around after her "close call" with "suspect to be determined"...hahaha...

She is not roosting yet, but instead, she has made the corner closest to the coop door her temporary quarters.

I think, wait, no...I "know" that she lost so many feathers in the "assault" that she cannot fly up to the roost, so hopefully within a few days or a week or two she will have regained enough feathers to fly up to the roost with the other birds.

After the first night of her return, when she would not go into the coop, I actually thought about building her own coop because I thought the other chickens were shunning her...wow...what a knuckle head idea...Jan convinced me otherwise...remember, they are chickens!!!

Today we plan to remove the tarp and enclose the top of the coop run with some plastic netting we purchased at Fleet Farm. Once that is in place, the coop "should" be completely predator proofed!!!

Other news to report, Nitschke killed two garter snakes over the weekend, he now has four confirmed kills...poor snakes, he just grabs them and shakes the piss out of them, and typically that does them in. However, on Saturday, I took one from him, it looked dead...I tossed him out into the woods but it got hung up on a branch on the sumac tree, about 3 feet from the ground. It actually twisted around the branch, and just lay there, head facing straight to the ground. About an hour later, I saw Nitschke down in that area, so I walked down there, he must have smelled the snake, because if you have ever handled a garter snake, they release a malodorous, musky-scented secretion (it stinks!!!). So he eventually honed in on it hanging in the tree, and it was slowly coming to, it had raised its head and was sticking its tongue out, right about that time, the fearless snake hunter snatched it from the tree, shook it violently and heaved it into the tall grass...Okay Nitschke, it's confirmed, another kill!!!

And finally, a cool book that we found at Tractor Supply..."the joy of keeping chickens" by Jennifer Megyesi. This book seems to be much more thorough than some of the smaller, "magazine style" books we have purchased in the past, and the authors interests parallel ours, self-sustainability and organic living. Her chickens and livestock are raised using the free-range, grass-fed method and other organic farming methods. The only complaint I have with it so far...it was printed in China... :-((

R Dean (cherishing my last day of vacation...)

Friday, August 13, 2010

She's back!!!

This morning, to my DISBELIEF and FEAR, I saw a chicken "outside" of our new "aerial fortified" coop run...I immediately wondered how in the world it could have gotten out, I must not have shut the coop door. When I got closer, I counted "SIX" chickens in the coop looking out at her, and I immediately realized, our missing "SEVENTH" chicken was back!!! She survived!!! It's a MIRACLE!!! Her new name is going to be Lucky Lucy!!! hahaha... I cannot believe it...But now, the mystery has taken yet another twist...Hmmm...I believe I may have "incorrectly" identified the perpetrator as the red tail hawk, at least we need to be more open minded during the ongoing investigation. Now it is going to involve a four-legger "dog of interest". As I take a look at the coop crime scene again, I'm starting to rethink my original coop crime scene theory that had a red tail hawk swooping down, grabbing the chicken and flying straight up out of the coop, landing on the ground outsided the coop, (where the majority of the feathers were) getting a better grip and flying off with the chicken in its talon's. But, as I noted before, I heard a ruckus out there, but I would have "thought" that had a hawk grabbed a chicken, it would have been squawking something fierce. Now, this is my new coop crime scene theory, I think something startled her, may have been something inside the coop (another chicken or Russell Crow messing with her) or outside the coop (a four-legger perhaps) and she happened to be near the one section of fence that is 4 ft. high and she flew upward and over that section, landing right outside the coop, where either Nitschke or Molly was at the time, and they both, or one of them jumped at the opportunity to TASTE a chicken!!! And I think this happened next...she was so quick and nimble, she was able to elude her "newfound friend(s)" and darted beneath our garden shed for protection. The reason this is now sounding realistic is because Nitschke was snooting around the garden shed immediately thereafter the "poultry assault". I even got down on my hands and knees to look under the shed (literally not much more head room than 10 inches max) but I could not see her. So, the end to a story that turns out to be a happy ending, at least for right now. I don't know if she will make it, but she looks like she is okay, I guess time will tell.

Detective R Dean...still on the case!!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

We lost our first bird...

On Wednesday afternoon, I heard a noise out near the coop but didn't think too much about it...When I walked up there a few minutes later, to my horror, I found a pile of feathers right outside the coop and only six chickens to be found!!! I was so saddened by what appears to be an "unprovoked" red tail hawk attack!!! At first I was really mad, mad enough that I thought, if it comes back here and I see it, it will be in my gun sight, but my rational side soon prevailed and I realized, it was my fault, not the hawks fault, not the chickens fault!!! I spent all of my energy trying to build a predator proof fortress from the ground up, but failed to cover the coop from aerial predators!!! How stupid...what was I thinking??? I guess I wasn't, so a lesson well learned...My only hope is that she died instantly and didn't suffer too much.

In the mean time I had to quickly rig up something to protect the coop. Fortunately I had a very large dark green tarp for which my dad and I were able to use as a temporary roof for their coop run until we figure out a more permanent solution to enclosing the coop run with a "hawk barrier". We did see a red tailed hawk today, it soared over the house, looking for another free meal I'm sure. But, the tarp that is now acting as both camouflage and aerial protection must have worked because the hawk kept going and never came back, at least from what I could tell!!!

If anyone has any advice on a coop run cover (material's, etc.) or protecting a flock from raptor's, please pass it along!!!

R Dean in mourning...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What a week...

Just got home from a training session with the United Association of Union Plumbers in Ann Arbor, great time, great people and a great opportunity to learn more about the trade and educate them about our products at the same time. Finally starting to feel better now, on the mend from a staph infection I acquired after I shaved off my goatee of two years (for the training session by the way!!!)...OOOOOOUCH!!! Never again will it leave my face, it belongs to ME, ME, ME!!! So now I'm on two types of antibiotics, a topical ointment, using hot compresses and an occasional vicatin or two, all of which have helped me through this ordeal!!! 8-)

I'll close with some pictures...but not of my poor, sore face...YUCK!!!


They only use the lower roost to jump up to the higher roost...now that didn't work out very well did it???

Chick "cam"

Watermelon "no more"...

 
Syncronized "grass rolling"...

Cloudy sunrise...

Peeking through...

Fresh picks of the day...

Introducing...Siamese Chick Squash's...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Eleventh generation farm, read on...

You gotta check this link out, it will make you respect farmer's and their heritage even more than you probably already do, albeit a bit of a sad story...check it out...PLEASE!!!

Went to a garden party, to reminisce with my old friends...

We just got back from a three hour adventure to our garden (not a three hour tour on the S.S. Minnow)..hehehehe..and whew, what a productive morning!!! Extremely exhausting due to the heat, but very productive!!! We cleaned out the dead leaves and branches in "tomato forest" and did some weeding too so that the fresh air and sunlight can get to the tomato's once again...

It is so hard to believe that just two months ago, our veggies were "just" starting to break ground, and now, it is so lush and green!!! Fortunately, we have only had to water once from our well since early June. Mother Nature has been very kind to our little homestead's garden and for that we feel blessed to have had another successful season so far. We were even able to pick corn today, so tonight we will be eating fresh again, thanks to Jan's garden!!!

Until later...R Dean

June 8th picture of the garden...

August 1st picture of the garden...

Purple Cherokee heirloom's...can't wait to taste one of these bad boys on a slab of cow with a big thick onion!!!

BIGGGGGG...Summer Squash!!!

Papa Zuch and Jr. hangin' out together!!!

Basket of beans and assorted tomato's...the yellow one's are Pear's (see the resemblence to a Pear in their shape)....very tasty!!!

SEVENTEEN CUKES...HOLY COW!!!

Ten ears, two zuch's and three squash...

Ya'll be cool now yah hear...Peace!!!

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