I’m looking forward to the Southwest Hound Show this weekend! If you live around DFW and want to see the loveliest fox hounds in the region you should come by! We will be at the Marvin Savage Farm, which used to be part of Greenwood Farm all day Saturday.
In the meantime, check out the goings on at the farm!
Sabrina, our foster fail kitty, LOVES her a box. She also loves the counter so a box on the counter is idea.
This is Dragon. I don’t think I have introduced her on the blog yet. Dougal was hit by a car and killed in December (so so so so so so so so so so so so so sad) and we were so lucky to get the opportunity to give his sister a home! Meet Dragon. She would dearly love for the baby goats to play with her, but she just ends up chasing them around and they are terrified of her. You can see how tiny the baby goats are and how tall (28″!) is Dragon.
I find the chickens in the wheelbarrow to be hilarious. It makes me sad that they won’t stay in the wheelbarrow and let me push them around. A girl can dream.
Why eat the hay when you can climb onto the hay bale and eat the much tastier tree leaves?!
Every ass needs a stage. Amiright?!
WWWAAAYYY back in September we got a very special delivery from the post office:
LIVE BABY CHICKS! PLEASE RUSH!
What many people may not know is that you can order chicks through the mail. When we order we select a delivery date and usually receive our order within a couple days of the requested date. We always order when the days start to get shorter. This assures we have hens laying eggs when the days are at their shortest and the older hens more or less quit laying altogether. The post office calls the moment they know whom to call to pick up the chirpy little creatures.
Chicks are pretty easy to care for as long as you have the proper equipment and feed supplies. We always get Quik Chick with our order. This is basically a chick electrolyte. Traveling through the mail when you are only a couple hours old can be stressful. Quik Chick helps the little bodies recover from their journey and hopefully be less likely to get sick.
Quik Chik from Murray McMurray Hatchery
We also buy a bag of Purina Chick Starter. Our feed store is a Purina dealer so most animals, with the exception of the dogs, eat Purina food.
Start and GROW!
Once the little critters arrive home we get them out of the box as quickly as possible in order to get them some water and food. They haven’t eaten yet in their young lives and they are hungry!
31 little chicks in a box
We usually get 30 chicks; 10 of 3 different breeds. This time around they were Blue Andalusians, Ancona and Araucanas plus one “Free Rare Exotic Chick”. The rare chick is how the hatchery gets rid of excess chicks. We enjoy the surprise and our extra this time is a treat. Check out this little thing:
He wears a top hat
He will have feathers sticking right straight out the top of his head when he grows up. Isn’t he adorable!
Chicks in their new house
They have to have their beaks dipped into their water when entering the chick pen for the first time. This is to assure they know the sensation of drinking water and where to find it. They will stay in the chick brooder for about 4-6 weeks, depending on how fast they outgrow the space. They must also have a heat source until they are fully feathered at about 6 weeks. Until they they can’t keep themselves warm. It is nice to get them in the late summer in Texas because they don’t much need the heat lamp due to the high temps.
My next post will show you are “teenage” chickens!
I feel like I’ve woefully neglected the farm critters lately, so here is a pictorial update of some of the creatures.
Goat babies! Lots of goat babies! This is the only set of triplets this time around (thank goodness!)
Penelope, one that we bottle fed as a baby because her poor mum couldn’t feed all three of her triplets, with her baby Periwinkle. Twinsies!
Baby goat napping. They love them some tire time. Sadly they are starting to get too big to fit in the tire these days.
Kittens! All four are adorable yellow tabbies. Two are fluffy and two are short coated. Who wants a kitten?!
Pablo a few weeks ago when he was snuggly. Now I can’t get near him. I blame having sprayed him with fly spray recently. Poor fella.
This is our crazy juniper tree that is growing out the side of a hill. The kids like to play on it when they get let into the front pasture. That and we’ve had lots of glorious rain lately so have seen some beautiful skies.
Boot City and I live on top of a hill. A very large and rocky hill. Our friends like to tell us how delightful they find our driveway. Truly delightful. The primary reason that our driveway is so very delightful is due to laws of gravity: what goes up, must come down. This is true not only for our driveway, but for other parts of our property as well. All farmers and ranchers are constantly battling erosion of some sort. We aren’t actual farmers or ranchers, but we do have an ongoing battle with erosion. When the rain comes down, it has to go somewhere and so down the hill it goes. Generally after a hard rain most any loose dirt and rocks from our driveway have found their way to the highway by our house. I’m confident the county road crew loves us the most.
For the past nine years we have lived on our happy 10 acres we have been working towards improving the land and increasing the amount of grass that grows. Improving the soil is all about adding organic matter and nitrogen. The combined efforts of the chickens pooping, the goats pooping and the horses pooping have done wonders to increase the amount of organic matter. We try to compost as much as we can, but sometimes that sh$% just has to get spread around. Boot City has also gotten to justify his schmancy new 65 horsepower John Deere all in the name of grass and soil improvement. This allows him to dig up the soil, plant seeds and fertilise when necessary. And this spring has shown the fruits of our (mostly his) labor better than any other.
So much so that after an especially hard rain this past weekend there was a great deal of evidence that we really need to work on creating our very own mini-creek for the water to go down after such hard rains. As it is now, the water running down the hill just takes all the organic matter we’ve worked so hard to accumulate with it!
The top of the hill on the back of the property. You can see how fast the water moved down the hill and created it’s very own path through all the beautiful grass. We have the beginnings of some rocks set down to prevent all the dirt from eroding with the water.
Further down the hill there isn’t any grass growing in this part of the water flow for a couple reasons. The first is that there are a lot of trees so very little sunlight gets in and the second being that every hard rain just washes away any grass that has started to grow.
Towards the bottom of the back hill the grass had gotten to be about 12″ – 14″ tall. When I walked the property the morning after the rain I was somewhat surprised to find how it had been completely flattened by the water runoff. This was a prime opportunity for us to identify the low spots and plan for adding rocks and other solid barriers to slow down the water and to prevent the topsoil from being eroded.
Flat grass! Boot City has already moved some dirt to change the layout of the hill and alter the pathway of the water. Now, to add more big rocks.
In the back, right before and at the largest back pasture (about 5 acres) the grass is thick, tall and lush. It’s that perfect spring green that makes anyone associated with agriculture and animal husbandry smile and take a deep breath. Along the path of the water runoff it had gotten completely flattened and looked like a big green walkway. Again, indicative of where to plant more large rocks!
You can see the water path towards the back of the pasture.
Last, but not least, this is where the water collects and runs to lower ground on the neighbor’s property. Last year, in the fall, there was a similar large storm and the water runoff collected so much debris that by the time it got to this spot it took down the fence!
The endpoint of the “River”
Now we mow, mow and mow some more (and by we I mean Boot City mows) and collect rocks from other parts of the property to add to the future “creek”. Maybe by fall we will have a genuine little waterfall to share!
First off, I’m sorry for the inadvertent blogging hiatus! For a girl with 10 planners, my time management isn’t the best. Hopefully I’m back on track to post here regularly.
Summertime for horse owners (and keeping them at home) means hauling hay. It is one of the least glamorous aspects of horse ownership. There is nothing quite like being hot and sweaty with hay in your socks, in your shoes, in your mouth, in your shirt, well, you get the point.
When planning how much hay to buy every year, I usually get one bale for every day, so around 365 bales. They are about 50lb bales and most every year I run out of hay at least 3 months before the next harvest. Cold winters put a bigger dent in the hay supply, too. Horses stay warm by eating hay, it gets their internal furnace burning. My hope is that with one less horse and improved math skills I will get enough hay this year! It costs twice as much to buy hay from the feed store than to buy it directly from the supplier so is MUCH nicer on the feed budget!
All ready to unload. Who needs boot camp with this workout!
The supplier I buy from is gracious enough to let us drop off our trailer and load it for us. This way all we have to do is take it home and stack it in our barn. When we built the new horse barn we started using the old barn exclusively for feed storage and as the chicken coop. This lowers the fire danger in the new barn and reduces the amount of dust.
This first load of the summer was few bales short of 150. We will get another similarly sized load later this summer and then hopefully one final small load before the hay is gone.
We have lots of helpers to inspect the hay as we unload and load.
We clean out the hay room before refilling it with hay. This requires taking out all the pallets and lots of sweeping. We probably should wear breathing masks because of the dust, but we didn’t plan for that this year. It gets REALLY dusty! You’ll see the dust in quite a few of the pictures. It makes me feel like sneezing just looking at the photos!
All cleaned out and ready for pallets and HAY!
I learned at a very young age how to properly stack hay. You want to create a stable base for the stack and fit as many bales in a small space as possible.
The base layer, again with helpful inspectors
After the base layer is down, you stack the next layer flat on and perpendicular the base bales. Each additional layer goes on the same way. Only the base bales are laid on the narrow side. The rest of the layers are laid on their widest side.
Two more layers in.
It usually takes a couple hours to stack 150 bales. I do most of the stacking and get Boot City to help with the top two layers. He’s taller and has more arm strength than I have to get the bales up that high. It feels SO good to be done stacking the hay and be prepared for the upcoming fall and winter with lots of hay for hungry horses (and sometimes goats).