Thursday, October 29, 2015

National Cat Day

 In celebration of National Cat Day, 
here are the cats in my life.
This is Templeton.
He lives in the barn at my mom's house and is her cat.
I rescued him from my old neighborhood where someone wanted 
to introduce him to their pitbull.
He wasn't happy in the house, 
so he went to be the barn cat.

This is Gibbs.
He lives with me and is the most affectionate cat I've ever been around.
I can't sit or lie down without him throwing himself at me.
He flops on me continuously until I pet him.

This is Abby.
She currently lives in my mom's barn but she's techinically my cat.
She and Gibbs are siblings.
She seriously looks like a panther in this photo.

And this little guy is the newest member Chunk.
My son named him after the character in our favorite movie The Goonies.
He lives in the house here and is just starting to get along with Gibbs.
He has made himself my son's cat and is pretty laid back for a kitten.
My husband claims he thinks he's a dog
(he rolls over for belly rubs- the cat not my husband)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Raising Peeps Vs. Buying Hens

I've been a chicken owner for a few years now, and I've both raised my own chicks and purchased pullets and laying hens that were coop ready.  Each has its pros and cons.  Buying coop ready pullets or hens that are already laying mean all the hard work has been done and you'll be getting eggs pretty quick.  Raising chicks is a lot of work. They're messy and their brooder requires constant cleaning.  I can't even describe to you the amount of dust they create in the weeks that they live in your home (or wherever you keep your brooder).  Despite all that, my personal recommendation would be to raise your own chicks.  Seriously. 
I came to this conclusion last evening when I went to close up the coop for the night.  As I walked out the back door, the 2 hens that I started as chicks this year (the only 2 out of the flock that I raised myself), came racing towards me.  You might assume they only do this because they hope that I might have some type of food, but they do this every time.  They follow me down the barn, they come running to me when they see me and they come when I call them.  Not only does this make me feel loved (it doesn't take much), but it also makes it easier to check them for any signs of illness or injury.  And if there is a need to treat them, it's easier to do that as well not only for me, but a little less stressful for them.
So if you're thinking of getting your own chickens, I highly recommend raising them yourself if you have the ability.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

More Losses

It has been a rough couple of months for chickens and guineas.  First, Little Albert the Guinea went missing.  Because we didn't find any evidence of an attack, we thought perhaps he had just wandered to one of the neighbors' houses.  So I looked all over our pastures playing guinea hen calls on my phone (no. really. I did that.) thinking it would entice him to come home.  Unfortunately, the next day, I found the tell tale pile of feathers.  Something had eaten Albert.

Next I found my silkie hen dead in the chicken run.  There were no signs of what might have been the problem.  The chickens were all healthy- I had just checked them all the night before.  Then came Zombie.  I found her in the coop.  No signs or symptoms of what could have happened.

Since then, everyone has been okay.  I have been keeping an eye on them to note any change in appearance or sign of illness.  So far so good.  For now, I won't be adding anyone to the flock.  I've found that raising chicks is my preferred way to add new hens.  The two I raised this past spring are comfortable around me and come when called as opposed to the others who really don't care about me unless I have food.  But it's a pain to care for them and a pain to wait all summer for them to grow to egg laying age.  So, I might opt to hit the poultry swap to pick up some chicks.

I also want to try guineas again.  Little Albert was pretty cool and I'm really hoping that guineas will solve my squash bug problem.  Like the chickens, I plan to add them in the spring.  I'm hoping to get the hubby to build a small coop for the guineas to put in the garden.  We'll see what happens with that.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Welcome Igor

This is Igor, a Russian Tortoise and a new addition to my little menagerie I like to refer to as The Zoo.  He doesn't live on the farm with the chickens, of course.  Currently, he's living in our Cub Scout Pack's Scout Room where the scouts are observing him for one of their awards. Once they are done with their observations, Igor comes and lives with me at our place.  The hubby is thrilled.  The son is thrilled.
I have discovered that Russian Tortoises are very entertaining and smart.  Prior to going to live in the scout room, Igor lived in my son's room where he (Igor) enjoyed watching TV. The minute my son turned it on, Igor would make his way down to that end of the terrarium and stand there watching.  He also recognized my voice, and when he would hear me enter the room, he would come to the side of the terrarium, climb on his log and stretch his neck out for a scratch.  He's not cuddly like a dog, but he's pretty cool just the same. 

Monday, October 19, 2015


I'm sure you've noticed that some things are a little different here.  I decided the blog here needed some revamping, and since I have another large, interesting (to me anyway) project looming on the horizon, I opted to change things around so I could blog about the new time consuming thing coming up and still blog about chickens, gardens and canning. 
I'm not at a point where I can share the new super huge thing I've got brewing, but I'm hoping in a couple of weeks everything will be chiseled in stone at which time I'll be sharing the news.  And I'll share the explanation behind the blog name change as well when the time comes (do I have you at the edge of your seat dying to know what's going on?)

 In the meantime, I'll be sharing the usual blather about my chickens and the garden and whatever.