Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The story of Spike

This is the story of Spike. Spike is a polish rooster who lived in a home with about 10 hens and another rooster. This other rooster was selfish and wouldn't share the hens with Spike. Spike got beat up often and wasn't happy. His people decided to find him a new home and put an add on Craigslist.

There was another woman who had 2 hens and a bantam rooster. She felt the bantam wasn't doing his job which was to get his girls out and about. The bantam was a wuss and spent most of his time in the coop and encouraged the girls to stay with him. When they were out he spent a lot of time hiding under the girls. So this woman had been thinking of getting a full-sized rooster and when she saw that Spike was available she couldn't resist. She figured the bantam was so passive they'd all get along.
Turns out the woman was wrong! The bantam didn't take well to having another rooster enter his territory and manned up. The bantam spent most of his time chasing Spike around the yard and nipping at his feathers. The woman set up an area for Spike in the other pen but Spike didn't like being alone and kept coming back in with the other chickens and getting chased. The woman knew one of the roosters would have to go. At first she thought she would re-home the bantam but then Spike started crowing at 6 am. Full size roosters are very loud!
So, the woman decided to find Spike a new home. She posted a message about Spike and his sad story on the local homeschool list. Luckily, someone wanted Spike. Spike went to his new home today, he will be the only rooster with a polish hen. Spike will finally get the life he deserves!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Visit to a llama farm

Logan and I went to a 4-H activity last night at a llama farm.

It was so much fun meeting the llamas. She had a lot of them, at least 15.
Here is the newest one. Isn't it cute!

This beauty gave me kisses. Llama kisses are something, they involve lots of blowing of air. They have very soft noses.

A few more beauties.
After meeting the llamas and doing some farm chores (that will be another post), we learned how to spin using a drop spindle. I didn't get any pictures of us doing it because Logan and I had to work together to do it. Drop spindles are much harder to use than it looks! It is much easier with 2 people.
But, here is the yarn we made hanging around Logan's neck.

It was a really cool night. Turns out she has a llama program where the kids take on one of the llamas and train it for shows. In the process they learn a lot about llamas. We are trying to decide if we want to participate in this program. It meets once a week for 3 hours which is a big time commitment. When poultry judging starts next month, it will meet once a week for 2 hours. We can't do both, so Logan is trying to decide. I think we may do poultry judging until it is done, it only lasts 2 months and then maybe do the llama thing. Although by then he will have his little wether goat to train. The llama program seems like one of these things that is too good to pass up but I'm not sure it will fit into our schedule.

Oh, and this post is for Lisa. I was thinking about you the whole time we were there!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Needle felted sheep

P of Maggie's Farm inspired me to finally try needle felting. I've only had the stuff for over a year. It was actually really fun and easy! I made this little sheep. I didn't have any black wool so it is a gray sheep. I've seen sheep this color. Sorry the pictures are a little blurry, my camera is awful at up close pictures!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Another Miracle!

Turns out the eggs I found this morning were from yesterday. Logan and I went out to visit with the girls this afternoon and found 2 more eggs!

They did it!

I have such smart readers! A few of you commented last night that I should be expecting eggs soon. I went out this morning and found 2! I don't know if they both starting laying at the same time or if I missed 1 yesterday. I'm so excited!!!
It feels like a miracle. I know chickens lay eggs, but it is so different when your girls are the ones doing it.
Some silly egg pictures.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lovin' on the girls

The girls have gotten so much friendlier. Whenever we go out there, they crouch down and press themselves to the ground for petting. I don't know much about chickens, but I think they think we are roosters and are "presenting" themselves. We can easily reach down, pet them a bit, and then pick them up. They don't seem to mind being held. They make little noises but don't flap around or anything. And they don't run when we put them down. I can't believe they were 5 months old when we got them and scared of people. They are such sweeties now!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Poultry Show

Logan and I went to a poultry show in the next town over today. It was a lot of fun! If we had known about it earlier we might have entered one of our chickens. Logan is going to start learning poultry judging next month so we are excited about that.

There were a lot of chickens at the show!

I saw quite a few I really liked! This is a silver spangled hamburg.
A funny duck.
Logan talking to the chickens. He had so much fun talking to each one. It took us hours to get through the building!
A golden seabright. I want one of these so bad!
Logan getting to pet a chicken. I don't remember what type this was, but it won first in it's variety.
A mille fleur. Isn't it pretty?!
A modern. They had a lot of these and I thought they were really funny with those LONG legs.
Logan bonding with this girl. He spent at least 5 minutes with her.

These is another show in February that we may think about entering. We know nothing about what they are judging for so I'm sure we'll do terrible, but it may be fun.

They had some buff orphintons there that were HUGE! I sure hope our girls won't get that big, we'll have to get a bigger coop for them if they do.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Neighbors

The old neighbors moved out a few weeks ago. The place sat empty for awhile.

Finally, earlier this week the new neighbors moved in. There are 4 of them living over there now, but 1 is shy.
We went to welcome them to the neighborhood with treats.

They were very appreciative.

This one even gave Logan a kiss. It seemed a little overly friendly for new neighbors, but we are friendlier in the south.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

An amazing award!

Melody gave me this amazing award. I'm so honored. To think I inspire someone.

So, I'm supposed to pass it on to 3 people. Like Melody, I decided to pass it on to 3 blogs that really inspire me and make me want to do more towards a self-sufficient life.

First, I want to give this award to Danielle at Touch The Earth Farm. She knew about and encouraged my dream when it was barely an idea. She always welcomed me to her farm so I could learn from her, see how she was doing things, and dream of the life I would live one day. She does such a great job of running her homestead and getting it to provide most of what they need. I wish I still lived close enough to her to visit and learn from her. I never even got to meet her cow Bella :(

Second, Pam at Life On a Southern Farm. She takes such good care of her animals and is so good at making useful things for the farm. I'm inspired by her to get more animals and learn to make more things myself instead of buying them.

And third, Lisa at Laughing Orca Ranch. She has all the animals I want and loves them so much. She has the type of joy for life that I inspire to have. I love looking at all the pictures of her animals. And she can tell a heck of a story! She's going through a hard time now but her spirit still shines through in her posts.

It was hard to only pick 3! Every blog I read inspires me in some way.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New coop

A few of my observant readers noticed a new coop in the background of some of my pictures. I didn't want to post about it until I got it painted. Logan and I painted it yesterday.

We didn't build it. I bought it from a guy on Craigslist. He wanted $50 for it. Mark went with me to look at it and said it was a good deal since we have no scrap wood and would spend that much on wood to build it. I'd still like a full size coop some day but this is a big improvement from what I had them in. I'm supposed to be getting more chickens from a friend of a friend soon, so I needed something bigger.

Here is a view in the front door. Each level has 8 nests in it. 5 in the back and 3 in the front. I put the wood eggs from Gail in 3 of the nests in the back. I'm still waiting on my first egg, but at least they should know where to lay them.

The back doors open up for easy access to the 5 back nests (10 total). We aren't using the top level yet but will when we get more chickens.

To encourage them to spend more time on grass, I've set up these "field shelters" around the pen. They really like them and spend a lot of time in them. I have 3 of these spread around the pen.

Have you ever tried to paint with chickens around? Have you ever tried to paint with really friendly, curious chickens around? They are very helpful!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Buying in bulk from Amazon

Joanna wanted me to write about how I buy food in bulk from Amazon. Just a few disclaimers before I do.

1. I know some people have philosophical issues with Amazon, I respect that. I don’t have the same issues, so if you hate Amazon, ignore this post.
2. I try to buy local, all my produce and animal products are local, soon to be even more local. What I buy from Amazon is stuff I couldn’t get locally anyway.
3. I don’t buy in bulk as in 50 pound bags of rice or wheat (at least not from Amazon), but I do buy in bulk as in 12 cans of something we use at a cheaper price.
4. I’m one of these weird food storage people. We have 3 months of food stored now and are working up to 6 months. It really helps me to be able to get our stored food so much cheaper.

I discovered Amazon was a good source for food about a year ago, I’ve always been happy with what we have gotten. When you get food from them, they give you the option of signing up for automatic delivery at a reduced price. This is worth doing. You generally save an additional 15% off their already low price. You can sign up for 1 month, 2 month, 3 month or 6 month intervals. They will email you before they ship anything and you can delay the shipment as long as you want or even cancel it all together. I generally sign up for every 3 months, figuring if we aren’t out by then, I can just delay it another month or 2 until we need it. The other upside of the automatic delivery is that shipping is free whether you are above $25 or not.

OK, not convinced? Let me give you a few examples.

Coconut milk, we use on average a can of coconut milk a week. We eat a lot of Thai food. The cheapest I can find coconut milk in the store is $1.89 a can. It is generally over $2 a can. One Amazon, I can order 24 cans and after I get the automatic delivery discount, I’m at $0.89 a can! A savings of $1 a can is huge!

Whole wheat penne pasta – This is generally over $2 a bag at the grocery store. Sometimes $1.50 if you can find a sale. On Amazon, I pay $1.35 a bag. We eat a lot of pasta, at least 3 days a week.

Organic vegetable bow tie pasta - This is over $3 a bag in the store if you can even find it. On Amazon, $1.89 a bag. We eat this particular pasta an average of once a week.

One last example, my husband eats these every morning for breakfast (different flavors so he doesn’t get bored) and Logan eats them as snacks. At the store over $4 a box, from Amazon, $2.87 a box.

These are just a few examples of stuff I buy from Amazon. There are many more. I got a great price on cans of organic black beans!

More babbling about names

I appreciate the comments on the right name coming to me. And it may, but I HATE naming things. I'm not good at it and usually come up with something stupid. It is made additionally hard because of Mark and Logan. Any names I really like, they reject because it is too girly. I really liked Nature's Blessing, but they both HATED it. I was also trying to come up with something incorporating bluebird, because we have a bunch of them here and I've never lived anywhere with bluebirds. I really liked Bluebird Haven Homestead, but it was rejected by the 2 boy folks also.

So, in some ways I'd rather turn the whole naming thing over to someone else and be done with it. Probably we will put Foggy Bottom and Whistling Wind on the short list and live here longer, at least into spring and see if anything else comes to us. We don't have many trees on the property and none of them are special. But maybe a whole flock of something will show up in the spring and make the naming obvious.

This is why we came up with that naming scheme for the animals. Makes things so much easier.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

One more

Sorry, I'm fighting off a cold today and seem to have too much time on my hands. I've never lived anywhere that is so windy, so this one came to me today. We can't seem to resist the humor.

I can't add Whistling Wind to the poll but if you like it better than what you voted for, just tell me in the comments.

Would love input

For those that have voted on a name, I'd love to hear your thoughts behind it. Why did you vote for what you voted for? Why didn't you vote for the others? If you have strong feelings for or against one, I'd love to hear it.

Fun with farm names

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My first poll

This is my last post for today, I promise!

We are trying to come up with a name for the farm and have narrowed it down to 3. I set up my first poll on the side bar to get your input. I can't promise that the winner will be the name, but it will help us narrow it down.

I could give you the thought behind each name, but I don't want to influence your choice. If you want to know you can ask.

And the winners are...

Sorry for the delay in posting the winners of my drawing.

Here is my handy assistant picking the winners.

Winner number 1, Christy (no, not me, the other Christy)
Winner number 2, Ramos Family

Congratulations. The new readers took this drawing. Maybe I'll try to have a drawing for long term readers sometime.

Send me your address at: No promises on how long it will take me to get the prizes done. I hope not too long....

Do I look like a perch?

This is Kudzu's favorite trick. She jumps on my back whenever I crouch down and perches on my neck. Sometimes on my head!

Backing up to get on my head. I can't wait until I get chicken poo in my hair!

She's queen of the chickens up here.

Buttercup hasn't tried it yet but always looks on with much interest when Kudzu does it.