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Thursday, March 29, 2012
OH, the transformation from little chick to adult hen pecking around out on a farmyard! I have seen both of those stages prior to our purchasing these little chicks.
I mean, who HASN'T seen the pictures around Easter of the soft fuzzy little duckling? So cute and soft... And, of course, the mama hen clucking and scratching in the yard. We've all seen them both even in a child's picture story book.
But, this funny in between, loosing the fluff and growing in the feathers stage is a whole new ball game for me (and the treekids, too!) I just had no idea how the process went!
It is funny, too, that the ducklings are growing so much faster than the chicks. Which leads to those bigger ducks making a lot bigger mess! Oh, the wet mess they make in all those pine shavings!
Here, this one with 2/3 fuzz, 1/3 feathers and the little tail feathers emerging!! Oh, how they love to roost, now!
The need to hop/fly up to sit on the edge is stronger and there are several who get up on the edge of the feeder (and do the fine honor of pooping in the feed - nice).
There a few others who move from the feeder to the edge of the box, now. But, since I took these pictures, only a few days ago, they are bigger yet and have so many more feathers!!
Fowl are turning out to be fairly easy to care for, although there is a bit of caution needed... young children might use those beautiful duck beaks as handles with which to pick up said duckling!
In order to protect the ducklings and chicks, I put a piece of window screen over the box, yesterday.
This should help keep the small hands away from the little birdies and preserve their lives! It will also keep the birds IN the box with the water, food and heat - again, preserving their lives!
We are all looking forward to their move to the chicken coop in the great outdoors! I am hoping that it will be VERY soon! :)
Raking leaves @ 2:45 PM
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
This past weekend when Pops took the treekids hunting for morels, they ran into a few slow moving reptiles!
In all, they collected four box turtles so that each of the treekids could have their "own one." (As in the words of Bump... everything when he wants his own, he says "I want my own one, own one.")
A friend dropped off their old baby pool this weekend for us to use for our ducks, which are still a little too small right now for swimming. So, it is a perfect little place for the turtles to be held captive for observation.
Blossom had out the World Book Encyclopedia this morning looking up turtles to find out more information. She found that some swim under water, but have to come up to get air.
She found that they lay eggs and they are white! But, usually the female will dig a hole, lay the eggs inside and cover them back up. The sun will keep the area warm and in about 100 days, the turtles will hatch.
That is about all that she wanted to learn today about turtles from a book. So, out she went and is trying to coax them out of their shell to watch them walk - and wouldn't ya know, they come out of the shell easily and happily for that noisy child! Anyone else makes much noise out there and they clam up in their shell!
As an aside: Branch is pretty excited about the little French Manicure I did for her yesterday. But it wasn't long before the polish was all smudged and chipped. Anything in the name of science exploration, eh?!!
Bud released his turtle yesterday afternoon and said that he thought perhaps the Constitution should "go for" animals as well. So, he freed his turtle. I hope that he doesn't decide to let the chicks, ducks and calves loose or I will have to let loose on him!!
This experience here in Oklahoma is turning out to be so much fun for the treekids and a great opportunity to learn about the world with a hands on approach!!
Raking leaves @ 7:03 AM
Monday, March 26, 2012
Pops and some of the tree kids went hunting on our little acreage for the coveted morel mushroom this weekend. There was a lot of fun to be had!
They found several areas that had some 'shrooms previously, but the areas were disturbed and the mushrooms were no longer good for cutting.
This was their first go at mushroom hunting and we have learned about good mushrooms as well as poisonous ones - stay clear of those!!
There have been finds along creek beds, near the base of trees, hiding by fences and the lone monster sitting out alongside nothing - standing proud and tall (the largest of all the ones they found at nearly 7 inches tall!) while a beautiful sunbeam streaked through the branches and shone on it like a spotlight.
Definitely a fun memory made!
I cleaned them very well, cut them lengthwise, dredged them in flour (with salt and pepper added) and fried them up in butter! YUM YUM YUM (and we are all still alive with no nasty nausea!!)
Raking leaves @ 1:26 PM
Friday, March 23, 2012
I love this view out the window over my computer! The cattle don't come all the way to the fence very often. I always can see them grazing way off in the distance, but not so close that my regular Nikkor 18-55mm lens can get in there and see what the black spots really are! (Did I tell you that when we moved out of our RV into this house I discovered a disaster? My nice long zoom lens was broken. I do not think that it is reparable. So, I am hoping that I will be able to get a new one. I haven't a clue how it got broke - I found it broke in its bag in my camera bag. Grrrrr. If I had it, I could take good pictures of cows and calves all day long and twice on a sunny day!!)
Anyway, I decided I needed to go out and make friendly with the neighbors since they made the extra effort, you know? I am not always good at making new friends, but these ladies seemed to be standing there just waiting for me to come and introduce myself, so... out I went with my camera - let them think that I am the paparazzi!
Well, hello, ladies! The recent rains have turned the grass so long and luscious and a deep verdant green. Does that make it taste better for you?
Munch. Munch. Munch. Welllllll, it doooooooes taste frrrreshhhh, yesssssss. Moooooooooore than uuuuuuuusual.
I suppose that it helps that this grass hasn't been trampled by your sisters, either. That's a plus! And lucky for you, with this fence up, my treekids can't get in and trample it either! I suppose it is just a deterrent and they could cross the fence if they really wished to. It is only 3 or 4 strands of barbed wire here and there. I'm sure they could cross it. But, I have tried to teach them to be well-mannered and to know their place. So, I hope they stay out of your pasture and in ours.
Looks like you are expecting some new calves soon. OH, WAIT! I would never say that to someone at the grocery store. You know... there are ladies who well, aren't expecting and then whooops! there ya go, sticking foot in mouth. I'm sorry. It's just that many of the cows out in this pasture are turning up with new calves and I guess, I just assumed. I thought maybe you were all in the same Lamaze type group or something and working on building your playgroup or moms group. Sorry, I overstepped. You see, I should have just waved from the window and let you go about your business. Sheesh. Apologizing profusely.
Ooooooh, nnnnnnnooooooooooo. It's finnnnnnnnne. Both Clareeeeeeeeece and I, oohhhhhh, I'mmmmmmmmm Mmmmaaaaaaaarrthaaaaaa, by the waaay. Weeeee arrrrre gooooing to calve soooooooooooooooon. I'mmmmmmmm suuuuuuuuuure youuuuuu'll seeeeeee the friskyyyy ones sooooooooon.
Oh, well, good! You can call me ELM. At least I made a correct assumption! You're looking great and so happy - this weather must be great for you. Looks like the rain helped to clean your coat and give you the freshen up that all nice ladies like before they have their babe. I'm sure you're no exception! It's been nice visiting! Come back to the fence anytime!
Thannnnnnnnk youuuuuuu. I nnnnnnnneed toooooo be onnnnn mmmmmmy waaaaaay.
Ok, it's been real nice chatting, Martha! Bye, now!
Oh, Clarece! It was nice meeting you, too!
To mmmmmmeet youuuuuu, wasssss aaaaaa pleasuuuuuuuure innnnnnndeeeeeeeed. Geeeet youuuuuuuuuur nnnnnnnew lennnnnnns sooooooooon. Theeeeesssse calves will neeeeeeeeed photos annnnnnnnnd I'vvvvvvvve neverrrrrrrrrr mmmmmmmmet a cammmmmmmeraaaaaaa wooooommmmmmmmannnn.
Marvelous, ladies!! It's been great! Have a nice evening!! And with that, they sauntered off toward their friends and sisters.
They had quite a ways to walk to get back by their herd. But, there was plenty of green grass to nibble on their journey.
I haven't seen them around lately... I wonder if the rancher has brought them into the pens to watch for their calves that are due soon.
I'm not sure, but it was a nice 20 minute visit and it looks like they watch out for each other some. As I sit here remembering the conversation, I see a calf standing out in the pasture about a half mile away. I wonder if it is Clarece's or Martha's or some other mama. Such a fun time... calving in the spring!
Raking leaves @ 9:42 AM
Thursday, March 22, 2012
It was a year ago this week that we said good bye to Oregon and its beautiful coast, mountains, lush green (well, not in the late summer/early fall!), beautiful rains, and treasured friends.
Lately, I have been remembering and longing for the home I have lived the longest as an adult! We lived in Southwest Oregon for just over 3.5 years. Every other adult home I have lived in has been a much shorter stay!
(here Bud is putting the starfish back near the water's edge so that the outgoing water will take this amazing creature back to sea)
So, it was interesting to me as I looked back last night that this last day on the Oregon Coast last spring was actually March 21st!
I wonder if Bump will recall any of the fun at the ocean - the feet sinking in the saturated sand, the smell of the ocean mist, the roar of the waves crashing all night long through the open windows (No it is not a lapping sound, at all, ever! It is a CONSTANT roar and crash. It is amazing and awe inspiring!), the feel of the mist and the warm sun together.
You know, I love the midwest. I love being able to see for miles and miles and miles. I love seeing the black spots of cattle across the fields. I love seeing the crops starting to peek up in late spring.
Perhaps that is why I loved the ocean so much. The ocean is a lot like the midwest, to me.
You can stand on the shore and look out for miles and miles and miles...
The spots on the ocean are the ships coming and going - but they could be carrying cattle into port from Hawaii!?!!
And the crops surprising you as they appear are like the birds flying and diving for fish or the nose of a sea otter poking up as you stand and look off the dock, or the blow of a gray whale.
Speaking of whales, the spring migration watch is just about to begin! Too bad we can't pop in the car and get to the Oregon coast in as little as 2 hours!
Oh, well... it is calving season around here! Lots of baby calves popping up on the nearby pastures and lots and lots of mama cows heavy with their calves about to be born.
There are so many wonderful things to see and do in our amazing country... will there be enough time in our lifetime to do and see it all??
This is my old home... it is "under contract" now and will likely have a new family living there soon. Neighbors in the 'hood have kept us in the know! I was secretly hoping that the house wouldn't sell and would have to have its price lowered to an unbelievable price so that we could re-purchase the home as a "vacation home" to stay and go back to visit all the places that we loved. Do you have a previous home that you loved the are and miss? Do you have a list of things you still must go and see or do in the good ol' U.S. of A. before your time is up on this world??
Raking leaves @ 2:01 PM
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Last Wednesday, when we bought our chickens and ducklings, we also got our second bottle calf! Yes, it was a VERY busy day for us!
Pops took the girls and Bump to the sale barn and they met another family selling their older bottle calves. So, they became fast friends and had a heck of a good time.
When we got it home later that evening, we put it into a separate pen (for a couple of weeks anyway) to make sure it didn't have any bugs of any kind to share with our other little heifer!
Pops and his little assistant, Bump, ready the area for our new calf to be "delivered" to the little pen.
Pops donned the appropriate veterinary safety gloves needed for this kind of delivery...
and gave it his best effort in getting this calf out!
This calf is a bit bigger than our other one was when we got her.
So, it was a bigger challenge getting this calf in AND out of the kennel!
At the sale barn, the auctioneer sold the calf as a holstein heifer.
I know that there are red holsteins out there...
But, I have never seen a heifer that had, uhmmm, well, boy parts!!
So, now, as we have little horns growing in on this little guy's head, I wonder if this little bull is really a holstein or is it a shorthorn...
He kind of looks like all the shorthorn cattle that are roaming the pasture just to the south of our property.
He is VERY happy taking his bottle and enjoys it as much as any little calf could.
Let's just say that if you aren't fast enough in getting the nipple where he can get to it, your jeans, knees, elbows, boots, backside - anything he can reach is FAIR game to be butted or suckled on!
If he ever got loose out of his little pen, you could tease him right back into the pen with that trusty little bottle!
But, as much as he likes that crazy bottle and rams into me when I am not fast enough, I have to wonder if I shouldn't let him loose in that south pasture and see if some mama cow out there will take him!
I don't think that I really mean that, but the thought has crossed my mind more than three times in the past week!
Seems like someone was doing just fine with this one and the bottle.
I think that this guy should be the one responsible for him - but, we do try our best!!
The children do try to just feed him through the fence as he is a bit pushy - even at them.
Well, any way you shake a stick at it - we now have two bottle calves taking up residence on our yard, a baker's dozen of chickens and a quad set of ducklings living in the garage!
We are having ourselves a great time with these great creatures.
The treekids are learning that there is more to life in the taking care of these lives that need our help to live!
We are working together as a family to get it all done each day and finding our way in seeing who can do what when.
Tomorrow is another sale at the livestock auction... we are still on that "list" for wanting bottle calves, but I am hoping that no one calls us tomorrow!! Maybe next week or the next... but, I am not ready for any more right now!!
Raking leaves @ 5:44 PM
Monday, March 19, 2012
Well, I didn't mean to leave you hanging after last week's Wordless Wednesday, but I wanted to finish up that first day and how our crazy Black Bull Calf turned into a Brownish Heifer Calf!! Anyway, we DID get some fowl the other day!
We asked the gentleman at the Tractor Supply Co. to get us twelve chicks and four ducks.
I counted them yesterday, and there are 13 chicks! Looks like we got a baker's dozen out of the deal. SO, we have 7 that are light colored and might become white?? And we have 6 darker chicks that (I HOPE) will turn reddish in color.
Everyone is loving on these little cuties!
(OH! And, Bump got a hair cut! So, it is shorter and still curly!!)
There are plenty of fingers to hold and squish - eek - the little birdies.
I LOVE that Bud got all giggly about this little duck!!
We must be very careful with this little guy holding the birdies! He likes to pick them up by their neck, or try to squish them with with his huge love!!
This one is my favorite little ducky, right now!
We have a 3.5 gallon waterer, and a gallon chick feeder - it keeps them comfortable.
The heat lamp keeps them warm (and I have read that the red light at night even keeps predators away...) in the garage.
The chicks are already changing so much. I hope to get out there to take some more pictures soon - but it is raining raining today and that makes everyone want to just hunker down inside!
Raking leaves @ 5:16 PM