Monday, May 11, 2009

Springtime animal husbandry and gardening chores

Yesterday, my stepfather and I made a pretty (and tasty) breakfast for my mother of homemade waffles (from scratch) with fresh blueberries, strawberries and whipping cream, scrambled eggs (from our chickens) and pork sausage (from Krista's pig).  I very nice meal- if I do say so myself.

Next I drove home to attack the gardening chores first.  It was a warm, sunny day so I decided to plant the last of the garden beds.  I planted green and purple beans, corn, cucumbers, broccoli and umpteen varieties of squash.  In the greenhouse I transplanted my started sunflowers, tomatoes and red bell peppers.  Tom built shelves in the greenhouse with recycles cedar hot tub wood.

Here's the garden:
Here's the greenhouse shelves:

While I was doing the gardening I took a break and noticed our 10 year old hot-tub.  It had over the years sunk into the ground and started to rot on the bottoms of the walls.  We had already put it up on blocks to get it off the ground. We then tried a trick I read about on the internet of adding cedar sawdust to the hot tub with a small amount of water in it.  The theory is that as the water leaks out the sawdust gets trapped in the leaks and seals them.  Initially we did not think it works but gradually I noticed that the leaks seemed less.  Yesterday I noted that the hot-tub was still 2/3 full after many weeks.  I thought I should top it off to keep it moist.  Then I thought I should probably change the water.  Then I thought if I am going to change the water I might as well clean it and then we can go tubbing.  So I got started- when I did it was sunny and warms after a gorgeous clear night with a full moon (that's what Tom said- I had to work).  By the time I got the hot-tub cleaned and refilled it had become cloudy and cooled.  Tom got a fire stoked up in the hot tub's stove and by evening we had a hot tub.  We took a dipand stayed in until the rain got heavy.  It helped both of our muscles quite a bit.
The resurrected hot tub:
So today Tom went to the feed store to pick up feed and supplies while I did the usual animal chores.  When he came home we had spent $700 on one month's feed and supplies.  We had finally ran out of the 16 tons of local hay we bought last July.  The feed store had run out of local grass hay so Tom had to buy orchard grass hay for $20 per bale!
Here's the hay:
Here's the feed shed:
Here's the chicken feed:
I had to take this photos of Saphy and her kids:
Then we started giving the lambs their shots and worming medication.   After doing half the lambs I was running out of the vaccine and syringes.
Here's some of the lambs who received their shots:
Then we tattooed the bunnies ears and clipped their nails.
Here's the bunnies I am going to sell:
Here's the bunnies I am going to keep:
We ran out of tattoo ink and will not have the letter needed to tattoo the goat kids this year.  So it is back to the feed store to spend more money.
Then we gave the donkeys their annual West Nile virus vaccine.  This is afterwards where they are not coming near me again:
These are lamb butts walking back toward the barn:
Then I cleaned out the larger goat kid pen and put down new straw.  The kids enjoy playing with this straw:
Here's Shorty and PeeWee playing around a dog house:
Then I went into the house and took a long, hot, candle-lit, bubble bath in my renovated bathroom.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The back of the property

This last weekend Tom used an excavator and dug a pond in the back of our property.  It rapidly filled with water.  The soil there is mostly clay so hopefully it will retain the water well through the dryer months.  He built steps on one side in case it doesn't.  I am hoping to build a fence around it- either woven wire or electric netting- and put the ducks and/or geese back there.  They would really like a bigger pond, I think.We also have the majority of the sheep, a few goats and a llama grazing the woods out back.  They really enjoy browsing a variety of plants, and all are looking very well fed.  It is nice that they keep the brush down and clear the trails for us too.  

Friday, May 1, 2009

Random spring animal photos

Pheasant chicks (Chinese Ringneck and Melanistic Mutant):
Zeus on Cally:
Shaun and Shirley:
Goats in front of stove:

Shaun the Sheep "Off the Baa"

Shaun the Sheep clip "Save the Tree"