The farm house

The farm house

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Fire The Groundhog, I Say!

The groundhog was wrong. We experienced rain, freezing rain and LOTS of snow yesterday. In fact it's still snowing. Heavy and wet, bending the branches, will this snow ever cease?? Did I mention the snow? I could not get my egss that were delivered to the post office and being without a car, I must wait until this evening...

Here is what much of the landscape looks like this snowy morning.
It's the last day of February and I'm not sad to see it go. It does signify something else for me though. I've not been earning money through employment for 2 months. Also, I have not found a job in that time either. I even applied with a firm that I used to work for. I called to see if they received my resume and I was received with "Yeah, you and 50 other people!"And I'm the one without the job...for now. Something must be done. I must shake up the status quo of the boring, endless online searches...something creative, something enjoyable and free...

The horses are freaking out because the snow is falling from the branches.

Can you see 50 shades of grey here??
Here's also hoping that the farmer next door comes by with the tractor and blows a bit of this stuff out- it is so heavy...

February, don't let the screen door hit you on the way out !...

Monday, February 25, 2013

Shetland Revisited

Pony in the field next to museum
 So it's Monday and a very drab February one at that! So, while looking for something else the other day, I found my photos from my trip to Shetland!1 Actual photos as digital was breaking out way back then...less than a decade?? So, I'm giving myself a break from job searching and posting some of the photos. These are strictly Shetland..I may post Orkney and Harris & Lewis another time!

The remains of a Stuart castle on Unst.

View from a croft museum on Mainland

Sheep doing there thing. I believe this is on Unst.

Scalloway, the old capital of Shetland- the castle ruins are visible!

One of Eva Smith's Shetland Ponies!
Swatches displayed at Wilma Malcolmson's studio- stunning view from there of the water if I recall...
By the way, the sheep have not arrived but the egss are being shipped. Soon hatch day countdown will begin. I've ordered from 2 separate places and they should arrive 1 day apart from one another which will make the hatching much easier!

A red logo is flashing on my weather network icon as I write this. Now what? More snow or freezing rain? So much for all that greenery above!! If anyone knows of a better way I can display these photos, please educate me- it would be well appreciated.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Last Year vs This Year...

"How come we aren't getting many eggs, like we used to?" he asks me. I said" It's cold out!" "Not all the time". We used to get 2 dozen a day last year at this time."... I thought about that. In fact he was right. I had so many eggs, I was tired of eating them yet very grateful that I did have them. I have a light on to extend daylight, so what could be the problem? Well, some of the breeds I have are not the most prolific layers and...age. I have 3 hens left from my very first chick purchase and 1 rooster from my very first hatch- he was the very first egg to hatch and now, I wish him gone.

He has become a very bad rooster even though he is cute. The boys named him J.J.. I call him Cato, like the character from the Peter Sellers Inspector Clouseau movies. I must carry a stick when I venture into the coop to collect eggs or change water as he attacks and it hurts!! Last week as I was bent over collecting the waterer. he launched himself on my back- sneak attack from behind- this will not do. So, how to rid oneself of roosters, without actually killing them is proving difficult. Everyone has too many. When you hatch, you don't know what you will get...So given his age, here's hoping he drops soon...I don't wish that on many animals except him.

As for the age, the originals will be turning 4 years old next month. I would not be surprised if they left the happy coop for a bigger pasture in the sky... I do have others but some are also getting older...Which means I need replacement stock. I have an order of rainbow eggs that I must pay for. There are riske when shipping live embryos but a change in the gene pool can be a good and necessary thing.

The turkeys are not laying yet and I hope to get the chicken eggs in before the turkeys eggs need to be incubated. Due to the cold this winter, I find things are little later than last year. I had chicks hatching at this time last year... I'm finding it hard to even fathom planting a garden or hatching chicks because it's so cold...30 days until Spring......Oh please warm up.....

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Winter blahs...

On Sunday, I had some interesting visitors to the front yard. They look very much like my Naris, but my females are much paler and more grey than dark brown. I counted 17 turkeys. The most spectacular thing was how they looked when they flew over the road ! Such a wingspan and they flew quite a distance! The horses stood transfixed watching these visitors. The horses always seem to know if something different is here or something is coming...Now if they could only predict the weather or the lottery...

It would seem that doing chores in winter takes way more time than I like it to. I love spending time with all the critters but when it's cold out, it's not such a pleasant experience. The farrier came to trim the 2 horses that would not be caught last week. Later in the day, I discovered the hose, that is stored in the house was frozen-the trough needed to be filled.

What a pain it is carting water by bucket to fill a large trough... On the positive side, I get a workout and I'm not working so I have the time to tend to such things. When I did work, chores had to be done quickly and efficiently as I could not check on things while away. It certainly is great to have the sunlight in the morning now by which to do all the necessary things. Dark and cold...most unpleasant.

I am still waiting for my incubator. I suspect it is hung up at customs- just my luck.Hatching eggs is step in the right direction to overcoming the winter blahs. Chicks are the most amazing things. Rmember those chicks I saved from the auction? You can see a pic in earlier posts.... I still have them- they are huge 3 roosters and one hen. The hen loves to spend time with my buff Orpington rooster. I may have to keep them together and hatch those eggs as they both have good personalities and are big birds! I have a dozen eggs- mixed- from another farm awaiting the incubator-she will only send when it is safe to do so. It takes a few days sometimes to regulate the temperature. Another good thing about being at home is that I can check on this also. This way I have some new genes to add to my flock and some interesting breeds too.

I have planted some chives and some basil as I can keep these inside. The seedlings I started indoors last year did not produce anything- in facr barely grew at all. However, last summer was most unusual. I do predict a wet Spring-I need some Wellies so I am shopping online for those. The regular cheapies don't fit me...

Have a happy Tuesday and  don't forget to wear a sweater on Feb. 7th!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Please Don't Judge Me Because Of The Hay On My Floor.

It has been extremely windy here. This makes for a cubersome and sometimes frustrating event in getting the animals fed. Anyone who has been around hay knows that it can be an irritant. Anyone who knows me well enough can attest to that by observing the rash that appears on my inner arms duting the warm months- caused by hay. The rash is very itchy and it is difficult not to scratch. A long sleeved shirt rectifies this but when it's really hot, who needs to be warmer?

Well hauling hay into the wind results in hay in your hair face and clothing. Oh yes, you will find it everywhere. You can brush it off before coming inside but it possesses an inate capacity to cling to everything and then suddenly releases itself all over the floor.

I recently have been a victim of a conspiracy; a silent understanding that if one does not " work" outside the home, as in employed, that the home should be kept "clean"!! Gasp- I said it. I have been judged by how clean my house is kept all the while, what I do with my time is my business.

Meanwhile, my house is reasonably clean but not to the point of obsession. Enter the hay incident. Hay was released from pant cuffs, hair, pockets and brushed off other parts. The worst of it gone, there was still some inside my sweater, and also my bra. Hay in the bra is a sure fire way to get you squirming. So much so this time, I had to release the hostages in the powder room, shake it all out , capture and enclose the hostages once again and hope to heck it was all gone before returning to the outer realm of the kitchen without having to do a shimmy to release the stragglers- very reminiscent of a withdrawal episode.

Wearing knitted items on a cold day is wonderful sensuous delight but not if you are working with or going near hay.As you can see in the photo, these hitchhikers can be very uncomfortable and don't always wash out very well. I've seen many knitting patterns photographed in the farm setting, for instance Twist Collective Fall 2010 and Winter 2010. Truly inspiring but very impractical unless you are merely walking around the farm. Another is the Patons Classic Wool 500864 A-Line Swing Jacket- picture yourself strutting in your wellies and an egg basket and see how long you don't pick up a hitchhiker or worse yet: Burrs!!

I haven't even touched on how attractive buttons can be to some animals like goats...! Smelly rutting bucks ughh! They like to chew them and zippers- ask me how I know even if I don't own any?
Recently, I picked up New England Knits by Cecily Glowik MacDonald and Melissa LaBarre. It was a long time coming and  I was pleased with something I read within, reaffirming what I just said p.55 fall on the farm ".....Although you may not want to wear these garments while doing actual farmwork, they are perfect for lighter outdoor chores." Amen.