Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Goat Kid Visit

I had not expected to be visited by our neighbors and former goat-school participants this morning when I awoke. My plan for the day was to roast a turkey in anticipation for dinner with friends, preceded by some house cleaning, home-schooling, and perhaps a little work on some more jewelry. But, a phone call at 9 am changed up our plans a little.

This is Jane, a 2 week old alpine/saanen cross doe kid. It seems that Jane's siblings are typical kids; little bundles of bouncing energy. They bounced a little too roughly with Jane this morning and injured her left hind leg, causing her to limp a little. (The back leg facing me in this image.) I ran my hands over both legs to see could I feel anything obviously out of sorts. I couldn't. Jane did not recoil or make any kind of noise to indicate pain or discomfort. She did not attempt to pull away. In fact, she seemed most interested in wagging her tail at the cats and nibbling on my shirt collar. In situations like this in my herd, I usually watch the injury and if it is not better in a day or two, wrap it. If it is not better after that, I call in my vet. If Jane had seemed to be in pain or was holding her leg strangely, I would have suggested a trip to the vet immediately. I suspect in a day or two, Jane will be sorted and tumbling along with her siblings.

I was sorry to meet Jane under this kind of circumstance, but some "goat kid therapy" was a perfect way to begin my day. The cats were not as enthusiastic about it. Photographing multiple cats and one very active goat kid is not the easiest task. This is what I captured:
Zoe cat is happy to watch from afar.
Machias is unimpressed.
"What are you sniffing at?"

Jane thinks: "What strange goats! But, they are smaller than me!" (Look how she is smiling.)

Spot gives Jane the once over.
And then, rubs all over Jane.

Machias is not impressed and chooses to ignore this new beast in cat-fashion.
We're still a few months out for out goat kids to be born here at the homestead. A half hour of sweet goat kid snuggles was an unexpected and delightful treat for me on this otherwise average cold day in Maine.

Thanks for popping by for a visit today. Before you go, I'd love to know, what unexpected thing happened in your world today? You can tell me in the comments below. :)

Sonja ♥

Monday, January 20, 2014

2014 Indialantic Florida

8:33 am. The house is empty and quiet save for the occasional tap, tap, tap from Maria, our "Kitchen Keet" digging through her hay to find the scratch I sprinkled there earlier and the fan from the wood stove blowing heat into our home. I have a list of things to accomplish this morning, but no desire to tackle any of them just yet. I blame that on the light.

One of the starkest contrasts between last week and this (besides the 30-40 degree temperature difference) is the crisp brightness to daylight. It is clearly morning. The sun is out, but it is not bright. It is difficult to get motivated. Difficult, but not impossible.

After a week of being on vacation in Florida, not doing chores each morning, it was a bit of a treat to visit with our flocks and herds despite the cold. There is a peace of spirit I feel while caring for each group. The raucous chickens, ducks, geese, and guineas pile around their fencing poking their beaks through to get the first bite. So to avoid getting rushed by them when I open the gate, I toss a few handfuls of scratch grains ahead of me and quickly set their various food dishes down before grabbing the water container for Sean. The turkey pen is noisy with the trills from seven large and curious birds. Their food container is never emptied at feeding time, but I fill it back to the top anyway. This morning, even their water container was full. A quick whisk of my wrist and the murky water was dispelled and replaced with fresh from the reserve. Turkeys done. Rachel and Leah stand on the stump in the doe pen and thump their front hooves onto the half wall, sticking their noses out reminding me that they are next. Sean had already thrown down a few bales of hay for me to feed them. I greet our youngest buck, Judah when I enter the milk room. I scoop grain for him and also for Ebony, our Vietnamese pot belly pig. The barn chickens run to steal what they can of this. Brave birds. I open the doe stall and call for Ellie, Delilah, and Cassie. The does know their names and come when they are called. All the does get a serving of grain, but these girls are the mildest mannered and if I don't feed them separately, the other does butt them out of the way. While the does and Judah eat their grain in the milk room, I shake out hay for Jasmine, the rest of the does, and the bucks in their 3 roomy stalls. This is a good time to observe the goats. Are they standing normally? Are they eating with gusto? Sean ducks in with buckets of fresh water and we take a minute to scratch necks and check hooves and eyelids. Then, it is time to return the other does to the main doe stalls, secure the doors and get on with our day. A kiss goodbye and Sean is off to work. And, it is time for me to conduct schooling, write a blog post, edit some images or video, care for housework, or create jewelry, soap, or scents. Another day's rhythm has begun.

I didn't capture images of our animals this morning since my photo disk has 280 pictures to sort, edit, and use to create memory books of last week's vacation. Instead, I thought I would share some of my favorites from the week with you. Click on any of the images to see them in more detail.

We were almost to Florida when I spied this Delta airplane from my window on our Sunday afternoon flight. It is hard to judge distance with nothing to a scale that I am used to, but I would not be surprised to discover that the other plane was miles away from us. I zoomed in as far as my camera would go to get this shot. Check out the fuel vapor.
First stop? BEACH!!!!

Can you see the Sand Piper and the Plover in this picture?

On Wednesday, we spotted our first dolphins. This Mother and calf swam between the concrete canal supports for quite a while. The little calf was curious of us and turned on his side to get a closer look at Sean, Kristen, Meaghan, and Daddy Dale.
I missed catching the calf's playful antics on film, but I did capture it swimming along side them before disappearing beneath the water's surface.

Pelicans perching on an old pier at the Melbourne Town Pier. I was captivated by the Great Snowy Egret on the end of the pier. He did not seem very worried about our presence. I just love those flowing tail feathers.

Look at the size of this bloom! I especially enjoyed seeing all the interesting varieties of plants and trees.

Sea plums? One facebook friend suggested it makes a delicious jam. Something to put on my list to try for next time.

Coconut Palm Trees were just everywhere. Sean tried to find some freshly fallen ones, but the ones we discovered were full of ants.

On Thursday, the temperatures dropped into the 40's overnight, so we drove to a nearby canal to check for manatees. Sure enough, there were many warming themselves this morning. The water was murky because they stir up so much of the mud from the bottom, but every one in a while, a nose or a tail would pop out of the water. It was enough to be enchanted by them for me.

The next stop was at the Vierra Bird Sanctuary. As we drove along the path, among other creatures, we saw egrets, vultures, various kinds of ducks, nesting herons, hawks, storks, turtles, and alligators.

This stand of palm trees was home to a heron nest on the top right. A female heron was sitting there. On the top of the tree right in front of it another heron was perched, perhaps a male? Look closely on the palms on the right and you'll find two other birds resting on the tops of the trees.

Sean found the name of these water fowl in the coffee table book Momma Twombly checked out from the local library, but we've forgotten their name now. Do you know what they are?
Sean loved watching these Hooded Mergansers playing. They were tails up as often as they were upright, searching for yummy greens along the bottom of the marsh.

Inside the stump, this female hawk had some young. We watched her feed them by dropping food into the opening of the stump. Fascinating, but gross. A male hawk sat a little way off.

On Alligator Island, we could just see a couple of alligators sunning themselves on the banks. Neither the ducks swimming just a short way off, nor the Heron standing nearby seemed worried about it.

We think this water bird coming in for a splashy landing is a Harlequin duck. This is one of my favorite pictures because of the action of the water spraying out behind him.

These two turtles were having a debate over who owned the log they were floating upon. Silly turtles!

In Cocoa Beach, we walked about the shops. I found several that I would be interested in partnering with for our goat's soaps and jewelry. At this funky shop, Miss Meaghan found me a CHICKEN! How cute is this hen?

Afterwards, we walked along a board walk while Poppy played at the dog park. We were looking for the family of racoons that make their home in the tangle of undergrowth and palms. We did not see any, but the view was spectacular!

Moo's Ice Cream Shop for lunch on Friday while we waited to see how many pieces of jewelry the Cottage Rose shop would choose. The hot dogs and shakes were yummy. I loved the cow theme. The entire building was painted in splotches of black and white like a Holstein.
We had reason to celebrate. Vicki, from Cottage Rose chose several pieces of jewelry to sell at her fantastic shop. We are just over the moon about partnering with a shop in Indialantic, especially this one. Vicki carries a huge variety of funky finds because of the many consignments she takes in. If you are local, stop in. It is a MUST. If you are not local, visit her shop online using the link above or on our sidebar. If you find an item you want, you can message the shop to make arrangements to purchase it and have it shipped to you. These are some of our pieces waiting for their forever homes to be found at Cottage Rose:
Among these are some of my favorite creations including: "Enchanted" (violet heart pendant set), "In the Buff" (natural colored circle pendant set with just a kiss of bronze glaze in the bottom row), and "Persephone" (brilliant blue and bronze circle pendant, bottom right.) I know they will find good homes. ♥
I missed our chickens, but watching the sea gulls squabble made me smile. The funny black-capped birds were by far the loudest. They did not seem afraid of me and let me creep within a few feet of them to capture these pictures.
So many different kinds of palm trees and vegetation thrive in Indialantic. This palm had some kind of long, sharp, succulent growing from it's top. They looked like masses of snakes creeping down the trunk.

What kind of nuts or fruits are these?

Sean picked one of these red fruits on the palm tree on the left. They smelled sweet, but did not taste edible. Hard in the center, we think they are some sort of seed. Or, perhaps they were just not ripe? The tree on the right is one of my favorites. I call it a Pineapple Palm. I do not know its real name.

      Bananas and Oranges!

♥ Our Family ♥
Final day at the beach before our flight early Sunday morning.

A 3 hour flight into Bangor and we were less than an hour from home when our plane landed. Yes, Maine welcomed us home with a small snow storm.

These are some of my favorite pictures from the past week, but if you really want to feel like you were there with us, click on the video below to hear the birds calling, the waves crashing, and our family enjoying themselves. ♥

Thanks for visiting today, friends. We're glad you stopped by.
Sonja ♥

Friday, January 10, 2014

Guinea Fowl Update

Chocolate Guinea Fowl                   Pearl Guinea Fowl
Sean captured some fantastic images of our maturing guinea fowl population this week. It seems like such a short a time ago I was carrying them home in a cardboard box secure on my lap, worried about maintaining the proper temperature in the car lest they catch a chill and become ill. Now, only 4 months later, our raucous teenagers have graduated from their brooder and live outside in the coop with the rest of our poultry populace.

Neicy (black chicken on the left) and one of our Rhode Island Reds joined the guineas in taunting the dogs this day.
The 6 foot fencing is a joke in terms of keeping any of our birds inside it's safe confines- except for the geese (who have no idea that they can fly) and the ducks when their feathers are properly trimmed. The fencing is supposed to serve the purpose of creating a safe yard for our birds, away from dangerous predators. And, it works for those birds who choose to remain inside it. Mostly, they don't. They do use it as a convenient perch on sunny days. This drives the dogs mad, especially Fenn and Klaus who are convinced that the chickens would make the tastiest squeaky toys and are eager to test out their theory. For the safety of everyone, Klaus and Fenn roam free inside their dog play yard or remain on a leash when they are in the yard otherwise.

We are very happy with the decision to add guinea fowl to the farm. We are eagerly looking forward to their first eggs and molting. Why? I am glad you asked.

There are many uses for eggs and feathers. We'll hatch some eggs to sell guinea fowl to our neighbors who want to raise them.We'll sell some eggs to folks who want to eat them, use them for crafting, or hatching their own guineas. The rest of the eggs will be used here for eating, jewelry, and I have an idea to offer blown out guinea eggs for decoration purposes. Our guinea feathers are strikingly beautiful; black with white polka dots or tan with white polka dots. I think these will make fetching mixed media earrings. This is just a rough idea, but maybe I'll create a cool and funky line of earrings similar to the image on the right. Or perhaps, I'll make them more simple and use just the feathers themselves. Either way, I can't wait to get my hands on enough eggs and feathers to play!

Speaking of playing... Our family is leaving for Florida to visit with Sean's parents on Sunday. We'll be gone for a week or so. Caitlin and Justin will be here, holding down the fort or at least keeping the hungry masses from committing a full-blown mutiny in our absence. As much as we are all looking forward to seeing family and basking in some 80* weather instead of freezing ourselves in Maine, it is always with mixed feelings that we take these much needed (and appreciated) breaks from our work schedule. Florida won't be a complete vacation for us. Sean and I mailed a collection of 30 pieces ahead of ourselves in the hopes that we'll find the perfect venue to display and sell our jewelry while we are there. So, it will be part work, part play, and part worry.

We'll take lots of pictures of our trip and I hope we'll be able to report a new retail outlet in another state where you'll be able to purchase Lally Broch Farm Egg Shell Jewelry. How cool would THAT be?

Thanks for stopping in to visit with us today, friends. We're glad you did.

Sonja ♥