Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Homestead Updates

This week has passed in a blur of working, building, making, designing, and kidding. Whew! I know you are all anxious to read about the new kids born yesterday and I am in the process of editing the videos I captured, but that takes a lot of time. That video is uploading and when that finishes, I will post it, too. I am hoping to have it finished tonight. We'll see if the interweb cooperates with that plan.

In the meantime, I can update you on Superman's hand. I removed the stitches on Friday because I couldn't put Sean off any longer. I really wanted to give it a full 10 days of healing before taking them out. I was worried that if they weren't ready to be removed, it would reopen and have needless complications. But, they were driving Sean mad. He started insisting I remove them on Tuesday. Since Sean's skin was starting to grow over his stitches, he won and out they came. The injury is healing well and improving every day.

With the improved weather last week and Sean feeling better, we were able to repair and move the wind-damaged turkey fencing to fully expand the duck and geese enclosure. From 64' × 32', it more than doubled again to 64' x '90', which gives the ducks and geese an area totaling approximately 5760 square feet to wander and explore.  Ferdinand and Frances have settled in well. Frances is laying eggs in a nest. We are hopeful that Frances will hatch a nest this Spring. 

All the birds are picking up in their egg-laying.  We are collecting roughly 14 dozen eggs each week right now and that should increase as the daylight does.  We have five egg shares spoken for and can easily satisfy another five shares, so if you are local and are interested in farm fresh eggs each week, let us know! An egg share provides a total of 18 dozen eggs for the cost of $50- that's only $2.78/dozen!!!

One morning this week, Sean and I walked through the woods to where it borders the stream at the back end of our property, dreaming of this year's fence expansion for the goats. It is a lovely space. Quiet and peaceful. It may not get finished until next season, but we are hoping to be able to finish the goat pasture expansion this year. If we can, this is the view they will enjoy. Not too shabby, huh? Now, imagine it in high summer, with the stream running with small fish and wood ducks and the brown grasses alive and green.

Sean wants to fence so the stream is the fourth wall of the pasture. I think that would look lovely, but I am very worried that the goats would go swimming- though they are not known to like water- just because they are GOATS. Goat code clearly reads that any time it is inconvenient to follow goat etiquette, goats will do as they please, when they please, how they please. Research is wanted before we do anything more, but it is a good idea...

 While I am discussing those goats, this goat has decided that she can roam at will. She has discovered a place in the back woods where with just a little pressure, she can slip under the fencing. I followed her to see where she was getting out and caught her in the act. She caught me watching her and slowly removed her head from the fence and sauntered back to the barn hoping all the while that as an inferior-brained human, I would forget it and not repair her escape route. Look, I am not denying that they may have the upperhand in the "Canniness Department". I just don't like it rubbed in.

Afterward, she spent the afternoon pretending that all was well in the world while secretly planning her next escape attempt. Peter is only a few weeks old, but look how he has grown! He is going to take after his Daddy and be a big buck, for sure!

We have had a bit of bad news, too, to share. Sean and I replaced the damaged turkey fencing panels with some four-foot tall, rolled chicken wire and metal posts. Since our animals free-range, fencing is meant to give a small barrier to predators, not keep our birds contained. The downside of freedom is danger. And, that struck us last week. We lost three turkeys in two days. At first, Aquila was missing at night when we went to put them to bed. That isn't completely unusual, as the turkeys have a penchant for roosting on our roof, the chicken coop roof, or in the summer pig pen. I wasn't too worried. In the morning, we were missing two turkey hens. Sean went searching the woods and found them. It was clear a predator had taken them- most likely a fox. That night, we brought them up to the chicken yard. There have been no further attacks, but it is still hard to lose animals, both mentally and financially. The alternative is captivity and that brings its own risks. We will continue to free range our birds as much as we can. Despite these rare attacks (this has been the 2nd in seven years), we feel it is better for our birds to live as freely and naturally as possible. But, another advantage of expanding the goat fencing is that they do a wonderful job of clearing out the brush and under-growth. Open land means less cover for a would-be predator to get close to our birds.

I don't want to end on a sad note. Overall, things are going well for the homestead. We can feel the weather changing and with it, we are bursting with plans for the coming season. As soon as the video of Haddie's kidding uploads, I will post that for you, too.

Thanks for visiting with us today, friends. We're glad you're here.

Sean & Sonja ♥

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