Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Chick fights!

The little chicks are practicing their fighting skills. They do little leaps into the air with baby wings a-flutter, trying to spur their opponents (if they had spurs). There is one enormous chick, the first one to learn the chicken-scratch-dance looking for food, so we named it Tubby. And there is teeny-tiny Peeps, still hanging in there, a miniature chicken. Tubby is the most aggressive and will even make a rush at Peeps. Not as rough as with the other chicks, but still a lot for such a tiny chick. But little Peeps stands her ground, and even leaps back at Tubby. After a mock battle or two, PoopButt (still only half the size of Tubby) will come to the rescue. She leaps at Tubby until he/she loses interest and rushes off to another area. PoopButt also gives worms to Peeps and watches while she eats them. Pretty cool for a "bird-brain"!

It's still just too mucky to do much in the veggie garden. Our neighbor was tilling up the wild spot along our fenceline with his tractor, and stopped to let me know all the stuff he has planted already. Then proceeds to tell me no one around here plants til May 1st! He 'cheats' with a heated greenhouse for his starts though. I should enjoy the 'break' before a summer of watering starts up, and I also have 15lbs of seed potatoes arriving soon. It doesn't sound like much, but that works out to 150ft of garden rows that need to be ready.....

Check out this tiny frog that was warming up under a tarp covering some kindling behind the woodshed. I let it go in a safer, warmer area. Hopefully it will join the nightly tree frog chorus.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Chicks, lawn ornament & evil parrot

Chickies in the bathroom! Here's Peeps (named after my first baby zebra finch) and PoopButt, hanging out under a heat lamp next to the toilet. You can se how much smaller Peeps is.

The flock, reunited. Peeps is on the far right and PoopButt is in the center, closest to the front. We were worried the other chicks would pick on Peeps, but not only did PoopButt run interference for her, she also pecks and scolds the bigger chicks at will.

Stella the lawn mower! We hooked two lead ropes to her halter so we could each be on a side, in case she made a break for it, and took her out in the front yard. But once she figured out she could just walk around and eat fresh green grass, she did great!

And Mark doing his avian barnacle impression. If you try to pick him up off his cage, he immediately grabs on to a wire with his beak and grips as tight as he can. D actually slid him up & down the cage wire like that and all he does is grind his beak down tighter. If he's on top of his cage when you try to pick him up, he hunkers down and grips with his feet. You can just about pick up the whole cage using him for a handle. Then he'll just let go and enjoy being held, so I think it's some kind of stubborn parrot game.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Tilling and Sick Chick

Tilling the garden here. Right after finishing this area, the belt on the drive belt stretched out and failed. It's my neighbors tiller, so even though the drive belt looked old and had several bad spots, I am still mortified. No place to get a new one on a Sunday here though.

The two black star chicks have just not been as healthy as the others. First one had troubles, and then the other got weaker and weaker. Last night we brought both in for TLC to see if we can pull them through. Now there's a chick brooder box in the bathroom and we are feeding then every few hours. I am crushing the chick feed down a bit more as a tleast for one chick the normal sized chick-starter just seems too big. He at least looks to be eating more now.

After working all day outside, Fergus shows us how to REALLY relax! Corgi-style...

Friday, March 16, 2007

Stella says...

Drink a mug of milk a meal!

Next is her portfolio headshot... Moooovve over you Holsteins, here comes Stella the Dexter!

This is naughty Newt. She somehow got on top of the support beam for the netting that protects the laying flock from raptors, and is conducting a surprise chicken inspection.

Newt detests being photographed, and bolts whenever we show up with camera in hand, funny antics abruptly ended. Unfortunately for her, being on the support as she was, she couldn't bolt faster than I could capture the picture below. What I couldn't capture for here was the outraged, "MeeeOOooww!" She uttered this when she realized what I was doing. Ovbiously the paparazzi are as unwelcome to her as any other celebrity...

And here's Stewart, big as a horse now. First he "Marmaduked me", as in came over and climbed up to say hello. Then he obviously recalled those times as a puppy on my lap and wiggle-leapt the reast of the way onto my lap, before he could be ejected to the floor. Naughty, but still had me laughing...

Chicky update: All but one are thriving, and even the one sickly runt seems likely to make it. The two black star hybrids, just don't seem as vigorous as the other breeds.

Monday, March 12, 2007

We're going to need a bigger boat!

Or maybe we should start building one after all the weekend rain. Rain, rain, wind and rain! And maybe some... rain! So indoor chores it was, replacing an ailing catdoor for starters.

Are we at flood stage yet? A bushwack hike across the road and down to the river said no. Last time Stewart was at the Nooksack river he could be carried if he got too tired. Now he'd have to carry me!

Looks like someone (besides the fern) might call this tree home.

After a hike it was time to test the milk stout we bottled a few weeks ago. Many thumbs up. A creamy, smooth mouth feel, and mild hop aroma. Best brew we have made so far.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Future flock and goatie guest!

Here they are - 3 Ameraucanas, 3 Black Australorps and 2 Black Sex Links! Four of our Sussex hens have gone to a new home to make room for these chickies when they grow up.

The feed store had got in 100 Cornish Cross meat birds last night, but someone bought them all. We'll get 10 or so next week to raise for the freezer. Should be a bit more tender than our Sussexes.

Here's Lily, our goatie guest. She'll be staying us while her barn is being built. Right now she's a bit homesick and not too sure about all these uncouth critters.

Lassie isn't too thrilled about the perceived threat to her status as herd matriarch and Berry's main mom. Lily is doing great at standing up to the hassling though.


Looks like we're getting the beginning of the forecasted Pineapple Express. One last monsoon before spring, methinks. Hopefully we won't lose power, but I have my doubts about a certain cottonwood in the woods across the road. It's leaning perilously towards the main power lines...

Monday, March 05, 2007

Weekend recovery...

Managed to get a few things done this weekend, despite a slow start. This is a temp cross fence run out of cattle panel to open a bit more grazing for the 4 leggeds. Eventually I'll pull the cattle panel for the last of the perimeter, and then redo this run in field fence.
Tranplanted these from the backyard. They wound up where the expanded vegetable garden went, so they have been moved to the front yard where we hope they'll eventually grow into some screening.

Hopefully next weekend will be even more productive!!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Peeping Tom Cat Redux...

Again with the peeping Tom-Cat!! Time to let the cat in. He's far too important to use the cat door... (Actually Crichton's a neutered cat. Always fix your pets!!)

More gorgeous spring weather here. Perfect for gardening and other outdoor fun.

Essentially, Coq au Vin, our home raised chickens stewed in wine, onion, mushrooms, garlic and herbs. Mmm-mm!

Can you say Dog-Demons? Here's Stewart at 8 months old now, but still experiencing his teenage madness. He's tipping the scales just over 90 pounds now.

Otherwise Seventrees denizens have been under the weather. Some bug making the rounds has layed us all low for a few days. I guess the weather hasn't helped. Look for some real projects soon, or so we hope... weather permitting.