Stop by & offer a few pointers, or point & laugh, as a few old farts figure out the fine art of living... Life on a Few Acres

Friday, November 17, 2017

Guess who came for dinner?

Well imagine the gratitude I felt for having  turned On the entry hall light last night!  Normally, it is dusk, or darker, when I traipse down this hall, kick off my indoor shoes, wiggle into my barn gear and go out for evening chores.

It's not that I'm squeamish, precisely, but who wants to try to identify a snake once it is hanging from your big toe by it's tiny lil teeth?

As  in this previous post about our house snakes 
I am not sure what kind of fellow this is.   That is a standard size heat register, and normally hidden by quarter round trim sized gap for scale.  My assumption was it was a young snake, but I could certainly be wrong on that score.  So, if anyone's
guesser is charged up, feel free to share your thoughts.  I still have the link to Kansas snakes by type and appearance  but, like before, it doesn't seem to help me much.

Maybe next time I run into him, I'll get a better picture.  Yes, I expect to see him again.  Apparently normal people would have interrupted their schedule long enough to show the visitor to the door.
Apparently I am not normal.  All I know is he was missing when I came back in, and I have taken to wearing my indoor boots inside :).

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Seasons Have Changed yet again

(April 23, 1962 - June 24, 2017)
Shaun was born April 23, 1962, in MN, and died suddenly on June 24, 2017.
Shaun graduated from Duluth East and the University of Minnesota in 1985, majoring in physics.
While in MN he worked a variety of jobs, including Scenic carpenter and artist for Design Group and KTCA TV. He participated in the restoration of the commuter vessel the Windrose, and was employed as a machine builder, contract and electrical technician with many companies. 

He relocated in 2001 in order to pursue “the dream job of a lifetime.” Although he never regretted the move, he did miss those left behind, the beautiful scenery of his home state, and the opportunities to canoe, hike and fish for walleye it offered.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Summer turns to Autumn 2016

As I've mentioned before, the master plan has always included Buff Orpingtons.  It slowly dawned upon me that first year that I did not, in fact, have those mixed use mothers.  The second year of chickens- 2016- this was remedied. 

We added two buffs and two Easter eggers to the mix, and were looking forward to lovely colored eggs and home hatched chickens.

As anyone who's lived with little chickens knows, however, the bloom quickly fades off of that rose.  The day comes all too soon when you simply can't abide another moment of the messy, annoying youngsters brooding indoors with you.  At this point out. they. go. Ready. or. Not!  Our chicks, or rather, we, reached this milestone on July fourth 2016, despite not really having an exit plan fleshed out.   I wasn't confident throwing them all together in the chicken coop immediately was wise, so I took a probably dumber approach, and housed the younger group in the run section of the the coop.  We then had a total of nine hens and two roosters, which instead of adding to our big rooster's harem as we'd planned, divided it into an even smaller group.

 Still, things seemed to work out, for the most part.  Eventually, we put the youngers in the actual coop, and that too seemed OK at first.  The first signs that it wasn't ok was when a couple of the ladies began roosting in the near by tree, and then the goat barn, instead of their coop. After a week or so of getting them disciplined enough to turn into the coop, they started vanishing. :(.  No signs of fowl play, as they'd say, nor of any intra rooster animosity. . . they just disappeared.  All told, three of the Rhode Island Reds, the Black Easter egger, and red rooster ended up gone.

Emptier Chicken Yard

I expected to find them at the coop door one morning, or at least find bodies, somewhere, but nary a single clue surfaced.  One gal had even been decked out in a bright yellow saddle, and scraps of that haven't turned up, either.  So. . . not the first loss, we did lose a little chicken to accident the first year. However, these losses seem some how preventable- I should of housed them more securely, had a better plan for integration been wiser and kinder and forseen the looming problem in time to avert it.

None of those things were options, though, so instead we decided to use the last bit of outdoor work time adding to and beefing up animal housing.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

June & July 2016

Much of the late spring/early summer of  16 was spent wrapping up bits and pieces of projects.  We did the first sprucing up of the hall bath.  Walls were patched, primed and painted.  The sink cabinet painted.  New flooring and toilet installed.  The only thing I have to say about the finish choices is 'ya win some, ya lose some.'  To the other fart's credit, I saw these same choices made in a historical home rehab a few months later.  Perhaps it will grow on me.

We also managed to get the first goat pasture-drain field fence completed.  If you look closely, you may spot two happy goats, and the wooden corner posts that delineate the fence line on the east.   The white peak in the background is the front (south side) of the barn.

To the left is a shot of the barn, from the lane that runs on the north side of it.  This is the back of the barn.  One of our goals for 2016 was to work on taming this "block" of outbuildings.  Ironically, we decided it was too over grown to put the goats in charge of weed eating.  That task fell- and felled- us.  We'd no sooner get the weeds knocked back enough to start the fencing than they'd grow back.  I'm firmly convinced the area is one of Dante's circles!

This is a shot looking to the west, at one of the times progress had been made.

This is a shot looking to the east that also captures a time of some progress.

The front "lane" or south side of the buildings was also terribly over grown and neglected.

The area also received much of our blood sweat and tears throughout '16.  But again there was little to show for it in terms of permanent improvements.

We ended that quarter with a nice little va-ca, again to the family cabin up north, on the shore of lake superior.  That area did help us remember that our landscape was practically barren compared to some.

Monday, April 10, 2017

So, where were we...?

Well hello again.  April 1st has rolled around once more, bringing with it the need for an end of year update.  Looks like I have a lot of catching up to do first, though.  It's been quite a while since I've posted.  When last I did, these juvenile chickens were still living in the cheese making-seed starting-laundry-chicken growing room, and I was still tickled pink to have finally brought some 'real' buff orpingtons into the mix.  We had also started some raised beds in the garden area for our first annual vegetable plantings.  Gardening is of course one of the major lynch pins of the homesteading type life style, but if we had to survive on what we grew last season we'd have had only a month or so of meals before sub coming.  Plenty of those peas grew, and I was excited to be able to save some of those plants seeds for this year.  We also enjoyed plenty of green peppers and paste tomatoes, but no where near enough to can.  The potatoes were stunted, too.  I tried planting them in straw, and though that is successful for many, it was not for us.  Carrots and turnips were a no show.  The chickens ate much of the corn seed before it grew, and though the  pumpkins were going gang busters, they ended up drowning in a sea of weeds.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending upon one's view, the garden's sub-sub-sub par performance was 100% operator error.
It is far less clear where to lay blame for the chicken's bumpy road, though.  In fact, not knowing what was going on or what the ultimate resolution would be is why I quit posting- it was the next subject I planned to address, and to this day, I still don't know the who what where whens or whys of the situation.  But those details can wait till the next post.