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We all know I don’t post regularly so it’d be silly to say I hadn’t posted recently because our internet has been sketchy.  But it is true that our cable was acting up last week and it got progressively worse until finally on Thursday, it pretty much died.

So while we were waiting for the tech & cable guys to show up, I got some shots of the critters around here…

I caught Lark tormenting poor old Skye…such a naughty girl. He’d really like to nip her nose but he looks away because he knows he’s not allowed to…and I’ve got my eye on him. ;>)naughty Lark

Been watching this nest for awhile.  Like we don’t have enough birds around here!

full nest


empty nest


 Our Rangers are getting big and loving the grass.  They eat slugs, too!rangers ranging

I imagine it’d be nice to join these girls…


And here’s my friend Jolie…Jolie



That’s it for now…

The Peeps Have Landed

Our barn is full of little peeps and I love the sound of them when I open the door.  They are just the cutest little things when they’re this age.

chix come via USPS

Our day began with a call from our Post Office.

  As you may have guessed from my writing about the chickens, I really do enjoy them no matter what their age but the little balls of fluff running around on those tiny legs are just so much fun.  Angela, from the Carpenter’s Boatshop, came by yesterday to pick up 7 dozen eggs (they feed 15 hungry apprentices and staff there) and we found ourselves standing in front of the brooder for wa-a-a-ay too long.  They’re fascinating and the effect of watching them is very calming.

the chicks huddle to stay warm

Once the boxes are opened, we move quickly to get them under the warm lights in the brooder.

 The meat birds we bought this year are new and different.  In the past, we’ve raised the white Cornish birds that are most common…and notoriously fragile ie they fall over dead at the drop of a hat.  We’ve always had very good luck with them and have lost very few… I think because we’ve pastured them and maybe the combination of more exercise, fresh greens & bugs and less processed feed was a good combination.  But recently, we heard and read about a new kind of bird that comes from French breeding stock.  It’s been bred essentially for meat but its behavior hasn’t been squelched so they’re still very active foragers…more like a normal chicken.

dipping beak

Each chick's beak is dipped into the warm water so it learns to drink. They learn very quickly!

  They grow a little more slowly than the Cornish birds but we’re not in a big hurry around here so that’s OK by us.  I can’t wait to get them out on the pasture and see them at work picking at those parasite eggs the sheep leave behind…a cleaning crew of 75!

chicks 2010

They begin to explore the doesn't take long for them to find the food!

On my way home from Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival — yes, I did go and I’ll post about that soon — I picked up a dozen Welsummer chicks from a gentleman who lives very near the fairgrounds and just happens to be the neighbor of a Coopworth sheep friend.  I read about Will Whitmore and his fabulous chickens on a chicken yahoo group I visit from time to time…so I was thrilled when I realized where his farm is.  I feel very lucky to have some of his chicks here now and look forward to seeing the eggs they produce.

Welsummers 2010

A baker's dozen of Welsummer chicks wearing their baby camo fluff...but wait til you see them in their adult feathers!

  I’m going to try not to count the days til they start laying because it’ll be like the watched pot that never boils.  But when we get that first egg, I’ll be sure to post a photo.

Holy Sow!

When we headed for bed on Sunday night, it had just started snowing…no worries though.  The weather folks assured us — “not much accumulation on the coast — about 2 to 4 inches.”  It was still snowing in the morning…


Weathersow is up to her snout in snow!

and it continued to snow well into the afternoon!

Almost a foot of snow later…we tractored (is that really a word?) and shoveled snow into every available nook and cranny around the farm.  We can open the barn doors, the sheep can get to their feeders, the chickens can get out of their house and scratch around for their snacks from the kitchen… all’s right with our world!

First Egg!

Remember those little balls of fluff  in the photo I posted way back in May?

Isn't this the cutest little egg?!  Each time this hen lays, the egg will get a little bigger until it is "normal" size for that breed of chicken. We don't know which one is laying but she gets a gold star!

Isn't this the cutest little egg?! Each time this hen lays, the egg will get a little bigger until it is "normal" size for that breed of chicken. We don't know which one is laying but she gets a gold star!

Well, they’re practically grown up now and yesterday I found this little gem next to their house!  YAY!

I really have to get them a nest box so they don’t get into the bad habit of laying on the ground.  I just love it when little pullets start laying — happy dancing!!

The Hens Aren't Talking

The chicken mystery remains a mystery…  The hens are acting as though nothing is out of the ordinary so I guess we’ll assume that’s the case.  Of course, you know what they say about assuming!

That's a teeny tiny egg next to a couple of regular eggs and a quarter!

That's a teeny tiny egg next to a couple of regular eggs and a quarter!

  They’re laying pretty regularly for an “over the hill” group (that’d be over a year old) except for this little gift that someone left for us…what the heck is that!!? 

It looks like Jim has managed to get the henmobile light sorted out so…all’s right with the world!  We’ve learned that powering a light bulb with a 12 volt battery is more complicated than it may seem.  Thank goodness Jim is a smart guy and he found an even smarter guy with a very special timer that runs on 12 volts to help him get it figured out.   Let there be light…and eggs!!  Did I mention that if the hens don’t have at least 16 hours of light daily, they’ll hit the off switch?  While we don’t like tricking the poor dears, we do need a fairly consistent source of eggs for ourselves and our customers so…

We’re continuing to see the two groups of turkeys almost on a daily basis.  The toms are very impressive — quite large!  And the mama turk with her group of turklings are very cute and fun to watch.  The little ones are flying over the fences now. We’re wondering where she hatchted them and how long it is before the little ones can roost in the trees.  She must have some great hiding spot to be outwitting the resident fox! 

peregrine wishing Jim would go away

peregrine wishing Jim would go away

And this, folks, is the new kid on the block — a peregrine falcon.  Jim spotted him sitting in the middle of our road the other day.  He flew up into a tree as Jim approached — nice of him to pose for a photo.  Mostly, they like to eat other birds — chickens? — but I think they prefer to hunt on the fly so maybe the hens aren’t very attractive.  Fingers crossed on that one!