Sunday, June 17, 2018

Penelope Comes Home (for a while)

Happy Father's Day - and a special shout out to Kevin and Rollie, two of the best guys I know!

We have had a very, very soggy weekend, enough with the rain Mother Nature!

In a past post, I shared that Penelope and Peanut took their poults and moved out to the fields.  This past week I have only seen them about once a day, usually in the  morning. This morning, I was delighted to see Penelope in the back yard with the poults, but sadly Peanut was not with them.

They headed back out to the long grass beyond the barnyard, and when I got out there later in the morning, this is all I could see of them.  Can you see the turkey in this picture?
 Then I got a little closer - yep, all four chicks are there.

Later still, Penelope brought the little ones up to the coop.  Did you know that little turkeys ride on their mom's back?
The poults got their first taste of store-bought food and I herded them into the coop yard and closed the gate.  Got ya!  We knew Penelope could fly out but also knew the chicks could not (yet) so she would not go far without them. I felt so much better knowing they were safely fenced in.

Well, Penelope had other ideas. I don't know how she did it but they are all out again and settled down in the long grass beyond the barnyard again for the night.

Turkeys do what turkeys want to do.

Here are some other poultry pics from this weekend.  First, Mama Hen II with some of her chicks:
And Mama Hen III who is hiding her just hatched chicks from view - I believe there are six.

And the other turkey poults, the ones from the incubator. 

I think I said I would get a pig picture in this week - Kevin moved them to new ground this morning - hog heaven!

We visited a couple of the grain fields this evening.  Here is Kevin in the wheat (yes, outstanding in his field!).
 And then in the rye.

The rye was planted with the no-till planter with clover - Kevin's pretty happy with how this is going.

That's a lot for this post - see you next week, and until then, be well friends.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

June 10, 2018

Another week has gone by and here we are well into June already.  Out in the fields the buckwheat, oats, sunflowers, soybeans, and pumpkins are growing well and the rye & wheat are headed out.  The weeds are growing well too; so the sunflowers, sweet corn and cornmeal corn got cultivated on Saturday.

That's Rollie on his old Allis Chalmer's WD "cullivating" the corn. The corn is really tiny and cultivating it will help it to stay ahead of the weed growth.

I haven't said much about the garden in these posts- there isn't much to get excited about there.  It's not the orderly place I would like it to be, and certainly not tidy.  It's become quite clear that I have more garden space than time to tend it.  I have gotten in some tomatoes and peppers, squash, pumpkins, and Kevin's favorite peas. The rest I will have to buy from our farmer friends.

Last week's post was mainly about baby birds and here is their update.

Penelope and Peanut, the turkey hens have taken their poults out to the hay field and have not brought them back. I try to spot them out there whenever I am out and walk out to check on them now and then - they only have four chicks of the six they started with; I sure wish they would stay a little closer to the house.   From the incubator, we ended up with eleven turkey poults; there were twelve to begin with but one died just today.  They are in the brooder for now but I know from our last experience with poults that they won't stay in there for long.

Mama Hen II and her eight chicks were only caged for a few days and now enjoy the out of doors.  I caught a picture of one of the little cuties riding on her mom's back!

Soot and Snow, Vinca's twins have moved on to a new home.  This means that we have a LOT more milk coming in.  Today I made the soft goat cheese also called chèvre, and some cottage cheese.  Periwinkle, Echo's doeling is still with us and I will try to get an updated picture for next week.

Until then, be well friends.

Sunday, June 3, 2018


Greetings all!

I have not mentioned the farmer's market much in this blog yet this season, but we now have two weekends behind us already.  The first was HOT and the second was cold, windy, and rainy. 

Returning home yesterday, I went down to the coop to check on the progress of Broody Mama Hen II.  This is what I was greeted with:

She only had three chicks so far.  When all were done hatching, she ended up with eight new youngsters.  I moved them down to the floor, but there was a conflict with Mama Hen I so this hen is with her chicks in a roomy cage for a few days until the chicks are less delicate.

Mama Hen I takes her little ones outside now.  Amazing the size difference!

Meanwhile in the house, turkey poults began hatching in the incubator on Saturday morning.  As of right now there are six, but there may be more hatching.  For now they are housed in "Kori's Room" - still called that even though she hasn't lived here for a few years!

Last week the big news was that Penelope and Peanut had hatch three poults.  That number changed and they ended up with six in all.  They are co-parenting the little ones - the problem is they are taking them pretty far afield - too far for my comfort level.  Last night they spend the night out in the grain field.  This evening, I have no idea where they are and am hoping for the best.

Love my birds! 

Until next time, be well friends.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Piggies and More New Residents

Greetings all!  I hope you are enjoying this fine three day weekend and also remembering and thanking those who have served our county.  Kevin and the Scouts of Troop 52 will be participating in Memorial Day ceremonies at our local VFW tomorrow and will follow-up by planting a lot of pumpkin plants here at the farm. 

In last week's post we had a brief introduction to our seven new feeder pigs.  They were pretty leery of us for the first several days, but have now decided that Kevin - the bringer of water, feed, and treats is just a fine fellow after all. 

They love the mud hole he makes for them to cool off in.

They race around excitedly when he approaches, then line up by the fence.

Even though there are two feed troughs, they all try to eat out of the same one - silly piggies!

Even more exciting (to me) is the long awaited hatching of Penelope and Peanut's poults.  It takes twenty-eight days to incubate turkey eggs - these hens are so patient.  Anyway, yesterday I got just a glimpse of one of them nestled in with the moms... see it there? 

All day today I periodically checked on them, and finally this evening they were out - there are only three of them.  The low number is pretty disappointing - with two hens sitting on the eggs you would think there would be more... on the other hand, hey, we have three baby turkeys!

Not the greatest picture but it was the best we could do before their mama covered them up again. Next week I should have better pictures of these little ones and maybe more bits of fluff as I believe that Mama Hen II's eggs should be hatching anytime now.  There may be another hen that wants to set also - we will see how that goes.  Until next week, be well friends.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Welcome Pigs!

What a morning!

I include a view from the milking stand frequently in this blog; I hope it’ not too boring for you but I love it.  Every day is different, and today at 6:15 it was especially beautiful to me and just filled me up with positive emotions – joy and contentedness; knowledge that right here, right now – this is the place I need to be.  (That's Echo's tail there in the corner - I really was milking at the time!)

This morning was a wee bit chilly – 31 degrees.  I apologized to the does when I put my icy fingers on their warm udders, but they did not seem to mind.  

An update from the Winter Coop.  Mama Hen has lost one of her three chicks.  It just vanished – I have no clue what happened to it.  It may have just died and been buried in the bedding. We removed the brooder ring that contained the older chicks.  Mama Hen got a little crazy and started attacking the poor things so she and her two little ones were moved over to the bigger room which they now share with the tom and non-setting hen turkeys, and the broody hen.   She is constantly digging in the bedding – today she went all around the walls.  The problem is she keep burying the water container!
The "big" chicks are getting to that awkward looking stage.
Kids will be kids - and they have no awkward stage!

Today we picked up our new feeder pigs.  There are seven of them but I think you can only see six in the photo.  They are pretty skittish about us at the moment – their first night away from their former home but they’ll soon be friendlier.

I spent quite a bit of time trying to win back some of the garden from the wilderness it had become last summer and fall.  Roye kept me company some of the time. Now if she will just take care of that darn gopher!
We will be having a very busy week as we get ready for the first Farmer’s Market of the season.  I’ll let you know how it goes next week.  Until then, be well friends!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mother's Day 2018!

We had a lovely day here on the farm for our traditional Mother's Day wagon ride and picnic.  We do this most years and for me the best part was just sitting still in the warm sunshine for a while.

Our world is many shades of green these days - some spring flowers are beginning to bloom but mostly it's green out there and it is beautiful.

The chicks that hatched last weekend are doing very well, and the broody hen who has been patiently doing time in the Summer Coop has been rewarded with three little ones to care for.  It's amazing how little they are compared to the ones that are just a week older!

We moved Julio and then hens out to the Summer Coop Friday night but left behind one hen who had decided it's her turn to brood.  

The kids are growing fast too, and enjoy climbing n this mound of dirt and old brush.

From left to right, that's Snow, Periwinkle, and Soot.

Next week we should have some pig news to share and maybe can catch you up on what's happening with the field work.  Until then, be well friends!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

About The Birds

It was an eventful week in the poultry department. 

Penelope and/or Peanut have started setting under the hog hut that is on the north side of the Winter Coop.  There is a platform under there and the turkeys had been laying there on the bare, poo-encrusted wood.  I put a nice layer of old hay there for them and they continued to leave eggs until the time was right.  At first it was just one of them, Penelope I think, and then the other one joined in.  Hopefully they will be cooperative about the poult rearing when they hatch!

In the Summer Coop, the broody hen continues her patient setting too - just a week to go for her.  Indoors, the chicken eggs in the incubator started to hatch on Thursday morning and finished up on Saturday morning.  There is no option to put them in the bathtub anymore with the bathroom remodel so they went out to the chick room of the Winter Coop with both heater and heat lamp.  Seventeen hatched and sixteen survived.  Here is a little dose of cuteness for you!

And speaking of cute, I have to include an updated picture of the kids.

Oh, you gotta love spring!  Nature throws off winter and kicks into high gear at last.  The fields are greening up quickly now and out in the garden the rhubarb is close to big enough to pick and the garlic is up!

Thank you for visiting the Ole Lake Farm Blog - until next week, be well friends.