Sunday, October 25, 2015

October 25, 2015

Instead of a regular post, this blog is observing a sort of "moment of silence" in memory of Aitkin County Deputy Steve Sandberg, who was shot and killed one week ago.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Changing of the guard

This post is dedicated to Javier.  He is gone now, and Diego is the new man-bird of the coop.  

Javier was a Good rooster.  Not because he was a handsome fellow, which he certainly was.  Not just because of his egg fertilizing skills which were considerable.  Not only because of his excellent guard duty skills in the chicken yard.  Javier was a Good rooster because he was not a Bad rooster.

Bad roosters are the ones you cannot turn your back on.  Bad roosters are not welcome here, and do not last long.  

Javier was a Good rooster.  He called the hens with a special cluck when there is something especially toothsome to eat.  He would pick up an item, then it drop in front of a favored hen to gobble up, much as a mother hen does with her chicks.  He was ever vigilant for signs of threats, scanning the sky and ground for anything that might have been a cause for concern.  When he was even the slightest bit suspicious, he sounded a warning, sort of a heads- up alert to the rest of the flock.

It might seem kind of funny to get sentimental about a bird, just one of the flock, but I miss him.  Farewell to a good bird. 

The 11 cockerels that have been residing in the winter coop since the end of may are now in the freezer.  I accompanied them to Wellspring Farm yesterday where they ceased to be chickens and became just chicken.  Last year I was able to drop my birds off and drive away, coming back to pick them up later all neatly plucked and packed in ice.  This year, I was asked to help.  

To be honest, I would have rather spent the day in my dentist's chair than participating in this activity.  But, to use a saying borrowed from friend Leslie, I put on my big girl panties and just did it.  They have a great set-up for this, an outdoor, open air abattoir.  I was quickly shown what to do, and I did it.  And I'm glad it's done.

  The pigs were moved again today, and a pretty good distance.  They are now right up by the shed so an electric heater can be added to their waterer.  The picture here is of Kevin, Kurt, and myself moving them along.  They are inside a triangle made of 2 gates and a fence panel, and it really works well.  They will be with us just a few more weeks.

So, another week gone by.  Until next time, be well you all.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Alien Invasion

They're back.... a very unwelcome insect, Asian something or other Beetles.  They are everywhere outside and a few have made their way into the house.  They stink, they bite. I won't say much more about them other than YUCK!

Thursday after work I came home to this:

Rollie working the excavator and Ardis providing an extra pair of eyes and guidance.  The trench from the stove to the house took just a few hours with this handy machine.
Older boy, bigger sandbox, and that's no Tonka Toy but...

When Kevin got home, the waterline was muscled into the trench, and the trench was filled in again.

On Friday, Rollie and his handy friend Kermit (who also was the lender of the excavator) hooked it all up and the house is warm.  Thank you so much fellas!

And now for some critter pictures:
Diego has matured considerably since you've seen him last.

And the pigs have really grown!
Mickey posed for a minute for me with our new star, a gift from A&R which will be moving to the back of my garden shed (so toward the road) soon.

And last, one of the curious cockerels.
It was a beautiful weekend.  I hope you all enjoyed it too, wherever you are.  Until next time, be well.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Dog(s) Gone Weekend

I wish I could figure out where the hours go...

We finally have our frost and fall weather.  It's been very nice actually, but brisk at times.  
Spot spends a lot of her time laying in this sunny spot by the garden. 
I'm doing what you would expect this weekend... making more tomato sauce (almost the last), cooking up squash and pumpkins, freezing peppers, etc.  Kevin moved the pigs and goats paddocks as he does most weekends.  The pigs new quarters are located in the pumpkin patch.  I wish I had caught a photo of us moving them... Kevin enclosed them into a triangle of three metal gates and with the help of Kurt and myself, we just shuffled them along. 

Kevin is working on a pretty big project, which is putting in new waterline from the outdoor furnace to the house.  This is actually two lines, one to run the really hot water from the furnace to the house to be circulated around through the rooms, and another to return the cooled water to the furnace to be reheated.  The two lines are encased in a protective foam layer and then plastic.  Step one was to rip up part of the deck and dig down along the basement wall to where this needs to go through.  Step two was making a new hole in the poured concrete wall... pretty hard work!  Kevin decided the hole needed to be the size of a Folgers can, so that is what it is currently plugged with.

The opening in the deck and the new hole... pretty cramped quarters for digging, drilling, and chiseling.
The inside view, plugged by the coffee can.
I think the next step is digging a trench... stay tuned.

The title of this post is referring to a couple of lost dogs.  Here is the abbreviated story:  We woke up in the night either late on Friday or very early on Saturday to barking.  Two dogs were here and were looking for something to eat and seemed to want in the house.  They were very nice hunting dogs and we assumed (incorrectly as it turned out) that they had gotten lost when out hunting on the state land behind us.  We put the word out that we had a couple of found dogs.

These were really nice dogs.  There was just one problem, and a pretty major one.  The young dog just didn't know better and before we knew it got into the chicken pen and injured a hen so badly that Kevin had to put it down.  I reinforced the gate, but this morning he found a weak spot in the fence and I lost three more of my gals, including two of my new pullets.  I know he didn't know better but that doesn't make me feel any better about it.

The story has a happy ending,  for the dogs anyway.  Turns out they belongs to some folks who live about three miles away, but not that far as the crow flies.  They are now back home where they belong.

So, anyway, that was our weekend.  Be well folks, and keep your gates latched tight and fences in good repair.