Sunday, June 30, 2013

Flying Chicken Tractors

We have experienced some severe Thunderstorms the past few afternoons.

Yesterday the sky turned black and a huge gust of wind blew the chairs, plants and hens off the porch.

It was a microbust that had the trees bending over and all kinds of debris flying through the air.

It looked a little like the tornado scene in the Wizard of Oz around here, for a few moments.

I got away from the windows.

Then the rain came hard and fast.

As soon as it subsided I ran outside to check on hens and vehicles.

I found the 2 Comet chicks walking around the yard, confused.  They were suppose to be in the chicken tractor....

As I walked towards the chicken coop I saw the "chicken Winnebago" tipped over and stuck in the water ditch.

I am very surprised that it wasn't picked up and taken further away, like my chairs were.

Thankfully, the big white pen blew over and the chicks walked out, unharmed.

I tried to upright it, but it was too heavy and awkward for me to be able to do alone.

I made a phone call to my 2 garden pals and they came and up righted it quickly.

Some minor damage was fixed and the 2 Comet chicks put back in.

More storms coming this afternoon too.
So, I have to find a way to secure the chicken tractor so it doesn't end up flying to the next town.

Have you been getting severe weather where you are?

Saturday, June 29, 2013

11 am Milk Bar

Good Morning!!
Here are a few photos from the field.

Welcome to the Calf Cafe.

Always open for business!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

New Calf Photos

More photos of  Gracie's heifer calf that wasa born Tuesday. Enjoy.

June is a wonderful month.  Green grass, warm days and new calves.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tuesday Field Surprise

Its always nice getting an early morning phone call saying " One of your cows had a calf this  morning."

Its even better to go and try to find it in the large grassy field.

With the severe thunderstorms we got yesterday evening the barometer dropped and so did this big 100 lb heifer calf.

Gracie was still cleaning the calf off when I arrived.

A proud mom, a full udder and a healthy calf.

She is still trying to figure out how to use her long legs to stand up.

Name suggestions ?

Prefer a " G " name.

Gracie's 2012 calf was named " Glennie."  Some off you have been following her antics this past winter.

More photos tomorrow!

Monday, June 24, 2013

In The RED - Ayrshires

7 miles from my house there is a small field that supports a young group of Ayrshires for a few months of the year.

Last week I was happy to see them eating the tall grass.

Of course I had to pull over and chat with them.

I make no bones about it, I LOVE RED cows!

Got a favorite breed or color ?

Have a Moooovelous Monday!!!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Jungle Comet Chicks

In early May I got a few Comets at the local grain store.
They are also known as Red Sex Links
I had pre-ordered them in March.

They have been outside in my portable chicken tractor since calmer weather in late May.
So far they are still females.
I hear it is almost impossible for them to be males.  
We'll see what the future brings, since 70% of all my poultry turns into males, eventually....

With all the rain last week the grass has been growing in leaps and bounds and turned their play area into a jungle.

When I move the big pen to a new area I have to chop some of the grass down to get the pen to sit evenly on the ground.

When I put the chicks into the new pen area they explore every inch and climb the big limbs I put in there for them.

They find lots of bugs to eat and spiders to torture.

Hopefully by the end of August they will start laying some eggs, if they aren't crowing by then....

Here is what they looked like as baby chicks the day I picked them up.

How are your chicks all doing ?
How many roosters did you end up with ?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Kindness Begins in the Field

Two of my hardest working local farmers have been really kind to me over the past several years.  They put up with my bad jokes, my long stories and ongoing duck, car and garden disasters. Peggy is also our local village librarian and continually keeps me reading exciting mystery books, farming magazines and new gardening books.

So, when I finally planted my garden I drove my extra plants (plus rhubarb) down to them for their garden, which they have had no time to plant yet.  The crazy weather and all their farm chores prevents them from doing any of the normal activities that we all take for granted.

Their fields had to be chopped to make straw before 5 more days of rain came and ironically when the rain comes and the barometer drops, lots of calves arrive too!

They really have their hands full.

So as the weather got colder and damper, they were chopping their ryegrass late into the evening.

I went and got a big pizza and we had a pizza and lemonade party out in the wet field, while the millions of hungry mosquitoes sucked our blood.

I had been craving pizza for months.  And apparently it is Larry's preferred food.

A spontaneous field party is good for the soul. 

Try to have one where you live.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Birds of a Feather........

I was driving in Montpelier, the state capital of Vermont, when I happened to look up and see a wonderful flag.

I think it was reminding me that even though I was driving in a busy area, that there are still "Good Birds" in busy cities.

Good birds with BIG legs..........

What kind of a flag do you have ?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

How Much is that Polar Bear in the Window ?

My village is fortunate to have a very special shoe store that carries every logical brand of boots and shoes.

The owner has a cat that appears occasionally in the window when she isn't sleeping in an empty shoe box or causing mayhem in the store.  This cat has an unusual way of celebrating holidays.

At Christmas, this cat tipped over all the animals in the nativity scene. The sheep had claw marks on them as well.  At Easter the decorative rabbits and ducks were knocked over and dragged from their designated location in the front window.

 As I was walking down the sidewalk the other day I saw her snuggled up taking a nap with the Polar Bear.

She looked so innocent.

I had to take a photo.  
I can almost hear her swearing at me.....

I know that when I was out of sight she probably beat the crap out of the bear and ripped off his beautiful scarf.

Can't wait to see what she does with the next window display.........

An exhibit of hand made African baskets.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Community Garden Update 1

Spring has been busy planning the garden and getting everything ready for the gardeners.

Truckloads of three year old composted cow manure were dumped on the garden.

What a wonderful sight!

I spread a lot of it on the asparagus row.

A local farmer brought his Kubota tractor with a rototiller attached and mixed the leaves, soil and composted manure into a beautiful fertile mix.

 The asparagus was coming up strong in the 90 foot long row FULL of the delicious spring veggie!

Doctor Rowe's garden is still feeding many people in the village.

Many volunteers came down to periodically cut the asparagus during the past 2 weeks and share it with friends, the elderly and neighbors.  Everyone was thrilled to receive gifts from the garden.

  One afternoon two full bags of asparagus was collected.

 The garden was peaceful looking as we drove away that afternoon.

The weather has really slowed us down in our plans, but it has actually worked out well.

Last week we had 3 freezing cold nights and three frosts. On Saturday it snowed.
Then there were 3 more days of hard, cold rain that caused some flooding in different arts of the state.

Good thing noone planted anything or the extreme weather would of killed it all.

Then this week we returned to start measuring off the individual garden plots.

Cedar posts, stakes and a large ball of twine were donated by our local librarian and her farmer husband.

We quickly made a plan.

Mavis, the Garden Dog, supervised every aspect of the work.

Linda grabbed my measuring tape and a few stakes and measured off the 20 x 10 plots.

Cedar corner posts were put in by Brian.

Belinda got control of the big twine ball and started roping off the plots.

Once the rope was up, the garden really started to take shape.

With such great help and enthusiasm, soon there were

8 plots ready to go!

Brian on the edge of the woods putting in the last corner post.

The benefits of volunteering:  picking all the rhubarb and asparagus that is growing.
And the weeds too....

The garden is taking shape.

 Rhubard crisp is in Linda's immediate future.

Belinda likes to eat it raw.   A bit tart, she said.

Asparagus for supper.

400 seed packets were donated by Agway of Montpelier.
Most are organic.

Every imaginable kind of veggies, herbs and flowers.

It was like Christmas going through all the seeds and picking out different varieties to plant.

Any seeds that are leftover after the gardeners and volunteers pick them over, will be available for anyone in the village that need some.

We were all amazed at how it only took 90 minutes to get the plots set up, the 5 posts dug in, the weeds pulled and the ready to eat asparagus and rhubarb picked.

All the gardeners are meeting tomorrow night at 5 pm to pick the plots they want and get the details they need to know and to help put up the deer fencing.
Last Monday Linda and I drove the 80 mile round trip to get a solar charger and the deer fencing.
A herd of 6 deer bed down very near to the garden and we want to STOP their midnight munching madness IN the garden.
We purchased 40, 5 foot fiberglass posts, 200 insulators, 2 rolls of polywire and a solar charger.
Five of us dirt divas met in the cooler evening and started putting insulators on the posts.

Many hands made the work fun and fast.

Then we measured and placed a fiberglass post every 6 feet, all away around the entire garden.

It looked good.

The math came out perfect and we used all of the 40 fibergalss posts that we purchased.

The rest of the fence will go up in bits and pieces as we meet at the garden.

The solar charger goes in next.

Once that part of the project was done, it was time to go thru the seeds with the 2 new gardeners.
They chose one of the bigger plots so will need lots of seeds.

So many to chose from!

Another family wanted a plot so I drove the seeds over to them so they could pick out the ones they wanted to grow.

The next evening I went down to the garden and was delighted to see that someone had already planted their plot!

Better yet, they used wooden spoons and forks to mark their rows!!

 What a great idea.

The view overlooking the garden is looking better and better as it all takes shape.

New friendships have already been formed and the creative juices are flowing.

It is going to be a wonderful summer.

Now we just have to raise another $150 to pay off all the deer fencing and buy a few rakes and hoes.
(we haven't been able to find any at yard sales, recycle or anywhere else)

How is your garden growing and have you got any good gardening tips you would like to share ?