Friday, April 25, 2014

Wednesday's Storm

Why does all of our bad weather come on Wednesdays lately?  The kids and I spent the evening battening down the hatches in preparation for severe wind, possible hail, and hopefully rain.

This time, I woke at 10:40.  My first thought was that James should be home soon.

My second thought was the wind sounded fiercely terrible.

My third was that the plastic on the Meatmobile was flapping.

I got up to peer out the window, only to see the Meatmobile 2/3 uncovered with shivering chicks inside the metal tub.  Then the power went out.  I grabbed a jacket, panicked that I couldn't move 60-odd chicks alone, and found a flashlight.

As I ran outside, I realized James had come home, proceeded to scare him by demanding his immediate help, and we speedily moved the frightened chicks into the barn, where we had to cover them to keep them from predation by Andromeda, our chick-stalking cat.

Back inside, we moved the kids to the basement as the trees all around us were bowing mightily in the wind.

In the morning, we discovered plenty of damage, including 1/2 of another Bradford pear as well as a large limb from the tree we feared would punch through our roof.

And no rain.

Better yet is the knowledge that worse weather is due to arrive Saturday and Sunday.

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.

Sunday, April 20, 2014


As James put it, "how did we become chicken farmers?"

These days, with six different sets of birds to care for throughout the day, I eat, sleep, and drink birds.

Our poor guineas have to be kept in their yard through the day due to a neighbor feeding them but not wanting them on his property now.  We will give away these ten guineas and start with a new flock, but it takes effort to move guineas.  I'm attempting to hatch guinea eggs in a borrowed incubator, but as I am a newbie to this as to all things in our life, I may fail.

Thirteen turkens happily root through fresh grass daily and faithfully lay eggs.  They are, by far, the easiest chickens to which to provide care.

The white whale contains four hens and one rooster.  The rooster needs more hens, but two of these ladies are mean, mean, mean, and can't be moved to another coop.  I hope to visit with them in a roasting pan or stew pot in the next while.  Eventually, the remaining chickens will have to be incorporated into another coop.

Soup, mama hen to one Chicken Little, free ranges during the day.  She can't be in with the pullets, as she tries to kill them, but Chicken Little can't be in the white whale as the mean chickens will kill her.  Soup will eventually rejoin the white whale, while Chicken Little will join the Green Team.

What, more chickens?  Yes.  We ordered 15 chicks this spring, 7 Plymouth Rock Barred, as they are cold hardy, and 8 "Easter Eggers."  The Easter Eggers aren't actually a specific breed, but simply hens that carry the blue or green egg gene.  I'm excited.
So much bigger already, but this is a picture of their first day on grass.
Then, since we like adventures and the unknown, we ordered meat chickens.  Some people,will look down on us for buying Cornish Rock X, but since it's our meat and not theirs, they can hold their tongues.  Maybe we will hate the experience and decide never to butcher again, but I would love to have our own chicken stocking the freezer.  It would be one more food item we don't depend on others for production.  If we hate the experience, we won't raise them again.

Yesterday, in a moment of weakness, I okayed the purchase of turkeys.  James came out with five white and one brown.  They live with the meat chicks in a metal hoop house-type thing.

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Busy Spring

 We thought all the rhubarb died last summer in the heat, but I have four little bushes!
 Strawberries, new
 Strawberries, old
 Six-week old (ish) chicks on grass.  Mmm, grass!  We're building new coops as fast as a busy daddy can!
 In fact, here he is, finishing the broiler coop for the 58 broilers that arrived today!

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.