Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Back to farm life

Despite our traveling around, we HAVE been having a real life on the farm!

Last Thursday, Jody and Norm brought her lamb, Arthur Godfrey, and my lamb, Soot, to our place. We placed them in the chicken run, which is over-run with grass, hoping it would last them awhile as we haven’t gotten their “tractor” made yet. The chicken run is surrounded by wooden snow fence.

Arthur and Soot


Our plan is to use cattle panels to make a movable yard and just move them around the area – in the same manner as a lot of people use chicken “tractors.” This will save on fencing – it’s hard for Norm (and impossible for me) to drive fence posts in – and even snow fence gets expensive.

We had put Soot in with Arthur several weeks ago, at Jody’s; she has gone from missing her momma (and bleating until she was hoarse) to being dependent on Arthur for company and yells when he’s out of sight.

At the same time, Norm got Wayne’s Jari mower running and has been cutting hay for this winter. He stacked it up in the lawn tractor’s trailer – making a hay rack for it – and I moved it to the barn where we put it in and I stomped it down.

In long grass

Jari mower

Humungous load

Into the barn

Hay "loft"

This reminded me of back in South Dakota – we had twenty acres and cut about ten of them with our Jari mower, then raked it with the hay rakes, threw it in the pickup (with hay-rack sides) and had Joy and Jill stomp it down, then moved it to a stack near the corral where I fed my cow, Ginger, in the winter.

A Jari mower is a walk-behind sickle bar mower, so it cuts hay like the big mowers on tractors, not like a lawn mower, which ends up as shredded grass. As hay is very loose, stomping on it makes it crush down to allow more into the area you have it. Girls are great for stomping down (old ladies, not so great). I am hoping that when the grand-girls come, they will be able to stomp down hay and get great memories, like my girls have (right, girls? Fun, wasn’t it?).

Once Norm gets all the tight corners done, he’s going to fire up the tractor, borrowing Don and Jody’s sickle bar mower, and cut the rest of the hay. Then we will need a pull-behind rake (we will borrow friend Wally’s dump rake), the bigger utility trailer and more muscles to get a large stack of hay outside the barn.

The chickens are not too happy about Arthur and Soot being here – they are not used to anything bigger than a cat being around and are frightened of the big four-legged monsters that are running around their yard. On Friday, Arthur somehow got through the little chicken door (not much bigger than his head, actually), managed to flip the door shut, ran around inside, screaming his head off. At the same time, the chickens, trapped in their house with a monster, ran around screaming their collective heads off and Soot, left out of all of the fun, ran around outside screaming HER head off! Was it loud? Yes! Was it funny? Yes, yes!! Was it hard for Norm to get Arthur (now hiding under the nest boxes) out of the house? Yes, yes, yes!!! Wish I had been smart enough to grab the camera!

Norm proceeded to put a slat crosswise over the little door so the chickens could get out but Arthur couldn’t get in. I NEED to remember to take the camera with, as Arthur will stick his head in as far as it can go and ask, “Please may I come in and play?”

The cats are doing well – Spook and Toby have decided that it’s safe (sort of) to sleep in the barn at night. I like to lock the cats up for protection from owls, coyotes, raccoons and other vicious beasties that like to eat cats. Both boys have been afraid of Spunky (who is still three times – or more – smaller than either of them), but have decided that if they don’t see her face-to-face, they can survive a night.

Chickens – doing well, laying somewhat in the heat and stormy weather that pops up occasionally. They don’t go outside too much – those noisy four-legged monsters lurking outside might eat them, so they stay safe in the chicken house rather than chasing bugs that the lambs stir up from the grasses they are eating. Eventually the hens (and Rupert the Rooster) will realize that sheep (lambs) are not dangerous and can be trusted, so will start venturing out again.

Jody has one of my hens – the broody one – we put a bunch of guinea eggs under her and seven hatched. She is now over at Jody’s, enjoying mother-hood.

Hatching guineas

Number one out of the egg

Momma and baby

We have some excitement coming – a neighbor / friend is giving us a pole barn (steel sides) if we pay for the moving. He is giving Wayne and Candy one, as well. The boys have been measuring, Jody’s Don will drill (auger) the holes for the new poles and they will be moved towards the end of this month. This means that Norm will have a work shop and perhaps we can get all his tools out of the garage so I can park the van there – out of heat, out of possible hail and out of cold and snow in the winter time.

Now, today, Joy and the girls are here – enjoying the lambs, the cats, especially baby Spunky and farm life in general. Their “suite” upstairs was too hot last night so they moved downstairs to the family room and “camped” out down there where it was cooler. We will leave a fan running today to suck the hot air out, hope it is cooler today and perhaps they can go back up tonight.

They will go home on Thursday – we hope, tomorrow, to go up to see niece Cookie and Binni. The girls are excited about seeing Binni again – she’s their favorite cousin on my side of the family!

It will be hotish today – Norm plans on having the girls help move things out of the old garage, as it needs to be demolished, as the new building will be placed there.

It will be a beautiful day on the farm – you have a beautiful day!


Lynnie said...

What gorgeous, gorgeous pictures of your farm! Looks like you have a lot going on there! Best Wishes!

Rose said...

Love the pictues! It is so hot here things are starting to turn brown. All the rain is going somewhere else. Normal for Texas. HUGS!

Cris said...

All pictures are beautiful, but that one of Norm loading the hay should be in the cover of a magazine, I love it... Have a nice weekend Connie! I have my kids on vacation and haven't been blogging much. xoxox

Beverly said...

Man alive, you have been busy!!!
You look quite comfortable on that
Just a visit to say Hi...