Setting goals and making plans…

I’m beginning to see that part of success in this life comes from knowing what you want, setting goals and making plans even if some of those dreams might never come true.

The times of my life that I was most unfocused and drifting were the times that I really didn’t plot and plan anything in general.  It was the times that were stressful or difficult and I was in auto-pilot just trying to get from day one to day two.  My dreams would be vague…  more money, do artsy things, own a farm.  But I did little to really make them happen, and felt depressed when life seemed dull and routine.

That’s sort of like sitting around waiting for Prince Charming and never opening the door or looking out the window for his arrival.  In fact, it’s really like shuttering your house, living in the basement and just eating off a stash of old weird food.  Sometimes you just doom yourself to failure because you are a lazy dreamer.  You can’t even put much effort into your heart’s desire or even just a good decent plan to make life better.

You can ask my children, I am a plotter and a planner.  I mull over ideas for days and weeks.  I talk about them with them, I listen to suggestions, I search the internet, and I read a lot.  I draw things out, I rattle over them in my early mornings and my late nights.  I have journals that I’ve written in for years and years.  And I do to-do cards and lists and all that jazz.  I actually have this wonderful habit that I learned several years ago…  just before I let myself drift off to sleep, I pre-program my day.  I run through what I hope to accomplish, see myself doing the tasks, running the errands, doing the project.  It doesn’t take long, but it seems that the days I preplan in that manner are the days that are much smoother and pleasant.

Sure, many days do not go as planned, but far more do, then don’t.  And it’s relaxing to lay there and think, I’ve got it covered and I think it will go this way.   Sometimes I surprise myself when I actually do something exactly as I had considered it the night before.  Step by step.

I love to drive long distances because it’s my best plotting and planning time.  Sometimes I can just mindlessly listen to music or the radio, but usually, I drive without much other than my brain wandering through plans, or chatting with my girls about plans and working them out.

I’m so pleased to see them doing the same.  We are working on creative fencing ideas for the farm…  cheap, free materials and clever combinations.   Well, we were standing out back and moving some shipping crates that we had scored and Maggie tells me that she has a plan to move the water trough to the back, and to place it in a way that it catchs a lot of rainwater off the big barn.  And she knows just where she’s going to place it and that she wants to get another for the other side and perhaps install a strip of gutter to really catch the rain.  Hmmmm.   Cool idea.  No, wonderful idea!  I said, yeah, sure, that’s awesome and she smiled and went to get it started.  An hour later, stage one is done and it started to rain a bit and I’ll be darned if that idea wasn’t brilliant.  It started to fill up.  I asked her about it and she said she thought it up on the car ride home the night before!  I love it.

I truely believe the reason we have this little homestead is because we planned for it in a way that we held it in our hearts and our minds and made it happen.   I stopped dreaming and planning in vague manners about 3 years ago.  I read “The Secret” and though I don’t believe in all the stuff they talk about, I do believe that anything you set your mind to, will have a much better chance if you really believe it can happen.  I love the quote by Henry Ford…. “Either you believe you will succeed or you believe you will fail, either way, you’re right.”  One of the things that really hit home was the goals and plan making.  How so many people just dream wildly and vaguely.   “I’d like to make more money….”  “I wish my job was better”  “I’d like to start a business someday…”  And that was about it.

I found that the more distinct and complete my planning and dreaming was, the better the chance of it coming true.  And it wasn’t just fairy dust and manifesting stuff outta the blue.   It was working towards the goals, even a teeny bit a day or a week.  It was looking up information, learning about skills, working out things, even little things and visualizing how I really wanted things.

If you could see into my head, the visions I had for our family homestead back a year and some ago, when the three of us were sitting around a few days after the new year, and talking about our dream place…  and then compare them to our home now?  It would be just amazing.  I mean, it’s just such the perfect realization of all we wanted.  And the odd thing, is that the majority of rural homes/small farms out here are NOT what we have.  They are usually flat open pieces of land, without a lot of improvement, where perhaps a family farm split off a few acres here and there, or maybe the old house and a barn or two outbuildings are still there but the trees and such are sparse.  Our little farm is really different than a lot of the places we have seen and would have considered.  We have lots of buildings, lots of trees, a wild space, pastures, a little dry-bed creek that fills up when it rains, and a hedge around most of the property.  All in a tidy little 3 acres that we can deal with.  And bought outright, no mortgage.  Just amazing.  And we found it about 2 days after we sat there and discussed all we wanted…  it was years before our “5 year plan” and we were struggling at best, dealing with a divorce and foreclosure of a home, bad credit issues and a lot of little what-ifs that made it seem like an unbelievable dream come true in the face of a less than perfect situation!

So, yep, I really do think that if you want to accomplish some things in this life, you really need to make concrete goals, plans and formalize your dreams.  I think that when you share those dreams with others, you just never know what doors you might be opening and the connections and such you might make.  I remember driving home from a music gig with my buddy Jeff one night, and just talking and such, like you do to pass the time.  And then out of the blue, I just told him that one day, he was going to be our realtor and that we were going to buy a little farm and that it would be one of the best days of my life.  Now, mind you, I’d never really told him that, that I was into farming and animals and such and aside from some radical gardening, I don’t think he would have ever imagined in a million years that I was totally a homesteading geek…  but thank goodness, he just smiled and said, he couldn’t wait to help out when that day came.

I learned a good lesson that night.  Don’t rain on other people’s parade.

So many times in my life, I’ve shared ideas and dreams with friends and family and usually, they are met with opposition.  Or at the least, gentle criticism that is usually negative.  I believe we all do it.  And yet, the thing that I have really come to understand, is that it’s so incredibly unfair of us to make a snap judgement over something that a loved one has put a lot of personal thought into and has shared with us.  It takes a lot of energy to share deep thoughts with someone, and how unfair of us to shoot them down with just a knee-jerk reaction.  Of all the people I know, Jeff is one of the best examples of how to REALLY deal with people’s ideas and dreams.  He listens and nods, and then just sort of tells you, “great… hey, let me know how that turns out…”  or “go for it, how can I help?”   Even totally weird ones, he just smiles and says, “Hey, you never know…”  (trust me… I am an idea person and he’s heard a lot of them… and some are real dillies!)

I’m pretty sure if I told him I was going to rob a bank and was going to enlist street thugs and had planned the whole caper, he would have gently had me reconsider.  I mean, you DO have to have some limit as to crazy ideas that might really mess with your life.  But if it wasn’t inherently super dangerous, illegal or well, just plain really dumb, he is super supportive and positive.

So, I’ve been trying hard to do the same.  And I’m amazed at how wonderful the response is, at the very least in my dear daughters and friends.  It’s encouraging and delightful for them to have someone to listen to their ideas and say, “hey, that’s cool, hope you can do it…”   So what if 9 outta 10 dreams never actually come to fruition.  It’s that one or two that do that are wonderful and awesome for that person and you should relish and enjoy their success!  Just like becoming small farmers.  I know we really compuzzled a lot of people who would have sworn they knew us well.

I’m still getting some weird advice and such from well meaning folks on the most basic of farm/animal and other skills that make me wonder if they have much faith in us.  I guess they just don’t consider that our move rurally was not some one evening decision and that we’ve just jumped into this blind.  They don’t know the huge amount of time spent reading, learning, trying and planning on our dreams.  They don’t see our huge library of books and resources that we can consult.  Or the oodles of blogs and websites that we frequent, gobbling up information and resource ideas to make our little place awesome.

Nope, we have plans and the plans have plans!  (haha)  And we’re inching towards them, a little bit at a time.

Some of our very specific goals include….

Raising humanely grown livestock for our friends and family.  Chickens, turkeys, and pigs.  

Providing fresh eggs and live stock of chickens, French agora rabbits and Shetland sheep. 

Having several large gardens to provide food and flowers for our family, and our animal stock, as well as share with friends and family and even sell in a small scale.  

Create several homemade crafts such as soaps, candles, woodworking, dried flowers, pet cookies and toys.  

Set up an area for folks to come to the farm for music events and fun homesteading gatherings & classes.

Continue to grow our rock and mineral business, our small publishing company and graphic arts as well as start a sign making studio for the local folk.  

And publish writing, self-help how-to guides and art photography about our way of living.

It amazes me how far we’ve gotten in one short year.  And I am very certain it’s because we have clear cut goals and ideas and we work towards them.  We are not like super productive folks, working from dawn to dusk.  We’re actually kind of well, slow and steady workers.  We have a goal of two to-do cards a day.  Usually one farm and one work related.  Sometimes they only really take us an hour or two at the most.  And of course, there are normal day to day chores and such to do.  But it’s that card a day that makes things happen.  So many people leave projects and such till the weekend and maybe even only Saturday.  So it takes a month of Saturdays to really accomplish much.  Even if you bust your butt on Saturday and get five or six things done, we’ve gotten 14 done in the week.  At a nice comfortable and leisurely pace.  Persistence and consistency REALLY are the keys to getting things done.

Not really sure what prompted this little posting… I guess it was just some thoughts that were rattling around in my head.  I hear from folks so often that they just love to hear about what we’re doing because we do so much, but then I think, wow…  we are not like super women or anything, in fact, I can move pretty darn slow with my bum knee some days!  And with all the activity of the spring and getting cards done, I just have been thinking about bigger goals, like the ones above and checking myself to see if we are getting there.   I believe we are.

I’m so pleased that our to do cards for the farm are getting lower and lower.  We started with over 125 at the first of the year and we are down to 58.  Pretty darn good.  And I hope to get those down to under 20 by the end of May.  About 15 or so are fairly big projects and will take a little more time than say, fix a shed door, or paint a fence, but still, it will feel good to get down to just big stuff and little things that pop up.

I hope you are taking the time to really plan your dreams out.  Down to little details, its all important.  If you don’t, it’s just not likely to happen.  You really need to focus your energies into getting them done… to get them to work out.  If you want to start a business, great… start learning about your options.  Get some books on small business, help out a friend with theirs, learn from them, heck, get a part time job with a small local place that is doing something you might like to do.  Get chummy with the owners and learn from their mistakes and success!  You can take little steps towards any goal and start to make it happen.  It’s so important… don’t just waste your life on vague dreams and goals that are unlikely to happen if you don’t give them your best energy and effort.  Every day, even a little bit will make things happen.

And hey… let me know how it turns out!  I’m sure it will be AWECIOUS!!!!

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Our first shearing day!

it was just about 10 am when the shearing family arrived.  Mom, Dad, and about 6 children of various ages.  Real honest to gosh rural farming family folk for sure.  They farm, have sheep, and do a lot of things to make their way in this world.  We’ve seen them up at the auction selling animals, plants and other good things.  I really didn’t know whom I was contracting, just had heard about them at the auction and talked to them, thought it was a fair price and they were available.

Sweet little Angus was the first to go.  Because he came right up to the gate to see the strangers and no one was yet worried about what was up.  After all, at Windhaven, strangers mean pets and cookies!  (g)  Okay, not any more.  Haha.  Angus was all curious and then they whipped a hay bale twine halter on him and dragged him from the flock to the feed room where the shearing began.  We had wanted to shear outside for great pictures but it was really pretty cold and windy and being in the smaller enclosure helped to keep the sheep calmer and corralled in case anyone got loose.

No one escaped because at one point we had oh like hmmm….  10 people in there watching and working!   Jr. and Julia came down to watch and with the girls and I and the family, yeah, it was 10 people.  Dad stayed in the truck for some of the event.  Jr. left to go and mow our front yard!!!  (that was so nice of him!  Have I said that we have the absolutely most wonderful fribors in the world????)

Jessy took pictures but it was a little dark in there.  But that’s okay, we got enough for the history book and we got a little video as well, which I will try and process later tonight.

It was very cool to watch them work, carefully working the fleece off the sheep.  They had never sheared Shetlands before and since, well, neither have I, I just guess it went fine by my book.  I know the young lady that was shearing was careful not to double cut and did her best to keep it fairly intact.

My flock is more than half yearlings.  Actually, Iris and Ivy, and Angus, and the twins, Molly and Fergus are all under like 18 months, and the three are under a year!  They have never been sheared before.  Only Holly and Noel have been.  So, that being sad, the 5 youngins pretty much bellowed like they were being tortured to death!  And that made everyone else all panicky and upset.  Gideon was a little frantic as his herd was being bothered and he got too excited and head butt Jessy pretty hard.  She was okay, but Gideon got time out in the old sheep paddock alone.  We are learning very fast that farm animals are best locked up and contained when anything weird, unusual or stressful is going on.  Lesson #497 in our Windhaven experience book.

By golly, there is a sheep under all that wool!

They asked me if I wanted them super clean shaven and I said, no, that was fine if there was a little dangly belly wool or such because the young ones were really getting stressed.  We can wait a few days and then go in and clean up some of that with our own trimmers.  A few got some nasty nicks because of their thrashing about.  It’s hard to imagine but a little 50 pound ewe can certainly throw her weight around if she wants to.

I was a little surprised that they didn’t shear in the more traditional way, like how you see on the movies from Australia, or from some of the homesteading books.  I guess that folks have their methods and well, who am I to say anything.  The fleeces came off primarily solid and without a lot of double cuts, so I know I’ll be able to utilize it and sell a good deal of it.  I can’t pretend to say I know everything about sheep wool and all, but it looks as good as anything I’ve bought online for spinning.  And you have to learn somewhere.

Oh  my gosh!  Angus, my sweet little whether!  He looks like his head is way too big for his little scrawny body!  Of course, he was pretty happy to be finished but pretty stressed to be the first one!  He hung around the gates trying to console his flockmates that they would survive the ordeal.  You can see them in the back of the picture, looking like inmates headed for the long mile!  Holly was bleating like a stuck pig, she was SO upset.  And of course, they took her mom, Noel next…  I thought Holly was going to die.

Oh my gosh, Momma Noel’s wool is SO SUPER black under that dark mocha brown outter layer!  She is a black ewe!  I know that sounds funny but we’ve never seen them sheared and when consulting the websites and books, it often said that black sheep are really brown sheep.  But she is definitely black.  And her fleece was super long and abundant.  It felt wonderful, the soft underside after the shearing.  And the locks are long, easily 4 inches or more.  I just can’t wait to start working with these fleeces!

Everyone keeps asking me what I plan to do with my 7 bags of wool!  (We rolled and tucked them into old feed bags! )  Well, I want to first pick and clean it all.  And then skirt it.  Skirting is where you take off the edges of the fleece that are not very desirable.  Usually the legs, tail, bottom and belly areas.  It’s often felted and matted badly with dung, urine and just lots of junk that is called VM or vegetable matter.  Once the fleece is skirted and picked, then some I will set aside as raw wool.  A lot of hand spinners and such want their wool virgin.  Pretty much right off the sheep.  They enjoy the whole process of washing, carding and spinning from their own poundage of wool.

However, I want to keep some of each of the sheep’s wool for myself, to process for us.  We will pick it and clean it, let it dry in the sunshine and then start to card it with the hand carders.  If God willing and the creek’s don’t rise, we might even be able to get a good hand crank carder to make it much much easier.  They are around $300 but it’s way worth it in the long run.  If we’re going to be a sheep farm… it’s going to be a good investment for sure.  Once it’s nice and carded, then some we might sell, and some we might ship to a yarn mill for final processing.  And some we will try and make our own wool from.  And of course, we will be mixing in some of our Angora bunnie’s wool as well, since that is a beautiful fiber and will enhance our own carded wool and yarn.

Will we get rich?  Hahaha…..  okay, well, no.  Probably not with just 7 sheep.  Will we earn a bit to offset their winter hay?  Oh yeah.  Shetland wool is considered one of the nicest for hand work of all the British Isle sheep breeds.  And in the US, the Shetlands are not super common.  They were first imported to the US only in the 1990’s.  I saw some very nice raw wool on eBay selling for $40 a pound!   I paid $23 a pound for basic old Corredale wool…  and our wool is much much nicer than that stuff.  Once it is skirted I will weigh the fleeces just to see how much they ended up being.  Fergus’s fleece is surely a whole lot less than say Momma’s.  But I would guess that even the little ones were at least 4 or 5 pounds of wool.

I suppose that if I had the right shears and all, I could probably sheer them.  However, the shears are usually at least a couple hundred bucks for good ones and there is a science to shearing.  And there is a lot of kneeling and strength involved.  I’m really glad to have been there and watched the whole process.  Considering that it’s a once a year thing and would probably take me HOURS and HOURS to try and do, i think for awhile, I will be hiring someone yearly to do the work.  It was only $10 a sheep.  Heck, it costs more for me to get the girls’ hair cut and they don’t squirm and wiggle around NEARLY as much as the ewes did!  I think it will just be one of those costs of having sheep.  It would take me several years to save the cost of the clippers and then I would be dreadful at it for the first sheep or two, since I wouldn’t do it often.  No, I think $10 a sheep is pretty fair compensation for 3 people to wrassle a sheep for a haircut.

They pretty much finished up in about an hour, hour and half.  Some was getting ready, some was a bit of visiting.  The flock all head for the back of the pasture for the most part and didn’t want much to do with us at all.  Can’t say I blamed them.  It was a pretty stressful thing all the way around.

After everyone was gone and it calmed down some, I took a little pail of sweet feed out and went to the back pasture.  It took them a good sweet amount of time to come over to me and even then, they were a little wary of me.  Of course, Momma Noel was truely annoyed with me, since she now has the wheelbarrow incident AND this newest tragedy to stack against me.  But I sat there patiently, with a little bit of sheep crack in my hand and slowly each one of them came over and nibbled their treats.  I didn’t want them to hate me.  I gave them each a good scratching and they really liked that.  I’m sure they felt awesome without all that heavy wool on.  In fact, we saw them all sproinging and prancing about at some point in the afternoon.  Rubbing on trees, and just being very silly.  The little ones were particularly goofy, running about an having little head butting battles.

All in all, I would say it was a success.  We have a few nicks to watch for, and we were careful to slather them up with Bag Balm and know who has them to keep a good eye on them the next few days.  Unfortunately with all the squirming they were doing, its a wonder they didn’t loose a ear or a leg!    She warned me ahead of time and I knew this from the books and such.  It was surprising that they didn’t bleed a lot, just looked kinda ouchy for the most part.  Part of the deal I suppose.

 

One of the funny things of the whole adventure was the egg laying hold up.  Apparently, several of the ladies have been laying eggs in the feed room.  Which is fine, we like that, we know where they lay.  However, we were keeping them out for the shearing adventure, so they all lined up and waited for their chance to get in and lay their egg.  A few gave up and when and laid in the little rooster coop out in the yard.  It was pretty silly.  Creatures of routine, you know.

Well, since it’s very cold still and the idea of skirting and picking and rinsing all that wool outside does not appeal, I believe they will be staying out in the feed room for a week or three.  I need to get a nice piece of smooth plywood to do my picking and invite some friends over for beer and wool picking!  Sort of like an old quilting bee!  That will be fun.  We marked each bag with the sheep’s name on it, so if anyone is interested in a little Angus 2012, or Holly fleece… you can select some!  Since we’re just new at this, I think we will be selling the raw wool for $25 a pound.  Free US shipping.  If anyone is interested, you can always drop me an email at:   sherri@chekal.com.  In the meanwhile, as soon as the temperatures get a little nicer, we will be starting to process it.  After all, we have gardens to get going first!  Of course, if it ever stops frosting at night!!!

 

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Chicken Pictures….

Up early, getting ready for the sheep shearing today and just looking through my picture files.   I have several cool chicken pictures and thought I would update the world with the super important goings-on of the Windhaven chicken flocks.  You know, you want to know…

Well, Miss Buffy is finally starting to fit in with the free range flock.   She’s still not a member of the inner peep circle of cool chicks, but she’s no longer hiding and acting super weird.  She still loves Maggie and you can walk right up to her and pick her up for a snuggle.  She likes it.  I’m just glad that she’s fitting in and is one of the girls.

 

The meat chickens are doing fairly well…  we’ve had a few losses this time around.  We lost one for just no good reason about a week and a half ago, and then we lost two this weekend due to cannibalism.  Not fun.  it’s a fairly common problem, they start pecking on each other hard and it’s hard to stop.  We had to isolate a few of the birds and then added a bunch of stuff to the brooder, like leafy branches, little logs, a few rocks and then scattered grains throughout the litter to give them something more constructive to do.  And places to hide.  Hoping that helps.  We will be building a chicken tractor end of this week and moving some outside…  hope that helps too.  They say cannibalism in meat chickens can result from a whole litany of issues…  too many, not enough water, not enough food, one gets injured and they all attack, lack of things to do, lack of minerals, wrong food, not enough calcium, not enough grit, mis-matched ages in chicks, and my favorite, just mean chickens.  So we tried to resolve as many as we could and then medicated and used this staining med called BlueKote on the attackees rumps to cover any redness or blood.  It’s always something!

Our three larger barred rock pullets made the graduation to the lil’ coop and they are so adorable in there.  This is a picture of when they were still in the brooder…  love the little meat chicks puzzling over the BIG chick in the place.  They are calm and sweet birds with a lovely disposition.  When I go in there to visit them, the little guys swarm over you and will jump up in your lap if you sit down!    Since they are BARred rocks…. and we already have some with rock names, we went with mixed bar drink names….   Margarita, Daiquiri and Martini!  We will be adding another batch of feathered out pullets to the lil’coop sometime this week.  Just waiting for the weather to get a WEEE bit better in the early morning hours.   We are still getting hard frosts!!!  You would think that it would start to get a little bit better since it’s almost APRIL!!!!

Kathryn….  posing by the water tank.

Argent and Flipper are such good rooster brothers.  Here is Argent out strolling in the wind with a few of his ladies.  Everyone is doing great in the new coop and are starting to lay about a dozen eggs a day.  That’s lovely for Maggie’s empire.  They are so funny to see walking across the chicken tube and out their little ladder to the yard.  They are doing a pretty good job of eating most of the grass and the lilies that are in their yard.  I think we will try and dig up some of the lilies, but we have SO many all over, it might not get done.  But it’s nice for them to get some sunshine and dig holes and scratch.  We put scratch grains out there for them to discover and they love that for sure.

All of Maggie’s new hens on their roost for the night.   The new coop in the poultry barn is doing well.  They are finally starting to settle in.  For awhile, we were doing a lot of changes and construction and that was a little stressful on them.  We tried to do it in a mild and easy way, but still, hens like quiet routine.  But we’re pretty much done now, just a few little things we’d like to do but nothing that has to be done.  Maggie wants to paint their doors, that sort of thing.  We built the second little chick brooder last week and that has come in very handy.  In a couple weeks we are going to build a big turkey chick brooder for the far end of the barn, and hopefully, get Maggie’s poults soon.  We kind of want to have most of the meat chickens and other chicks transitioned out to their big girl pens before we bring in the poults.  Just so Maggie only has one set of babies to deal with.  Little chicks need a lot more care and watching over then feathered teenagers.  Plus, it’s her birthday this weekend coming up, the big 18 and they are going with their father on a big trip to Chicago!!!   So she’s going to be busy for a wee bit.

Turkey Girl is doing really well.   We’re so happy to have her, she is our training turkey.  She thinks she is a chicken, however, and every so often one of the rooster boys will try and have his way with her, but it always ends up in disaster.  She is EASILY double the size of our largest roo!  She gets along nicely in there, and the hens don’t seem to mind their huge sister.  One day I’d like to see us get a beautiful blue slate tom to be her husband!  Perhaps they will set a nest of eggs… that would be awesome.  She is really a beautiful hen, all silver blue and just a nice bird.  We’ll have to save out a nice tom from our production flock of turkeys this year for her.  I believe she would like that.

All the birds in the lil’ coop are doing nicely.  We dumped a whole big wheelbarrow of barn litter in there for them and they have been scratching and digging in that like little kids at the beach!  They are so funny.  We made a secondary run for them, almost double the size of their first yard and just as soon as we get the little door finished and just a wee bit more fencing in the back, we will open that up for them to graze and hunt bugs in.  Our idea is to use it like rotational pasture for them…  let them in for a few days, and then let it rest for a few days.  And then open it again.  Since they have their first yard, they can still get out and scratch, do chicken things.   But then, they can also have access to the wild section as well, here and there.  I believe that will cause them to be very excited!  Chickens do like to graze!

We would let them all free range, but with over 100 chickens, that is just asking for trouble.  We have about 30 that free range and that is just enough to avoid the whole place being a chicken litter box.  Actually 3 are going to live with a good friend and I think a few are going to start living in the new coop because we would like that number down to about 25 or so.  Too many roaming chickens seems to attract predators as well, and we sure don’t want that.

Of course, when I write the blog and mention chicken deaths, part of me thinks, oh my gosh, it seems like a lot.  But then I remind myself that we have only had 6 deaths since the new year.   One chick died shortly after birth.  One nugget died at about 3 weeks, unknown reason.  Little Marie the pullet was attacted in the lil coop by peers and perished.  One older hen was murdered by Domino, the mean roo.   And now two nuggets have died from attack from their peers.  Considering that we had at one point 130 chickens, that is really a low rate of death.  Aside from the turkeys last year, we haven’t lost a single bird to predation or disease.  We’ve lost a few to old age, and one or two from suspected croup impaction.  Sometimes day old chicks just don’t thrive.  Livestock and farming is a bit numbers game.  The more you get, the higher the chances for illness and death.  And of course, there are just natural causes… chickens don’t live forever and if you buy older hens, you are going to have a few cross the rainbow bridge.  I’m just really thankful that our losses are really very light.  I just dread some of these blogs I read, when they have to say, “Lost half my flock last night to a ____________  (fill in the blank…. dog, hawk, coon, mink, fox, coyote….)  Oh thank goodness we don’t seem to have that trouble.  Maggie would be very upset if something tried to hurt her birds!  Me too!   I love the chickens….

This is Carolyn, one of our original hens, a nice big blue cochin hen.  I love her feathering, in fact, I love all the blue birds…  some might call them silver or gray but in the animal world those are all considered blues.  She is so lovely.  All big and fluffy.  She’s a heavy breed and much more fluffy then the thinner trim hens.  She and her sister Susan are some of our first ladies and are still going strong.  Nice birds.

Well, the shearers are due today and I’ve got some chores to work on and a few cards to get done today…. should be a nice calm and crazy day!!!  Pictures and video to follow later tonight, perhaps tomorrow!  We’ll see how it all goes!!!!   Can’t wait, should be fun!!!

 

 

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