Brown Bag Concert Series at the Toledo Downtown Library

Special thanks to Miss Earline and Miss Erin for taking these lovely pictures of us playing! What a lovely event this was… we’ve been wanting to play this summer concert series for years and we finally got asked… what an honor! It was so nice to see all the people come out and enjoy an hour of bluegrass in a nice comfy setting on a beautiful summer day!!!

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A little turkey story…

This is our sole survivor of the turkey poults. We have decided that he has been pardoned and will be our only turkey on the farm for awhile. Turkeys are very hard to raise apparently. Turkey Girl passed away last night. We had brought her in the house for more intensive nursing, as she was just not doing very well out in the coop. It was apparent that she was just not getting stronger, fast enough. We had been going out several time to tend her, and make sure she was drinking, but you could just tell something was not quite right. She would make a little advancement, but then it was two steps backwards. She passed away quietly in a nice warm little towel, in the still of the night.

As good timing came along, our neighbors asked if we wanted a pair of young banty roosters! They had gotten 5 banty chicks and it turned out they had 4 roos and only one little hen! So I said… sure! And it was perfect timing because now, Einstein, clearly our smartest turkey of the bunch, would have a couple of bachelor friends and role models to observe!

Introducing our newest little pals… our Banty Boys… Brent and Josh. The Beakmen Boys! (of course, a play on the famous Beekman Boys on tv!) You can blame Jessy for their names… she was the silly one to think of the connection!!!

Josh is the black and white one… a silver laced Wyandotte bantam rooster and Brent is the gold laced Wyandotte roo! They are so cute! They are just starting to crow and it sounds like a teenage boy with his voice changing… it’s a strangled and sort of hesitant roo, but trying very hard to make it sound awesome!

Well, I had just let out the hens and Bucka and was giving them a little left over bread when we heard one of the little roos try and crow. It was so funny and Bucka did a comic double take and looked at me so puzzled. I said, lets go see and started to walk over to the coop house. Bucka was trotting alongside me as well as a few of his ladies. This was big news on the farm, folks…

First things first, he was at the coop door checking them out. I was in and giving them a little bread treat and filling up their water and feed. But then the fun commenced. Bucka lured the little boys out into the yard and the crowing contest began!

Bantam chickens are small, miniature version of full sized chicken breeds. I believe there are a few only bantam breeds, but most I have seen look like the larger breeds. The roosters are particularly perky and cute, and full of themselves. They were right at the fence of the yard battling out with the I’m bigger than you are contest, which, they were CLEARLY the losers, as Bucka was about oh, 6 times their size! haha…. And he could certainly out crow them totally. But they are feisty and gave it their best shot. Einstein was so pleased that his new friends were of the zesty variety and just watching with his big oogly turkey eyes in awe. Bucka was a bit annoyed, and puffed himself up to giant size, crowing and scratching and just basically declaring himself as the king of the hill, the cock of the rock and leader of all things fowl on the farm.

Eventually, Bucka just decided it was time to hang with his girls and wandered off near the well house to visit and tend to his morning rituals. He knew he was the king and wasn’t bothered by the two little pipsqueeks. However, Einstein was super impressed with his little banty buddies and was following them all over the yard and into the coop house. I’m so glad. Last night when we snuck the banties into the coop, Einstein was laying out in the yard, in the grass, just peeping forlornly. Not even his normal curious peeping, just a lone peep, pause, silence and then another half hearted peep. He was alone and he knew something was not right. He didn’t even want to come into the coop house for night. We tried to get him to, but he wouldn’t budge. I swear if turkeys can be depressed, he was one down little turkey boy.

Today, though, is a totally different story. Now he has a pair of feisty little brothers to hang with, and he part of a flock, a member of the gang… if nothing else, he has companions to keep him company. We’ll probably keep an eye out for a few little pretty banty hens. Why not? I hear that banty hens are AWESOME mothers and will hatch out just about anyone’s eggs when they go broody. And if we can pick some beautiful little ones, we can count on our banty chicks to be quite unique and beautiful. The coop house can easily hold quite a few birds without being over crowded.

The coop house and yard have been on our project list this week. It might not look great, but all the tall weeds were cut from the yard and it was cleaned of debris. The fencing around it was improved and fixed, checked for any loose areas or breaks. We bought a poultry net for the top and it’s all tied down and safe. Our plans are to get a few sheets of siding and improve the outside of the coop and paint it. It’s going to look wonderful when we get all done. But right now, it’s at least safe and sound for our little boys. Einstein likes to go out into the yard with his little friends now, and is picking grass and hunting bugs and enjoying his turkey life!

And Bucka Roo is content in his role as King, protector of the flock and general all around Master of the Estate… all is as it should be!

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Almost done fencing…

Fencing is hard work.

It takes money and help and patience and planning. And a lot of guessing and measuring and re-measuring and then replanning and well, as you can see, it’s not quite that easy.

For one thing, once you get it done, you want to be done. It’s not like something you can just pick up and move around on a whim. Changes are hard to make once you start laying down wire. Heck, just getting the stuff to your homestead can take some major finagling. 330 feet of field fence is HEAVY. And makes old Blue groan a bit when the TSC guys drop it in the back. And t-posts, shesh, those things are pricey, so you want to make sure you get just what you want or need. I think I will start to buy just oh 2 or 3 every time I go and stockpile them! It will be less painful then going and buying 20 at a time.

Originally, we were going to fence in the back pasture, just a big rectangle. It would be about 100 foot by 150 foot and back again. However, that would end up over 500 feet of fence. And the more I stood back there, planting the corn garden and just watching the sun and all, the more I decided it would not be as nice for sheep. It’s a horse or pony pasture, and just not enough sun and the right length of grass for my little short sheepies. And it’s so far back, we’ll hardly ever see them! I want to be able to look out and see them day to day when we’re working and all that.

So I got my trusty measuring tape and began to realize that if I fenced in the middle yard, they would have almost a whole acre to wander, and would be a lot closer to the house, have TONS of shade and shelter and we would have another safe zone for the dogs. (When the sheep were in their little paddock area.) We are not foolish enough to let our untrained sheep dogs in with non-dog sheep… nope.)

Basically, we saved a ton of fencing by utilizing many of the buildings into the plan. We played connect the dot with the coop, to the wellhouse, to the pig barn, to the poultry barn and to the garage. It might not be the way a large commercial farmer would do it, with curves and using trees as posts instead of all t-posts and sunk posts, but you know what? We’re just little smallholders and the farm police could care less. Sure, it would have been easier, say, to install a lovely big gate by the garage so that whenever I wanted to bring a vehicle back up near the barn, I could just swing open the gate and roll through. But we’ve done that like 2 times now. And only because we didn’t want to drag stuff out there with the wagon. Purely connivence. Now, if we want to do that, I’ll have to cut a few nylon tie wraps and then re-tie it after we’re done. You can bet I’ll be watching for a nice used gate on Craig’s List, but in the meanwhile, it works for us.

We did buy one nice tube gate for the back, by the wellhouse. That made sense. We’ll be going through there at least a couple times a day to get to the bunnies and the poultry. And it seems that another gate next to the little coop would be welcome, so we’ll probably work on that next week.

The line of fence in the back is mostly working with t-posts, but we were so lucky and got to use a LOT of the trees along the sides and such. We only needed 10 t-posts! Yeah! And the fencing fit JUST perfectly… we used the very last bit at the garden pathway… now to design a cool garden gate out of some salvaged wood from the farm. I’m hoping to get that done today or tomorrow at the latest. We are planning to bring the sheep home on Monday!!! Yeah!!!

Bucka Roo and his posse are checking out the new fence. They totally approve of the work being done and as our official chicken inspectors, they were on the job to approve all alterations to their farm.

A HUGE HUGE thank you to Julia and Jr. and Jeremy for all their wonderful help with the fencing! Oh my gosh, how could we have managed without your assistance. Just getting the roll out of the car would have taken an all day effort on our part! Those things are super heavy to begin with! I’m telling you, good neighbors and swell friends make life just as sweet as can be.

Junior even cut up the remains of the dead pine for us and we offered him the cut wood for his winter needs! It’s nice to finally have that out of the way so we can mow back there a bit easier. He also took down the dead apple tree near the house and chopped it up for our bonfire use. That is going to make some wonderful campfires for sure… great for hot dog roasting I’m sure!

Well, today is finish the stick fence day and make the garden gates day! Going to be fun stuff… Junior also trimmed up the windchime tree some and we got a nice little electric limb chainsaw to do a bit more tree surgery around the homestead. We have over 50 mature trees on the place, and they are all in various states of overgrowth and ill care from the last 10 years or so of being left on their own. Although, at the first of the spring we did a TON of cleanup and all, there are still pockets that need more attention. We are slowly but surely whittling the place into shape!

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