Monday, May 18, 2015

Growing Babies

The chicks I bought at the end of April are growing fast. They're almost too big for their big box now.  
The Speckled Sussex pullets are looking really cute (they're the mottled brown ones).  The Barred Rock pullets are really pretty outgoing, and will run over when I put my hand in to feed or water them.

The baby bunnies are also growing fast!  They're now jumping in and out of the nest box, nibbling on food, and looking adorable.

Sunday (the 17th) was weaning day for the sheep.  The lambs are now living in the pen in the barn, and the ewes are out in their pasture.  They're not very happy with me, but today they've quieted down a bit.  They'll all get their CD/T vaccine in the next few days, and a couple of the lambs will be leaving after this week, going to their new home as 4-H project lambs.

Devin will be showing one lamb for 4-H, and I'm trying to convince Kylee to give it a shot too. So those lambs will stay in the "hog pen" outside, and the others will go back out with the ewes after a couple of weeks.

And he's not a baby, but the rooster was looking especially handsome this afternoon, so I snapped a pic.

The goats still have not kidded, but they're so close.  Ida has gotten quite the belly and her udder is looking good.

And Nessarose has a huge udder already...yikes.

Sunday, May 17, 2015


More chicks!  The eggs we put in the incubator at the beginning of the month hatched over the weekend.  Actually, they started hatching early!  My friend Nancy and I candled them on day 18, which is supposed to be the start of "lock down" (the last 3 days of the incubation when the eggs aren't turned and the chicks get into hatching position).  We noticed one egg already had pipped!

A pip is the first hole the chick pecks through the egg.  The next day a few more chicks pipped their eggs.  We had 7 chicks by Friday night.  
A few of Nancy's Ameraucana eggs hatched, along with a Cuckoo Marans, another friend's Ameraucana, a Black Copper Marans, and one of my mutt Easter Eggers.  

Nancy started calling this one (my Easter Egger) Pudge, which I think is the perfect name for her (him?).  It was really fluffy, right from the start.  
This is the Ameraucana chick.  It's the neatest looking chick!
Over the next 2 days, we had some chicks sort of stagger behind.  Five more managed to hatch, but they seemed to have some issues, either from too high of a temperature or too low humidity.  
They weren't as fluffy, and their down seemed to stick to them more.  There's another one of my Easter Eggers (the striped one and one yellow one), an Ameraucana (one of the yellow ones), and either 2 Black Copper Marans or a Black Copper and a Birchen Marans.  
So, out of 42 eggs we only had 13 hatch, and 1 died shortly after hatching.  Some of the eggs never developed, and the ones that made it to lock down but didn't hatch all had mostly developed chicks in them.  Not the best hatch rate, but at least it wasn't 1 lonely chick.  
The chicks lay so flat when they cute.

This is Reggie, Nancy's handsome Birchen Marans rooster, and one of the hens below. 
We may try another hatch, because we'd really like more Marans and Araucana chicks.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival 2015

A couple weeks ago my friend Lindsay and I went to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.  I love Sheep & Wool and look forward to it every year!  There's so much to see it's hard to fit it all into one day.

There are lots of sheep!

This is Steve, a Natural Colored ram.  Sweet guy!

And of course there is wool.  I bought a few things...but I wanted to buy a LOT more than a few things.  This is some Blue Faced Leicester (BFL) top, ready for spinning.

And some BFL locks, undyed.

And BFL dyed locks. (I think I need a few BFL ewes now)

The grayish wool is Masham (I had never heard of it before), and the blueish is Merino.

I got some assorted roving colors for adding to my fiber stash.

There was yarn everywhere.  I loved the walls of yarn from this vendor.

LOTS of people.

Lots of good food...I always get a gyro.

There was a vendor there with amazing needle felted animals!

Lindsay and me

I got a chance to meet an online friend from a fiber forum.  She lives in PA and traveled down to the festival.  She was so nice, and she came down with a group of really nice women.

I already can't wait until next year's festival!

Monday, May 11, 2015


It's chick season!  It's been several years since I have purchased chicks, since normally one or two of my hens will hatch out a clutch of chicks sometime during the summer.  This year I wanted to buy some so I could pick out a few different breeds. I like my "mutts", but I was ready to refresh the flock with some new blood.

I picked 2 Buff Orpingtons, 3 Black Sexlink, 5 Speckled Sussex, 5 Barred Rocks, and 2 Golden Laced Cochins.  The chicks hatched at the very end of April, so these pics are from a couple of weeks ago.  They've gotten much bigger, and have moved into a very large box now, so I'll have to take an updated picture soon.

The wren babies in the sheep shelter hatched!  There are several in's hard to see, but there are at least 5 in there!  They're so cute. 

And the baby bunnies are FAT and healthy.  

Speaking of fat....oops, sorry goats. I mean pregnant!!   Ida and Nessa are in the "get these babies out of me" stage in their pregnancy.  They're due very the next week.  I need to clip their udders and do a "hygiene" clip around their tails so I'll be ready for them to kid!  Poor Nessarose has been so miserable in the heat lately.

I bought a couple of ferns that were on sale at Lowe's. I just love how they make the porch look so pretty.

I finally got outside today to work in the garden for a while.  I have been procrastinating a bit, since my cover crop wasn't blooming yet (it's best to kill it down when it flowers).  It was a bit intimidating to think of all the work it would take to kill down the clover/pea mix.  A common way to kill cover crop is by tilling it under, but I have been no-till gardening for a few years now and didn't want to ruin that work with a major tilling.  You can also spray cover crops with herbicides, but I didn't want to do that either.  

I decided to cut it and put it in rows. I'll either let it dry down and feed it to the animals, or I'll spread it back out on the garden as a mulch and let it decompose there. So, armed with an old (sharp) kitchen knife, I went hacking.  It wasn't very hard, but I did have to take several breaks because of the heat.  I need to buy a scythe!

I cut about half the garden today, and I'll have to do the rest another day.  

I did some planting, too.   The pic below shows the spinach (poor germination).

Below are the turnips (R) and the beets I seeded today. I plan on harvesting both as greens, and maybe a few roots. I'd rather eat the greens!

Below there's a narrow row of short sunflowers, then cabbage seedlings, and then onions.  

The weather this spring has been so odd, I'm not sure how the onions will do. It was rainy and cold for the longest time!  Now we've suddenly gone to summer.  We totally skipped over the 70's and I'm pretty bummed about that.  It was nice to get out and work in the garden though, even if it was hot.

The honey bees are LOVING the clover, and I took a few pictures before I cut half of it down. 

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