Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Long Sunday Picture Post

You've been warned!  Lotsa pictures! 

First off, I want to welcome back Sprout N Wings farm to our featured blog list... Michaele and her girls were not only kind enough to give us Kody and Kaycee, but her blog is one of the best I've ever read over the last 3 years. 

I also added Melinda and Ken from Country Dreaming.  These nice folks are neighbors of ours (as the crow flies) and live in Lenexa, about 20 miles from us.  Melinda is a special ed teacher, and she always has lots of good craft ideas on her blog.  A nice lady, too! 

I also want to thank Phyllis and Winona, who commented about the goats eating chicken feed.  Thanks very much, ladies, and we're going to work on a solution to keep the goats OUT of the chicken yard.  They can have the run of the pasture, but need to stay away from where they can get hurt. 

To those of you who are reading this from the Southwest (Sandy, and others) ... our hearts and prayers go out to you in the heat... I know you and your animals are suffering in the terrible temperatures, and we hope God brings relief to you soon. 

Sorry this picture is a blur... but the little guys were excited.... Keith made them this lovely sleeping platform on Friday night and Saturday afternoon, and we moved it into their barn last night. 

Of course, both had to jump up immediately to see what it was all about. 

Then... he took the llama feeder we had put in there, took two boards off it, and modified it into another sleeping platform.  We had moved it out of the barn, thinking to store it for a future use, but we are going to move it back in tonight, and let the third goat use it! 

So all three goats can be elevated now. 

Keith is also going to make an elevated platform for their pen, and we'll put shadecloth over it for the summer. 

The goats were following Daddy around like dogs as he went back and forth. 

I have noticed this past week that I was getting less eggs from both henhouses.  We did have a few days intense heat in the middle of the week... but last week I had eleven dozen eggs, and this week, only 8 and some spares. 

I was thinking about this when I took these pictures on Thursday morning.

White paint on the side of the big henhouse, you ask? 

No.... I believe owl scat.  As soon as I saw them next to the pophole when I opened up on Thursday, in my mind I said "UH oh".  

So, yesterday afternoon I was cutting in the pasture.  Here I should stop and tell you that I allow parts of the pasture to grow up each summer to provide cover for small animals.  We used to see quail here when we first moved here, and we can always hope, because we saw some two years ago.  Anyway, I digress. 

Part of the pasture looks like this: 

See the high grass in back of and to the right behind Ranger?  Those are patches still growing very high.  
I have been chipping away at them, little by little.  
Since my John Deere is just a medium machine, I have to cut across the row slowly... taking care not to stall out... and then go over the same row a second time to cut it clear down.  I mentioned that I would love to have the Spehars cows in... but another solution would be for a friend to bring over a few of her minis for the rest of the summer.  I would need only water daily, which would be no burden. 

I'm digressing again. 
Keith made the comment last week that he thought something was laying in the grass under the trees down on the south end. 

I told him I thought it was Lilly going through in the morning on her patrol. 

I'm missing a red bird.  This was under one of the trees. 

I cut a little bit more, and found THIS

At that point, I went up to the henhouse and did a head count.  I had one older black bird, and one younger (1 year old 2012 hatch) black production hen, and the 1 year old was missing.  
The red hen was one of the older ones... and I suspect, one that has been a little crippled up and was no longer laying, as I could not find her last night.  I had wondered what happened to her. 

Keith and I decided last night it was probably a fox... but... this morning as we lay in bed talking... he said suddenly
"I bet it was an owl!"

I thought back to the stains and said 
"Me, too!"  

Owls can strike during the day... and last summer we lost several birds to an owl. 

These birds both could have been carried off by a big owl, and we suspect now that it had plenty of cover under the trees. 

You can get an idea of the height of the grass I was going through slowly from this picture, and it's here, under this tree... that I found both remains. 

That's a branch down, but still alive. 

See the panel with the wood braces on it?  It is affixed to the fence, but used to be removable.  After a critter (a coyote?) dug in one night and got a hen that had been left out accidentally... Keith screwed the panel to the fence proper, and we began opening the gate.  

I am going to ask him to take it back off, put a piece of plywood there, and make a pophole. Then, the ducks and chickens can go in and out at will, and the goats, who are getting big, will not be able to go in.  The door, which is all cattywhampus because the fence is now leaning, can be closed and I won't have to struggle with it daily.  This fence was Keith's very first project here, and we know that it needs re-building.  

Three of the very happy ducks, out on grass, where they belong! 

I bit the bullet yesterday and joined Bloglovin'... thanks to Donna at Our Forest Haven and her kind instructions.  Donna thinks (and I do, too) that our Friend Connect on our blogs may possibly go away... so I want to be sure I can still follow those blogs I read regularly. 
I also figured out how to post my posts on my Facebook page, which I am enjoying more and more now that I am home daily. 

I also am reading but not posting to "Hometalk", which is a little more detailed than Pinterest, and from which I am getting lots of good gardening ideas.  As Keith and I talked this morning (for, thank heavens, I went to church last night and was able to sleep in this morning) we don't need to buy many more garden plants... but divide the ones we have, and how true that is.  We do have a few enhancements we would like to make, though, and I have time to do them, with Keith's help. 

I'm off to the back of the tractor now, as I am still working on the pasture.  
I hope everyone has a grand Sunday! 


  1. Mary Ann, glad I was able to help. I love goats so much and would hate for anything to happen to your two handsome boys. I have had a duck and 2 chickens disappear this spring/summer. No trace, just gone. Last year we lost several chickens to some coons. It is a full time job to protect our babies from predators. I just must tell you, when I read your warning about lots of pictures, my first thought was 'Goody'. LOL I love looking at all the pictures you post.

  2. Thanks so much for featuring me : ) Keeping up with predators is a non-stop job isn't it? You are so lucky to have a handy man around. I always love pictures of your place.

  3. When Dad had owl's he would use a trap atop a high post because they light high to check out things first. I know trapping may be inhumane but...

    Hope you catch the culprit soon.

  4. We have lots of fox in the woods where we live - and I did some research on them, because I saw a mom with new kits, and we have laying hens. I was concerned! What I found was, fox tend to love eating grubs and mice, their preferred meals. They will go after chickens, but only if they are very hungry, and the mice and grubs are not available. We must have their favorite snacks in abundance, so I stopped worrying about my "girls". There are many owls in our woods, and we have been fortunate enough to see a mother watching its baby next to our house, near our deck. I got some nice pics of the baby! They leave our hens alone and seem to go after snakes, which is find in my book! But I only turn out the hens after 4pm and they are in by dusk. I do the best I can to keep an eye out for predators. Sorry about your is sad to have casualties.... :(

  5. I'm so sorry about the loss of so many hens. I wish I could offer a suggestion as to what may have happened but I have no idea. I have heard that a fox was getting in one of the neighbor's hen house last year. The Chicken Wrangler knows a lot about chickens as I've a long time follower of her blog. I know she knows her stuff. I also am a long time follower or Sprout N Wings. I love her animals. She takes really good care of them. I hope you find out who the culprit is real soon!

  6. I love seeing lots of photos and reading about what's going on at your place. Sorry about your hens, that's sad. Hope you catch whoever the culprit is! Have a nice week. It's cooled off quite a bit here and I'm so glad!

  7. Seeing your pasture reminds me of what my neighbors back yard looks like. It is mostly fenced in so I don't see it, but now one section of fence is leaning over and what an eye sore it is. We're in the city. It isn't supposed to look like pasture land here. Oh well. I don't have very good neighbors on either side. On the other side the people moved out and abandoned the house. Makes me shudder. You have a lovely place there and plenty of room for all your critters. I imagine the goats do love their new beds.

  8. We thinks your sneaky snakes are a eating your chicky eggs....ewwwww....are you switching over to blogloving for a reason? Mom must have missed this?
    stella rose

  9. Sorry about the birds. Those goats still look so tiny to me. Cute.

  10. What great pictures. Too bad about your hens. Thanks for the water bottle idea in the
    chicken waterers. It works wonderful and they all stand around them and
    drink water all day. I have them all out in the yard so they stay next to the house
    not a perfect solution but it works while the heat is over 110.
    The bunny stays draped over the ice bottle too.
    I hope you don't loose any more animals.
    The goats are wonderful.

  11. Shame about the Hens, great to catch up with you! been a while, have to admire those goats!!

  12. Not good to lose the hens! I would never have thought of an owl - yikes!

  13. What a great read! Thank you

  14. The ducks do look awfully happy :) I enjoyed the photos and your stories but I'm sorry about the hen, and the owl. Does look awful suspicious. Whoever it was, I hope they don't get any more melas out of you.


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