Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Big Calamity at Calamity Acres

I can't believe it. 

You know I try never to take the Lord's name in vain, 
but I came OH SO NEAR tonight. 

I just can't believe it. 

Several times over the past two weeks I have sent pictures to my 
lawn service for the farm, asking that they cut the weeds in two beds to the ground. 

One of these beds was the potato bed in the past, and I am not going to 
ever plant potatoes again.  My plan was to pull the borders out 
around these two beds over the winter, and plant grass to the fence. 

This is how we built these beds, using the "lasagna" method, 
taking the sod off... putting newspaper in layers down. 
Then good planting dirt and manure.... then a layer of straw. 
(We later went to mulch)
Expensive, and labor intensive. 

Here is the north bed, coming to life. 

This is the south bed, the summer we made it. 

The wood border is not on it, yet. 

You see that behind the fence, there is no bed yet.  We later made one there, 
but Keith was getting sick at that point, so it was never really planted.  THAT WAS THE BED 
I ASKED TO BE CUT.  That, and the corresponding bed on the other side of the arbor, on that side of the fence. 

The view as I got out of the car tonight.  I could see all the way to the henspa. 

All gone. 

Yes, I had to clean them all
 out, I had already started.  

I was going to dig them up, one by one.  Remake the beds. 
At least he left the buddleia, he also left TREES. 

In the corner, by the arbor, was a big patch of rudbeckia, still blooming. 

All my expensive iris.  

I am just so .... MAD. 

My plan was to dig it out little by little, and replenish the bed, pulling out the weeds. 

Now I am going to have trouble telling the weeds from the perennials. 

Can you see the sedum on the side, on the left?  I had a huge stand that was just getting ready to bloom.  The iris were butchered down to the ground. 

This was one of the two beds I am taking out, that WAS to have been cut. 

Good gosh. 

I couldn't have been any clearer, since I sent pictures.  The two beds on the SIDE OF THE HENHOUSE.  

Yes, I'm angry, but I'm also trying hard to see the good here. 

At least the big weeds are down, and I can start digging, if I ever get over this cold. 
I can't tell where the poison ivy is, so I am going to have to glove up and wear long sleeves. 

I messaged the owner of the company immediately, but he has not answered me. 

I'm sure he knows I'm upset.  I don't know how I can be with a high school kid in his last week of summer, who just wants to be done with it and go back to football, or whatever. 

I'm just so disappointed, and the cost of all this... we had several thousand (that's right) dollars invested in these beds. 

The guy has not come back yet to replace my water line, and it's a soupy mess.  (On top of everything else).  

As I was getting ready to leave, a lone coyote sounded from the bottom of the pasture.  

I was glad to have the Beacon of the Farm to light the way.  

I'm sure by morning I will have calmed down and see it in perspective.  

I feel like crying. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

We Are Getting Closer

Your blogger is down for the count with a summer cold. 

As in, skipping church, in bed all day down for the count.  I made it out to open the henhouse and give the little kittens their daily bowl of food, but other than that, I have been in bed all day.  As I type this, the sun is breaking out of leaden skies, and the heavy rains we had last night seem to have gone away, though my phone tells me we may still see some tonight. 

There have been many changes this past week. 

We have had two horses come to stay with us for a while in the pasture.  They were on a dry lot, and the owners were feeding hay all summer.  The horses were glad to get on some green pasture.  I will go in tomorrow or Tuesday to cut down some weeds, but for now, they are going to do the trimming.  
The mare, Nelly, who is taking a good look at Jester there, is unbroken, the gelding, Ranger, has been ridden.  I would say neither are safe to ride.  They should be here only about to the end of September.  For some reason, Jester and the mare have taken to each other, but she is so big I will not let him in the pasture anywhere near her.  

That's Ranger, and his owner mistakenly cut out part of the tail he needs for fly-swatting, because it was so tangled.  I feel sorry for him.  They seem happy in the pasture, though.  

The humidity was terrible earlier in the week.  Our girl Lil knows how to get cool, though. 

I have a water line leaking.  
Tuesday, a local man showed up to fix the leak. 

Unfortunately, when I got there Wednesday, 
the leak was just as bad.  He is going to have to run a new
line from the wellhouse to the pump by the old henhouse. 

I need that pump to run water for the horse tank. 

So now I have a mud mound AND a leak. 

My contractor said "You need to call that guy"  and I said "I did" and he said "When will he be back?" 
I said 
"when he's good and ready".  And folks, that's the truth.  They do not listen to women, I wish I could say it is different, but it isn't.  I dealt with this for 32 years before I married Keith. 

It's frustrating. 

Did you notice the color of the house in the picture with the skid steer? 
The yellow is the color our tenant painted the house when he moved in, he picked it. 

Here is the color today.  

The new gutters and downspouts are up, and we are progressing right along. 

On Thursday, my awesome contractor told me he thought it would be 3 weeks. 

The cabinets are being made, and one day this week I will stop by the cabinet shop and pick out the bin pulls I want.  I am looking at lights, but honestly, I have felt so awful since Wednesday that I am not getting around much. 

I did get two days of moving things with my grandson Jacob this week, who really came through for me.  In fact, we are renting a cargo van on Wednesday and Thursday and trying to get even more out of here and into the storage shed at the farm.  I have given up sorting for the time being, I just want to get things moved and then each box will be gone through before it is brought into the house.  I suspect the Salvation Army will be getting a second large donation. 

My plan now is to put this big house on the market when I am out of it.  It is just not practical with two dogs and a skittish cat to have strangers plodding through it.  

Speaking of cats: 

I honestly have never seen Sister playing with a ball before! 

He will play with Jester, but not toys.  

And out in the henhouse, at least 3 of the four feral kittens 
are still with me... and I have figured out where the raccoons are getting in 
at night.  I will be working on it in the next few weeks. 

I take the kitten's food up when I go out to put the hens up every night, 
(I leave a big handful) but they have all day to eat. 

As far as I can see, they rarely sleep!  They are up at all hours of the night on the game camera. 

Day camp is now over at the Ag Hall, and Nugent, the little bunny I took care of all summer, has gone home to her bunny herd.  I will miss her, she was a lovely little bunny (whom the kids called "Oreo", of course). 

These are some dirty eggs that have been under a hen who wants to go broody. 
They are infertile, of course.  
I have been careful to fish them out from under her since this day, she does not need to be setting forever.  I am getting plenty of eggs, but the fact that I am letting the girls run all day long in the yard means that there are some eggs I am  never going to find. 

We have all been enjoying the odd root beer float, too!

Did I mention I have poison ivy on about half of me? 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Stealth in the Night

Two nights ago, Chris, my grandson and I were hurriyng through chores in the face of a storm on it's way here.  

we were doing the water, and checking the fence, etc. HURRYING. 

I hurried too much, and the front henspa door came open behind me as we 

That very afternoon, we had moved the bin with the bird seed (wild bird) 
and the bin with the cat food out to the henhouse, to get it out 
of the contractor's way in the house. 

When we pulled up yesterday morning, the 
front door of the henspa was wide open. 

I groaned and looked at Chris, and asked 
him to please go look and see how many hens were dead. 

Imagine my surprise when he came out and said "ZERO".  

I was pleased, too.  Really pleased.  The darn coons 
had gotten in, knocked the top off the plastic 
"can" that the cat food is in, and had shredded one of the bags. 

I am not sure why they didn't get into the other bag that 
was in the can. 

Last night, I left the door shut, and locked it on the inside.  I went 
out the side door.  I have to be VERY careful, as I do not know what happened to the keys. 

I always block the pophole with three landscaping pavers. 

8:41, I'm double checking the door again. 

9:16, one of the babies comes calling. 

Oh, they tried.  

Someone else tried, too.  I do NOT think that's one of the babies, I think that is the 
cat abandoned by my previous tenant.  Poor little thing.  I have seen it crossing the road several times, but it has not found the food I leave out during the day for it.  (at least not so far).  

They all came back one more time, then gave up for the night. 

Speckles follows me around when I am out there.  She likes to lay her beautiful eggs in different places, there is a cat carrier inside the door and we found 4 eggs in it the other day. 

Today, she tried hard  to lay one in the contractor's truck! 
He is going to have to keep his doors closed, his bins holding tools and supplies look like nest boxes! 

Work is progressing on the farm house... I am picking out finishes, etc., and we are getting closer... closer ... 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

And This Will Be Our New Playroom

If you have been following along with the saga of the Feral Kittens, either here or on Facebook,, you will know that ten days ago, the Raccoon Crew broke them out of the Little Red Henhouse in my old henyard. 

The game camera has proven that they are hanging around, and their litter box is still in the 

However, three days ago, I saw one watching me outside the old henhouse (larger building) and 
when I stepped towards it, it literally ran UP the door, and into the henhouse through the torn screen. 

That night, I put a little food in there for them, and a water bowl. 

Because of this: 

The kittens couldn't even get near the food because of the 
wild birds.  I did get ONE large cat, the gray and white, 
coming into the henyard to check out what was going on. 
First sighting I have seen of any of the three ferals in my yard. 

The raccoons were still coming at night to check things out, though I am 
taking the food in at dark when I go shut the hens up. 

So, last night I decided to put the camera IN the old henhouse, and 
I left some food and a bowl of water for them. 

It was 101 here yesterday and heat index was about 114, at one point. 

I have water in numerous places around the yard. 

There are three of the four, I am not convinced that the fourth is still with them.  Remember, it had only been in with the others (it's siblings) for two days before they were released. 

And then, at 10:13, someone reared it's head. 

And at 10:14, it entered.  The camera was knocked over, shortly thereafter. 

NOTHING is raccoon proof. 

Well, maybe the henspa, so far. 

So tonight, there will be NO food left, there is Kitten Chow there in a bowl today. 
Fresh water, there and on the porch of the little red house. 

I also put the continuous feeder IN the little red henhouse, where it used to be... thinking that 
might make the birds go elsewhere instead of into the dark henhouse pophole. 

I'll pull both feeders tonight. 

So, this is also happening: 

This is Tim Vaughan, of Stranger Creek Fence Company.  We live in Stranger Township. 

Tim is fixing the support posts for the pasture gate, which were left broken off at the ground by our tenant ON BOTH SIDES, which I had not realized.  The gate was propped so that it appeared that it was okay.  As you can see behind him, Tim is re-doing the braces on both sides, and will hang the gate on a wheel so I can open and close it easily.  He is also welding the front gate's wheel so that I can open it easily... the wheel slipped down.  He is also measuring the front deck to bid for power-washing and then a water-seal finish.  

Tim is also a bull rider, and won the Leavenworth Fair bull-riding last year. 

I put a post  on "Next Door Stranger Creek"
 and was given Tim's contact info, and I'm glad to know him.  He is going to be helping clear some of the other fence lines. 

As of this morning after church, when I stopped by to do chores... the fence line behind him was completely cleared. 

You all know how scared I am of strong chemicals... but sometimes I have to use them. 

The kitchen floor is in, and Mike the Contractor stayed late and did a first 
sanding of the mud.  YAYYY. 

And this... this makes me inordinately happy, to see happy hens wandering around in the yard and eating bugs.  

I can't tell you how much. 


The Screamer (Cornish) confronts Emily (Production Red) . 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

And...We're Off!

Those darn kittens!

Four days ago, the raccoons came in the night, and tore the hasp and hook holding the 
door to the little coop out, went in, rousted out the four kittens, and ate everything in sight, fouling the water like they usually do.  

There were the first three in the coop after they took up residence. 

Kitten Four was a curtain climber from the get-go. 

Lucky, because two nights later, the raccoons burst in. 

I got out there to find the door open, the rocks moved, and the hasp torn from the door.  I looked around... there were no kitten bodies or blood spots... so.... I crossed my fingers. 

I took the big feeder out of the coop, and cleaned the porch up a little and put it on the porch. 
I cleaned the fouled water out, and put the water on the porch, too, and propped the door open with the stones.  I left the litter box in the coop. 

I put the camera on the little free standing coop next to the red coop. 
It was a grow-out coop I used for babies. 

And... BOO... we see you!

I am happy to report that the kittens are coming in and out of the coop all day and evening. They are using their new, much larger litter box. 

Here is the new scheme: 
I leave the large water fountain and the large feeder on the porch of the coop 
during the day.  At night, when I go to lock the birds up, I remove it and actually take the food into the house.  I do leave the water fountain. 

I put a new bag of food into the fountain this morning.  As you can see, the water is befouled by the raccoons, but they only dropped by twice last night.  The kittens met them coming and going. 
That whole feeder goes to the kitchen at night. 

I cleaned the fountain out. 

So far, the raccoons have not come during the day. 

So, kittens are not the only thing that has been going on this last week. 

That's my right hand this morning. 

Last week was Wyandotte County Fair week, and I have battle scars from feeding birds. 

Such as these.  You see, the poultry superintendent does not provide cups for every cage, (and yes, the kids are supposed to bring them)  and some birds have to eat on their nasty bedding.  Yes, I'm pointing fingers.  In four days, I fed all cages and watered them, at 8:30 in the morning.  I saw only two sets of 4H kids.... they are not made to take care of their own birds.  I donated feed.  I physically fed and watered 8 times.  I am  not complaining, I am BLAMING.  I went back at 3 or 4 and fed and watered again.  I grew up in Wyandotte County, and loved this fair, but it has changed, and not for the better.  

At the Leavenworth County fair, (week after next) the poultry super requires the kids to come daily, feed and water their own birds, check cages frequently, and clean their cages.  They are not allowed to collect premiums or trophies until the cages are cleaned at the end of the show.  It is done strictly, and there are ALWAYS kids in the barn, going around checking.  

But what about the parents who work?  

The parents and kids are told "You will find a way to the fair".  

It is enforced.  It teaches responsibility. 

I got several excuses: 

They are showing horses too, they are at the horse barn. 

That does not mean you leave your chickens to starve and suffer in 100 degree heat. 

The parents work 


I talked to several rabbit mothers (the poultry shares with the rabbits) and saw them every single morning, bringing their kids to take care of their rabbits.  I only saw a few groups of kids come in to check their birds.  When I know a water cup was full at 9, and come back at three and it is completely dry, I know no one has checked.  

However, there was a bright ray: 

The three birds entered by the kids from Camp Grow at the Ag Hall
won Grand Champion Open Hen, and two blues.  

I could not get a good picture of Princess, Speckles, and Brownie. 

At the end of fair, they came home with me, and now the coop at the Ag Hall is home to 24 new beauties: 

They are gorgeous Cochin babies from Stromberg's Hatchery, in buff, splash, partridge, black and blue. 

They now have the run of the coop at the Ag. 

While the big girls are living with me. 

Last Sunday night. 

Worth every penny I spent on the tickets.  If they have not come to your town yet, 
get tickets!

If I could convey my happiness at this point, I would. 

I was this happy. 

Lilly turns 12 this month.  We know she was about six to eight weeks old 
when we adopted her in September.  She is hurting more now, limps sometimes, and is having trouble getting in and out of the car, even using the steps.  I am praying she hangs on for the move, she loves her home in the country. 

I can't say enough good about this little guy, who loves his little bear. 

I am watching him, our dreadful hot weather is so very hard on him. 

My new kitchen counters will be this. 

I am looking at lighting now. 

I am going a little more sophisticated in my old age. 

Have a good week, everyone!

( I have hardly had the big cameras out lately.  I'll be more 
assiduous when I get closer to the move!)
(late August)