Sunday, March 31, 2013

He is Risen!

Have a blessed Easter, everyone, 
while your blogger takes off a couple of days to get healthy again! 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sunny Saturday for Real

Okay, here is where I confess I have not felt well all week.  I spent six hours on Tuesday sleeping during the day, which I never do.  I have dragged around and been worn out about 24/7 in the last week. 

I planned to attend the KC Food Circle gathering today, bringing together the public and CSA farmers, and other local producers.  I was looking forward to buying some cheese from several different places, and talking to some people... and finally meeting S from Cranky Puppy in the flesh! 

It was not to be.  I became sick while picking Nathan up in Ottawa, and just made it home. 

The rest of the day was taken up with a few necessary chores and baking, and yes, I'm constantly washing my hands.  Whew. 

I called last night's post "Sunny Saturday"... I must have REALLY been pooped out.  

In truth, the sun is shining right now, after clouds moved in and out all day.  Down south of us, they had thunderstorms, but it looks like they will miss us. 

I thought it would be nice to show you some pictures I took in the last few days for a short post. 

Here is little Moe, who thinks he is Mighty Moe... the boss rooster in the henspa.  He is the one with the unusual comb. 

Here is the comb in question: 

A double comb, you see that Moe did not suffer much frost damage from the winter that is hopefully just ending. 

Here is Speedy, the tiniest rooster of all... he is two years old next month, and is one of two Old English gamebirds we still have... the tiny little hen Suzie is the other.  Speedy has a single comb, and shows damage from the frost of the last few months.  He is a mature rooster in good feather, and very protective of the hens... he can also outrun Rambo.  

He isn't named Speedy for "nothin'", 

Here's the Northern Flicker at the suet feeder... he eats on the deck, and then flies out to eat suet.  He's such a beautiful bird. 

That's it for Holy Saturday from Calamity Acres, where Mary Ann is going to take it easy this evening. 

I promise I'll get back into the swing and begin commenting again in a day or so, and I appreciate, as does Keith, all your wonderful comments.  
We hope you all have a Happy Easter! 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Fabulous Friday

I'm carrying my seeds, marker, etc. in the little blue bucket.  I got the first plantings of spinach and lettuce in. I planted the second planting of peas... and some seed potatoes I got from Thompson and Morgan, called "German Butterball".  Keith stuck with the good old red potatoes from the feed store that we've always had luck with, and is planting them tomorrow. 


Got up into the low seventies where we live. 

I was being chattered at mightily from the birds who wanted to eat at the feeder. 

Can you see something blowing in the tree on the right... under the hanging branch? 

It's one of the dish washcloths my sister crocheted for me, she gave them to me every Christmas.  
I have NO CLUE how it got up there in the last two days. 

Last year, we planted tomatoes in these barrels in the hoophouse. The soil in them is still very good...even thought the tomatoes did not do well last year.  I topped them off with new soil today, and will use them for herbs this year. 

Is this a beautiful sight or what? 

My helpers helped me lock up tonight.  Lilly is the most remarkable dog... she will stand and listen, head cocked... and then dig fast and pull up a mouse or a mole... Abby was trying to emulate her, and dug too for a minute. 

That's it for Good Friday from Calamity Acres... we are expecting thunderstorms tomorrow afternoon! 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Perfect for Gardening

Until late afternoon, when some clouds began to roll in. 

We are expecting some rain tomorrow, but we got up to 63 today! 
Just a week ago, it was snowing, and "they" say there is a possibility of more snow the week after next, but a snowy mix.  

Our last frost date IS April 15! 

The vegetable beds are now all layered and topped off. 
I planted peas last week, but am planting more tomorrow. 
I'll show you my garden plan at that time, too. 
I went through all of our seeds today, and I am going to try to germinate some packed for last year. 

I did start zinnia seeds today, inside, and we are hoping to get started on the greenhouse within the next two weeks  We did not know when we ordered it in February we would have bad weather so long. 

Everyone was a happy camper in the beautiful weather. See Moe, the Top Dog (rooster) in the middle?  He was the runt of the litter last year, and has become the Head Guy of the Henspa. 
I'll take a closeup of him tomorrow, and show you his cool comb.  The rest of this flock was outside enjoying the fresh air. 

We still have a ton of yard cleanup to do.  This is part of the shipping crate for the greenhouse components.  We are going to break it up and take everything to the transfer station (dump) along with lots of other things that have accumulated.  It really bothers me when this stuff sits in the yard and kills the grass underneath.  
Two huge tree branches have to be taken down to the brush pile, too. 

Lilly helped me close up tonight, she was looking around for varmints in the henspa yard.  I have to give credit to that shadecloth... it got packed with snow again this week, and did not tear, so we did not take it down again.  Yesterday afternoon and today, all the snow in it melted, so it is still in great shape.

Someone else was waiting for me, too.  The heat is very, very hard on pugs... and even today's moderate temps were hard on Abs.  I finally brought her inside and turned a fan on for her.  She was wound up most of the day today, and wanted to play, play, play. 

I'll try to get my garden plan down to show you all tomorrow.  Until then, 
that's it for a lovely Spring day from Calamity Acres. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wednesday Morning

I have the camera on the deck again this morning, and enjoy watching the birds (and squirrels) as much as I enjoy the nightly visitors in the pasture. 

Two days ago, I wrote about these: 

I found this recipe on Pinterest, and traced it back through two websites for the recipe, which is 
But of course, I altered it.  
Here is what I changed (assuming you are going to look at the recipe: 

I used roasted chicken from Sam's club. 
I used a can of cream of mushroom soup with garlic, instead of cream of chicken.
I used Pillsbury Grand Flaky biscuits. 

This was delicious, and took me about ten minutes to make.  It is a fast, comforting meal. 
You simply squish the biscuits down into your Pam-sprayed muffin pan, 
fill them with the chicken, vegetables (frozen), soup and cheddar cheese, with a little salt, paper, garlic powder and onion powder in them, shove 'em by spoonfuls into the "cups" and bake them for about 20 minutes at 400.  O.My.Gosh. 
I have a lap band, and don't generally eat much bread.. it's a treat to me... 
I ate two of these.  
I'm going to make them for Nathan. 
YUMMMM.  Keith had two, too. 

I read the recipe, didn't measure a thing, and came out perfectly for eight biscuits.  Next time, I'll halve it and cook just some biscuits, too. 
I've had some failures with Pinterest recipes, so I go back and make sure the pin leads to a real recipe before I pin or re-pin it, but this one filled the bill for sure. 

These last two weeks, I have been under the weather a little.  If I have not commented on your blogs, I am very sorry...I am having trouble sitting at the computer for long periods (thought it may not seem so, seeing my pins!).  Yesterday, I must have hit the wall, because I went back to bed after chores and slept for six hours!  I'm feeling better this morning and trying to get some things done around here. It is gray out again, after a gorgeous moon last night. 

Do you see the moon reflected in the pond?  I climbed up on a ladder on our porch after I took this shot, and changed the setting on the camera.  I always forget to change settings...

Much better. 

In seconds, the reflection in the pond was gone, and the moon was well up. 
How can people NOT believe in God?  It just boggles my mind, because surely, He is the only one that can give us such beauty in the world. 
And that picture, by the way, is the BEST I have ever taken after almost nine years of full moons here at Calamity Acres. 

I added a blog yesterday, too, to our featured blogs.  Gary Louck's has a wonderful nature blog... he doesn't post really often, but oh, my, his photography is wonderful because his subjects are.  I love to see all the wild birds and critters in his posts... take a look and you will see.   I'd like to feature some blogs off and on, so that people get a look at what others are blogging about. 

I have a feeling this is going to be a two-post day.... 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spring is Back

And the birds were out in force this morning on the deck. 

That's it for today from Calamity Acres! 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Today and a Year Ago

But Mary Ann, you say... it looks like it's already melting! 

It's 5:50 PM.  I went out 30 minutes to go thank Troy for coming over and plowing last night at 10 PM... 
It was snowing again. 

There are still flurries out there now. 

See the huge crowd around the feeder? 
I refilled that feeder five times today.  When I got home from doing errands, having been gone from about 1:30 to 3:00... the top feeder (you can just barely see it here) was completely empty save for a few safflower seeds.  Even the "parakeet seed" was eaten, the filler seeds.  
The ground has been picked over and picked over, so all the seed that fell since the last storm is gone, too, but they are still picking away.  I have just enough seed left for two feedings tomorrow, and I am going to have to go to the feed store.  I can get 40 lbs. of very well mixed wild bird for 22.00 a bag, and yes, it's the highest of all the seed we buy.  For example, I looked at WalMart today. They had a good mix there in a bag ... 14.99.  I looked at the size... It was only 14 pounds!  No, I'll just get it at the feed store. 

On top of this, I filled the two fortexes in the henyards three times with chicken pellets.   The starlings and sparrows are like vultures on them.  I carried water for them, too, but just from the henhouse pump.  The chickens on that side have not been out for two days, now.  It was 27 this morning, blowing hard, and everything was frozen, so it took a while to get it all done. 
Ask me how I feel about chores right about now. 

Here's what we are having for dinner: 

They look so good... I'll post a link to the recipe after we try them tonight, since they are in the oven now. 

This is what the front yard looked like one year ago tomorrow.  LOOK AT THAT GRASS!  
I don't think we ever saw it as good as it was that week in the rest of the year.  By June first, it was dormant. 

Our apple trees have buds on them now, but nothing flowering yet.  We get to finally pick some apples this year, we picked the baby apples off the last two years so the trees could settle in. 

Here's what Keith was doing that evening. 

Yes, it's the hoop house, built a year ago.  We are actually going to use it again this year, but we will leave the far end uncovered, and no door on the front.  I'll have herbs in those barrels used last year for tomatoes. 

What a difference a year makes! 

That's it for this SPRING day from Calamity Acres! 

I just heard the timer go off, so ran out to get the "Chicken Cupcakes" out of the oven. 

Here they are: 

I'll let you know tomorrow how they tasted! 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Perversity of Chickens.

What I have been getting daily from the henspa, with 24 laying hens. 
Plus or minus one or two. 

What I found in the corner between the nest box and the back wall tonight. 

Going to the pasture to feed the wild things tonight.  The girls got a stern lecture. 


So we woke up to this today: 


Thank heavens I went to church yesterday afternoon. 

Our driveway had a lot of snow in it again. 

Our neighbor finally got his tractor started last night, and texted me at noon that he would come over tonight and plow it... but we have not seen him yet... 6:33 now.  Keith must go to Topeka for three days for meetings, but his "state car"... the Tahoe, has four wheel drive. 
Momma will be stuck here with her HHR, that drags the snow underneath it. 

We have plenty of food and feed. 

Yes, I shoveled paths to both henhouses again, and out to the drive, and the whole gateway, so it would open.  I'm a glutton for punishment. 
I'll also never get an award for highway construction, since it appears I can't keep a straight line. 

I replenished the wild bird feed five times today... and put two fortexes full of chicken feed in the old henyards, and two waterers.  Both were empty an hour ago.  The hens and roosters on that side stayed IN... they don't like the snow on their feet, and it has been blowing all day.  I have enough of our special blend from our good mill in Bonner Springs for wild bird feed until Tuesday, then I'll have to get out and get more. 
They are predicting rain for us this week... I'm hoping the ponds really fill up. 

This is Troy and Kathy's pond next door.  It is twelve feet deep at the middle, and was down to three feet.  It is coming up slowly.  The deer and wild turkeys, the foxes, and coyotes all use this pond, as their property is only fenced on two sides. 
I took this picture last Wednesday, the last sun we had. 
It's good to see it gaining water again. 

I worked in the garden for a little over an hour yesterday... and inside, I am going to be starting yet more plants tomorrow.  Our tomatoes are up and going gangbusters... and I have started perennials from seed this year.  I love perennials, but I don't love the high costs.  Once we have the greenhouse up... you know, when spring is really here... I'll start more perennials and grow them on for a year in the greenhouse. 
In the meantime, I am getting so MANY good tips from Pinterest.  I follow the tips back to their home pages and make sure they are real, before pinning.  I also was invited to pin on two group pages, Kingdom of the Flowers, and gardening tips (not capitalized.).  Both are very good pages.  
I am getting such good ideas from them, and I'm going to show you a few in the next few weeks. 

Hoping for the snow to melt quickly, 
that's it for today from Calamity Acres! 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Some Chicken Stuff

These are four of the Five Little Roosters.  They were all roosting under the heat lamp last night. 

They do not usually roost there, though they will be a year old next month. 

Here is number five, and this is where they usually roost.  One sleeps INSIDE the nest box... or sometimes, two sleep inside it.  
The others sleep on top. 

Here they are, this morning, out in the cold.  Please note that one of the D'Uccles (the blue birds) has no tail... he molted his and it has not grown back.  You can tell how truly small they are. 
Just before this picture, their red and white brother from another mother, who was the Sixth Little Rooster, but has now moved to the big henhouse where there are HENS, had come over and beaten them up. 
They will stand outside literally in the freezing cold, when they have a warm light and henhouse five feet away.  
The little henhouse, where they live, used to be full of birds, but they are now the last. 

Keith and I talked last night... we have no garage here, except for a single car from the 40's that is clear at the other end of the property from our house, where we store the riding mower and some gardening things.  He has thought of razing the old henhouse and the little red henhouse, where these roosters live, and that he built 8 years ago, and putting a pad and a garage there.  We would not do this right away, but sometime in the next two years.  It's actually a good idea, because a neighbor of ours has built one on his property, and included four stalls at the back of it, that look out into his pasture.  We would do this model, as well.  It would get us a good, tight building, a place for our cars, and a good, warm place to keep some small goats or that elusive pony, and safely.  Turkeys!  By themselves, where they would not irritate chickens! 

This morning, there was a traffic jam in the old henhouse: 

These are the hens whose eggs we can't use... and I have been getting 8 eggs daily from this house. 

This guy, and a fox, a skunk, two possums and two kitties have been getting them.  However, in a few weeks the feeding program will cease. 

I have news for those two hens, though... I am about to move 

Miss Nugget and her nine eggs up to the nursing cage, where the hens are laying above. 

They can spend a few weeks in the nursing cage, and then move outside to the little pen when it is warmer. 

The hens lay daily in the nursing cage, and are going to be ticked off at me... but they are just going to have to find another laying spot, and my guess is, it will be in the box where Nugget has ensconced herself. 

Yesterday, I  made a trip to the feed store in Bonner Springs, where we have traded for years. 
In the parking lot were a mother and daughter, selling eggs.  
In a cage in front of their truck were four ducks that appeared to be Pekin/Buff crosses. 
They were 3 months old, so full grown.  
Any of you that keep ducks know what a pain little tiny ducks are (though cute as can be)... they are snake bait, and hard to keep clean, they spill their waterers constantly. 
These were just the right size.  I had just told Keith yesterday morning that I would like to get some ducks again. 
I spoke to the ladies, and they gave me a card, and we spoke for about ten minutes. Keith will help me carry one of the two unused dog houses from the pasture pen or the little henyard, and we will put it in the new henspa yard.  I'll load it with straw, and move a fortex in there for the duckies to enjoy. 

When I have everything set up, I'll call the ladies.  If they have sold the ducks, I'll ask them to keep their eyes out for more... and I'll proceed to look for a pair.  I don't want to breed, I want hens for their lovely eggs and their "duckiness".  I love to watch ducks potter along in water, digging their little holes and being happy with their tails wagging. 

It's 12:49 PM, and the snow has not started yet... indeed, it actually looks "less gray" than it did an hour ago! 
We are, however, still supposed to get 3-6 inches this afternoon into tonight.  I am going to try to get to church at four, anticipating that I will not be able to get out of the driveway tomorrow. 

I read a wonderful blog post this morning, here:

Morning Ramble is written by Patty Lockwood, who lives in Texas.  I have often found inspiration there. 

She focuses this morning on ONE sentence... it is a remarkable one, and I'll let you go there and read about it. 

By the way, Keith came home from work last night and deliberately came up our road from the south... there, in Roxanne's driveway (for the animals have the run of her entire several-acres yard) were the strutting Jackson, the strutting white tom turkey, a strutting peacock, a group of guineas and some chickens. 
We both had to laugh... we are so happy that our turkeys are so happy! 

Thank you, Roxanne! 

And that's it for a gray Saturday at Calamity Acres. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Before the Storm

Yes, it's for real. 

We're having a snowstorm with 3 to 5 inches of new snow tomorrow, just as I was thinking of storing the snow shovels away.  NOT. 

It called for a snuggly dinner tonight. 

Half a loaf of french bread from the Ft. Leavenworth Commissary. 
Split, and olive oil spooned on.  Put it in the oven at 250 to crisp up a little for about 8 minutes. 

Brown hamburger (I used chuck) and mix some Barilla sauce in it.  

Spoon it across the bread, and put some cheese on top, I used Kraft 5 Cheese Italian. 

I put it back in the oven at 250 for the cheese to melt. 

That's dinner! 

I saw a recipe similar to this on the web early this morning, but forgot to print it out. 
I think I'm close enough, and that's usually how I fly, anyway. 

Now, off to do the chores....

That's it for another wintry spring day at Calamity Acres! 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Where Did Spring Go?

Yes, we've had a smattering more snow, that came down for hours.  Unfortunately, deck and porch are VERY slick this time. 

It seems we are to get more tomorrow into Saturday.  

I did get some things at the grocery, just in case, but we are all snuggled in tightly here. 

The poor bulbs coming up! 

Look whom I dropped by to see yesterday!  Please note his new friends around him... he was free to go in the large (several acres) yard.... the peacock on the right, the peahen on the fence in the back, the guineas behind him.  Also behind him just out of view were Rosie, the other turkey hen living there, and the white tom turkey.  Jackson came right to me when he heard my voice, and then began showing off for me.  

This guy, Woody, came too... and growled at me... I hadn't realized he was loose... but we became friends pretty quickly.  Friend Roxanne is out of town picking up a load of baby goats at her daughter's house, and a caretaker is at her farm for the week, but my honking did not bring him out. 

I have to tell you that I felt so much better in my heart after I saw the turkeys were loose to move around, eat and drink with everyone else. 

I read all your comments about the tree yesterday, and the enormous cost we were quoted to take it down before it falls on the shop.  

In the old days, lumber companies would pay to get your walnut trees, because they needed walnut so badly.  Now, you have to take it down and haul it to them, to sell it.  We just want it down before it falls down, though we love the old tree. 

This, my friends, is what scaly leg mite infestation looks like. 

This bird, one of the four little roosters in the henspa, was only in the pasture pen before moving into the new henhouse.  How the HECK did the roost out there get infected?  

I am putting vaseline and VetRX on his feet, and the whole time... he was pecking the HECK out of my hand that is out of the picture.  His brother has the dang stuff, too... and got the treatment this afternoon, with more pecking.  

Both Mille Fleurs.  

The mixed rooster in there, which was also a home-grown, has actually become the top dog... his name is Moe, and he seems to be the one to everyone else kowtows. 

Moe is the little rooster to the right in the picture below with the black tail. 

Which of these things is not like the other? 

That's it for a cold Thursday from Calamity Acres!