Thursday, June 28, 2018

This is Reality

Okay, folks. 

This. Is. Reality. 

It's hotter than two weeks ago. 

Lawrence, 15 miles from me, was 100 today. 
They are talking heat indices of 115 for tomorrow. 

That's what the smaller of the two pools looked like at 3. 
I had gone out at 1:30 and put some cool water into each. 

Notice that the henyard has pretty much dried up in the sun. 

All but one duck-dabbled hole had dried up.  It was stagnant scum. 

The ducks can hear as I start to fill the pools, they like fresh water. 
The teenagers were so excited they started jumping in with only two inches in the pool. 

The big white bullies came running from the yard. 

And ran the little ones out of the big pool. 

I have decided now that there really ARE four drakes. 

They are without a doubt the largest Pekins I have ever had. 

These little ones are so delighted with the water. 

I bucketed that whole pink pool onto garden beds. 
I am determined to keep all my new perennials alive. 

And this is how I looked when I finished and sat down to wait for the pool to fill. 

I had sweat rolling off of every bit of me. 

What I do is go out and work for 20 minutes or so in the heat, 
then go back in and cool down inside.  The dogs are literally out 
for only five minutes at a time. 

Smush-faced dogs need to stay in and suck on their teddies. 

I put a frozen bottle in an open water fortex in the little hen house, because the 
water literally was getting hot in their water fountain. 

They were perplexed at first, that's Singleton looking at it. 

He has turned into a beautiful cockerel.  He is now starting to get some brown 
shading on the tips of his feathers.  He was Biddy's first hatch this year. 
(and the little two better be the last!) 

It didn't take them long to realize the water was COLD, and they started 
drinking it.  I'll bring that container in tonight and re-freeze it, 
and will go buy a couple more tomorrow. 

Yesterday was our annual meeting at The National Agricultural Center, and 
I led a tour before the reception. 
I posed with part of the Oz Exhibit... we are participating in 
a presentation of The Wizard of Oz to be presented August 1 to 5, at 
Providence Medical Center Ampitheater (right down the street from us) by Theater League. 
We are going to turn the grounds into Auntie Em's house and farm, and characters will 
be roaming around.  

It should be great fun for families IF we don't have this terrible heat by then. 

Tomorrow morning, Lauren, our intern, and I are leading a tour for a day care 
group.  I am praying it isn't horrible at 10 AM, because I think those poor kids 
are going to get a shortened tour so they don't bake in the sun. 

Everyone hydrate and stay healthy! 

Sunday, June 24, 2018

A Break from the Steambath

And boy, did we ever need a break from the steambath!

The girls were hiding anywhere they could hide to get out of the sun. 

Asclepias Incarnata began to bloom, and was covered with 
flying insects and several different kinds of bumblebees. 

This is how dry we have been.  Horrid. 

Jester found the only sun puddle to sit in one day. 

This little girl was trapped one morning in the sheep pen, she could not get through the livestock fence.  She had to have come in under the gate.... but I picked her up and pointed her downhill towards the ponds. 

Granddog Shiner had to go to the vet because he 
pulled a nail out.  Ouch.  He is on pain pills for a while, plus 

As I posted on Instagram, my ducks were in a row for about two minutes, 
and yes, we had storms that day.  See the sky? 

These are the hugest Pekins I have ever had, but sadly, all are drakes. 
They sass me constantly. 

This is raccoon poop in the unused little wood henhouse at The National Agricultural Center. I discovered it on Tuesday, and prayed it was from the period when there were no birds there. 

I was wrong. 

We lost two of the new birds, gruesomely. 


The crazy thing is, for two years, we had sizeable flocks there with no losses. 

You see, the coop there has a pophole, but no door on it, because there is no one there in the evening to lock the birds up.  Hardware cloth surrounds the bottom of the coop, and is buried.  Poultry wire covers the top.  The first flock this year began to be decimated, the raccoons were coming down through the top.  That was sealed. 

These, this week, went through the side.  

I can see where they have been climbing the sides of the coop, which sits inside a utility barn. 
For now, our summer intern is closing when she goes home at 4, on four days a week.  I am 
going the other three days, which makes two trips a day for me while I try to think what is best to do. 

Today, Sunday, as I write this, we are expecting severe storms in the late afternoon.  I 
took care of the birds this morning and then left them locked in so I don't have to drive through 
bad weather to lock them up.  Hate to do it to them, leaving them locked in all day. 

The pen has been repaired, but I could see where the raccoons tried to get through again, and, as one of the male volunteers said "Once they have broken through, they will keep trying."  He is right. 

Someone suggested a solar door to me, but... if a hen fails to go in, she is dead. 

I have gone from getting 20 eggs a day to only 8 or 9.  Very frustrating. 

I marked it down to the heat, but I think I know what has been happening. 

Biddy appeared out of nowhere on Thursday, after I thought she was long dead. 
She had two new chicks in tow. 

Wherever she has been hiding, I fear I will find fifty eggs in the nest.  So far, I have not found them! 

I have decided to let her raise those two herself, and we will just let Nature take its' course. 

My innocent Lilly grabbed one of those chicks in her mouth and hobbled off with it, 
I had to chase her.  I don't think she is quite ready to cross the Bridge yet. 

Try as I might, I just can't get good pictures of the hummers on my porch.  I was able to get 
better pictures at the big house, through the patio doors.  

Found this big black rat snake skin on my mulch pile on Friday. 

And this juvenile rat snake was in the coop at the Ag Saturday. 
Our intern freaked out. 

The little stinker struck at me, too. 

I have no clue what Ferdy was doing yesterday, 
but he made a pretty picture.  He is such a gentle rooster... to me. 

Fat little Brownie, grazing in the yard yesterday. 

I have a huge volunteer pumpkin growing just off the mulch pile. 

I swear it doubled in size since I took this yesterday. 

As I was leaving the Ag this morning, I saw the baby rat snake's big brother. 

After storms today and tomorrow, we are to be back in the steam bath for the next ten days or so, 
and I'll be back to constant watering.  I will try to post as I can. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Heat is On

Oh, Goodness. 

Northeast Kansas is baking in the heat. 

We had maybe a third of a an inch of rain one night, 
if that. 

I planted miniature sunflowers in two pots on the deck from Burpee. 
I think they are just beautiful! 

Unfortunately, I got home from Fort Leavenworth this morning to find 
one pot almost entirely wilted in the heat and blowing wind. 
I have watered, and am praying they come back. 

Asclepias Tuberosa in the garden...

Asclepias Incarnata in a planter.... I had these in the garden 
in the spring, and the hens dug them up over and over.  

I moved them to the tub to save them, but they are meant for the 
garden, and I will transplant them this fall.  They came from 
White Flower Farm.

I did make a decision to buy locally from now on, though... we have 
a lot of good nurseries in this area, and if it will grow for them, it 
will grow for me. 

My granddaughter Paiton had her first riding lesson 
Tuesday.  She loves horses. 

That's Shelby, her instructor. 

Her horse's name was Ice.  She led him out to the turn out after 
her lesson, I was pretty proud of her. 

Her mom's comment on seeing this picture: 

"That's an awfully big horse!" 

These are the new birds at the Ag.  They are gorgeous. 
There are blue Polish with white tops... and one splash Polish (white with 
black spots), two small Silkie bantams, and some more Ameracaunas. 

I picked them up on Tuesday.  We are praying the pen there is tight enough that 
the raccoons can't get them. 

They were scared to death in this picture, but they are settling down. 

So this happened last night and today, in the heat. 

Sara and Eric Koontz came and did more work for me here at 
Calamity Acres, bless them. 
They power washed and scraped the barn (shop), garage, and hay shed, 
and they are now all painted BARN RED.  (Allure is the name of the color, 
and no, it didn't look that .... RED).  Yes, I know the crappy door is still on 
the barn, it's a long story.  It will be replaced. 

They also did this, today. 

I thought some of you might like to see what the inside of the septic tank looks like. 

Keith and I replaced our old iron one almost five years ago. 

This one had not been sucked out, and Eric and Sara also do that. 

Once they hooked the vaccuum hose up, it took MAYBE five minutes for it to 
be cleaned out.  That's Eric's son Jason, covering his nose.  It really was not that bad. 

June candles and ditch lilies are blooming like 
crazy on my bank at the side of the road. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Two Posts in a Week... It's the Heat!

It's the heat, folks.  Northeast Kansas has been rolling in the heat for a week. 

I walked out the door this morning at 7:15 to be gobsmacked by humidity already. 

My job is now refreshing water for all the living things here multiple times a day. 

The teenage ducklings are  now out of their little pen and on the loose!  They are so much fun to 

Yesterday morning, I moved the two small Cayugas out of their brooder 
and into the pen the older ducklings had vacated.  It had dried out in two days, but the 
Cayugas soon took care of that.  There was lots of excited quacking going on. 

This is what the duck pond looks like in the morning, and I am 
now bucketing it and putting it on the new perennials. 

Yes, it's a pain, but the flowers are loving it. 

I give them a full new pool in the morning, and again in the evening. 

I use my little red wagon to drive the water around. 

That was the sum total of eggs I got yesterday.  I have been getting nearly 20 a day. 

I did find one extra one in the little hen house, a hen had gone in there to lay. 

Saturday night, I posted this hen on Insta and Facebook, saying I did not 
think she would make it through the night. 

She died. 

Sorry for the blur... I found this one this morning, 
in the hen spa.  I have a fan going day and night here. 

The heat is getting my girls. 

Some of the flowers loving duck water. 

I always have a helper with me. 

The sheep are actually handling the heat pretty well, I refresh their 
water daily, and I keep a fortex full of cool water in the shade for them.  They 
are smart, and go in the barn in the heat of day, then come back out to graze. 
I have really enjoyed their living here. 

Milkweed is beginning to bloom. 

I have a patch of weeds at the south end of the south garden that 
I have not dug out yet.  I am going to try to establish a big patch of milkweed in the 
spot.  It won't be in the next few days, though, unless this heat breaks. 

I actually did pretty well in it until today. 

Last night, I went to the Yes 50th Anniversary tour at the Midland Theater in KCMO. 
I worked at the Midland for five years some time ago... and it is always fun for me 
to see a show there. 

Here are some shots of the show: 

Billy Sherwood, bass player, who took over for Chris Squire when 
he became ill and subsequently died.  He sings, as well. 
(I was in the second row)

Geoff Downes, who had on sequined tennies (I could not get them in the picture) 
We share a birthdate. 

The very fragile-appearing guitar virtuoso Steve Howe, 
on the left.  

Tony Kaye, who was in and out of the band over the years (weren't they all?) did 
the last four numbers, as did drummer Alan White, one of the original members. 
Alan White is also fragile, having back trouble, etc., and looked tired
Jay Schellen did the drumming for most of the show. 

I did not get a good picture of John Davison, the singer for this 
version of Yes. 

Ooops... I'll upload a bit of Roundabout and you can get a glimpse of him. 

One of the other critters around here that appreciates water and clover. 

The four big Pekins are purebreds, and the two tiny Cayugas, as well. 
These "teenagers" are mixed, Rouen and other mixes... but I think they are 
so pretty.

I noticed this morning while doing chores that the grass has stopped growing.  

I had to walk down in the pasture to dispose of the hen... help me out, vultures.... 
and noticed that after I cut last week, nothing appears to have grown.  I'm not cutting again 
until we get some rain!