Sunday, March 28, 2021

Spring is Truly Here!

Looking east, you can see the pasture is greening up.  The sheep will return, soon. 

I will lost my view of the ponds, once the trees leaf out, but I hope to have those 
cedar trees removed this spring. 

From the other direction, you can really tell!

I am letting the chickens into the yard for a couple of hours a day, but once 
the plants are coming up properly, they will be restricted to their own side. 

See the squirrel eating companionably with them? 

I'm so proud of Jes, he looks still so overweight here, but he has done very well walking. 
He is also eating less. 

I interrupted his path up the driveway as I was outside.... and I'm glad I caught him, because I had left the gate open for a trip.  I will not be able to do that once the sheep are back. 

This is Powderpuff.  She is the only silkie living in the old hen house now, and rarely, rarely comes outside. 

There are only five birds left in that house, Singleton the Rooster and four girls.  Tonight, I am 
going to take her over to the Little Hen House and put her with the other silkies there.  They have a little tiny yard (Until Ben and I make their bigger yard)... and I think she would do better over there with the small birds.  I have hesitated to move her because she has lived in this house for the last three years.  We will see how she does.  She is a very gentle little bird, and does not lay. 

If the silkie roosters are too much for her, she will come back. 

Singleton is the Boss Man.  He keeps his daddy, Ferdie, and his brother, Buddy, in line. 

He did not suffer a lot of damage in the intense cold last month. 

However, I have lost six hens, one at the beginning of the cold snap, and five since then. 

As of this afternoon, I have unhooked all the heated waters but one.  I left it 
near the Big Hen House but will unhook it in a another day or so.  I unhooked the 
heated basins, and will clean them out good tomorrow, let them dry, and 
put them away for next winter. 

I am going to unhook the heated bases under the hen waters too... I'll leave them for tonight when we 
are going down into the thirties, and unhook tomorrow.  Temps look like they are going to be 
decent now for the next ten days. 

I believe Spring is truly here!

I love these guys!

This is Oscar's tree, in the front yard, on the north end of the property. 

Oscar, my heart dog, my Min Pin, is buried under it. 

When we bought the place in 2005, there were daffodils growing clear 
around the tree, and the box you see was whole. 

It has burst now, with the big trunk.  The daffodils are almost gone. 

Every year I tell myself to plant some more, but there is poison ivy growing there, too, 
and I have not done it.  I am going to make a promise to myself to do it this year, so that someone in the years to come can enjoy the spring show. 

Winter was hard on Ferdie.  You see he has lost the points on his comb. 

I love Ferdinand, he has been the gentlest of roosters, and I hate that his sons push him around. 

These little girls are thriving in the Hen Spa.  They are still under light, and will be for a few more weeks. They are pullets, and I suspect some kind of production red breed.  They were found abandoned in a park in Independence, Mo., and a rescue sent them to an avian vet, the only one in the area.  
She posted them, and a friend saw it, and notified me.  I went last Saturday to fetch them. 
They were found in a ten gallon aquarium, someone had left food and water but it was all spilled and soggy, and it had rained.  The vet tech told me yesterday that they will be inundated after Easter, and I told her I could take a few more. 

I am not criticizing the people for getting rid of them, but for the way they did it.  They may not have realized the big rescues would take them.  I will tell you WHY they did it... they are dirty and smelly and they peep constantly, and they have to have water and feed changed out constantly, and they just do NOT belong in someone's house.  Yes, I know people raise them inside, but folks, they have germs and they smell if confined closely. They look so cute in the store. 

I would take a few more, if asked, to help them out, but only a few.  

I'm blessed to have two big brooder cages. 

On Wednesday, I get my second Moderna shot.  I see light at the end of the tunnel, my friends. 
I will be wearing my masks for the foreseeable future, but the light is coming for all of us. 


Sunday, March 21, 2021

It's Spring!

I sit here today, realizing I have not blogged since February 27.  I was once a daily blogger, 

back in 2009 and 2010.  I think there was so much more going on around here back then, 

and we had so many more animals.  Keith was alive, and yes, we were busy, busy, busy. 

I realized this week that instead of "our" place, this was now "my" place... and 

though I often catch myself referring to "we".... I realized that I can 

do as I please and I take joy in making decisions.  There is nothing 

wrong with that, either. 

I have made some resolutions, late in winter.... as I write this, it is the second day of spring. 

I have vowed to change how I feed the wild birds.  I am ashamed at what I 

spent doing it this year. 

This gives you some idea of what is going on (and by the way, the Browning camera has NEVER registered the right temperature).  

I have been feeding hundreds of starlings, grackles, brown headed cowbirds and red-winged blackbirds. 
That whole area around the feeder is probably (and I'm not exaggerating) six inches deep in seed and hulls. 

Customarily, I dug it up and removed it each year, but did not do that last year.  I am considering different ways to do it, it is already sprouting.  The raccoons and possums dig through it at night, as do the rabbits, who were present even during the deep cold of February. 

What I am planning to do is that as soon as natural food is available, I am going to cut back 
to two scoops in the morning, and a scoop at evening, when the cardinals come to feed. 

These guys. 

Yes, I have a LOT of cardinals eating here.  Sorry about these pictures, the camera was facing into the sunset. 

This beautiful gray tabby has disappeared, now.  

Something odd has been happening.  The cats are no longer coming on the porch or deck to eat. 

I have a bowl out in the old garage, by my south fenceline, with food and another with water for them during the day.  I do fill it at night, and two possums are eating there as well as the two cats, Rusty and the yellow tabby. 

I caught the yellow tabby on the camera in the garage two days ago, and it appears to have a tail wound. 

I believe Troy and Kathy are also feeding it.  This cat is very feral, where Mr. Rusty will let me get within two feet of him.  He has taken a dislike to canned food, though, so I have stopped offering it.  Rusty has only been on deck once in the last three weeks. 

This was from January, but you get the picture.  

I am emptying the bowl at ten, and there is nothing left for them to eat on the porch.  

However, I found the heated basin (directly in front of the camera here) almost dry this morning, so some kind of shenanigans were going on last night. 

I have decided to disconnect the two heated basins at the end of this month, and hope for the best. 

I took this just before dusk the other night... for pete's sake, it was out early. 

That's looking out through the front door. 

These beautiful crocus are at the Ag Hall. 

Where a new quilt exhibit is being hung. 

The Ag Hall (National Agricultural Center)  will be open by phone call this year, in other words, 
if you call and say you would like to come, we will accommodate you. We are 
going to try opening on one weekend a  month, announce it, and have 
people there to answer questions.  All big events (Barn Yard 
Babies, for instance) are cancelled.  Christmas is on. 

The volunteers are trying to be flexible, and our volunteer manager 
is trying to do everything as safely as possible.  

About twelve years ago, Keith and I attended a Home Show and we listened to a presentation by an author, Patricia Lanza, speak about her book "Lasagna Gardening".  We really liked the principles... laying down a layer of cardboard and putting compost, hulls, etc. and good dirt on top to create a 
good garden bed.  Keith decided to build raised beds for us, and set to work.  There were eight rectangular beds, and then the long joined bed you see on the right, where we grew peas and 
climbing beans. 
As you see in this picture, a rosebush had grown up in one of the beds, and no matter how I trimmed it, I could not get it out. 

On Monday, my yard helper Ben came and pulled the beds out.  He took the trellises down from the long bed, 
and pulled that rosebush OUT.  

He then took dirt from the in ground beds and filled the long bed.  I am planting peas today. 

Because we have had a lot of rain this week, Ben is waiting for the ground to dry, 
then will bring his family's big tiller and till up the whole area where the raised beds were, 
and that will be my squash/pumpkin patch this year. 

Why did I remove them? 
If you look at that first picture, you will see why.  They were so hard to keep 
weed free.  Keith made them too close together, I could not mow between them, and let me tell you, the ONE thing Keith did not like to do was weed-eat.  I cannot handle a big weed eater at this point. 
Last year, Ben kept them as clean as he could. 

Every year I had to top them off with good dirt (notice I am saying I.... after building them, Keith 
pretty much left it up to me).  It just got to be almost too much last year, because it is hard for me to shift dirt. 

As much as I hated to tear apart any of his projects, I decided they had to go.  Then, if I decide not to grown pumpkins after this year, I can mow through there with no problem. 

I looked out the door on the fifth and saw Grandpa Possum eating in the garden. 
He is also not coming on the deck very often, but I notice on the camera I have in the garage that 
he and one of the younger possums is eating cat food out there at night. 

I'd like to encourage the darn raccoons to not come on deck soon. 

This little feeder is full of sunflower hearts and mealworms. 
(the most expensive feed I buy). 
A marauder has been getting into it, as you see. 
I don't begrudge them, however, I'm going to have to move the 
feeder because I will be planting that planter soon. 

Meet Miss Molly. 

Molly came to live with Jester and me about three weeks ago. She was one of the cats at 
Valley Feed and Supply in Bonner Springs, KS., but she was getting into feed sacks at 
night, and they could not sell the bags she had torn up.  She is a year and a half old, and is an indoor cat. 
After staying under the beds for a week, she began to venture out, and now joins me to watch tv 
in the evenings, either laying in my lap or on the couch.  She and Jester have accepted each other, and try to play.  She has been good for my lonely boy. 

There were always cats here at Calamity Acres, and it's good to have one again. 

Obviously, the creatures rule around here. 

This looks like a sunset, but in fact, was this morning's sunrise. 
The camera metadata is off, so I need to sit down and take a look at it, date-wise. 
I took it about 7:20 or so. 

Fifteen minutes later, I could see the two ponds at the foot of the hill clearly. 

Pretty soon, the trees will leaf out and they will be hidden for the summer.  Ben wants to cut down the cedars you see in the fence line... I have not coordinated that with the Spehars yet... but... my misgivings are the fact that the brush pile is growing out of bounds, and I do not intend to burn it. 
I may consult a tree eater and have them give me a bid on doing it. 

I got my first shot.  (Moderna). 

My second is on the thirty first.  
I am so grateful to the county, they got us through efficiently. 
I am going to try to take it easy for a few days after the second shot, 
just in case.  

He really is Mommy's Lucky Charm.  St. Patrick's Day was 
rainy here, and we did not get to walk, but we have been walking regularly, 
and I can tell Jester is in better shape for it.  When he goes in for this nail trim, 
I hope to see it show up on the scale, as well. 

Happy Spring!  I'm so glad to see it come this year.