Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mae Bell's a mama!

This is the sight I came home to yesterday afternoon
Mama banty

At least one duckling made it out!  I took a closer look, gently lifting her up to see what she was hiding...

There's 5 under there!
and another little head poked out!

I couldn't lift her up well enough to do a head count, but I could see shell under her (just to the right of the ducklings).  I started to pull out the spent shells and after getting four out, my finger touched one still whole, but with a little break in it.  I gently pulled it out from under her and could feel the little thing moving around in the egg!  It was just starting to hatch and had the tiniest of hole it was pecking at.  I laid it back beside Mama and she scooped it right back under her.  I checked this morning and it was out, being cuddled.  The Littlest Hen hatched all five of her eggs on her first try!  We're both proud mama's!  :)

Mama Chicken to Baby Ducks
It won't be long before they're bigger than her!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Broody Banty

Sitting on duck eggs!

Broodie Banty sitting on duck eggs  :)
My sweet Bantam Speckled Sussex, Mae Bell, went broody last month.  Instead of letting her sit on her own eggs which are fertilized by my not so attractive Bantam Cornish Roo, I stuck some of my Indian Runner eggs under her in hopes they would hatch.  Won't that be so cute, little ducks who'll be almost as big as Mama when they hatch?!

Below is a picture of the Mamas and the Papas....
Indian Runner Ducks
The boys are on either end with the girls in the middle. I have a set of three with crests and three without.  Mae Bell is sitting on five eggs, so there's no telling what I'll come out with! 

I put them under her on March 15.  They started pipping this morning!

Friday, July 22, 2011

This guy....

Meet my brother's dog, Marlin.  He's named after the firearm, not the fish!
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He is absolutely the sweetest pit bull I've ever met.  But, bless his heart, he doesn't have the best luck in the world.  Let me explain.....

About a month ago we had some very much needed rain.  It came in the form of what I would swear was a mini hurricane.  We lost giant limbs out of two pecan trees, and lightening hit our biggest.  My in-laws (The People Across the Pond) had a live oak completely uprooted.  It hailed, it set the woods on fire and it knocked the power out for hours.
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Back to Marlin.  My brother works second shift and came home shortly after everything simmered down.  He knew about the bad storm, so he went to check on his pup.  Marlin wasn't in his pen.... his pen wasn't even there!  It was laying on the ground about 50 feet from where it had originally been, dismantled and nearly destroyed.  He still hasn't found the dog house that was inside of it.  Sure that Marlin had gone to safety with our dogs in the in-laws shed, he went inside and to bed.  The next morning, our pups were home, but Marlin still had not shown up.  That afternoon when he and his wife rode around the ponds surveying the damage.  That's when he heard it.... a tiny, distant yelp.  "That sounds like a dog in a dam," he thought.  Sure enough, there he was, in the damn dam overflow of the middle pond.  (If you look at the header picture, their house is now in the opening on the far right.  The middle pond is behind where the picture was taken, about the same distance away.  It's FAR.)  He was alive, but barely.  Will had to crawl in with Marlin to be able to pull him out.  Poor thing had tried and tried to climb his way out, filing down his nails to the quick and turning his pads into hamburger meat.  He recovered surprisingly fast!

Fast forward about three weeks. 

While at work, I got a text from my brother.  "How many wasp stings does it take to kill a 75 pound dog??"  Dear Lord.....

Jami and I frantically searched the internet.  Not surprisingly, we could only find something on how to treat one or two stings... not what Marlin was facing.  The best thing?  Benadryl and baking soda.  And lots of it!!
 I wouldn't think twice about saying that homeboy had a good 100+ stings all over his body.  His ears and under his chin were the worst.  I don't have a picture of it (I really didn't want to take one), but I'm sure you can imagine.  I didn't think it was wasps, though.  Will hadn't actually seen what stung Marlin, and I had a better guess.  Bees!  The farmers have bee hives scattered through the fields around here.  There's a huge pile of them right across the road from our house.  My sister-in-law and I drove over to check them out and, sure enough, one of them looked to be slightly tipped over.  We didn't get too close to really check it out, but I'm sure that's where they came from. 

The swelling didn't last long, but he's got polka dot skin!  He almost looks like something out of a circus show.  Not really funny, but we have to smile about it now.  :)

Less than a week later, Marlin went missing again, still sporting his polka dot, mange-looking skin.  The doggie police got him!  He's back at home now.  I can only imagine what they were thinking was wrong with him!  On top of the stings, he was covered in fleas when he got home!  Poor fella! 

Maybe this time he's learned his lesson.  I kinda doubt it!
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So, the next time you think you've got it bad.... remember sweet 'ole Marlin.  It could be worse!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Baby Chickens!!

A couple of weeks ago, Jami had to stay home from work due to a bad case of poison ivy all over his hands (it would later spread to almost every inch of his body).  He and I carpool to work everyday and he's the type that as soon as we get off he doesn't want to do anything but head straight for the house.  We were getting low on pup food, so I took the opportunity to run across town to Tractor Supply and pick some up.  Of course, it was right in the middle of their Chick Days and they had just gotten a shipment in that morning.  I puttered over to the bins and laid eyes on 8 adorable little bantam chickens!  I didn't go there expecting to come home with chickens.  Really, I didn't, but I already had my brooder set up and there were only the eight left in the bin, so in my cart they went!

Aren't they just the cutest?!
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The black one in the top left corner and the two blond chickens have feathered feet.  My gut tells me the blonds are Buff Cochins and the other may be a Silver or Golden Laced Cochin.  One of the chipmunk looking biddies has greenish feet and legs so I'm thinking an Americauna.  Really, I have no idea what kinds they are!  They're almost 4 weeks now and are getting a lot of feathers in, so soon I'll post a picture at Back Yard Chickens to get some help identifying them.  Of course I'll post a picture and my findings here, too!

In March, I placed and order for Buckeye and Delaware chickens, but their hatch date isn't until June 1.  I picked the Buckeyes and let my niece choose a breed for her to raise.  I'm super pleased with her choice as these will both be suitable for eggs and meat.  I'm still unsure of my capabilities to cull a chicken that I've raised from a baby, though I am certain I can clean it once the deed has been done.  Jami and I have an agreement.... he does the dirty work and I'll do the rest.  Sounds pretty good to me! 

The coop is almost completed and I cannot wait to show it to you!  The only things we've had to purchase for it is a couple of boxes of nails and some wire.  It's definitely not the prettiest thing, but I'm betting my chickens will think it's the most magnificent home ever!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hen Nest Box Giveway at Life on a Southern Farm!

We've been busy building a chicken coop from used materials we've found in our yard, our parents, and the old paintball field!  Just in time, too, because yesterday I came home to find one of my biddies piddling around my spare room!!  They're only about 4 weeks old, but already they're trying to fly around and this little one was able to get out of the cardboard box I've been using as the brooder!  The only things we lack on the coop is building the door for the run and putting in some nest boxes. 

For the boxes, we have some blue, plastic Pepsi crates (the ones the truck brings the 20oz. bottles to the jiffy stores in) that will be screwed into the interior walls of the hen house.  Not pretty, but free and practical!  BUT, a favorite blog of mine is having a giveaway for a two hole, metal hen box that they make on their farm!!  I would love to win this myself, but I also want to tell you about it so that you can get in the running as well!!  Head over to Life on a Southern Farm (Yes! They're in Georgia, too!!!) and enter to win one of these gorgeous boxes!  If you're into farm living at all, I suggest you follow their wonderful blog, too!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Easter... Lilies!

Every year as the end of March rolls around, a beautiful sight begins to unfold in the ditches along these Southern roads.....
Easter Lily
The Easter Lilies, as we've always called them, are a sure sign that the Earth has awakened and Spring is finally here!  According to information I've found, the common name for Zephyranthes atamasca is Rain Lily, but that's not what we call them, nor have I ever heard someone refer to them as such.
Wild Easter Lily
You can read more about these beautiful flowers here.

  Have you ever looked at the new growth on pine trees around this time of year?  Way up at the top, the new growth forms a cross all over the tops of the trees.  Do they know Easter is right around the corner?

  Happy Earth Day!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spring Seed Order

I finally got off of my butt and ordered my vegetable seeds on Valentines day!  After looking through catalog after catalog, I decided to go with Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.  They are based out of Central Virginia and specialize in varieties that are adapted to my neck of the woods.  There were so many selections of each vegetable with tantalizing descriptions, it made it so very difficult for me to decide which I would get!  It literally took me a month of going through the catalog, researching the plants needs and putting together a simple garden layout to finally commit to the varieties I chose.  I think I will be quite satisfied!

The tomato and various pepper seeds have already been started in the greenhouse, while the rest will be directly sewn in the garden.  Our last average frost date is (depending on where you look) anywhere from March 1 through March 14.  The garden is ready to go now, but to be safe I won't be putting my seeds out for around another 2 weeks.  The anticipation is killing me!  In the mean time I'll be reorganizing my greenhouse and dreaming of a luscious garden!

So, would you like to know what I will be growing?  Of course!
  • Hungarian Italian Paste Tomato -  I don't eat tomatoes straight, but wanted to grow some.  I LOVE a good tomato sauce, however, so I hope to be putting up lots this Summer!
  • Chinese Five Color Pepper - My step-grandmother used to have these growing all around her yard.  At dinner time, she would pick a dish and eat them straight out of the bowl!  I don't know how they didn't burn the ever loving life out of her mouth, but she made them look so good!  Mostly, I got this variety for the nostalgia and beauty, but I'm also excited to see how a pepper sauce will taste.
  • Jalapeño Pepper - My brother goes through gallon size jars of these like there ain't no tomorrow... we're kinda fond of them, too!  We also eat the rear end out of Banana Peppers, so I got some of those as well.  Last year I grew a hot banana pepper.  I really liked those, but didn't want to grow two varieties of the same pepper.
  • Alabama Red Okra - I have a new fondness for fried okra and it grows like weeds in the Deep South!  This variety is said to be excellent fried and will add a little color to the garden with its red tips.
  • Zipper Cream Pea - Jami's favorite pea.  'Nough said!
  • Henderson Bush Lima Bean - My favorite veggie.  'Nough said!
  • Tennessee Red Valencia Peanut - I LOVE boiled peanuts!  In the Summer, I'm pretty much the peanut lady... I'll make them almost every weekend, especially if we're going canoeing.  There's nothing better than floating down the river and washing boiled peanuts down with an ice cold beer!  If you've never had or heard of boiled peanuts, I highly suggest you try them!  It's a true Southern Heritage food.  This is a brand new venture for me and I'll probably not be able to grow nearly all that I will eat this Summer, but I think it will be something fun to try!
  • Seminole Pumpkin - This variety has been grown in Florida for hundreds of years, but is quickly becoming an endangered food.  After reading a bit about the Seminole Pumpkin, I knew I had to grow it.
  • Midewiwan Sacred Tobacco - According to the description on SESE's website, the dried leaves are good for making an insecticide.  I'd heard of this method before and decided to give it a try since I was already ordering seeds.  The tobacco will have to be grown in a seperate place in the yard, so I hope if nothing else, it will be a pretty plant!
  • Cherokee Cornfield Pole BeanStowells Evergreen Sweet Corn, and Waltham Butternut Squash all chosen to build a Three Sisters Garden.  This will be my first foray into companion planting!  I love how the three veggies work off of each other.  The corn and beans were an easy choice, but the squash was another story!  After trying out a few different winter squash varieties, we chose the butternut for its sweet taste and good storage ability.
I also picked up the book Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth, which I have been wanting for over a year now!  I can say that my expectations were exceeded!!  Taking the leap and buying a bunch of seeds can be a bit pricey, but well worth it if I can turn that one purchase into a lifetime's worth of seeds.  Another step in our mission to become more self sufficient!

What will you be growing in your garden this year?  Be it in the ground or just in your head!