Monday, May 31, 2010

First Canoe Trip

My husband and I joined our neighbors on a canoe trip down the Jacks Fork in Alley Springs, MO. It was our first time down a real river. We rented from Harvey's in Eminence, MO over the Memorial holiday. The river was clear and cool. I learned that open sandals are a poor choice when walking over the rocks in the river. Those rocks hurt my feet and got into my sandals. Next, always wear a life vest even if you know how to swim, that current and a metal canoe can drown you. Don't bring any valuables with you, wallets, keys cell phones and camera will get wet and lost in the current. Wear a swimsuit that stays on you and shorts too. The current is strong and will strip your bare if you get in the water with loose wearables. Bungee your towel and cooler to your canoe, or it will get lost if your turn over. Have extra clothes and towels in your car upon your return. You will get wet and you will need dry clothes after. Harvey's had a shuttle service and restrooms to change in which was nice.
We got wet after hitting another canoe by accident. Then that same canoe turned over again later on the journey. I learned that water rescues are hard to do. A nylon rope would have helped. Other than the turn overs and the water rescues the trip was fun. The water was clear and I could see the fish at the bottom. The trip was 6 miles of nature with all the cliffs and trees. We even saw baby river otters on the shore. We are planning to go again this summer. What a great way to see Missouri!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Egg Eating Rat Snake



Today at lunch, while checking on our chickens my husband almost stepped on a huge black snake by the coop door. It was trying to enter the coop like we were; looking for eggs. I have been shorted an egg a day for the last 2 weeks. Not being prepared to kill, the snake took off before I could whack it with a stick. It seated itself under the coop and evaded the eyes of 4 adults after a hay lunch hunt. We moved all the hay bales to find this snake.
This evening I did my usual chicken check and there was the same snake, parked above the chickens in the coop rafters. The chicken wire was keeping him at bay. This time we were armed with an maul, shovel and a hard rake. The snake was huge, black and angry for being poked out of the rafters. My husband poked the snake and got the snake to fall onto the ground. Then I jumped in to end its life. But a final blow from the maul did the deed.
I hate to kill any living thing, I even like snakes. But this big one was determined to make a feast out of our eggs and chicks since we don't have any rodents around. I don't want to have to do this again. It is not a nice feeling ending the life of one of God's creatures.

Happy Chicks




Our chicks are growing up fast. They enjoy the freedom of running all over the coop. There has been a huge black snake under our coop stealing eggs. We are gunning for him after letting him slip away. We will have to keep an eye open for him.

Dirt Bath




Having seen the older chickens take dirt baths I figured the chicks would like the same. The Silver Wyandottes dove right into the pan of dirt. The best thing ever on a hot day.

Beefy Deck



Our deck got an upgrade in design accents. We love the western look our deck now has.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chicks week 4




The chicks were getting too large and smelly to keep inside the house. Even changing their litter once a day was not enough. So with the warm weather we decided to put all 23 chicks in the big coop. They get to see and hear the adult chickens but are safely housed away from them. They have all kinds of room to run around in and windows. They will get to run outside after we mow the chicken yard. And their new nest boxes are on their way. These are going to be very happy hens.

And the color is Pecan


Here is a stained board showing the color our log cabin will be. Mark, our contractor, stained this sample and tacked it up for us. It will soften and lighten after a while. Very exciting!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Humid Day



A humid day on the farm with Osa the shepherd, Daisy in the trailer and Poppy looking above it all.

Four Flycatchers


Here are the 4 baby birds we moved to a safe new nest. They were on the gable end of our house and construction required removing the nest. They are safe now in a plastic gourd with one of the pair of parents watching and feeding them.

Slow Moving Monday



This turtle is moving fast than I am today. I am all worn out from water proofing the hen house. Getting our coop ready for 23 young pullets is hard work in the humid heat of Sunday. My plan is to keep inside and quilt for the rest of the week.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Plaids



Here is a closeup of a plaid corduroy backing and binding I made for a client. I have never had the challenge of plaid and corduroy at the same time. Cotton corduroy is stiff but handles well for binding. I used a heavy quilting thread to hand stitch the binding. It will last a very long time.

Whistle While you Peep



Our chicks are now 3 weeks old. They have almost all their adult feathers. They have 3 more weeks until they can go outside. My husband is whistling to them to calm them down. They are stronger and more agitated with the brooder confinement. They respond to our voices and sounds. We have also handled them to get used to us. They will be joining our adult chickens in the next month outside.

Howdy

This is Roy a good friend who works hard to keep our small town, Summersville, special. He restored this tractor and uses it any chance he gets. He is an authentic cowboy and gifted gardener. I am truly blessed to have him as a friend.

Friday Log Cabin






Yes, this Friday was a busy one for us. Our contractors took advantage of the nice clear rain free day to get more done on our house. Mark handed me a nest full of 3 baby flycatchers that were on the side of our house. After calls and Internet look ups, I put the nest in a gourd and hung it near a feeder away from all the construction. After 5 hours the baby birds peeped loudly and the parents found them. They have been feeding the baby birds happily since the move to a new safe home. Later in the day a 4th baby bird was found an put into the new gourd nest. All are doing well in spite of our bumbling interference with nature. A new home for us and our feathered friends.
I did learn that wild birds do not thrive if raised by humans. Best to place a baby bird in a temporary nest where the parents can find and feed them. The nest can be anything that holds the baby bird with straw or shavings up away from weather and predators, like my cats. Then watch and listen for the peeps. Parent birds will work hard to locate their babies from the sounds they make. I had no desire to hand feed 4 wild chicks every 2 hours for the next four weeks. I am so glad the bird parents are doing all the work.

Snakey Friday




This black snake with a yellow belly and spots showed up under my roses. He coiled up and shook his tail like a rattler. But he lacked a rattle. He looked harmless and went on his way into the tall grass.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday Log House





Our contractor and his crew are working hard on this dry Monday. After a week of dodging rain and winds, we finally have great cool weather. They are quickly getting logs on all 4 sides of our house. Amazing how fast they can get up in the air to work with splintery logs. We had planned to add fake rock to the bottom half of our house. But that will have to wait.

Parent Chickens



My green tailed rooster is a mix of game bird and Americana chickens. He has grey legs and a long green tail. He was given to me be a neighbor who had too many roosters. The bottom photo is the parent pair. They look so bland compared to their offspring. I guess that is how it goes in chicken land.

My June Veggie Garden

With the purchase of a tiller I put it to work. I tilled 3 times and added farm compost to the rocky soil. Very easy Dahlias. ...