Friday, November 29, 2013

Scrubby Ducky

Last weeks cold snap gave me a serious problem in my coop. A mother duck hatched out 7 ducklings. Our raised coop floor got very cold even with heat lamps. The next morning one duckling was dead and the rest were close to it. I brought 2 inside to be warmed by my husband and put together my indoor brooder box.

I had to leave mama duck outside and brought all 6 ducklings inside. I can raise baby poultry but an adult duck is no fun to have in the house.

By the next morning the baby ducklings had settled down in the brooder box. They made a mess and needed a bath. So we filled the tub half way with lukewarm water and dumped them in, supervised. I cleaned their brooder box while they swam about. Now everyday they get a bath and I can clean out their box.

In a few weeks they should be able to stand colder weather. I will put them back outside with their flock.
Until then, they get supervised 15 minutes to swim. Then they are taken out to dry off under their heat lamp.

Six ducklings and my cat, Ump watching over them.

The warm dry fresh clean cage. Food and water and dry pine shavings. 
This is the good life for these baby ducks.

Etudes Me?

This is my cat when I play. She sits on top of the piano and gives me this look while holding her ears back. I think she likes the vibrations this upright makes.

I am learning how to play with the left and the right at the same time. I am reading about pianos and reading sheet music. I would rather play then do anything else. The time flies by and I have to get farm chores done in the dark. But when playing the world goes away and there is only the sound of the piano.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Chicken Ranching

Here is Limpy a Cuckoo Maran hen I saved abandoned by her mother and almost eaten. I thought she was a he until the other roosters proved me wrong. And Limpy does not crow as her litter mates do. But she does not lay eggs yet, either. Limpy was not able to walk for 3 months of her life. Now you can't stop her and her long legs.

Americana rooster with lovely plumage. He survived the cull since he has a sweet 
disposition and is very pretty.

Our Egyptian Fayoumis hen. Very flighty fast bird but has survived the loss of her rooster mate.

Little King a Japanese Bantam rooster, Americana hen in the middle and Little Kings son on the right. The son is a full size rooster. Little King's son is being given away as he is not the nicest rooster to the hens. But he is a very pretty and showy bird.

Apples Down the Lane

 Or rather, hedge apples down the lane.
Here is 1/4 mile worth of Osage oranges or hedge apples cut in half and planted along our fence line.

All bright green and set in the dirt for a winters nap. In 3 years it will be tall enough to weave into a hedge row or natural barbwire. In 10 years it should produce these green apples. However, by keeping it short and stunted, it should not produce many apples.

Farm husband planting over 1,000 of these along our fence line.

Can you tell this was engineered?

More perfection

One worn out farmer. The osage orange bleeds a sticky sap that turns your gloves black and sticks to everything. But the sap is water soluble and easy to clean unlike pine sap.

Homey Soapy

A few weeks ago I was visiting a friends house and I noticed a unique scent in her laundry room. It was the homemade laundry soap she had in there. She told me about how cheap it was to make and how much she saved in cost. So this week I gave it a try. She was right, it was easy to make and to use. It works great and now my house has the same scent. The clothes are clean and I am happy. No more expensive laundry soap for me.

The main ingredient 1/2 a bar of Fels-Naptha soap.

Makes 5 gallons of laundry soap.

Melting down the soap bar, smells great. The final mix cools and gels slightly overnight. I use about 1/2 a cup of the new soap in my wash. Life is good.
The Recipe:
1/2 a bar of Fels-Naptha soap
1 cup of Borax
1/2 cup of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
5 cups of water then 3 gallons of hot water
Big 5 gallon Bucket, clean
Long spoon or stick to mix inside the 5 gallon bucket

1.Grate the 1/2 bar of soap with a cheese grater. Put the shavings into a pot filled with 5 cups of water. Boil and stir until all the soap shavings have all melted. Turn off the heat.
2. Put 3 gallons of hot water into your 5 gallon bucket. I used a clean empty 1 gallon milk container to pour the correct amount. Pour your melted soap mix into your 5 gallon hot water bucket. Then stir with a long stick or spoon. Add 1/2 cup of washing soda then 1 cup of Borax, stir until all is dissolved in your 5 gallon bucket. You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil into the bucket if you like a scent. I like the Fels-Naptha scent it already has.
3. Cover the bucket overnight. It will cool and gel up. You can then put your homemade soap in containers or leave it in the bucket. You can get 110 loads out of your new detergent. I keep a plastic 1/2 cup scoop to dole out my soap. Happy Laundry Day!

Was Lost and Found

My neighbors dog disappeared 3 days ago. We spent 3 days looking all over for a dog that comes up to people all the time. No sign. So we posted on Facebook and put up fliers and called everyone we knew. Today, the dog appeared in the garage to her owners surprise and delight. Someone anonymously put her in his garage.She was gritty, dirty and very hungry and thirsty, but she was fine. We are happy to have her back on our neighbors farm again.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

She's Upright Here

This is the outside of my 1905 Knabe-Angelus. She is a plain simple piano with a clear window in the center to see the hammers. No fancy carvings here, almost an arts and crafts simplicity.

The original keys were replaced before we bought the piano.

It was well cared for with only slight piles of mouse hoarding under the hammers. This piano has not been in a flood nor outside as many do end up. There was soot from a wood stove on the inside of the casements. Someone took great care of the piano. If we did want to do a full restoration it would run about $10-$20K. But she is in tune and plays very well so for now we are happy. 

Quiet Hunting

This has been the first time that hunting season has been very quiet around here. It used to sound like a war zone. I guess since ammo is hard to find people are just not wasting it. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

She Rings True

I was able to get the name of a local piano tuner to come and tune my over 100 year old upright piano.
He came and worked on my piano for 4 hours. 

One string broke and had to be refitted again. 

By ear he was able to adjust the pins to get my piano back in tune. He removed parts of the piano to get to the strings. A bit dusty but this old piano was stored well and has aged beautifully.

We used our electric tuner as a visual aid for us to see what notes he was tuning to. He was dead on for all the notes. My old upright makes bright and loud notes again, no longer flat. Before he left he signed the low key hammer and dated it. So the next tuner will have the info. Unfortunately, our tuner's children had no interest in learning the tuning craft. It is a dying art just like playing music. At least here in the Missouri Ozarks, they still have music jam sessions.

Da Bunny

Here is Alan and Rose modeling the latest in bunny treats, a natural basket.

This basket is now nothing but a pile of twigs at the bottom of her cage. Rose loves to chew baskets.

Behold, the holy hand grenade.If you have ever owned a bunny, you know they are a lethal force to be not to be reckoned with. Such a cute thing with teeth as sharp as knives.

Osage Can you See..?

This is an Osage Orange tree or hedge apple tree.  It makes softball sized 2 pound green oranges you can't eat.We collected a truck load to plant as a natural hedge/fence. The tree is hedge size in 3 years and its thorny branches, create a natural barbwire fence. You do not want to stand under one of these trees. The green fruit can knock you out.

This is half way full truck load we collected to bring home. Some people put them in their house to keep spiders away. They do smell nice and have a great green color. But they have a sticky sap that oozes out of the fruit if cut or bruised.

Osage tree bark is very hard and inter woven looking. Very straight tree who's leaves turn yellow in the fall. The seeds we plant will not produce fruit for another 10 years. You must have a male and female tree to make viable seeds.Cows, deer and squirrels do enjoy eating these green fruits.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Culling Time

The chicks have all grown up and they are all roosters. I have roosters I raised, other peoples unwanted roosters and ordered "hens" that grew up into roosters. It is time to choose who lives a long life and who is dinner. First to go are the bad tempered ones, then the defective ones, ones that are too many of the same line.  I am only culling 5-6 and keeping 7! I have 2 that will be given away to a rooster collector.The rest of the lot include an Easter Egger, Cuckoo Maran, Bantams, Phoenix and my home grown breed. This leaves me with a great blend for next spring. Now I just need some new hens again. I usually hatch in August to have young hens for the fall. But I was too busy to do a hatch for me this year. After 4 hatches for other people; I was burnt out. My ducks are very fertile and have had no problem keeping their ranks full. But the ducks are pets and are not eaten.
Raising poultry has been rewarding in providing meat and eggs for us.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Egg Me No Longer

This is a photo of one of my many roosters. Egg production on my farm has nose dived over the last month. I thought it was molt, daylight or too many roosters. So I caged up the roosters, the molts are done and the chickens are in the sun. Still low egg count prevails. I improved the coop beds with straw and shavings and provided copious amounts of chow for the poultry, but the eggs are few and far between. It is not an egg thief as the wooden eggs are still in place. My girls are just not laying. I have old and  young hens of all shapes and sizes. They have clean water and all the oyster shell they want. I am at a loss for why all my hens are taking the fall off on their egg production. But on the bright side they have earned a rest. I have a broody duck with several eggs under her. And I had a hen hatch a single chick that she brooded on for over a month. Perhaps my hens are telling me to take a break and enjoy the fall into winter.

Rain Down on Me

I was sitting in my truck waiting for my husband.
 I noticed how pretty the trees looked on the wet windows.

The colors were very rich and vivid.

One of the joys of fall are the colors everywhere you look.

Squared Up

A few months ago it was suggested we have a church square dance. We participated in our church's first  square dance. It was a lot of fun.

Nothing fancy just us learning the steps along with our priest and a few experienced dancers.

The caller was Jim Ryan from our church. He calls and dances as well. We learned the 2 step and the waltz. I like the waltz best. We hope to do this again in December.