All posts by Kate

Worf

Our new pup Worf is nearly 6 months old now. He sure has grown since we got him in May.

Here he is on the first night at our place, nearly 7 weeks old.

Worf, nearly 7 weeks old.

2 weeks later, sitting in Xander’s camping chair.

9 weeks old.

And now, nearly 6 months old.

Worf, almost 6 months old.

He’s really tall, has gazelle legs, and is thin and lanky. Not at all stocky and mastiff shaped like his dad. His feet still look to big for his body so we don’t think he’s reached his full size yet. He has a wonderful temperament, puts up with all Xander’s toddler craziness no problem and gets along well with Poppy Seed and McCoy.

Cluck cluck, Gobble gobble

Our neighbors (whose dogs killed our chickens) bought us some replacement chicks and when we were at the store picking them out we also picked up 4 turkey poults. They’re all in a brooder box in our living room. So far this time raising birds hasn’t been as messy. We’re using wood shavings instead of the pellet bedding we used last time. That stuff was so dusty!

Turkey poults.
McCoy checking out the birds.

We have 4 broad breasted white turkeys (I believe that’s what they were), 2 rhode island red pullets, 4 black star sex link pullets. Ren, one of our dog attack survivors is a rhode island red.  I was hoping the feed store would have some chicks that will lay blue or green eggs but they sell out of those super fast! We got the birds on May 7th and they’ve grown so much since them. The turkeys are much bigger than the chicks and they keep trying to fly. It’s fun watching them grow and listening to their chirps but I cannot wait to get them out of the house!

Garden Update

We’ve had such a cold and wet spring so our garden has gotten a late start. April 11th was one of our first nice days (that also coincided with Ryan’s days off!) and Xander and Ryan turned over the garden bed.

Digging in the garden.
Working hard.
Muddy toes!

The problem with doing catch up posts is things are out of order, when we were working in the garden we had the chickens close by hoping for worms and other tasty things. Now only 2 of them are still alive.

RIP: Aplets, Peaches, and Mariah looking for bugs.

The next week, April 17th, we had an even warmer day. Ryan got some seeds started in the garden while Xander helped find rocks.

Ryan and Poppy Seed
Oops, left the door open! 2 of the 5 shown survived the dog attack.
Xander found a rock!

After the planting that day we went for a walk, all of us.

Hens and Poppy Seed
Poppy Seed and McCoy
Ryan and Xander climbing a tree.
Chickens like climbing trees too!

Unfortunately warm days like that one have been few. Yesterday, Ryan said that some of the seeds he planted have started to sprout. Hopefully it will be sunny  or at least not raining this weekend and we’ll be able to get more seeds started. We also need to dig an area for the tomato plants that Ryan’s parents are bringing us at the end of May. Our garden news is up to date!

Sad and Angry

I was going to title this post Massacre or Tragedy but those seem over the top and Sad and Angry really is what I am feeling. I looked out the window this morning and saw weird things in the yard, at first I thought it was the wood shavings we use for bedding but they didn’t look right. Finally my brain figured it out…

Feathers, lots and lots of feathers. I ran outside and found different piles of feathers.

What I first noticed from the kitchen window.
More feathers.
This hen laid an egg while being attacked!

Then on the far side of the coop I found Peaches.

RIP Peaches

At the same time I found Peaches I also heard noises in the woods and saw the culprits.

The neighbors dogs aka Chicken Killers.

The house on the East side of us is empty most of the time, seems like the owner and his friends only show up on weekends or so. They just leave the dogs with food, no attention whatsoever. We feel really sorry for the dogs, or at least I did until they killed my chickens!

I tried to get the dogs out of our yard but they wouldn’t listen to me at all and they knocked Xander over (not being aggressive just super in your face friendly) and I just freaked out. Called Ryan pretty hysterical, he was on his way to a meeting (pulled over before answering the phone) and came home instead. He was able to hook a leash around the one dog and the other one followed. Then he walked the fence line and found where they had dug under and he filled it in and put rocks there. He buried Peaches and then had to get changed and go to another meeting.

While Ryan was dealing with the dogs and fence and burial, Xander and I were walking around looking for chickens– alive or dead. We found Patty!

Patty the leader of our coop!

I was able to catch Patty and later Ren and put them in the coop. No signs of any other chickens or corpses. Patty is walking around the chicken yard calling out mournful cries, it’s horrible! We’re hoping some of the other chickens are still alive and just hiding but obviously some of them must be dead (from the amount of feathers) and either eaten or dragged into the neighbors property.

I’m keeping our dogs on leash for the next few days. Don’t want them finding injured or dead chickens and getting bad ideas! This day SUCKS!

Spring

Spring is here according to the calendar but our weather seems to be confused. This week we’ve had snow and hail and this morning we woke to a layer of frost on everything. Last week we had a dry day, not sunny but at least not raining. We took advantage of it and got some yard work done.

I emptied out some of our Earthboxes and filled them with fresh soil and was able to plant some strawberry and mint plants. I’m planning on getting some seeds started in the other planter. While I was working with the planters, Ryan used our new (electric) lawn mower and got the front yard all mowed.

New strawberry and mint plants, garlic coming up in the other planters.

Yesterday evening the weather was nice for awhile so he went out and mowed the section behind the house. The chickens were very happy with the newly cut grass. Speaking of chickens we never did find any sign of Mango. We trimmed all the other hens wings so they can’t get over the fence.

Hoping to get more work done on the garden soon.

Photo Updates

We are so bad about posting! We’ve had a lot of sunshine the last two weeks. Too much! It got to be way too hot for a couple of days. Thankfully it has cooled down somewhat so today we were able to get things done outside. By we I mean Ryan, lol, I just took photos. First Ryan weed whacked some of the tall grass in the back yard. So that there would be a clear space to set up a pool. I know, last year we spent all that time taking down the pool and now we’re setting one up. This is just a little wading pool for Xander. Right now we aren’t even filling it halfway, just enough water for him to splash in.

Xander and the pool.

It was pretty warm out this afternoon. Since Poppy Seed and McCoy weren’t allowed in the pool they cooled off in the shade. This part of the yard hasn’t gotten weed whacked yet!

Poppy Seed and McCoy in the shade.
Poppy Seed and McCoy in the shade.

The garden is doing pretty good, at least some plants. The spinach bolted and bugs, slugs, or something killed off the tomato plants. But we’ve still got a lot of  lettuce, carrots, beets, potatoes, and other yummies.

Garden July 11th
Watering the garden.

The chickens are full grown now. We have started letting them run around the yard (when the dogs are inside). They love running free. They also love strawberries so we had to put some fencing around the planters. Unfortunately we didn’t realize their love of blueberries right away and by the time we did the chickens had harvested them all!

Chickens on parade.
Chickens on parade.

Soon they’ll be laying eggs! We can’t wait!

Love that sunshine!

Saturday was nice and sunny, I really wanted to get some work done but I wasn’t sure how much I could do with Xander on the loose.  He loves being able to explore so I didn’t want to confine him to the playpen (plus I can only be right around the house if he’s in the playpen– not going to haul it up the hill). On our last walk up into the orchard he had really enjoyed digging in the dirt with his hands so I thought he might enjoy digging with a spoon.  I grabbed the big pruning shears (what I call the loppers), a spoon and small bowl for Xander to dig with, and a bottle of water and we headed up to the orchard. Settled Xander down and went to the nearest tree to start pruning. I wasn’t sure how long I’d be able to work before he got bored with digging but I figured any work was good.

Xander digging
Digging a hole.
Xander measuring
Measuring how much dirt he'd removed.

It was amazing, give the boy a spoon and some dirt and he was completely enthralled. I was able to work on the trees for an hour and a half! I had to move Xander 3 times so that he was close to the trees I was working on but he didn’t try to wander off, for the most part he was content to just dig where I sat him.

Happy digger.
Happy digger!

I’m probably not doing the best job pruning but I’m really just aiming to remove damaged branches or ones that cross over each other and rub. After cutting the branches I hauled them all towards the path so we can move them down to the brush pile with the wheel barrow (not something I could do with Xander). I tried to get Poppy and McCoy to pose near the pile of branches for scale but they weren’t really cooperating.

Branch pile
Happy dogs!

They were however very happy that we all spent time outside in the sunshine.

Mow, mow, mow the lawn.

We got a lawn mower! A Scotts Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower. Uses no gas, no electricity. Produces no fumes, no noise. It burns calories, builds muscle. All in all a great lawn mower!

After Ryan put it together he tried it out on our front yard.

Ryan mowing lawn
Ryan and our new lawn mower.

After he had mowed what he could of the front yard (we’ll need to remove some branches to mow the whole thing), I started in on our side yard. The ground is very uneven and the grass very thick so it took a lot of pushing. I got most of the side yard done before dinner was ready and it was time to quit. It might be a little bit harder to use than a gas or electric mower but the benefit of it’s lack of sound pollution makes it so worth it! It was good exercise and I actually found it very peaceful, but boy are my arms sore today!

Kate mowing
Kate mowing the side yard.

Still have a lot more lawn to mow but the weather has turned rainy so it will have to wait. Hopefully by the next sunny day my sore arms will have recovered and I can mow the back yard.

Timber!!!

The trees outside our gate were growing up into the power lines so we wanted to remove them. When Ryan’s parents visited for Xander’s 1st birthday they brought along their chain saw and that Saturday Ryan and his dad removed the trees.

Trees by the gate
Here you can see the cluster of trees growing into the power lines.
Trees
Ricky cutting down the trees.

While Ricky cut down the trees with the chainsaw, Ryan chopped up all the branches.

Ryan
Our loppers got a workout!

We got a pile of firewood, a bunch of kindling, an easier to open gate, but most importantly our trees won’t be responsible for any power outages. We couldn’t have done it without Ryan’s Dad’s help. Thank you Ricky!