Thanks to those of you who have sent emails checking up on me and making sure everything was okay. I never meant to be away so long....
So much has happened since my last post; along with the usual "busyness" of summer, my aunt and uncle were involved in a very serious car accident in July. They have both recovered for the most part, but since they are in their late 70's, it was a long road for them. Hubby and I tried to help them out as much as we could, so along with taking care of their place and my Dad's yard as well as our own, summer came and went before we knew it.
In August, we had to have Daisy put down. Those of you who've read my blog for a long time will remember her story~ she was our very first sheep; a bottle lamb. One day I found her limping very badly on her back leg, not able to put any weight on it it all. I wasn't sure if it was a hoof problem, so I checked it out but didn't find anything. By the second or third day, it was clear she had either dislocated her hip or worse, it was broken. And by this time she was in so much discomfort, she had stopped eating. We had a vet come and look at her but she advised that any type of treatment would have a slim-to-none chance of working. So, I made the decision no one wants to make, but in the best interest of the animal, you know it's what you have to do. It's been almost two months, and I still look for her every morning when I go to the barn....
On a lighter note, guess who just turned four years old last week?
Remember the "spring chicks" in my last post? They're all grown up now.
And one of the chicks turned out to be a rooster.....
Meet "Big Otis" and his girls.
And the silkies?
Well, they have such a sweet life, they might just outlive us all. :)
It's just part of having chickens. They get old. And stop laying.
Of course, around here they always die of natural causes....
Once a hen's laying days are over on the Fraker Farm, they get put "out to pasture" so to speak. In other words, I turn them out every morning and let them spend their days roaming and foraging to their hearts content, and I figure if they become a meal for a predator at least they died happy, since most chickens think it's heaven to get to free-range at all, let alone all day long.
I usually don't keep more than 4 or 5 laying hens at a time anymore simply because I stopped selling (and giving away) eggs and the feed is too expensive to justify keeping more hens than we need to in order to have enough eggs for two people.
I bought four Red Star chicks a few years ago, after having only Rhode Island Reds as my primary layers for many years. I fell in love with these calm, beautiful girls right away. Even as chicks they were so sweet and curious... I could stick my hand down in their box and instead of freaking out like most breeds do, they would come to my hand and peck at my wedding band along with any mole or freckle they thought might need inspecting.
The Four Hens of the Apocalypse (as they came to be known after what they would do to the mulch in my flower beds) lived the good life... they were almost five and their egg-laying parts had slowed down considerably so they started spending their days outside the coop. Unfortunately, one fell victim to a predator, and I lost two more to some mystery chicken illness soon after. I only have the one remaining hen, and she prefers to spend her days hanging out in the sheep barn, but occasionally she comes to the back door and waits for a treat.
Ah, the golden years. :)
I knew this would probably be the year I would need to get some new egg-layers, and I'd already made up my mind to get more Red Stars. Besides, the feed store where I always bought chicks never has a big selection of large breeds to choose from.
Wouldn't you know, this was the year they decided to carry some of my "dream" chickens... Buff Orpingtons. I've always wanted some of these big beautiful birds... sometimes just saying the regal name "Orpington" would make me smile and sigh over the dream of one day having a few for my very own.
I know this sounds hard to believe coming from me, but, well... I went a little overboard at the feed store.
I came out of there with six Red Stars and three Buff Orpingtons, which I held in my lap on the way home and all the while Hubby had that look on his face... you know the one~ the "guess I'll be building a bigger coop" kinda look. Poor thing.
Men just can't say no to a woman who loves chickens.
I'm happy to report that not only are these Red Stars as sweet as the last batch,
but the Buffs are just as sweet if not more.
They're going through that awkward "teenage" stage right now, where they're all legs and feet.
Love their hearts.
Their favorite thing in the whole world is just to perch and watch the world go by.
And my favorite thing in the whole world (other than baby chicks) is waiting for the day those fresh brown eggs start rolling off the assembly line. *squeee*
Yes, it is I.... slinking back into this blawg after neglecting it for, well... all of 2014 so far. *Sigh*
No excuses, really... just can't seem to cram enough into each day lately, let alone post updates on here.
But that is all about to change! (Really?) Yes.
I have a rather large and growing collection of pictures from the last three months I'm just about to bust to share. With anyone. Just not today. *Insert evil laugh* I'll be posting them on Friday Farm Fotos over the next few weeks, spreading them out so it will be more exciting that way. Kinda like a cliffhanger. Or not.
I'm also going to start something new around here; I started writing in my journal again back a few months ago, and I'm thinking of sharing some of my short stories from it with you. Sometimes I just write nonsense~ well make that most of the time~ but some of them are memories from my childhood and other musings that I want to put on here if for no other reason than to put it out there for someone other than me to read.
Oh, and something else~ I'm trying to familiarize myself with all this social media stuff by posting a picture every morning on Twitter or Instagram or both. Usually it's a picture of a chicken, a sheepie, or Lily; so if you can handle critter cuteness first thing in the morning, look me up. Click here to find me on Twitter, and here to find me on Instagram. Oh, and here for Facebook, if that's your thing.
I've got a lot of catching up to do with all my blog friends, so I'd better get started.... can't wait to see what's been going on with YOU!
Time has a way of getting by without realizing.....
I haven't written anything on here since the first of January, and now I'm wondering now where the last seven weeks have flown to. *Sigh*
Everyone around here is okay, including the critters; but the weather sure has been keeping us on our toes lately.
For instance, this was what it looked like here last Thursday~
And yesterday? It was 74 degrees and thunderstorms.
Warm enough that even the bees came out of their winter slumber
and were venturing away from the hive, looking for water.
A few weeks ago everything was covered over with ice as the temperatures stayed in single digits and teens here for several days.... here I am trying to thaw the sheep's water out with a torch.
The sheep did not like my torch and ran out immediately.
(No doubt fearing I would blow up the barn...)
The chickens got to stay inside for a few nights in the Holiday Hen (laundry room)
when the temperatures were near zero.
As you can see, Lily is checking on them to see if the accommodations were to their liking.
(She did this every few minutes until I finally had to close the door.)
The weather has been a great excuse for spending lots of time in my new sewing room...
I've finally had the chance to go through my fabric piles and sort them and organize all my tools.
This is my cutting table/area hubby fixed for me~
I have all my rulers, scissors, and rotary tools here close at hand plus a huge self-healing cutting mat.
I also love that he put casters on the bottom of the cutting table,
so I can roll it around the room if I need to. *squeal*
Of course, Lily has supervised all this organizing from her favorite spot.
I'm really glad we cut extra firewood last winter,
because we have been using it up quickly just keeping the house warm.
Fires are so cozy...
Getting water to the animals in the winter can sometimes be a headache, especially since the outside spigots had to be covered in insulation to keep them from freezing. When the temperature was near or below freezing, we had to carry water in 5-gallon buckets to the barn.
If you want to know how out of shape you are, try carrying two at a time up a hill.
Trust me, it is a humbling experience. *UGH*
Here is my sweetie, carrying water to the sheep barn for me when he got home from work.
I think I'll keep him. *Swooon*
I think I can safely say we are all looking forward to Spring this year... I hope it arrives soon.
Especially since I think the sheep (Daisy, in particular) are thinking about moving to Florida.
Happy Friday, everyone~ I have lots of catching up to do with all my blog friends!!