Saturday, March 31, 2012

Kids and Blooms

Papa Bear went to the feed store, came back and went to throw a bale of hay in the barn.  He heard a noise and turned around and our doe Sugar was over in the corner with two new kids.  We had put our other doe Jersey in the birthing stall as she is due today (Saturday) but the goats have other ideas... They are not reading my calendar.  Papa Bear gets Jersey out of the birthing stall and puts Sugar and her two kids in the stall.  I helped Sugar clean and dry the kids and checked her teats so the kids could nurse.  Both of the teats were plugged so I went to get a warm wet cloth, a milk bucket and nursing bottles.  I got the teats unplugged, milked her and gave the kids a bottle as they were still not finding the teats well.   Mama and babies settled down in their nice clean stall.  Big dark angry rain clouds were on the horizon and I went back to the house to start supper while Papa Bear finished the rest of the chores.  

I wasn't inside 30 minutes when Papa Bear called from his cell and said our other doe Cocoa Puff had lost her plug and was in labor.  Cocoa is not due yet either.    Papa Bear got her into another stall but it is all dirt and no hay down and it is small.  I am trying to spread hay whenever cocoa moves so the baby is not born in dirt.  By this time the sky has opened up and we are in the middle of a big thunder storm.

Cocoa usually has her babies very fast so I knew after over an hour of pushing something was wrong.   When Cocoa pushed I could see a nose but only one hoof.  In a normal birth, kids are born in a diving position with their nose in between both hooves.  Papa Bear got our medical kit and I put on gloves and jelled up to go in and feel what was wrong and to get the leg and hoof in the right position.  I felt all up inside her cervix and womb but what I was feeling was not right.  I could feel something else all wrapped up in the baby who was already trying to come out.  I told Papa Bear to call our vet as I couldn't get the baby free.  Our vet is on another farm call and is almost an hour away.  I knew then if I didn't fix the problem we were going to lose our doe and baby.   I put on fresh gloves , jelled up and said a prayer.  By this time my doe is almost screaming with every push.  I managed to free the trapped leg,  got the baby in position and pulled one leg at a time when Cocoa pushed.  I finally got the baby out and wrapped all around the hind quarters was another baby that did not fully develop.  This was a first for me and it was very sad but at least one of the kids were saved and so was our doe.  I got this one dried and he started nursing just fine and Cocoa was eating her extra portion of grain like nothing has happened.  Animals are amazing!

 This is the kid I saved.  He is so cute.  He has waddles.  He is the second one born  on our little homestead that has waddles.  The story doesn't end here....

So this huge storm is going on and water begins to rush into the corner of the stall.  Our livestock guardian dog had dug her out a huge hole right at the corner of the stall,  I took off to get the shovel and rake to fill in the hole so the baby is not in a mud puddle.     There is no more signs of labor from Cocoa.  I waited out in the barn for 3 hours for her to pass the afterbirth but it didn't happen so I will have to call the vet in the morning for a shot to help her pass it.

This morning I woke early, took care of the Marines needs, made a pot of coffee, went to the barn to check on the new arrivals and to see if Cocoa had passed the afterbirth.  If no signs of it I will have to call the vet for a shot.  

Imagine my surprise when I walked into the barn and found another kid with Cocoa!  She was all nice an dry and already exploring.  So if the other one had lived Cocoa would have had 3 kids.  Lat year she had 4 at one time.

 This is our doe Jersey , I call her Bat Girl.   See the white bat hanging upside down on her side?  She is the one who was supposed to have her kids today or tomorrow.    What is she doing?...just climbing up on the platform and looking at the new storm coming.

I took these pictures on my trips back and forth from the barn.  Our blueberries are loaded with tiny berries.

There are even some blooms still on some of the bushes.  I wish our bee's were here.  The only thing buzzing them were those big old carpenter bees.

 The roses on the trellis are beginning to bloom.  I think this is Don Juan.

The Bridal Wreath shrubs are extra pretty this year.  I love these in the spring!

The peach trees are blooming.

...and a baby pineapple has started!  Spring has sprung!  2 does down and 4 more more to go....I hope they are uneventful births.
Have a great weekend!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Vertical Strawberry Garden Part 2

I got all of the strawberries planted and on the rack.  I ended up with 14 plants as a couple of the pots had two plants.  I just took an old knife and sliced the soil in between the plants to separate them.  I planted some cucumber seed in the end containers so they will trail down the sides of the rack.  I am thinking of adding another row at the bottom and attempt some loose leaf lettuce.  I think the strawberries will give them just enough shade.  If it doesn't work I will just have more pots for strawberries or maybe herbs.

 They already look happy in their new home!  Now I need to tell my neighbors to drink more milk and tea.   I need about 22 more jugs!

Vertical Strawberry Garden

Papa Bear and I built a vertical strawberry garden yesterday I got this great idea from Coach House Crafting.   I believe she used hers in the greenhouse to grow herbs but I thought strawberries the moment I saw it and asked my neighbor to start saving their empty milk jugs.

We made ours about 4 foot wide to accommodate five 1 gallon plastic jugs on each side with a little spacing in between to allow air circulation.  All in all it will hold 30 plants.   I have only bought 10 strawberry plants to begin with.  As the plants begin to grow runners I can put them in an opposite jug with soil so they can take root in a new jug.  When they take root all I have to do is clip them from the mama plant and they will already be established in their own jug..  That's the plan!  We placed it near the lattice fence in back in case I need to tie it off when we have high winds.

I did not put drainage holes in the bottom of the jugs.  I put cone shaped coffee filters in the bottom of the jugs and then filled with soil.  If they are watered too much or get too much rain I will unscrew the lids and let them drain.

I am thinking of putting a cucumber plant at each end of the top row until I get enough strawberries going.  I think this would be a great project with those with small backyards or even a balcony that gets good sunlight to grow some small fruits and vegetables.  ...and the best thing of all..NO WEEDING!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Shampoo Danger


Check Your Shampoo!!!
Check your shampoo bottle label.
I don't know WHY I didn't figure this out sooner!!!!
It’s the shampoo I use in the shower!
When I wash my hair, the shampoo runs down my whole body and (duh!) printed very clearly on the shampoo label is this warning, FOR EXTRA VOLUME AND BODY! No wonder I have been gaining weight!!!
Well! I have gotten rid of that shampoo and I am going to start using Dawn dish soap instead.
If I don't answer the phone I'll be in the shower!!!

I haven't done a Friday Funny in a while so here it is for Saturday....gave me a laugh!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Dirty, Rotten ,Scoundrels

Someone stole our debit card number.  I apparently charged $99.00 to I tunes this morning in California and 15 minutes later I charge $24.95 to Bell South in Mississippi.  Boy I was getting around wasn't I?  It's a good thing that 2 charges from 2 different states came with-in a few minutes of each other or the fraud center may not have caught it.  We are lucky these criminals weren't too smart.  It was still almost 6 hours after the fact that I was notified.  Now I have to go to my bank and file fraudulent papers and hope I can get our money back.    Papa Bear used the card at the feed store and I used it once at the truck stop this month.  I can't remember anyone being near me to have taken a picture of the number when I purchased gas but of course there are camera's everywhere so even an employee may have gotten it.  Papa Bear said there were people behind him at the feed store when he used his.  We have dealt with the same employees at the feed store so I don't think it was one of them.  Of course it could have been taken months ago and the number was just sold.  I don't know how all that works. 

We will all have to be more careful of our surroundings.  Someone can be pretending to be talking on the phone all the while taking pictures of your numbers.  You never know.   Papa Bear wants us to stop using the plastic and just deal in cash.  I know we should but it sure is going to be a pain in the caboose.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Another Executive Order

The Golfer in Chief signed an executive order March 16, 2012.  I suggest everyone read the post from It Don't Make Sense and follow the links in the post.

Spring Chicks (Part 2)

After spending the night in the incubator it was time to move the chicks.  I use a kiddie wading pool to contain them for a week or two until I move them outside.  I line the bottom with paper towels.  This method is easier for me to clean up every day and put down fresh towels.

A waterer  with fresh clean water is added along with a feeder.  I clamped the heat lamp to a nearby bookshelf and placed a thermometer under it to make sure the temp is right at 100 degrees.    When the temp stabilizes, it's time to add the chicks.

As I put them in the wading pool, I dip each beak into the water before turning them loose.  I dipped 33 little beaks!   There was 34 but one did not make it.  It happens. The last one to hatch was very weak. 

After a little drink, it doesn't take them long to find the food.

After a drink and a little food they all settled down for a little nap.

I keep them in the kiddie pool for a week or so. They start growing feathers real quick and will soon try to flutter over the edge of the pool and then it is time to go out into a closed in cage under the shed.    They'll still have the heat lamp for a short while while adjusting to the outside elements.  They are only cute like this for a week or so.  Good thing or KFC may never have happened!...LOL

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring Chicks

Tuesday, I removed the eggs from the egg turner.  Eggs were due to hatch Friday.

The bottom trays were filled with extra water to increase the humidity and the eggs were gently laid on the wire to prepare for hatching.  I think there were 39 eggs.  All looked viable when I candled them last week.

 This morning when I went to the kitchen to make coffee, I heard a peep, peep, peep and went to the sun room where the incubator is located and found one chick who decided to make an early appearance.

I checked again a few minutes ago and think I counted 20 chicks with several more eggs showing small peep holes.  These little guys will remain in the incubator over night until completely dried.  I'll post another picture tomorrow when they are in the kiddie wading pool with a heat lamp.  They'll be cute, yellow and fluffy.

Where are the Bees?

Our supplies keep trickling in a little at a time.  Everything but the bees that is!  Today our bee suits came.  Since being on prednisone I had gained weight so I ordered a large.  I think a medium would have worked but at least it will be loose to work in.  I know one is hot!  It will for sure be an early morning job working the hives.  I hope I eventually get comfortable enough to only use a veil but for now I want to be covered from head to toe and this suit does the trick!

I could not talk Papa Bear into modeling his suit today.  I will show you his cute self later!

I am so anxious to get started I may just try to talk Papa Bear into helping me build a trap.

I did go to the Beekeeping Club meeting Tuesday night.  I loved it.  I just listened to all of those experts and just soaked up a little more knowledge.

Beehave everyone!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bee Stuff

I never did get that nap after my Monday-Monday.   I decided to open one of the two boxes of the beehives that came while I was sick.  There were no info in the box so I went to the place I ordered from and started reading their lessons as I hadn't a clue as to what went where.  It is a very informative site.

I have pieces of hives all over the living room.  One thing I discovered since I am now up close and personal is bee hives look simple to make.  We'll probably make our own from here on outNow that I am all excited about the hives, I get a letter from the Bee Company saying my bee's wouldn't be shipped until May....dang ....I could have sworn when I ordered theses hives the web site said the latter part of March or the first week in April.  I was hoping the bees would be established enough to start harvesting from the early blooms.  We have bodies of water all around us and  I am hoping the bees will be in range of some Tupelo trees.   If not our woods are full of wild blueberries and blackberries and from what I read the bees forage up to 3 miles of their hives.  That's a lot of land to cover.    We also have fields and fields of goldenrod that blooms.  I have heard that some people do not like golden rod honey.  I guess it is a wait and see.  Unless we are real lucky we won't have any honey for our use until next year at any rate. 

Isn't this picture funny?  

While searching the web, I did find out we have a Beekeeping Club in our County that meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month.  Which happens to be today.  I may go and check them out.  Dues are only $15.00 a year.  I would sure like to meet up with some experts and get hands on experience rather than try to learn everything off the web. 

More later!

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday, Monday

As my life is at home and I do not have to go into the outside world on a daily basis, I very seldom have a "Monday"....until today.

I had a 9:45 appointment with our family lawyer. The office is about 45 minutes from my house.  I left 30 minutes early so I could make a quick stop by Lowe for a few items.  Good thing I left early.  I took the back roads to get there as it is a nice country drive.  I haven't traveled this road in monthsI noticed there were hardly any cars or trucks on the road.  After I had went about 30 miles, almost to the road I take to go into town there is a barricade across the road informing me that it is closed.  really  .  There is nothing for me to do but turn around and head back the road just traveled and go by way of interstate.

When I left home I had a little of a quarter tank of gas so I thought when I get to the interstate I will fill up.  I  am still OK time wise...just can't go to Lowes before my appointment.  That will have to wait until I get through.  While driving I am reaching into my purse for my wallet to get a credit card out when a cold chill hits me.  I had taken my wallet out to make a purchase over the internet last night and it was still laying on my desk.  I call Papa Bear and ask him did he think I could make it there and back with only a quarter tank of gas.  He thinks so but will be on stand-by in case I need rescuing.  I am thinking...better not speed even in the slightest.  I conceal carry....No drivers license and no CCL with me. 

I make it to my appointment with 5 minutes to spare.  I had on a nice pair of slacks and blouse and looked down in the floor board to put on the heels I thought I had brought with me.  Of course I had forgotten them.  I have on my white Niki's with florescent green trim.  Can anything else possibly go wrong?   Of course....My personal records needed updating at the attorneys office.  Could they please make a copy of my drivers license?

I made it back home on fumes with no other issues.

I am going to take a nap.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sickness, Turkey Eggs and Bees Oh My

Vulnerable...That is the only word I can think of to call Challenged Acres the past few weeks.  I had a lot of couch and bed time to think of what if's the past couple of weeks.  What if we were already in a SHTF scenario and all of us were sick at the same time.  Yes it can and did happen but we muddled through it.  Grandson brings a lot of little germies home from school.  The minute he hits the door we make him change clothes and wash hands all the way to elbows.  This time he had a ear and sinus infection which just happens.  I don't think either of these are catching.  I called my nurse practitioner and took him in for an exam to get an antibiotic.  Nurse Practitioner gave Grandson a note to take the rest of the week off from school and then it's off to Walmart to get the prescription filled and there you wait around among all the sniffling, coughing folks waiting for their prescriptions to be filled. 

Two days later Grandson is feeling so good he is bouncing off the walls.  I sneezed 4 or 5 times that evening and thought it was allergies and went to bed.  The next morning I get that little nagging burning sensation I get just at the top of my chest when a lovely bout of Bronchitis is fixing to hit.  Hit it did and hit me hardIn spite of a round of antibiotics, homemade remedies and Musinex I coughed so hard that I tore a stomach muscle.  I have never in my life tore a muscle like this.  If any of you have had surgery where a muscle was cut through and you have to cough....well, this is what I have been going through.  It hurts so bad that you can't help but cry out loud each time you cough.  Nothing to do but rest it and take Ibuprofen for the pain.   I have been sleeping in the recliner as it hurt too much to lie in bed.

Two days into my illness Papa Bear tells me that his stomach hurts and a few hours later he is in the bathroom praying to the ceramic god.  A stomach virus has hit him.  All of this time we are wearing mask and hitting the germ-x bottle before going into the Marine's room trying to keep all of these woes away from him but he still gets the nasty cough and high fever..  Thanks God we have a good doctor for him.  I can just call and actually talk to him and get a prescription called inDaughter picks it up after school and brings it to us.

Mom lives in a small trailer on our property and wants to help but I sure didn't want her with any of this stuff at her age and I told her to stay away that I would call her if I had to.  She still managed to sneak in fruit and a big pot of soup. She also made a run to the store in the dark for ginger ale and crackers.  Mom doesn't like to drive at all let alone in the dark.. 

During our illness there were still chores to do. On a good day things can get hectic but when you are sick it seems to take 3 times as long to do anything.  The Marine has to be turned every 4 hours, meds and food needs giving every 4 hours.  Animals that needed feeding, eggs to be gathered and a neighbor needed saving.  That's another story I will tell later.

 Papa Bear found our first turkey eggs today!  I don't know if first eggs are fertile or not but I am going to see how many I get this week and incubate them anyway.

 I finally opened the smaller of the 3 boxes that were delivered a couple of weeks ago from the Bee place.  I feel like a kid at Christmas with all these new toys to play with.  I've still got to pick out the location for the two hives and get them set up.  The bees will be here in April and April will be here before I know it!

Many of my little seedlings I started did not make it due to lack of care.  I should have had them in the ground by now.  I hope by the weekend one or the other of us can handle the tiller and get our garden show on the road!

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