Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Little Pictorial Catch-Up

Well, i had tis grand idea that each week i would create a new blog with a "catch-up" topic to summarize what has been happing at Stark Hollow Farm. But too much keeps happening and/or there is never enough time... or i am just lazy and/or cannot look at a computer in my "free" time off the paying job! In any case, i have given-in and that grand idea is not going to work. So below are a few photos to summarize the major highlights of what has been going on in the last few months.

PORTABLE SHEEP SHE
D (built by me w/ fallen wood from our land, left over PVC, and a tarp)


THE SHEEP HAY FEEDER (built by me w/ fallen wood from our land and scrap plywood/sheet metal)

with lid opened

BRINGING & STORING IN HAY


CHICKEN COOP PROGRESS
(not 100%, but good enough to use for now)



Please note that i am leaving for future posts my Mom's visit and the winter sheep shed.

Doggie Sitting

During the Thanksgiving holiday we have welcome again in our home Gorgeous, the brindle dog we looked after last year for a nice month or so. Gorgeous is approximately the same age as Oakley and as Oakley she's of the "Heinz 57 sauce" breed... a.k.a. a pure mutt. The best kind of domesticated wolf! Gorgeous and Oakley seem to like each other, they eat, play, eat, sleep, eat, snooze, eat, run around, eat, beg for human food, eat, play, and -- almost forgot -- eat together nicely. At first there is always a little jealousy on the part of Oakley, but it last less than 24-hrs and then it's all good... best partners in crime.

Gorgeous is well behaved like Oakley; she may venture around through the woods and hills, but does not usually strays far and comes right away when called. The other day as i was cleaning up around the sheep quarters in the wooded top pasture (i.e. it will become pasture), i called onto Gorgeous as i usually do when she's not under my eyesight, but this time she did not come back. Then i called again, then again, then again. Then i moved to the barn area and called onto Gorgeous again, then again, and again.... nothing still. Darn dog where could she have possibly gone!?! She's such a good beast... doesn't make sense, back to calling and calling.... nothing. Try howling, then howling more, then again howling... nothing. I almost lost my voice, but gave it another change calling the dog again and again... nothing. Then i gave up. Then right before the vet came by to check up on the sheep (they're all well and healthy) Gorgeous miraculously shows up; it's all good. I see Gorgeous in the distance playing with something, possibly a stick of wood or something like that. But the vet has just arrived and Gorgeous seem to be doing fine. The vet and i go to the sheep and the dogs remain outside the fence doing their own thing. When done with the sheep as the vet and I discuss billing, we both notice that Gorgeous' toy consists of some bone-like object with dangling pieces of meat and tendons -- i noted that we do not have bones kicking around on the homestead and she must have found something around. But looking at the fun Gorgeous was having trashing around bones, tendons, and meat, we couldn't resist and had to go take a look. Sure enough it was a deer leg... or whatever remained of it, which actually was a nice remainder sample with 3 full bones, meat, tendons, skin, hairs, and hoof even. Poor deer... at the very least it was already dead thanks to a hunter as we're in the thick of hunting season. In any case here's a photo taken after Gorgeous had already decimated half of the booty!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pooty Tat Claws


Micio (pronounced meecho) joined Stark Hollow Farm as the resident barn cat employed to keep the mouse population at bay. So far he is doing a cat fabulous job. Unfortunately, the song bird population is suffering too!

He is gorgeous and very friendly. He hangs out around the house and woods and barn all day. He comes in the house sometimes for a short visit, but likes to be outdoors. He and Oakley chase each other around and play together...we think Oakley thinks he is a dog! She growls at him if he gets too close to her bowl.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Catching Up: July, August, and September 2008



Well, let's see where to start... it is November 1st and i got to keep my readers, if any*, informed. So let's start, we got chickens again, after the winter tragedy, or the way i prefer to look at it, natural food chain series of events. We got them in the middle/late summer, 8 full grown-up layers that already lay eggs, which is nice (i.e. not sure if all of you know, but it takes a bit, a few months really, for chickens to start laying eggs). So the day we got them, can't believe i actually remember this, was threatening rain all day and then, about 30 min to an hour after we got home, it poured hard and all night. Now i must update anyone of you that does not leave near us: this summer we apparently reached historical records for most precipitation since data have been taken, which is not super long, but i believe it at least goes back to the 1800s. In any case, this summer just kept raining, raining, and raining; soils were soaked, driveway was soaked, i was soaked, i think only the plants loved it! Although, i loved the fact that my pasture loved the rain because it sure showed :-). So anyway, the chickens... we got home and placed them in the electric poultry net i had set-up for them just prior to picking them up. Birds seemed happy checking out the new grass, or lack there of, and their new surroundings. We gave them water, pellets, and a bit of scratch; they put their heads and beaks down and began doing their thing: pecking and scratching.


So that was all good, but i had to put finishing touches on the portable coop, which after the food chain natural series of events last winter i had decided to rebuild -- this time they get 2 coops: a small portable one (but secured w/ no holes >0.25") and a permanent one behind the barn for the colder/non-grazing season. So i put my head down and began doing my thing: building stuff for the farm. Laura had to go to meet some friends and thought she might be back late, but i just had the roof to finish so no worries there... all was good. Then it began poring, but the birds seemed not to mind, i was working under the barn roof and all was still good. Then i found out i had less roofing material then needed, it got dark, but i had extra very small pieces, i had a head-lamp, and the bird seemed ok; it was still all somewhat good. Then it was thundering, i was having hell with the very small pieces of roofing material, the birds were all huddled-up together in the pouring rain; but i brought down the large card-board box and 2 old windows to create a small tent for them while i was finishing the coop; all was not good, but not too bad either. Then, i found out i ran out of good screws and rubber washers to secure the darn roof, Laura was missing in action (or chatting more likely), and the windows had collapsed onto the now soaked cardboard box that was supposed to protect the chickens; all was now not good. Then i gave in and decided that i would just temporarily close off the roof in some fashion and the next day go to the store and buy supplies so that i could build a normal/secure roof, Laura came back, and the birds seemed ok and happy for the coop, although a bit sleepy; all was good again.


[[* Hopefully there are still readers out there that have not gotten completely annoyed after checking and re-checking for new posts that never seem to occur.]]

Well that was a long story. At least i do not seem to have such hart-pounding adventures for the sheep; for some reason they seem well and happy with no drama. Must be thanks to my better preparation with gates, feeders, and portable housing.

But the good news is that the chickens are getting and mansion for a cold/non-grazing season coop, which i have begun building... it's so well structured i could relocate my office in there!