Monday, March 10, 2014
Spring is supposed to be close by. It is chick season. The high today was about 60 degrees and sunny. So nice! There is only snow left in the ditches, shadows and plow piles. We are enjoying that warm sunny feeling. T-Bob even washed the vans today to get the half inch layer of salt off. Gotta love Ohio. Did I mention that the low temp on Wednesday is to be 7 degrees and the wind will be blowing 30+ MPH out of the north?!!! Yep and bringing along 6-10 " of snow. Whoohoo! If you don't like Ohio weather stick around a day or two and it will change.
Last week, we picked up 16 Black Jersey Giant roosters. 15 survived and are thriving! I wondered what would happen when we introduced the big batch of little hen chicks. On Saturday my DH built us a BIG coop for the chicks. Something that we could use with 60+ chicks in cold weather (See above) It may be awhile before they can be on grass. I moved the roosters to the big box yesterday afternoon. It was so funny. They all ran wildly and flapped their little wings and jumped. Then they started the chest bumping and play fighting. Trying to be tough. Finally they settled down and rested.
We put the little hens into the coop and they started running wildly. They started running as pairs at the bigger roosters and pretty soon almost all my big guys were hiding their heads in the far corner. The little day or two old hens had bossed the week old roosters into submission. Maybe there is some farm sense in the old saying about somebody being a 'hen pecked husband'.
I am a total newbie when it comes to chickens. I have done a lot of reading in the last couple months, so all my choices were based on other's opinions and what I like. First off, I am looking for egg production and so I listened to my brother and bought some white leghorns to lay lots of white eggs. Then I bought some of his other suggestion, Golden Buffs, to get lots of brown eggs. (See I do listen to you, bro! At least some of the time!)
One thing I have learned is that I like to watch our chickens. It is relaxing and fun. I like variety as well. Our first batch we bought 2+ years ago was mixed. I really enjoy seeing them range around the backyard. I like to see different kinds of birds foraging in the back. I picked some Barred Rocks, and Black Austrolarps. Both are hardy and good layers. Most afternoons I take a quart of corn and toss it into the bottom of their deep bedding layer of their coop. I watch them dance and till up the bedding. The barred rocks are excellent tillers, the white leghorns, not so much. The other characteristic I was looking at was amount of meat on the bird and cold tolerance. I don't want to go through the work of butchering, only to end up with barely enough meat for a sandwich. I did order 10 'brown layer assortment'. That will give me some variety to watch. It is a bit of a mishmosh, but I am OK with that.
How big is this new coop that my DH built for us? It is HUGE! That is Elizabeth, who is about 5 ft tall sitting in the coop with the chicks! He used doors as the long sides and some plywood on the ends. I think it is about 4 ft wide. We have the far end tarped to minimize drafts. We have 3 heat lamps on the open end.
The chicks seem comfortable and spaced evenly, not just under the hot spot of the lamp, so I assume they are warm enough.
Elizabeth had a friend over today to enjoy our new chicks. They had a good time. Elizabeth is on her way to becoming a real farm gal!
Sunday, March 9, 2014
|Bill and Joann|
I know, It has been awhile since a posted an entry on my blog. Things have been rather busy here lately. I have had the flu for the last week, and I am finally starting to feel a bit better. The other sad news here is that my father-in-law was just put on hospice. My in-laws live in Las Cruces, NM. He is 87 and has lived a full life. He played touch football with the young men until he was 70 and could keep up with them.
|My DH and his Dad|
After retiring as a public school teacher, he went on to a second career doing maintenance and organization for the New Tribe's Mission flight Training Base in Arizona. While they were living there he had a huge prison ministry. He was going into the prisons and doing Bible Studies with the guys. He would go as many as 5 times a week. He loved it and the guys loved him. It was a really good fit for him. When his Parkinson Disease got to bad he and Mom moved in with one of my husband's sisters in New Mexico. They have done an amazing job taking care of them. If you think of it, be in prayer for my DH's dad and his family.
NOTE: Transitionless subject change. When we bought the farm, it came with four cats. We did not realize that our boss cat, Marbles, is a community icon. We have people stop in just to check on him. They have other people that want to know. What a responsibility! What will happen when he dies? He is like 11 years old already! Seriously! I was outside this morning taking care of the chickens, when some lady drove in just to check on Marbles. She was pleased to see him looking well. She was going to report back to the guys who do maintenance at the prison! No pressure.
The chicks are growing and thriving. One did die, but it just never grew. It made it until yesterday. It was the same size and weight as when we got it. The others are getting feathers and are about 3 times as big. My DH made a BIG chick pen for us. I have to move them later today. They are outgrowing their book shelf coop. THe space they are in is really a bookshelf laying on it's back. We have to have a cover on it or they could jump/fly out. I will take pictures. We are getting a big batch of chicks tomorrow, so we have to have room for them all under the lights. I actually like having them in the basement. I check on them frequently, like every time I go down to do a load of laundry and when I get food out of the pantry. With a family like ours, that is a frequent happening.
This made me laugh! Long and hard. When you are sick, scripture says that a merry heart is a good medicine! I took this picture on Friday at one of my stops. (Yes, I went and saw patients despite being sick. I didn't cough in their houses, and they all gave it to me the week before!) Can you tell what it is?
It is made from a metal tractor seat with a hole cut out of the middle of it set on a metal tank. Can't imagine what that must feel like to sit on when it is cold! It is really a milking stool. Although it does look like it could double as a chamber pot. They keep it in their garage rather than the barn. I am so glad that I wasn't born into a Swartzentruber family!
Have a wonderful weekend!
Monday, March 3, 2014
Today was "Pick up the chicks" Day. Or so I thought. We drove all the way to the Hatchery and spent about $12 in gas. Only to be told when we arrived that our order wouldn't be ready until NEXT monday. Boy did I feel dumb. I guess somehow the three in the month travelled over to the date side and I thought I was to pick them up today. Did I mention that I have dyslexic tendencies?!! Anyways, I didn't want to waste the trip.
They had two big tubs of mixed birds. Do you know that there are one day old chicks that sell for $50? That's crazy!! What if it died? The birds in the tub can be a number of different breeds. You take pot luck on what kind you are getting if you buy them out of there. We decided to skip those.
|Our new chicks in their box|
Instead, we opted for these guys. Not necessarily a bargain, but at least a good deal. I have been wanting some large roasting birds. I get tired of having to roast three birds if I want to feed our family and a friend or two. These are Black Jersey Giants. They grow up to 12#. Their downside is that they mature slowly. I wanted to know what I was getting in to and so I asked the sales lady how long they take to reach maturity. She told me, "24 months". I asked her if it really took 2 years for these birds to mature, cause if that was true, I wasn't interested!!!! She rethought it and decided that she should have said 24 weeks instead. Shouldn't be a problem. They will live in the pasture all summer. They will be ready to put in the freezer by August. A more typical timeframe for chickens to reach maturity is 16-20 wks.
The chicks are so cute. They are little fuzz balls. They just bring delight. Their little peeps are so pleasant.
The girls took them out of the box in the van to hold them. They were irresistible.
The chicks were happy to find a warm spot and checked it out. We had the heat lamp on, and they really enjoyed it. I can hear them cheeping as I write this!
It didn't take long and they were eating and drinking.
We did put marbles in the bottom of the water container where they drink from. You don't want a chick to fall in and drown.
Next week I will once more be driving down to the hatchery to get more (46) chicks. I love farming!!!
Sunday, March 2, 2014
The junior high basketball season is officially over. At the end of the season, we had a parent vs the team game and a potluck.
There was a lot of switching in and out. The parents had the height advantage and there were some guys who played college ball who were still in good shape. There were also a lot of parents who kept the game within range for the kids.
The kids did a great job rotating players in with a good attitude. They coached themselves and did very well.
Thomas had practiced with the team all season and he finally got to play with them. I think he really enjoyed that. His plan is to grow 3 or 4 inches before next year so that he will be tall enough to get to play with the JV or varsity team. He needs to add a few pounds too.
Some of the parents were very sore the next day after a few hard falls. Everybody had a great time and a good time was had by all. The potluck was very nice too! It was a successful season!
This friday was the annual Celtic Ball with the Speech and Debate team. The guys love it! Usually most of us get to go. This year I had the bookends with me in Amish country and Michelle wasn't feeling well. Paul decided he would rather go to his own activity.
Every once in awhile this is what we see out our window. If you have read my Amish articles, you should be able to identify the type of Amish in this buggy. Can you do it?
We had visitors yesterday. It was so nice to see them again. The Hyltons were in town. Will wanted to be on the blog! The visit was duly noted and recorded. The guys had a good time walking to the back of the property and exploring. They took Dallas with them and he came back with mud up to his shoulders.
Poor Michelle had to bathe him before he could come in the house for the night. She scrubbed him down and he smelled purty when she was done.
Tomorrow, we go and pick up our chicks and work on our seed starting and other farm projects as well as the daily chores of getting laundry done, cooking, etc.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Life has been quiet and busy lately. We have been enjoying beautiful sunsets almost every night. I have been spending my time reading and planning my garden and how we will utilize the property. We did get our CUAV application in so that we continue getting taxed as an agricultural property. That is all good.
Basketball season is over and debate is in full swing. We are getting ready, our debate club, to host the next tournament. The Boss is heading up the IE (speech) events. This has a very steep learning curb. Most all the stuff is done on the computer and my DH is not highly tech savvy. He is learning though and working hard! I am the ballot check-in chairman. I train the people who are doing ballot check-in. This is not too hard of a job, as most of the people doing it are experienced and know more about it than I do. We spend a lot of time listening to Thomas go on and on with different arguments on different cases. He spends hours and hours working on it! We have to spend hours listening to him process out loud what he has been learning! Sometimes our ears get tired, but we learn a lot too.
The weather has been frigid again, or is it still. The ground is white with snow. Hard to believe that March starts in two days! We pick up our new chicks on Monday. I will show you lots of chick pictures. That is chicks as in the offspring of hens, don't get too excited guys! Saturday I am planning on getting my seeds started. Our basement is going to be a happening place. With plants and chicks as well as the usual laundry and bow business all going on together. Hope it works out.
Tomorrow is an Amish country day and in the evening there is a English Country Ball. The three teenagers are going. If we get back from Amish Country in time, some of the rest of us will go. It is always a lot of fun. The children are working hard on getting their school done. We are keeping the critters happy in the cold weather and enjoying the peaceful life on the farm.
Monday, February 24, 2014
CCS played WCA for the second time. Alas, it was a hard fought game but the injuries stole the victory from the good guys (CCS).
Trevor was hurting so bad that he couldn't run and could barely shoot. He had to give up playing half way through the 2nd quarter. He needed to see his chiropractor.
|T-Bob shooting a foul shot (#13 is Adin B.) He was the last starter to sit.|
The fifth graders were glad to get some playing time.
Here is the final score.
But wait this post isn't over..... There was a Junior Varsity game that followed. The JV team also was struggling with injuries, so they pulled up some of the Junior high players!
See, T-Bob got to play on the JV team.
He was under-sized, but he managed to hold his own. He snagged some rebounds and even stole the ball a time or two.
The JV team didn't fare any better but T-Bob was glad to get the chance to play on the next level. He sure was tired by the end. He played most of the Junior high game and then about half of the JV's game. He sleeps well. After a season of basketball he can now fit into Thomas's old suit for speech and debate. All that running and playing was very slimming for him.
T-Bob and Thomas are looking forward to practicing basketball this summer and playing again next year.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
|Lots of Windmills to pump water in Amish country|
In my continuing explorations of the Amish, we will discus the Dan Amish. The Dan Amish are between the Swartzentrubers and Old Order as far as rules go. How would you know the difference? The Dan Amish look like the old order in appearance. They will use knits in their clothing and their homes are very similar in appearance to the old order.
|Horses grazing on Dan order farm|
|Amish hang clothes out all year long, no matter what the weather!|
The men have the same haircuts as the old order, not the pageboys of the Swartzentrubers. All 3 groups have untrimmed beards. The women have slightly different style of cap that they wear. You would be hard pressed most of the time to tell Dan Amish from the Old order Amish from the appearance of the older children or adults. The Dan Amish do have books other than their German Bibles and prayer books. You will find children's books, like landmarks, Little House and other books like I would have in my library.
|Dan Amish school yard.|
The out buildings of the Dan Amish are white not red like the Swartzies. All the groups other than the new order are not allowed to have paved driveways. They are all gravel, maybe. Plenty of deep ruts for English drivers to get stuck in. I have had to have my van pulled out of some of their muddy lanes by their teams of horses. The Dan Amish do not use battery powered appliances. They use only the gas lights. The Dan do not use bicycles either. Many of them still use wood stoves to cook on in the kitchen. Some are starting to use natural gas.
Dan Amish do use the red safety triangle on the back of their buggies, like the Old Order. This makes them so much easier to see at night! However, like the Swartzentrubers they are not allowed to use glass on the front of their buggies. This makes for a very cold ride in the winter.
The different amish groups have their own rules and differ from place to place. The individual church rules are made by the ruling bishops. Their have been many Amish church splits through the years on whether porch swings should be allowed or not. They are human just like everybody else.