Thursday, January 28, 2010

Where is January going?!

Goodness me, time is just racing by!  It's been a busy week so far for me.  We had some attorneys visiting from North Carolina this week.  We work with them a lot so it's always a pleasure to see them because they have become friends to me, as well as work associates.  However, work visitors = meetings, and that seems to have been the only thing I've done this week, apart from attending my classes of course.  I find that when my work week is full of meetings, I feel like I've accomplished less, and I get more stressed out about things. 

Today I managed to snap a few pictures for the blog though, so I'll leave my work thoughts on the back burner for a few minutes while I focus on the farm.  So, what's been going on around here?

A couple of weeks ago, I hatched a batch of mixed silkie eggs that I bought on  I had an excellent hatch rate and now I have 11 little fluffballs with a surrogate mother.  I used an incubator to hatch the eggs, but as soon as they were dry, I gave them to my silkie, Rosebud.  She's always had off-and-on wry neck problems, which I treat with vitamin E and selenium.  Sometimes it improves for a while as a result, but it never seems entirely fixed.  She eats and drinks well, but she often curls her head down and walks backwards as a result.  She's a dear little hen so it doesn't matter, but she is inside for now because it's been so cold out and I worry about her not getting into the coop for the night.  Anyway, any chick that is given to her is immediately adopted without question, and snuggled gently under her wings.  It doesn't matter that she didn't hatch them, she loves them all the same.  Here is Rosebud with a few of her current brood poking their heads out!

Meanwhile, Stormy is doing well and Mama Llama Dolly is becoming more protective of him than she was initially.  She lets us touch him if needed (like today when we had to cut the leg holes on the lamb coat he is wearing but she vocalizes the whole time we have him in hand).  She sleeps with him curled up against her.  They are a sweet pair.  Despite his fleecy coat and her warmth, I still see him shivering at times and I do worry about him.  I wish the weather would warm up!  Meanwhile, it seems every time I go to visit, he's drinking, drinking, drinking!  It's hard to get a face shot!

Then, there's the chicken coop.  The indoors one.  We finished up and....they don't want to use it.  I don't get it.  I mean, the temperature in there is higher, there are nice roosts, there is an automatic feeder....  So where do they go?  They go into the barn rafters.  Here, there and everywhere.  I can't get them down from there, so I scoop up the stragglers who are at lower elevations and pop them in the coop.  Sigh.

Our sheep and goats have thoroughly enjoyed the generous gift of a friend of ours (Cindey Lou and Slim's former "mom") of some Christmas trees that were not purchased.  All of our ruminants enjoyed their spruce flavoured munchies!  They even ate the bark!

Thanks Mom, we're finished with that tree now!  Can we have another one?

I hadn't yet introduced you to Esmeralda, our barn cat, who has put a very serious dent in our mouse population.  We got her just before Christmas from a friend whose neighbour was trying to manage a semi-feral cat population.  Fortunately some were easier to catch than others and Esme arrived in a cat carrier.  After exiting the cat carrier inside our barn, she did not show herself for nearly a week.  In fact, the only reason we knew she was there was because we found evidence of her....well...bodily functions!  Not in the litter box, initially, although she uses it now.  She has now developed a tolerance for us to the point that just this week, she has begun to tentatively rub up against Kelly's leg when he's in the workshop.  Hooray!  She's intended as a mouser, so we didn't want a lap cat, but being able to give her flea treatments, etc is important.  She likes to hang around in the carrier with the blankets.

She's always on the lookout for mice!

Finally, there's Leslie, our first BFL who is due to give birth.  She's due on Feb 16, but we brought her in early because we noticed she had begun to shed her fleece in the center of her back.  We are not sure why this is, but we've put her in the lambing pen for observation.

Here's the spot on her back that the fleece is shedding.
Well, that's about all the news around here.  Oh, I did take this picture of the finished chicken coop, and there's this weird haze in the picture.  I told Kelly that it was evidence of paranormal activity in our barn.  He said I was being silly.  Well, you decide...this picture has not been altered in any way at all.  The air was completely clear when I was taking the picture.

Pebbles the goat says: "Mom, you're crazy.  Can I have a peppermint?  Tell Isobelle and Gerald I said hi!"


Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

I'd like to have a couple of silkie hens, they say they're such good mothers and take in orphans.

I also would like a couple of feral cats, to be mousers, your girl is cute.

Louise said...

The paranormal activity that you can see in that picture is probably why the chickens won't use the coop. "From ghosties and ghoulies and long legged beasties, good Lord deliver us" say they.

Animals with Opinions said...

that is the ghost of a sheep, im sure of it!! tell pebbles i say hi and to watch out for that ghost. sounds like a very special chicken you have there.

gerald the ghost hunting goat

Flartus said...

Yep, I'm with Louise. That's a chicken-eating ghost in your coop. What a shame you built it right in the ghost's lair.

There sure is a lot going on down on the farm. So many new arrivals already! Glad Esmerelda is fitting in; she's quite pretty.

Shmoopywood said...

Ok so that is totally a ghoulie ghostie just so you know. ALso... I am in absolute love with your Rosebud, what a good girl to take care of your babies! My hens are mean and would inevitably eat up any hen that isnt right :(

Anonymous said...

You think you don't get anything done, but after reading your post I can see that you get an amazing amount done!!! Geez! Making the rest of us look BAD!!! Hee Hee

Love the story about the silkie hen and her adopted brood.

Holly said...

Don't know if this is the cause but often when sheep run a fever they loose clumps of wool from their back, particuliarly down the spine. If all seems to be well I wouldn't worry but just keep an eye on her as you are doing.

I have a young Cochin,named Mildred. They too are suppose to be good mothers. I wonder if she will take a few chicks that I hatch this spring? You've got my mind in a whirl of posibilities.

Lola Nova said...

Oh my, thanks for filling us in on all the happenings on the farm. I love all your pictures and sweet animals. So many things going on and those great faces!

Mom L said...

Boy, Claire, when you catch up you really catch up! And I can see why you have hardly any time at all to blog.

What a great little adoptive Mom! I hope you find a ghostbuster to clear out the new coop, that the chickens learn to love it, and that your sheep is OK.


Brenda Lelli said...

Hi Claire,
Leslie most likely has some wool loss from the cold, stress, and pregnancy. It is seen in the BFL's and a few other breeds during the winter months. Sometimes frostbite occurs on the topline, and causes it to fall out. Other times you see patches around the tail head and rump. With their 'open cleanly to the skin fleece' it is like living in this weather with a windbreaker on vs. goosedown.
As long as she is in good condition- flesh, eating well, and her eyelids are pink, I wouldn't worry. It will grow back when it warms up again. But for now she will look moth eaten. :-) Take care, Brenda