Friday, May 7, 2010

Talkin' Turkey

Ever since Tessa was attacked by the coyote we've been trying to figure out how to keep those birds in their yard. We observed that they never take off directly from the ground over the fence. They seem to have to fly to a rock or ledge then fly over. With that in mind we thought that we could net just the backside of the enclosure leaving the front as it was. We used netting that the Whitehalls had left behind, thankfully no rats were nesting in the piles!

We got the netting up but the hens were out of the yard on their nests. Keith had found Penelope's nest a few day's back so we knew we could get her in, Winnie was the problem. He had searched all over that hillside and could not find it. After we got the net up he and Cinder went on another search. This time Cinder was the lucky one. She stopped and pointed at a brushy area under a pine tree. Cinder didn't bark or jump, just stood her ground and pointed. Keith looked and there was Winnie!

I set up two lovely nests, at least I was hoping the hens would find them satisfactory and then off to get those girls and their eggs. I grab the hen and Keith grabbed the eggs then we put them together in the barn and crossed our fingers.

They didn't like the nests, but they did stay inside.
For one day.
High winds came and blew down a section of the nets and out went the hens.
Luckily Keith had anticipated that they might get out and had the great idea of putting one egg back in each of the turkey's nest, so they would go back to them, just in case.
Which they did.

Next plan was to put sturdier netting on the blown down side.

The turkey hens still get out, but we know where they are. We are not exactly sure how, because when we watch them they act innocently. We turn our heads and out they go!
Penelope isn't broody so she comes back every evening. Winnie has become broody so every night before I milk Tuffy I climb the hill and bring Winnie home. We gather all but one egg, saving them for the next hatch.

Before we put up the orange netting, the roosters would get out and head to the Ladies Palace.
These three hang together, from the top down they are: Andrew, Ernesto, and Eugene.

Now all the males, Turkey and Rooster stay in the yard.
We've come up with another idea for the hens, but that will have to wait. In the meantime we go fetch them and wait for the broodiness to end.
Thought you might like to see how the little birds that were hatch by their mama's are doing.

Mama and the two chickies behind.


Fancy Fencing

Last Summer the
Billies got out of
hand at the old playground.
Farmer Keith took care of that
by building them a new play field.
Now they can't watch all the
girls go by and should stay
out of trouble!

The girls got a new play field as well.

Here the grass is if not greener, longer on the other side of the fence.

Another new fence project for Farmer Keith, was an extension on the Nursery.

Now the Kidds have a play yard while they get weaned from Mama.

Jack & Jill can still see, feel and touch Tuffy. They just can't get a hold of her teat!

Farmer Keith's next Fancy Fencing Feature is putting in a Deer Fence around the Vineyard.
Good thing he bought that auger for his tractor this Spring.

The Milk Follies

This is my forth season of milking goats and I feel it's my best by far!
Every aspect of the routine is working smoothly - like butter.
I'm still learning new methods but I feel like I'm building on top of a foundation.

I love the improved Milking Parlour. I've had a recipe for making Goat Milk Paint Wash for years but only got around to making it this Spring. The walls are painted with the wash. I was surprised that the paint gave off a sweet clean smell! The floor is painted with Porch Paint.

The room is brighter and will be easier to clean - and the recipe said that the Wash helps repel flies ....will see this Summer.

Keith set the camper up for me this year. He picked a spot that is easier to hook up to a good water source, improved the steps getting into the camper and fixed the hot water heater - no more boiling water to wash dishes!

Best of all the cheese making has improved - taste and texture!
So far I have made yogurt, plain and Keith's favorite, Vanilla Maple Syrup, Vanilla Ice Cream and

herb wrapped French Style Chevre and

herb marinated feta. The herbs come from the green house,

which I am utilizing more efficiently this year. We've had salad greens, spinach, mustard greens and Swiss Chard harvests plus the herbs and still being able to have room for the veggie starts.

We are trying to push our growing season by making some growing frames for the cooler climate plants: Cabbage, Broccoli and Cauliflower. Without the frames these tender starts would suffer from the early morning frosts that we can get up until June.

I washed up these old window panes to help grow Okra - not sure if it will work, but can't hurt to try.
Spring is full-on in the Valley. The maple trees are leafing; the hillsides are coverd in yellow and purple from the blossoms of the Arrow Head Balsum Root (I always get that name mixed up) and Lupine and finally the last type of fruit tree, apple, is flowering and so are the lilacs

one morning this Canada Goose flew onto our bridge - his mate made it over but he couldn't quite make it. He honk for sometime until his mate came back down river, then off he flew.