Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ups and Downs

Farming seems to be a constant roller coaster ride of ups and downs. Martha gave birth to twin doelings a couple weeks ago. Out of 3 births this year - Sam Houston threw 4 doelings and 1 buckling. Those are pretty good stats! He's also thrown all black (or almost black) and white kids. Not sure how I like those stats - I like black and white, but I like other colors too! These two got the recessive eye genes. Even though Martha and Sam both have blue eyes, these kids have brown. Still very cute. Martha has a nice bag that can be milked easily by hand. I want to start separating them during the day so I can milk her but right now they are still so small they can slip right through the fence.

Abigail Adams and Dolley Madison (Martha's line is named for first ladies)

The chicks are grown up now. Here are some pics. The first is an Ameracauna. The second shows a Buff Orpington and the Eygptian Fayoumi rooster (Prince Ali).

The downside of farm life - the day after the twins were born, I discovered a dead laying hen with two bites out of it. Then I discovered another was missing - and worst of all our kitten Anna was gone. I don't know if coyotes found us during the early morning hours when the chickens would come out or a stray dog or what. Now I lock the chickens in their houses at bedtime and don't let them out until I'm up and about. I haven't seen any predators. Kind of a minor annoyance to have to add that extra task. And I brought little Rosa in the house to be a house cat, much to Papa Bear's dismay. I am a big cat lover, and I just couldn't leave her out there to the wolves - or whatever is out there.
Our apple trees had a few apples this year. Mom was in town, and she made a awesome apple crisp out of them. Papa Bear is big into planning his blueberry patch. He had millet planted on the front of our property - a crop that is supposed to help amend the soil. We haven't had any rain though. Doing the rain dance now. He's also working on building a greenhouse so he can buy baby blueberry plants and raise them up larger before transplanting them into the ground. Papa Bear had more luck with gardening this year. He grew a bumper crop of squash, green beans and okra. Next year he needs to work on timing the harvet right as some of the veggies were over grown by the time they made it to the kitchen. He had a great crop of watermelons coming, and then the vines withered up before they were ready to be picked. Gardening in Texas seems to be a school of hard knocks. We planted pine trees when we first moved here, and there are some that have already grown taller than me. I guess we will never starve now - I was reading that pine bark is very nutrious and high in vitamin C...
Breeding season has started. Soon I should be getting up our breeding plan and kidding schedule.