:) ~huge giddy smile~
I overhear only roosters having spats, happy chickens cackling away (& I don't have to stress out about the neighbors being annoyed!), cow moos, the gobble-gobble-gobble of turkeys, and coyote song. All those synthetic fragrances on the breeze have been replaced by, well, more natural fragrances. ;)
We have a new mama hen. She' s a Banty, or at least some sort of Banty cross. Bantys are said to be great mothers as they still have the instinct to set on eggs in them unlike most of the modern chicken breeds that are just bred for egg production, not mothering. She is so, so much fun to watch. She talks to her babies constantly. She calls them over when she finds food or water, or when one has wandered just a little too far away. And they respond to her instantly. She must have certain chicken words for specific things judging by the way the chicks know just what to do when she talks. She frequently will make a sound that means "come cuddle underneath me, it's time for you to all get warm and have your cozy naps". And they all run right under her just in time for her to sit and fluff herself out over them (there are 4 chicks).
I discovered that she had hatched out her babies this way - several days ago I found 4 big ol' turkeys pecking at something. I went for a closer look and found them pecking at a chicken. The chicken looked all flat and wasn't moving so I thought maybe it was dead. But then I realized it was the Banty that had been sitting on eggs, and I heard little peeps! I chased the dumb turkeys away and built up some little protective walls around her whole nest area to protect her until her babies were old enough to come out and wander around. That mama hen had flattened her whole body out over all her eggs and babies and was just lying like that, taking the abuse from those huge turkey beaks in order to protect her babies. What an awesome mama.
I kept trying to get pictures of all four of her chicks, but she kept turning and turning her body to protect her babies from my camera! lol (She's hiding 2 of them behind her in this picture)
The bunny babies continue to grow. There is one that is a perfect mini replica of the mama, and there is one that is a teeny runt.
The piglets also are growing and growing. Kris, I loved your comment about worrying your pigs might eat you if you tripped and fell while bringing their feed. I've repeated what you said to several people. I thought it sounded so funny, and now I can totally understand! They are still so little but they nibble and chew on every part of our body that they can get to! They do seem to be trying to eat us.
Their "pig tractor" turned out brilliant. I'll post about that soon (my husband and father-in-law recycled our porch into a moveable pig pen).
Someone else has recently joined our farm family. Here is our farmers market table. There is bread, garlic, newsletters, soap, eggs, cookies and my daughter's hand crocheted hats. Someone is hiding on it...
Behind the garlic. :) A fellow vendor at the market had kittens that needed a home. I eagerly awaited him being old enough to leave his mama cat so they could deliver him to me at the farmers market. This week he was old enough, so he got to come home with us. We have yet to name him...
And here is the sad story about what happened to our last kitten: Remember our neighbors had given us a wonderful little gray kitten named Smoky. I really, really liked him. Then one day, my husband was driving out of our driveway and the kitten ran directly under the wheels! It was so sad, I heard him screech and went to where he had run to but he was already nearly gone. I pet him and cried. Isn't life funny that way - I can joyfully butcher a dozen rabbits and ducks for our good home raised meals, but then shed tears over a dead cat. I do hope our new kitty doesn't think moving tires look like something good to run beneath...
Me: "Isn't he a nice kitty? Nice kitty.... pet the kitty niiice, like this."
Me: "ACK, no! Not like that!!"
Kitty: "Ahh, this is better. I find that I prefer snuggling to strangling."
Hm. Well, here is another sad story (a lot of farm stories are sad). A friend gave us this lamb a couple weeks ago. He had been born healthy, but some weeks later his legs gave out and he started going down hill. She gave him to us to spend some time trying to save him. If were able to, we could keep him (a nice purebred Katahdin). He began improving pretty quickly! We started feeling hopeful. My clever husband devised a sling sort of thing that he put the sheep in a few times a day. It held up his body weight for him but his feet were on the ground so he could practice using his legs again. A few days later, he was even putting weight on them. He was a very tame, happy little sheep that loved his face scratched. And then suddenly, just like that, he developed this terrible diarrhea and dropped dead about 12 hours later. Weird! And sad. But we tried!
Some people have a pet dog sleeping on the door mat at their front door. And some people have... turkeys. :)
Turkey: "Thanks for leaving this chair out here! It's a good place for me to rest my weary turkey behind".
Here is a man turkey and a woman turkey out on a date. ;)
And! This was actually the main thing on my mind when I decided to post about our homestead growing - 3 more cows have joined us! We had Gertie and her calf (a steer to be butchered in the coming months). Now we have three more Jersey females. The dark colored ones on the right are a mom cow and her 8 month old calf, and the one on the far left is about 5 years old and in milk. My teen son had been milking Gertie every morning. Now he has traded in all his regular morning barn chores for milking a second cow. It's not such a bad deal since he can read the whole time he milks. ;)
Gertie and her steer calf have been so excited to have new cow friends (we didn't house Gertie and her calf together because he drinks all her milk! Even though he's a grown up steer!). So they were probably lonely.
Here's the new calf. She has horns. Yikes. We may not keep her forever... we haven't made any for sure plans yet. But I can't say that I'm excited about keeping a 1,000 pound animal with sharp horns around. (Do Jerseys sometimes have horns? And can Jerseys be this dark? We're told they are Jerseys and I'm not too worried if they're not purebred, but I am curious)
So. Fourteen months ago:
(which, by the way, one cat, "MNO", ran away to live in the nearby woods soon after we moved, and the other, "Deogee", disappeared only recently. :( She was about 12 years old and had gotten bony and lazy. I hope she died of old age somewhere and wasn't carried off by an owl. I had her ever since she was inside her mama cat's belly. I did foster care for pregnant cats long ago.)
about 35 guineas
around 120 chickens and roosters
a small number of ducks left as the coyotes have eaten nearly all the poor, slow, waddling things!
about 40 rabbits
and, way too many mice. I hope that kitten likes the taste of mouse.
Shared at these blog hoppity hops:
Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS.COM
White Wolf Summit Farmgirl's Country Homemaker Hop