Tuesday, May 30, 2006


I find no rhyme or reason in why two of my hens would decide to go broody on me. I also can't figure out why one of them is setting on an empty nest. Dominique #4 (I hate to admit it, but I just can't tell the surviving Dominiques apart - so they never got proper names) felt her biological clock ticking last week. I don't mind her having a few eggs to hatch, but because all the hens love to lay their eggs in the same nesting box, she is now sitting on 19 eggs. Yes, 19 eggs, damn her. Her sister, #3, decided to follow #4's lead and started setting in the nesting box next door - only she's not setting on any eggs. Let's just say that #3 might not be that bright.

Tonight, after getting two eggs in two days (at least one hen has refused to lay in #4's vicinity), I shooed #4 off of her nest for a minute and counted the eggs and numbered them with my handy-dandy Sharpie pen. I took pity on #3 and placed four eggs under her. Perhaps sometime in mid-June we'll have even more babies at Little Creek Farm. Of course, I'm planning on being out of town and in the North Georgia mountains when the chicks are due, but more on that later.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Let Me Introduce To You...

Dulcinea and Agatha!
The names were chosen by Monkey after much consideration. I have to add that Agatha is only our little blonde goat's first name. Monkey wanted to call her Grunker (???). Then Fatty Grunker (!?!) and finally Sunday morning she settled on Agatha Grunker (which sounds like a great name for a character in a book). Congratulations to Jamie and KW, respectively for the name suggestions. I will be sending you a jar of Strawberry Jelly Jam.
The girls are settling in quite nicely. Yesterday I took them for a browsing walk around the perimeter of the yard. They are quite fun to walk and better behaved than say, Chelsea, on a leash, er, lead rope. They greet us when we go down to the pens and seem to be content. Agatha, who has already been called Aggie, is the leader of the two. She's rather bold and inquisitive. Dulcinea/Dulcie is more timid, but sweet. She's very concerned about the dogs and poultry. She seems at the moment to be following Aggie's lead.
As they checked the goat's records out before I brought them home, it was noted that these two are twins (believe it, or not). Their mother is not Cow Girl, as Erin thought, but Delia. And I had their father's name wrong. It's not Dudley, but Conway. You can see how I'd confuse those two, right?? They turned a year old on May 3.
In other barnyard news, the lucky ducks have their own pen now - complete with pool/day spa, house and grass. As Charlie (yeah, I've decided to use his real name because Big Daddy takes longer to type) puts up the rest of the barnyard fencing, they'll be able to wander out on their own. For now, let's hope they're secure from the bad dogs.
The garden is keeping me busy as well. Cucumbers and beans are coming up. I need to plant more and get my second round of sunflowers in. I've also got to plant melons and pumpkins and get more of the flowers started. I've got a lot of work to do before I can enjoy Memorial Day...

Saturday, May 27, 2006

This Is What We're Made For!

Jamie has had an overload of cuteness on her blog with her new baby birds. I thought I'd share yesterday's cuteness overload here at Little Creek Farm.

The lucky ducks had their first swimming excursion in their new "pond". Here are Black, White, Black Two and Buffy. I'm not giving them names until I know if they are boys or girls. Buffy has started quacking (a lot!), so I'm going to assume she's a girl. Ah, the bliss of being a duck.

I'm off in about an hour to pick up Dudley's girls, so be prepared for some caprine cuteness to follow.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Toil, Toil, Toil

I've spent the last several days planting, weeding and trying to get the goat pen ready for the girl's arrival on Saturday. Big Daddy is out of town, so that leaves lots of construction and perfecting to me. I've finally started staining the chicken coop - a lovely blue/grey. I've converted the new east wing into a feed room. The turkeys will just have to live with the chickens. Once I removed the chicken feed cans from the coop, there was plenty of room for all our avian charges. The little goat shed is full of nice straw bedding and I've cleaned out lots of little trees and overhanging branches around the pen, so they'll have more light.

I went to the feed store this morning and stocked up on goat chow, alfalfa hay and mineral salts. I need to find another source for my alfalfa because the feed store charges $9 a bale (it is close to 89 pounds, but still). Growing up in the midwest definitely spoiled me on my feed costs. I need to go buy some baking soda. I was hoping the feed store would have livestock grade, but no. Goats need baking soda to keep their rumens happy, so I'm off to the grocery store later.

My blog has been acting funny. I'm only able to see my last post with comments - odd. Let's hope it works itself out soon.

Keep those goat names coming!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Goats Ahoy!

I crossed the Eastern Continental Divide this morning and went to look at goats. I'll be bringing two of them home on Saturday morning. They are two sweet little girls and at least one seems to have a good milking potential. I was wrong in my first mention of them. Their daddy is a rather handsome cream colored Nigerian Dwarf named Dudley and their mommas are La Manchas.

The first looks a lot like her daddy, Dudley. She just didn't want to pose for the camera, but did enjoy a good ear rub and back scratch before she wandered off. Trust me she is quite adorable and reminds me of the goats I had in Africa. The picture doesn't do her light golden coat justice.

The second looks more like her mother, Cow Girl, but with ears (La Manchas have very short or almost non-existant ears; for those of you who didn't check the link above). She's all sleek and svelte. Her udders are very nice and I think based on her mother's and father's records will be a good milker. As you can tell, she likes to pose.

It was fun to visit the farm today. One of Monkey's classmate's mother manages the farm. We chatted and she showed me the milking operation and the new soon-to-open creamery. All the little babies were so cute (I swear baby goats are cuter than labrador puppies!). It gave me courage to try this new venture. All the does just come up and want to be petted and have their ears scratched. The bucks were all friendly now that breeding is done and recieved a fair amount of fawning over. They are smart enough to spot a sucker (that would be me...). Along with the goats, there were chickens and emus. The emus were interesting, but not something I want. The male was growling. I don't need any birds that can growl.

Both of these does are being sold because they will be too small to fit in the owner's new milking stanchions. And she is setting up her new creamery for Grade A status, which means everything is pretty uniform. But they should be good for us. We just have to find a nice small (preferably for the first breeding, Nigerian) buck to breed them to this fall, so they can have kids and freshen for next year. Then it's cheese for everyone!

Now here's the rub. They don't have names (They've both been known as Dudley's girls). I have to come up with names. If we leave it up to Monkey they'll both have princess names or be called Gigi. So that's where you come in. Send me your suggestions. We here at Little Creek Farm will choose the winners. Your prize will be the satisfaction of naming a cute little goat and a jar of Big Daddy's Now Famous Strawberry Jelly Jam! Entries will be taken until Sunday 8:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. Enter as often as you like.

Let the naming begin!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Damn the Luck

Or the lack of it. I have no luck with waterfowl. None at all. I was gone last evening for a couple of hours. The ducklings and goslings were in their new pen, where they had happily played all day. I came home and asked Big Daddy if he had put them up. No. When he went down to put them up, he could only find five. Seven ducks and four geese had vanished. We've found several bodies - not all, in the woods. B.D. swears our dogs were inside. It's a mystery. If it were one or two I would have thought a fox did it. If the little carcasses were laying around their yard, I would have blamed the dogs. It's like they were whisked away by something, all ELEVEN of them. I have no clue what. I'm once again left with this ache and this loss. Last night I was pretty much inconsolable. Today I'm remorseful, mournful and exhausted.

Still, there are five ducks left - two Pekins, two Cayugas and one Buff. And while they are a little skittish today, they seem no worse for the wear. I've left them inside. They are sharing digs with one little Wyandotte chick. I gave some eggs to a neighbor's son to hatch for his class project. One out of three hatched. Pikachu has come back to our house to live, only he's too young to go in with the other chickens yet and I really wanted my studio to be bird-free again. He's got a swank dog crate under a light with his food and water well out of reach of the piglets, er, I mean ducklings. We're down to five - let's hope four are girls and one is a boy. Keep those fingers crossed.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Back On Schedule

My mother left this morning. We are trying to get back to the daily ebb and flow of life up here on the mountain. So far, so good.

Monkey's birthday was yesterday. She is now four and had proclaimed that she is a big girl now and we should all treat her as such. Jeesh. Her birthday party was Saturday and she and seven little girlfriends (no boys allowed!) enjoyed a tea party and her new play set/fort/castle/pirate ship. They were all well behaved and finished off the morning with this...

That's strawberry cream cheese filling wedged between three layers of decadently rich chocolate cake coated in strawberry buttercream and topped with pink fondant cherry blossoms. Just thinking about it now makes my teeth ache and my arteries collapse, but it sure tasted fabulous, if I may say so myself. Hey, you are only four once, right?

In other news, we are trying to purchase a piece of land next to ours. It has gone into foreclosure and the bank says we have first dibs, but we have to wait a month (or more) while they finalize details and so many things can happen in a month and I tend to be a worrier, and I really want that land... you get the picture. So keep your fingers crossed for us, will you?

I have located two young Alpine/Nigerian dairy goat does. Big Daddy just finished the goat shed, so I may be getting them. They aren't freshened, but will be ready to breed in the fall - so we can have babies and milk next spring. They were sort of a mistake (wrong daddy) last year, but they are supposed to be very sweet and have a good milking lineage on both sides, so they may be just perfect for us.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

How My Mother and I Chose to Spend Our Afternoon

Is there any other way to spend a lovely spring afternoon after the rain storms have passed and the weeding is done?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A Beautiful Spring Day and Everyone is Outside

"O.K. Which one of us wants to try to get past Maggie and have a go at the ducks???" "What's a duck?" "Taste like goose."

"O.K Which one of us want to try to get past Maggie and have a go at the dogs???" "What's a dog?" "I think we should send the geese."

*No animals were hurt in the process of making this post. All are fine and dandy.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Arrival Pending

My mother touches down at the Asheville Airport in approximately 45 minutes. I just noticed that there are short red dog hairs all over the black couch in the guest room. eek.

duck, duck, GOOSE!

I haven't really mentioned the new batch of ducklings and goslings. They are now three weeks old and are quite precocious. I was waiting for a formal portrait outside on the lovely spring grass, but the weather has not been cooperating. They are quite vocal, the whole lot of them. I've yet to name the ducks. The geese, however, quickly acquired names. The two Brown Chinese with their elegant long necks are Mulan (it's Monkey's doing - everything Disney...) and General Tso. The Toulouse are Lucinda and Marcel.

You really can't do anything near their brooder pen without the geese telling you how to do it correctly. And the ducks all move in blustery herd of peeping from one end of the pen to the other anytime I approach.

So I give you the first glimpse of the water fowl. That would be General Tso demanding more baby spinach in his diet.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Talking Turkey

Our turkey poults are interesting creatures. They are more tender in constitution than the chickens. We've lost two to unknown reasons. I found one of the bronze poults laying on her side yesterday morning when I went to open the hen house door. She was still alive, but barely. The poor little thing died in my arms.

I think the turkeys suspect that they most of them may not make it past late fall. Each one vies for my attention and tries to get on my good side. One little white one has taken to flying into my arms every time I enter the run. I like to take a 5 gallon bucket into the run and sit on it among the young chicks. That way they can get used to me. They particularly like it when I bring treats. Watermelon is one of their favorites. This same turkey and one other like to come and sit on my lap. Then they take on the persona of a house cat and nuzzle and want to be petted. I will have to put an end to this soon. One reason is that a grown turkey flying up into my arms will probably not be so cute. The other reason would be that I really can't be petting my dinner, now can I?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

No Idle Hands Here

The mountains are finally green. Well, the lower elevations are green at least. It seemed to happen overnight. It's amazing what a week of wet weather will do. We've had some cooler weather and I've been cautious about putting things out in the garden. Yesterday I did plant some filet beans and wax beans. The corn went in on Sunday and the potatoes are coming up. I think I'll wait until near Mother's Day to plant the tomatoes and cucumber seeds. That seemed to work quite well last year. Black-eyed peas may go into the ground this weekend, if all goes well.

Yesterday was the start of the Eat Local Challenge. I had a school board meeting (how I got talked into being on Monkey's school's board I don't know...). So dinner was sort of a free for all. I had leftover Bath County Steak on top of fresh greens from the garden. I think Monkey ate South Carolina Strawberries and something involving cheese. Big Daddy skipped dinner all together as he was busy making his contribution to the local food chain...

Behold! South Carolina Strawberry Jam. 24 half pints of yumminess. Monkey started off her day this morning with a healthy spread of "Big Daddy's Strawberry Jelly Jam" on a homemade biscuit. She then demanded two jars to take to her teacher and teacher's aide. I complied with her wishes as we should share the wealth when we can.
My big challenge today will be to come up with dinner. I have a meeting tonight. Normally on Tuesdays Big Daddy and Monkey eat out. B.D. generally takes her to a locally owned restaurant, so I may just leave it at that tonight. For me, there's always fresh lettuce and morrells when I get home...