Monday, April 30, 2007

A weekend of accomplishments, but don't thank the goats

This was a weekend of projects. Lots of projects were completed, and my aching back is proof. The garden is tidy. Tidy rows of seeds have been planted. The potato rows have been covered in layers of straw and dirt. The aisles have been weeded and mulched. Plants that weathered our last freeze (and most did it quite well) have been mulched and fed. The survivors of the great greenhouse destruction are lined out in a sheltered spot hardening off. Bare spots in the yard have been seeded.

While I struggled to bring order to the garden, Charlie wielded hammer and saw to build a second small pen for the poultry (that makes two) and build two new small houses. We now have room for the ducklings, goslings and the chicks. Everyone except the keets and Lazarus are now outside.

The goats tried to help, but really just got in Charlie's way. Charlie cursed. A word of advice - don't try to build with goats. Dulcinea was fascinated by the tape measure and managed to pull it out and drag it around. Her attention then focused on power cords. Agatha helped Charlie by picking up nails and tools, and knocking down boards. She took to hanging out inside the new houses. The goats were grounded. The girls ended up cloistered in their pen for a while, which meant they got in my way while I cleaned out the winter's deep litter in their shed. We finished up yesterday tired and dirty and smelling of goat. Good times, good times.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

OK, now it's spring

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it is now spring. We spent the past weekend camping in Georgia. While the nights were chilly, the weather was warmer (and the pollen much worse).

While the cat's away, the mice (or in our case, chickens) will play. Several of the uppity chickens have been jumping over a section of fence into the garden and munched on the cabbage and radishes. I'm not too happy. There's going to be a lot of wing clipping this weekend and a second little pen built along that lower section of fence to block all entry to the garden.

What are they? And why are they so messy???

The ducklings and goslings have outgrown their brooder, so yesterday they went to live in their own pen. Agatha Grunker and Dulcinea were intrigued by them. The nights are finally warm enough for them. Soon the chicks will move out to the second little pen and I'll have my studio to myself again.

Oh, and in a sure sign of spring ~ the asparagus is poking out of the ground!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Goats do smile!

Agatha Grunker and everyone else seems to have weathered the storm much better than the greenhouse (we're checking with the manufacturer and insurance to see what we can do to replace it). A few branches are down in the pasture and one metal panel was peeled back from the chicken house roof like a banana, but no one seems worse for the weather.

I let the girls out of their shed after the winds died down yesterday evening and they had a nice frolic. They are getting daily brushings to remove their winter shags and have had a spring hoof trim. Vaccinations are next week (they love that...). I think I can hold off on worming, but will keep an eye out as the weather gets warmer.

We may add an additional goat this spring. Nubian or Alpine? Kid or doe? Too many options really. As long as Agatha remains boss, I don't think she'll mind.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Go ahead, rub some more salt in my wounds

Spring continues to be exceptionally cruel. Yesterday wind gusts of up to 6o miles an hour ripped the greenhouse off of its foundation. Miraculously, no baby plants were destroyed. The wind literally lifted the greenhouse up and over all the plants. And then to add insult to injury, it started to snow. I hauled all 140 tomato plants, 30 peppers and various other seedling and tender plants into the garage. Charlie and the Monkey had gone swimming so it was up to me to save the gardens future...

The winds continued through the night. We could hear limbs cracking and trees groaning all around. All furniture on the back porch was pushed up against the house. We lost power once for a minute or two and I was sure I would have to bring all the ducklings, goslings and chicks inside to keep warm. Luckily it stayed on. It's now getting light enough to see if there is any further damage, so I'm off to check things out before I go to school. Ugh.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


The freezing temperatures over Easter weekend wreaked havoc around here. I think our blueberry crop is a complete loss. All the blossoms turned brown overnight. Our apples may be a wash too. I stopped pitying myself when I realized that my livelihood didn't rely on the success or failure of our little crop. Growers throughout the region are facing total devastation of their apple, peach and strawberry crops. Crop insurance will not cover much; and I hate to think of all the workers who will be without work at harvest time.

It wasn't just the plants around here that were breaking my heart. The little guinea keet didn't make it. I'm not sure what went wrong. It just never really thrived. There are still eight eggs under a very broody Australorp hen in the coop, so maybe we will get lucky with a few eggs. Marie, who had been patiently sitting on ten eggs of her own, mysteriously left them when the cold snap hit. So, no turkeys this year either. We've had a bummer of a time here at Little Creek Farm.

One bright spot occured Easter morning. Charlie came back from the chicken house with a perfect, fluffy, little black chick. She's very cute and her story a little miracle. Her story deserves an entry all by itself. So tune in tomorrow. As a teaser I'll tell you that we've named her Lazarus.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Easter!



Obligatory morning snow storm,

and Agatha Grunker enjoys her new pasture!

Friday, April 06, 2007

One more day...

And it will be Spring Break. I'll have a whole week to hang out with this little guy - the only guinea hen that hatched in our school incubation project. He's very cute and very tiny.