Tuesday, May 31, 2011

MA Sheep & Wool

We went to CT Sheep & Wool back at the end of April and as soon as we got home i ran to look up when there would be another we could go to.  MA Sheep & Wool is quite a bit bigger than CT S&W, but I loved them both.  Ironically, I found more yarn and fiber that I *had* to have at the smaller CT festival.

Both kids got to try spinning on a wheel.  Kenna has been spinning on a drop spindle since the CT festival and is getting pretty good at it.  We will be picking up a spinning wheel in the late fall/early winter for our fiber endeavors and both kids want to be able to spin.

The highlight of the day were the angoras.  

 This one is ours ♥

The sheep were cute too ...

So what did I do as soon as I got home and got the angoras settled in? Print out dates and directions to Dutchess County Sheep & Wool/Rhinebeck. 

Can.  Not.  Wait. 

Only 138 more days ...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

So ... we're like, farmers now?

We've been reading, propagating, cleaning, building, stapling, fixing ... but now there are officially animals in our barn.

Lots of them.  21 6-week old chickens to be exact.  2 of whom *may* be roosters.

Some have names.  This is  Phyllis Diller

and this is Holden with the Yeti
and Kenna with Party.


There's no turning back now.  We're officially small farmers!

Growing up ...

3 days old, coming out of the mailing box and into the brooders ...

6 weeks old, coming out of the brooders and into the barn

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I will grow them in a box, I will grow them near the fox

With half the garden area cleared, it was time to start building raised beds.  We measured and calculated and realized it was going to cost a few hundred dollars to make the raised beds we wanted ... and that wasn't counting the topsoil we had to have delivered as well.  We made a trip down to Home Depot and discovered the culls bin ... a bin full of scrap lumber, each piece with an end painted either green ($.51) or yellow ($1.01).  We were like kids in a candy store!

So what if none of them were quite the same lengths (we have saws) and none of them were the lengths we had calculated ... we'd just go with what we had.  We ended up with square boxes that cost $8 a piece to make.

They are modular, in the event that we need to move them, or if the boards break or warp.  The bottom frame is all nailed together, but the top is in 4 separate pieces braced with brackets (more of the culled lumber).

Not bad, if I do say so myself!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Growing ...

It's the end of the wooooorrrld!!!!!!

Today was brooder cleaning day, which in chicken speak means "the end of the world".

It starts innocently enough.  I open the brooder side and start scooping out the shavings in one corner.  The chicks scatter and peep at me, but it's no big deal.  Until I get the first corner done and move on to the second ...

Chicks: OMG, our world is SHRINKING!!! Come on ladies, huddle in the back.  We still have half our world left!!

Me: Finish cleaning out the front half of the brooder and move on to the back half, leaving the front half empty of shavings, just a cardboard bottom. 

Chicks: It's the end of the wooooorld!!! Heeeellllpppppppp!!!!! (now they are all crowded into the far corner of the brooder, stepping all over each other)

Now come that moment when I have to push them all from the last corner of earth, into the seventh circle of hell otherwise known as the rest of the brooder that is now sans pine shavings.  PEEP PEEP PEEEEEEEPPPPPPPPP!!!

Now the brooder is clean and ready for more shavings.

Chicks: AVALANCHE!! We're all going to diiiiiieeeee!!!

Wait for it ...

Chicks: Oh.  Nevermind.  False alarm.  Hey, is that new water??

Then life resumes as usual.  Save for the one welsummer, who may very well be the alpha pullet, who jumped up on the roost and squawked loudly at me until I left the room.  Actually, I can still hear her ...

(originally posted 4/20)

I guess this means spring is here

It's a black bear.

In our driveway.

Just walking around. Guess that's how you can tell spring is here in the hills of northwestern Connecticut ... the bears wake up :P

(originally posted 4/19/11)

One small step

but what a fun step it is! The chicks are our very first step towards farming.

They fall asleep standing up.  Step on each others' heads while they run around.  Peep up a storm.  Why would anyone NOT have chicks??? And where have they been all my life?

Want to meet our girls? I spent a large portion of today trying to identify these little ladies.  Thankfully I can have the embroidery machine going while I google, so I was also able to get some work done :P

Chick #1 - Appenzeller Spitzhauben (she's the only one of these)

Chick #2 - White cochin (she's the only one of these)

Chick #3 - White crested black polish (we have 3 of these)

Chick #4 - Partridge cochin (2 of these)

Chick #5 - Welsummer (2 of these)

Chick #6 - Partridge rock (3 of these)

Then there are the ones I am stuck between 2-3 breeds ...

Chick #7 - These could be light brown leghorns, but they have way fluffier butts than any of the pics I am finding, or they could be americaunas, but they don't have tufted cheeks, so I am at a loss (we have several of these)

Chick #8 - We have lots of these little girlies too, and I am not sure.  Could be black Australorps, Ancona or Exchequer leghorn (we have several of these as well)

(originally published 4/13/11)