Sunday, April 22, 2012

That's No Deer...It's a Sandhill Crane

The photos in this post all come from Google.
Why? Because I have ruined too many cameras by keeping them on my person.

Tonight as Wifey and I were taking care of the animals we heard a very odd call in the corn stubble field behind our place.  It wasn't a turkey or a goose, which are the normal visitors to the field.  We could see a shape moving out in the stubble about 1/4 mile away that looked at first like a deer feeding.
We hopped onto our golf  farm cart and it wouldn't start. The engine rolled over but wouldn't catch.  I had had problems last year with bad gas (too much water in it) and thought maybe that was the problem as I had filled it earlier in the day and emptied the gas can into it.  So I got busy removing the gas line to check it out.  Nope the gas was fine.  Cleaned the air filter and applied some choke.  Nodda. THEN I decided to check the spark plug.  Ah Ha...the wire was off.  I must have knocked it loose earlier when I had to replace the starter belt that flew off while I was driving it in the corn stubble.
Anyway while I was doing this Wifey spotted 2 more of the creatures out in the field and announced that they were cranes.  With their heads down and their color and walking toward us it was very difficult to tell the difference between them and deer doing the same thing. But once they lifted their heads on those long necks, BINGO.  Now in this part of Michigan we never see cranes, so this was an event.
After I got the cart running we let the goaty girls out of their pen to browse and headed to get a better look.  The goats followed us to the back of the property and we all watched as 2 of the cranes head farther back in the field but the 3rd one came closer.  The Girls soon lost interest and began their evening feeding, tearing up grass with as much noise as a heard of swine.  But the Sandhill Crane came ever closer until it was only a little over 100 yards away.  These photos make it hard to see just how big this bird is, I would estimate the body length at about 4 ft., the height to the back about 3.5 ft.,  the height to the top of the head when neck is extended  over 6 ft.

As it passed in front of us it must have realized that it was alone and made that eerie call once more.
(I tried to paste a link here but gave up after an hour. Just Google: Sandhill Crane call,  and it's easy to find)

And flew off.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hershey Squirts

A little over a week ago we sent Hershey on to her new home just down the road. She was healthy enough to make it on her own (Thanks to Kelly at for all of her advise, without her help I may never have cured Hershey's diarrhea problem.) and we knew that we couldn't keep her here with our limited space.

I visited Hershey the other day at her new home and she was doing great. Shawn's kids just love her and she gets so much more attention than we could provide. They are keeping her in the house and she acts just like a puppy. Last night Shawn brought her here for a visit and she was happy to be back. She went running up the stairs and into the house to see Wifey. (it's hard to believe that just 3 weeks ago she couldn't even stand) She was very excited to see her, but showed no remorse at leaving. She is growing and doing so much better.

Shawn & Hershey

Nursing Hershey back to health was a bittter/sweet experience. But seeing the results warms my heart. All of the work and worry were well worth it. She is healthy and happy, and in a good home with people who will care for her and love her. And we can see her whenever we want. And they are thinking about getting one of her brothers for company for her also. He would have to be neutered of course.

 We miss her, but not all of the extra work it involved. Especially now that we have chicks hatching and really need the room for them on the back porch. I am also hatching eggs for my neighbor Tony and his friend. The incubator is FULL and I have more eggs waiting to go in as soon as others hatch. We are selling our chicks on-line, and have orders waiting to hatch.  I have even had to build a new brooder box to keep up with all of our hatchlings.

Recently I have also joined an online group promoting the raising of rabbits for food.
It is an interesting site for anyone who wants to raise rabbits for meat, with much advice and helpful people.
Last week the founder of the site visited me to pick up one of my rabbits for future breeding purposes.

This little guy he has named Mufasa after the Lion King character.  He is fast becoming a household pet instead of just a buck for breeding.  And his 80 year old mother enjoys holding and petting him as do the neighborhood children. So I don't see him ever making it to the dinner table. As a matter of fact I don't see any of his litter mates getting there either.  Two of his sisters are my niece's children's 4H project.  Two more are going to a friend as breeding stock and I am keeping one for the same purpose.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Just Another Ordinary Day

I debated finishing this post as I had no photos, it's now about a month old but I am posting it anyway.

 Last night on the way in from taking care of animals I noticed that the chimney from the wood stove was crooked. I took a long pole and tried to straighten it back up only to have the top section come off. After inspecting it I realized I needed a new pipe as it had rusted out at the botton so there was no fixing it. This morning after letting the animals out we tried to put the goats back into the pen I made for them last summer. We hoped that Fern had forgotten how to escape...she hadn't. Before we got halfway to the house she was out and running. Before we could go get Peaches she got out too, but somehow managed to cut the top of her head. We had fun trying to get her to let us check out the damage and get the bleeding stopped. Our normally docile goat turned into a Tasmanian Devil and twisted and turned so fast that it was nearly impossible to hang on to her. After we got her taken care of, I went out to the shed to get the old pipe I had replaced last fall to see if any of it was usable. Of course my Irish luck held true and none of it was. So I had to go to town to get new stove pipe. And since I was going I might as well get animal feed, LP gas and some groceries. But before I could go we had to empty the firewood from the back of the truck. While the truck was backed up to the house I stood on the tail gate and took down the stove pipe and found it all needed replacing. It had rusted through in only 5 months when it usually lasts a year or more. The lumber yard didn't have any so I had to go to TSC. Luckily they had all that I needed and that was all they had in stock. Then the rain started. Then to WalMart, to Caro Rental to get LP gas, then to Big Acre to get feed. By the time I got home it was pouring rain. Unloaded the truck, had to chase, coax and drag the animals to get them back inside, fed & watered the animals. By this time I was drenched. Then had to hook up the LP gas tank, go down to the basement and light the water heater. Came in and lit the pilot on the stove and oven, put a chicken on the rotisserie for supper and finally started putting the stove pipe together. The stove pipe comes as a 2 foot long rolled sheet of steel in the shape of a C that has a tab on one long edge and a slot on the other, you have to try to roll it together and make the tab fit into the slot to form a tube. Normally a fairly simple task.....NOT today. And I had to make three of them. Then it was time to put the sections together to form one long pipe. The bottom 3 inches of each section is corrigated to allow easy fitting of one section to another. You slide the corrigated bottom of one section into the top of another, then drill a some holes and install some screws to hold the sections together. Usually another very simple easy task....but again...Not today. Evidently these pipe sections were made by a foriegn company who had no idea what they were for or how they were used. Even with the corrigations I could not get the sections to fit together. I had to take a pair of pliers and bend the edge in and with a little force from a LARGE hammer, I finally persuaded them to fit. Same thing with the rain cap for the top and elbow at the bottom. By now it is way after dark, raining quite heavily and windy. It was getting cold in the house so I could not delay. You know it wasn't half as much fun installling that chimney as I had thought it was going to be. I had no more than got started when the rain drops tripled in size, came down harder and faster, and it got windier. By the time I was done water was coming off the roof like Niagra Falls and hitting me right in the chest. And with the rain hitting my back there wasn't a dry spot on me. And the corrigated end on the elbow was made too tight so it fit very sloppily into the pipe through the wall. I hope it stays together tonight so I can fix it tomorrow.

So I came in about 9pm, peeled off my coat which weighed about 50 pounds with all of the water it had absorbed, hung it up to drip dry, made a fire in the stove, put on some dry clothes and ate my over cooked supper. Then I had to clean and oil the fan we use to circulate the warm air into the house. By the time it was done I was more than ready to sleep.....but wait..... I still have to.......

Too Tired To Post

Just like these bunnies born a few weeks ago, all I want to do is sleep.
The too cold to too warm and back temperatures of this spring have got me as messed up as our animals.
On the nice days Wifey and I have been outside doing the necessary tasks around the place.  Cleaning out pens and moving the ducks to the outside goat pen.
Yes that IS snow falling.  At the start of a blizzard with thunder and lightening.

After digging a mini-pond and lining it, filing it and clipping flight feathers we have no more luck keeping the ducks inside than we did with the goats or dogs.  I think this pen is jinxed and we will have to tear it down and rebuild it in another spot.  Closer to the other animals is my thought. Right now it is off all by itself, but in a wonderful shaded to sunny spot, protected from the prevailing winds.

We also became the proud parents of a mini-goat.
Her name is Hershey.

She was born last of a litter of four to our neighbor's Dwarf/Pygmy mix goat.  She was the runt of the litter and was weak and couldn't stand or nurse and it's siblings were trampling all over it.  She was half the size of the rest of them and he just didn't have time to care for her as he had 10 other kids to care for.  So he gave her to Wifey to try to save.  We have been bottle feeding her and caring for her just like a baby.
Grandson Owen likes her.

Granddaughter Aden & Owen enjoyed making sure
she gets her exercise, and big old Bear supervising.

She has steadily improved and is now getting around like any goat-ling. She enjoys her romps with our other goats on the nice days and is showing interest in eating what they do.

We also got some new chicks last week and house them in the old indoor duck pen.

We bought 25 Cornish Cross meat birds, 6 Barred Rock pullets and 6 Buff Orphington pullets.

I also have the incubator loaded up with chicken, duck, guinea, goose and quail eggs.  When I woke up this morning and went to feed Hershey, I heard peeping from the incubator.  Lo and behold, 7 baby quail hatched during the night.  So now I have to set up a brooder for them too.

Well as my Mother-in Law used to say, "No rest for the wicked or the weary."
I think I am S.O.L. because I seem to be both........