Camera Issues – Busy

It is amazing how easy it is to stop posting. First I was having camera issues and it just didn’t seem right to have posts without pictures. Next my job just overwhelmed me, the next thing I knew my garden was an overgrown wreck and it was all we could do to give the animals the attention they deserved.

Well yesterday as I was trying to avoid all the foolishness the press was trying to push vis-a-vis the so called government shutdown it dawned on me that I hadn’t visited OFG’s site in months! Soon I was visiting all my old haunts and low and behold I was happy!

Radish First

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The radishes in the garden are growing great. The first ripe ones are literally popping up out of the ground! I ate some yesterday and again this morning with breakfast, they were delicious.

This is much better than the first time I tried growing them in the garden. Back then they grew OK but the taste was “woody” and terrible. The soil is much improved since then.

We also got to try a few strawberries yesterday as well, very sweet. Looks like the painted rock decoys are doing their job.

Decoys

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Several days ago I noticed that some eggs were missing, especially the blue ones.  That could only mean that a secret nest had been formed.  We spent several days trying to locate it and it was finally spotted yesterday (in the very tip top of the loft in the sheep barn) with 18 eggs in it.  The dogs are very happy about the discovery!

Every time a secret nest is found a new one is soon set up and the hunting begins again.  This time I decided to place a few “decoy” plastic Easter eggs in the nest to see if they would notice.  I worked (kind of) as I was able to gather 3 new eggs today although the plastic eggs were pecked and broken apart.

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Last year the birds ate most of the strawberries that I was able to coax from the garden, what to do?  How about a few rocks painted like strawberries?  Is that cruel?

I’m hoping to get to eat a few strawberries myself this year.

Eaves Sprouting

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The rain this year has been overwhelming. We are way above average for June and when you combine that with the freezing Spring well, gardening has been slow. I am happy that I finally decided to try growing a few things in the extra eaves that were taken off the garage. I tried mostly peas and spinach.

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They look to be growing just fine even though their soil is a bit wet. I took this picture a few days ago and I was just outside and they are already double in height. Yesterday one of the goats was up on the deck and nibbled at a few. I am excited to see the peas wind themselves around the poles as they grow.

Fox Watch

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Mini Leopold does an amazing job of keeping the hens together in a flock as they roam across the lawn and into the pastures.  Every once in a while a hen will break off to lay an egg but eventually he heads off and brings them back to the group.  This was never the case when his father (Leopold) was in charge.

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With all the chickens sticking together and moving as a flock it makes it easy for Sara to keep an eye on them – hopefully keeping the fox away.  I know Sara likes it when they stick together, that way she doesn’t have to spend any time rounding them up!  (She’s crazy like that.)

Vanguard of the Guinea Army

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We love having guineas here as they serve several important purposes.  First and foremost they are tick eating machines, with all the tick borne illnesses out there this more than earns them a place here.  Second, they are excellent watch birds who make a earsplitting racket every time something out of the ordinary makes an appearance (fox, hawks, eagles, cars, clouds, a strong breeze, etc).  Item two gets old and can earn you the reputation as “the bad neighbor”.  Guineas are also territorial and the males will attack (or try to defend the flock, chickens included) predators if they make an appearance.

Unfortunately guineas are also night blind and easy prey.  The are favorite targets of anything that is hungry.  We started the Spring with 2 girls and one male, then the mysterious stranger arrived for the second straight year.  We had high hopes for the two breeding pairs, especially when one nest was set up in the sheep barn and the second was in the injury recovery coop.  Sadly I think the fox grabbed one of the girls leaving Juliet (the last original guinea) sitting on 30+ eggs in the safety of the sheep barn.

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We weren’t sure if we could find the nest this year so any eggs we found were saved for the BrinSea incubator.  This incubator has seven slots and we have had great luck with it every time it has been used.  I highly recommend it!

 

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We hatched out six of the seven eggs!  Unfortunately none of the chickens have gone broody yet so these will be raised the hard way, in the garage.  Once Juliet’s keets hatch we will try to catch as many as we can and add them to the brood.  Guinea keets don’t survive very well around here unless the spend the night in the coop.

 

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This is a little trick I read about and decided to try.  This is a great place to keep little ones  safe and warm!