Archive for March, 2011

Beards, Dust Baths, and Rumors

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Guess who’s growing up?

Photobucket

Look closely …… below his caruncles ….. in the center, mid-chest.

Photobucket

Jake is growing a beard! It’s hard to believe how quickly he’s maturing. *sigh*

This girl was taking a dust bath.

Photobucket

And just relaxing for a bit.

Photobucket

I’m glad she’s enjoying it. It may be a while before she gets to do that again. We’re supposed to get snow/rain/messy-mix for the next 4 or 5 days.

Didn’t I hear a rumor that it’s now officially spring?

Buzzing with Excitement

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

I planted some pansies in an old chicken waterer last week.

Photobucket

And this is how they looked this morning:

Photobucket

But we didn’t let that get us down.

We’ve been busy cleaning up old bee equipment, and preparing a couple of hives for the girls’ homecoming. We should be able to pic them up in six weeks or so. Bernie painted the hive boxes yellow for me and, inspired by cousin Julie’s beautiful artwork, I decorated one of them today.

Photobucket

I’m not as artistic as Julie, so I glued on buttons from a collection I started in 1977.

Photobucket

In the rear I just added a little “flight path”.

Photobucket

Which leads to this quite “healthy” girl:

Photobucket

Check out Julie’s website for some truly adorable art work, and a lot of information about keeping bees.

We are buzzing with excitement about getting our honey bees and establishing our apiary again. It’s a lot more fun to focus on that, rather than the white stuff sitting on the ground right now.

Dolly and Daisy Get a Surprise Visitor

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

A few weeks ago, Dolly and I were out walking and we met Mary Ann and her pup, Daisy. We were tickled to learn that Mary Ann and Daisy are daily walkers too, and the four of us became walking buddies.

A few days ago we saw a turkey in the road while we were out walking. Wild turkeys are very illusive, so it is rather odd to see a wild turkey in this area. Even odder, this turkey did not run from us. At all. In fact, this turkey let us get pretty close, and while she didn’t want us to get too close, we were close enough to follow behind her for a few steps and get a good look at her. She wasn’t a wild turkey at all. She looked like a Bronze Breasted turkey crossed with another breed – possibly a white turkey. Mary Ann made a few phone calls when she got home, but was unable to locate anyone missing a turkey.

I said a little prayer that the turkey will be safe and find her way home.

Dolly and Daisy prayed they’d get to see that turkey again.

This morning the four of us set out for a 4.6 mile walk, and on the homestretch we heard a familiar popping noise. We looked over in the woods, and there in a clearing was that turkey hen.

Photobucket

And within a few minutes, she walked in front of us.

Photobucket

She crossed the road,

Photobucket

hopped up the bank,

Photobucket

and had the full attention of Dolly and Daisy.

Photobucket

She slowly headed toward the woods on the other side.

Photobucket

Mary Ann and I were surprised. But I don’t think we were as surprised as Dolly and Daisy.

Photobucket

They talked about it all the way home.

The Stuff We’re Made Of

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

When I think of the things that made me who I am, I think of two very defining moments.

I think I was about 10 years old when my cousins, Larry and Paul, gave me a hampster – complete with a three story cage for her. Her name was Suzie and I loved her beyond words. I had her many years and she left my entire family with many memories. She not only crawled up our arms and snuggled in the nape of our necks, she was also an escape artist and we dragged out the washing machine to recapture her more than once.

One day I came home to find Suzi hanging by a tangled arm from one of the floors of her three story mansion. I’m sure my blood curdling scream was heard around the world. Suzi was half dead. And I was completely heartbroken. My mom took that little hampster and was determined to breathe life into her. She held Suzi in her hands and rubbed her. She took Suzi into the sun to bring warmth to her. My mom cared for that little hampster for two days. And finally, Suzi died.

Suzi’s death was a very sad time. And, as was our family custom, we held a funeral for her. Suzi was buried and life continued on. But, as I grew older, I realized that out of this came a part of my mother that I took with me – the part of my mother that can’t stand to see a person suffer. The part of my mother that would take a small animal into her care, and into her heart, and fight to the end to save that creature. The part of my mother that has a heart of gold. The part of my mother that is sympathy, and empathy, and love.

I grew up in a family of shrimpers, and I remember big, glorious shrimp boats, looking so beautiful at a dock at the end of my grandparent’s long driveway. One year, when I was maybe eight years old, my rather large, extended family took a trip on one of these shrimp boats to an island – an all day excursion, with so many cousins and aunts and uncles, and my sisters and mom and dad. It was a perfect day, full of sunshine and laughter. We swam to the island and cooked out and romped and played on the shore for many hours – until I managed to step on a rusty fish hook, and embed it in my foot.

If you know anything at all about fish hooks, you know they are barbed. Fish hooks aren’t easily pulled out and when they are, well, it isn’t pretty. I was sitting on the beach crying and no one knew what to do. Until my father arrived. I was crying hysterically, but my father looked me in the eye and told me he was going to take care of it, but I had to be strong. In a matter of moments the fish hook was out of my foot, but I didn’t know it. I was still screaming like a hyena. And just as suddenly my father grabbed me and said “Well, you can sit here and scream and cry, or you can go enjoy your day. We’re not going to be on this island forever.” And I got up, limped off, and enjoyed my day.

And I got over that fish hook pretty quickly. And as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that my father taught me a lot that day, and I’ve taken part of him with me. I’ve taken his strength. The part of my father that knows life isn’t always fair. And sometimes life hurts. And I’ve taken the part of him that knows we have a choice. We can sit there and cry about the hand life has dealt us, or we can get up, brush ourselves off, and enjoy what we have left. The part of my father that never gives up or lets life get him down.

I’d like to think that’s what I’m made of – the very best my parents have to offer. The soft and the tough and the very strongest of two people.

I hope I can live up to it.

Super Moon and Super Eggs

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

I sat up late last night, waiting on the arrival of the Super Moon. It wasn’t nearly as big as I expected. But it was pretty.

Photobucket

The turkey eggs we’re getting, on the other hand, are pretty big. And they’re pretty pretty.

Photobucket

They’re pretty yummy too!

Things That Made Me Smile Today

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera on ready all day to capture everything that made me smile. You should be thanking the stars for that right now – I would be posting several hundred pictures…….

But I did capture Tanya sitting on the nest, getting ready to lay her second egg:

Photobucket

Doesn’t she look so tiny and fragile? Don’t let her fool ya!

And here’s Georgia. She actually got more than a smile out of me with this one:

Photobucket

We have had such a beautiful day. The weather is great. We got a lot of bee equipment cleaned up in anticipation of the arrival of our hives in a few weeks. And we smiled and laughed a lot. What more could we ask for today? I hope your day was just as wonderful.

Our Saturday

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

We got our first turkey egg! It was quite an exciting moment. The proud mama is the little jenny to the left:

Photobucket

She came up missing mid-afternoon and we looked all over for her. Bernie finally found her in his boat. He’s begun calling it the “Brooder Boat” since having a chicken hen hatch out her babies in it last year. We picked her up, carried her into the turkey coop, and put her in the turkey nest we built for her.

Photobucket

It’s just some lattice nailed to a couple of boards, and covered in pine limbs, but she seems to like it. She laid her first egg in it! The picture below was taken after the fact. You may be able to see the fake plastic egg in the back that I replaced her egg with.

Photobucket

The egg wasn’t quite as big as I expected, but it’s still larger than the chicken eggs.

Photobucket

And it’s speckled. I have no idea if that’s normal, or if it’s because it’s her first egg. I hope to find out by comparing it to future eggs!

Bernie finished framing and screwing in lattice around the bottom of the deck.

Photobucket

I really love it. He’s going to build me some flower beds in front of it. I can hardly wait get some flowers in it.

Georgia is getting big.

Photobucket

I love her ears.

Photobucket

Mirrie is getting big too, but she still seems like my little baby.

Photobucket

We got 20 more strawberry plants in the ground today and we cleaned up the horseradish, rhubarb, and asparagus beds.

We’ve had a nice Saturday on the homestead. How has yours been?

Home Dairy Give-Away

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

I really love Ashley English’s Keeping Bees book and I was happy Megan, from Sterling Publishing Company, also gave me a copy of Ashley’s Home Dairy book to review. This is another book in the Home Living series, and I just love it.

Ashley English,Home Dairy

In Home Dairy, Ashley really provides all you need to know to make all sorts of dairy products from raw, or store bought milk, including cheese, butter, ghee, yogurt, buttermilk, sour cream, kefir, ice cream, creme fraiche, and quark. She includes several recipes for beginner cheeses, and some for advanced cheeses – I can’t wait to try the Gargonzola recipe. And I really love her step by step instructions for making your own cheese press.

Ashley even provides an ice cream recipe for each season, and several delicious sounding food recipes. And I can’t wait to try the body care recipes she gives for the face, eyes, hair, body, hands and feet!

I really love this book, and I’m tickled that Megan and Ashley are offering one lucky reader a free copy in this give-away. If you’d like to enter, just leave a comment on this blog post before midnight on Friday, March 11th, and tell me you’d like to win a copy of this book.

One winner will be selected in a random drawing and announced on Saturday, March 12th.

Oh, and if you hurry and pop on over to Ashley’s Small Measure blog, you may have an additional chance to win this book at a give-away she’s sponsoring there 🙂

UPDATE: 3/12/11 – The winner of the random drawing for the Home Dairy book is…….. Denny! Congratulations, Denny! I know you’ll enjoy this book and making all the yummy recipes in it.

Spring is in the Air

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

It’s not quite spring yet, but we’ve had some beautiful weather for this time of year. Bernie has started working on getting the lattice up underneath the deck. And he’s had a lot of help. The turkey hens pull his hair, steal his hat, and try to grab the nails he is hammering. I tried to get a picture, but every time I went outside the turkeys would come running to me.

The best I could do is stay on the deck and snap this one.

Bronze Turkeys

Jake is still a Jake, but he’s definitely becoming a Tom. He’s learned to express his, um…… err…… affection for the hens. And how could they resist such a handsome specimen?

Bronze Turkeys

Why, I’m pretty sure any turkey hen would swoon if courted by this handsome guy.

Bronze Turkeys

Although they don’t look terribly impressed most times……

Bronze Turkeys

Hey, don’t forget to sign up to win a free copy of Ashley English’s book, Keeping Bees. The cutoff is tomorrow night at midnight, so there’s still time!