Remember Me?

I’ve been woefully remiss in my blog posting. The past couple of months have been filled with lots of good things, and a few not so good things.

I’m gonna start with one of the not so good things.

We lost Duke about the time I stopped blogging. It was truly a difficult time for me. He had been sick for quite a while and, in all honesty, we should have probably put him down long ago. He had a good life, and he was quite the rooster – big, handsome, and a fierce protector of his flock. I have never heard of another rooster that would chase chicken hawks, let alone attack them and, on one occasion, pin them to the ground. Duke will always hold a very special place in my heart.

A good thing that happened is that my hens finally started going broody for me, and we ended up with one that hatched out five chicks:

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And one that hatched out four:

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Unfortunately, a predator killed both of the mama hens within two days. The four chicks were two weeks old at the time, and the five chicks were three weeks old. That same week, something got our big rooster, Pico. It was a stressful and sad week to say the least. After finding Pico’s feathers scattered across the yard, I decided to put the chickens on lock down for a few days.

I am fairly certain we had a fox that was picking off our chickens. We had seen a fox chasing a hen in the yard several weeks ago. Bernie scared it off, and it stayed gone a while. But I suspect it started coming back after these chickens.

After a couple days of lock down for the chickens, they were cut loose to resume free ranging. And we haven’t lost another one. Maybe the fox found an easier meal. I certainly hope so.

Since the loss of two roosters, I’m down to Bobby Lee and Floyd. As sad as I was to lose Duke and Pico, Bobby Lee actually seems quite happy.

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He’s such a handsome boy. Floyd is too – but I didn’t get a good picture of him.

In mid-June Bernie’s mama and sister came to visit for a week. That was definitely a high light of our summer. We had a wonderful visit and were tickled to learn they will be back the end of August – with Bernie’s daddy and Julie’s boyfriend in tow!

Bernie’s mama, Kathy, is one of my favorite people, and she’s always a hoot. She and Bernie are very close, and it always warms my heart to watch the affection between them.

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Bernie’s sister, Julie, is such a good friend to me and I just adore her. So does Dolly.

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It was sad to see them go. But knowing that they will be back in short order definitely helped saying “goodbye” just a little easier this time.

So far I feel like this has been a good news/bad news kind of post! And I guess it really has. The next news I have to share with you is definitely a mix of both.

We no longer have the turkeys.

I have very mixed feelings about this.

It makes me sad because I really love Jake, Tanya, Sara, and Turklet2. I miss them a lot. But, on the other hand, it made me sad to see them penned. They were used to free ranging and penning them was difficult on them. So…….. when we learned that Gail, the owner of Deauville Farms, had re-homed all the Fallow Deer she had raised for years, we approached her about taking all four of our turkeys. Gail has many chickens, and she now has a huge pasture that she plans to free range them in. The pasture has 6 foot fencing, with electric wire at the top. Talk about a safe, fun place for turkeys to hang out! We were tickled when Gale said she would be happy to add four turkeys to her menagerie.

That made me very happy. And a little sad. But mostly happy.

So, just yesterday, we loaded up the turkeys and took them to their new home. We also supplied Gail with the turkeys’ favorite treat – Animal Crackers. As it turns out, Animal Crackers are a nice way to introduce yourself to turkeys.

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In the below picture you can get an idea of the huge pasture the turkeys will be roaming in. They’ll stay fenced in the smaller yard for a couple of days until they are sure where “home” is, but soon they’ll be out free ranging again.

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And the old turkey coop in our back yard? That’s gonna get cleaned up good and turned into a place to store all my canning stuff. And the lean-to on the side of it? That’s gonna get turned into a screened in canning room. I’ll be sure to let y’all know how all that progresses…….

The rest of us are doing just fine.

Elvis still has a drinking problem.

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Priscilla enjoys a nip every now and again.

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Diesel enjoys surrounding himself with his favorite toys when he naps.

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And Dolly enjoys laying around looking pretty.

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The chickens enjoy pecking at my painted toenails.

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Say what??????????

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And the goat babies enjoy begging for some Animal Crackers.

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We’ve gotten some lard rendered.

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And some honey extracted.

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Pickle canning season has come in with a vengeance – and I finally got to start using the Tattler lids I purchased at a ridiculously low price last year. I LOVE them, by the way.

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And, thanks to my sister-in-law Julie, I’ve picked up crocheting again and made several of these cute little pot holders.

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And, now that I’ve got you caught up, maybe I’ll get back to posting weekly.

What the heck have you been doing this summer?

12 Responses to “Remember Me?”

  1. Oz Girl says:

    I’m SO sorry you lost Duke and Pico and your mama hens!! :-( I hope the chicks are growing fast — perhaps a few of them will have very unique and fun personalities! Looks like you’ve been busy this summer, what with rendering lard and extracting honey and canning pickles and entertaining guests and all…

    What have I been doing? Welllll, that’s a good question. I feel like everytime I get 2 days off work I end up cleaning and organizing. Again. Such a repetitive task. I think I’m going to have to just “let it go” and start doing some of the things I’d rather be doing…. like working on my new blog home, tearing apart the guest bedroom to convert it into my art and computer studio. Then again, perhaps those are tasks better suited to the long dreary days of winter!! :-)

    Good to read a post from you, take care, enjoy the rest of the summer – hope yours hasn’t been as ridiculously hot as it is in Kansas!!! ACK!

  2. Charlotte says:

    I am so sorry to hear about the lost of 2 of your roosters. Sending lots Hugs & Love your way. Am so glad to hear Bernie’s parents & sister are coming back for another visit that is great news. I know you will miss the Turkeys, but I know you will be visiting them as much as you can at Gail’s. The goat girls look great and getting fat bellies. All the critters looks Happy and well Loved.
    Love you all, Charlotte

  3. Melissa says:

    So nice to get the update from you and your family. I am so sorry to hear about losing members of the flock and also having to rehome the turkeys but hopefully you can go and visit them sometime.
    Love the pickles and the honey looks amazing. I have 3 supers on my new hives and I just might get some honey if I am lucky this Fall! Welcome back, I missed you!

  4. Teresa says:

    I’m sad about your hen losses…the same thing happened to us. A predator got our best mama hen. And a raccoon got another one of our broody hens while she was setting a clutch of eggs just a few weeks ago. It’s a sad fact of life when one homesteads.

  5. basicliving says:

    Oz Girl – I sure hope y’all cool off soon out there. Those temps are insanely HOT! I hope things settle down for you soon and you can get back to doing the things that make you happy :)

    Charlotte – You’ve been to Gail’s and you know it’s just up the road. We’ll be visiting the turkeys often, I’m sure. In fact, we are planning to head over there after work to help her put up a new roost. It seems her chickens are scared of the turkeys and refuse to roost with them! Bernie will put a new roost up for her and hopefully that will make everyone a little more comfortable in there.

    Melissa – I know you’re looking forward to harvesting a little honey from your hives. There is really nothing like honey from your very own hives!

    Teresa – it’s so sad to lose chickens, but especially when it’s a broody or new mama :( One of the mama hens we lost was a full bloodied
    Phoenix, and she has always been such a good broody and wonderful mama. It is just heartbreaking to lose her. Free ranging can come with a cost, but we’ve been very lucky over the years and rarely lose any of our flock. I hope this time was the last, but I know better.

  6. Lisa says:

    Oh Penny,

    I am soooooooo very very sorry about you losing Duke and Pico and the two momma hens. It does sound like a fox, but the feathers all over sounds like a hawk or something coming from overhead. But either way I still feel so sad. Duke was one special boy. do you know what he had that he died from? I am glad you had family to come visit, that is always a treat to see loved ones. So glad the turkeys have found a new home where they can run and be free. (((hugs)))

    Lisa

  7. Sorry about your chickens. I know about foxes. We have a mother and two babies running around my property. We had to look up our chickens. I hate it. We all miss them free ranging.

  8. basicliving says:

    Lisa – thank you. I suspect the feathers were from Pico fighting so hard. There were three piles of them from the middle of the yard to the edge of the woods. The dogs started barking and when I let them out we heard something running through the woods about the same time we saw all the feathers. I guess we can’t be sure, but Pico was so large and our hawks are so small until I would be surprised to learn they could carry him. Duke had bumblefoot for 3 or 4 years and I never could get it completely cured. As soon as one started looking good another would pop up. He had been acting tired and sleeping a lot for several months. He fell asleep behind a car tire and was run over as it was backing out. It was an awful day and everyone involved felt just awful, even though I assured them that it was probably the best for poor ol’ Duke that he was finally out of misery and it was merciful that he died immediately. Sad day for sure.

    Sherri – I hope the foxes move on and your chickens can free range again soon. Poor chickens – everyone and everything loves chicken!

  9. Lisa says:

    Oh Penny, that Bumblefoot is awful stuff. I know what you mean about it, it is relentless. We have those awful gumballs from that huge gum tree behind the coops. It provides so much shade but the down side is the dreaded gumball seed that fall off and mine step on. I try to rake them up but I have a couple hens and a rooster to do surgery on soon. My Jack is handicapped now due to an accident with a pair of scissors and my husband. so he uses his left leg as a crutch and isn’t as mobile as the others so he has a pen to stay in but I think he has it in the back of his knee from where he irritates it from having to be down alot of the time. that should be fun you wouldn’t want to come help on that surgery would you? lol

    Oh some good news to share with you……. I am getting an Alpaca!!!! I am so very excited. He will help keep my goats and chickens safe from the awful foxes here. It has been a rough year here as well. I wish I could shot a gun well enough to kill them on site. I have heard from many people that the fox are bad all over the place. Oh and don’t get me started on the snakes. lol

    Lisa

  10. basicliving says:

    Lisa – Ugh! I’m so sorry you’re battling bumblefoot so bad. So far Duke is the only one I’d had that’s gotten it. If you were close enough I’d be happy to come help you on surgery day! And I am sooooo excited that you’re getting an Alpaca!!!! Can’t wait to see the pictures! I know you can hardly wait to get him.

  11. So good to hear all that you’ve been up to. Sorry to hear of the losses! Awesome to see your wonderful lard, honey, canning and crocheting!! And Dolly and Diesel in fine form. :D We hope to have our first guests to our little homestead at Thanksgiving! We are about 2/3 done with our fence carving out a backyard for the furry kids. It’s looking pretty good (to us anyway) so far. Hubby has dug every posthole by hand! We are definitely looking forward to some “cooler” weather so that we can get more accomplished outside…high 90s, flirting with 100s AND the humidity creating a heat index of at least 10 degrees hotter than that is just not conducive to getting much done outside. :( Looking forward to hearing more from you.

  12. Lisa says:

    Welcome back Penny! I’ve missed your posts.
    Hate what happened to your birds! As much as I love nature I hate that part of it.
    Bobby Lee is GORGEOUS!

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