Saturday, February 6, 2010

Lies the Weathermen Told Me

So there was a lot of talk about this Nor' easter this week but the local weathermen and the weather channel said by last night that the area in which I reside in Northeastern Ohio was slated to get 2-4 inches overnight. They had downgraded it from the 6-8 inches they had predicted Friday morning. So yesterday I had taken a "sick" day and ran down to Amish Country with my Dad; got 300 lbs of oats ($14.30 for a 100lbs) and 100 lbs of chicken mash for $13.60; and I picked up some misc. food items and goodies. By 6:00 pm the snow was coming down pretty good and by the time I went to bed there was a good 2 inches already on the ground.

This morning when I got up at 6 and peeked out the front door I was greeted by quite the snow drift and when I turned on the light.....well it was not looking like 2-4. Perhaps a foot or more would be more like it and the drifts were looking pretty intense. I had to shovel my way back to the big barn and the drift at the door had to be shovel before I could even open the door. Of course while I was out there killing myself shoveling, everyone was inside screaming at me because obviously I was not going fast enough. Once everyone was fed and I had enough time to build up a panic attack issue because I knew the driveway was a total fiasco, I called my neighbor who is also the guy I get my straw from, and pleaed for him to help a poor single farm girl:)
Around 11:30 Randy came down the driveway with the BIG Ford Farm Tractor and saved my life from more shoveling and anxiety issues.

My driveway is the root of all my anxiety when the big snow storms hit. It is a good 750 from the street back to my house and Nor' easters create the most havoc as the drifts can reach an easy 2 feet or more in places.

Yep, sure looks like a lot more than 2-4 inches, perhaps a good foot or more is more like it. Way to go weathermen!!!!

There are some pretty interesting drifts around the barn and then there are places were the ground is still showing by the sides of the barns. Sheep always seem to take it in stride..........

........the goats will stay inside so their danity hooves will not get covered in the white stuff.
As for me, seems like a good idea to read all those garden and seed catalogs I have gotten, get the fireplace going, and eat. I am boycotting the weather channel right now, well at least for a few hours:)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Slick Chickens

It will be 2 years in April that I added chickens to my little 4 acre farm and I have become quite amused at some of their antics. I was not amused however, when they shut down egg production about 2 months ago.....just in it time for the holidays of course.
They have redeemed their feathered selves in the past 2 weeks as they have kicked their egg production into gear. I have been getting 6-10 eggs a day...........or so I thought.
The other day when I came home from school and started to do barn chores I noticed the dogs hanging out by the garden barn. They seemed quite engrossed in cleaning the gravel just under the porch of the barn. So of course I am thinking something dead had been found and it was an afternoon snack. Well, it was a egg.

After looking around and with the help of my ever wise beagle Squirt, an egg was discovered. It is hard to tell from this shot, but it was quite obvious that there was a "nest" in the gravel. So those slick chicks were stashing eggs behind my back!! Now I know to check this gravel nest on a daily basis as I know the beagles and Dixie know where to find some freebie eggs.

Dixie, however, also can walk her short self into the coop and create havoc amongst the chickens. I have actually caught her coming out of the coop with "something" hiding in her mouth.
This year I am going to dive into raising some meat birds. I have been tossing this idea around for well over a year. I know for a fact that I can not clean them. I admit I am a wimp on this. I can stick my hand and arm inside a goat or sheep to help assist with a birth but I am NOT cutting off a chicken's head and cleaning it up. I know, some farm woman I am turning out to be but hey, at least I admit my faults and down falls. I have already researched and found someone to do the cleaning so I am good to go:)
Does anyone have any suggestions on which types of meat birds are best and which suppliers are good? The egg chickens I got from Murray McMurray and they have the Cornish X Rocks. I asked Kara over at Mapleton Farm and she uses a Cornish cross too.
Does anyone have a preference on when to start the meat birds? Like is April good or wait 'till June? Any pros or cons on buying a straight run or just getting females? If anyone reading has a moment to leave a comment, I would appreciate the insight/suggestions:)

I am sure Alvin is wondering if he will benefit from some fresh chicken;)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

On Accountability and Horns

It does not matter who you are or what you do, you are accountable in some way, shape, or form in your life. If you don't own up to that accountability, one would think that there should be repercussions, right? Well, that would be the common sense, logical answer. However, there is a sector of American society that seems to be oblivious to that.
Okay, so where am I going with this? Lets see. Today was report card pick-up at my school.....semester report cards none-the-less. Report card pick-up is after school hours from 2:40 to 5:30. I have 57 students on my rooster. Okay, take a guess how many parents showed up?...............40? You jest............30? Well, that is almost half of 57 and its a nice thought but your too high.............okay, 20 you say? sigh..........thanks for thinking that but you have to go a bit lower............15?? so close but no prize. It was 14...........yes, out of 57 students, 14 parents showed up. Okay, now for the real test, of those 14 who did show up, how many of them were the parents of good students, you know the ones who have GPA's in the 3.0 or higher range? I would like to say 14 but it was 12.
I am NOT A PARENT, I am a TEACHER. I can only do so much, I do need the OTHER HALF to do THEIR ACCOUNTABLE!! I know I am being heartless, I am not taking into account that the other 43 parents were working......well if one knew my school and that it is 90 % poverty rate and the unemployment rate is just as high at the you see where I am going with this? I believe in many of my students, some of them are great kids, I have had students go on to college and they are supported by truly good parents/step-parents. But too many of them are stuck in a bad cycle, one that too often does not get broken. There is too much enabling going on in America and not enough accountability. I am tired. It was a long day. I need to shut up.
BUT........just one more thing..........................

I would like to share some pics of my handsome boys! From left to right is Rutland (a half polled ram lamb), Jasper, a full polled yearling ram, and Lil'Country Acres Jedidiah, sire to Jasper and Grandpa to Rutland. Working with polled lines has created quite a variety of rams for me. Someone out in blog land mentioned horns were vanishing from the Shetlands. I beg to differ, if anything working with the polled lines has brought not only variety but some nice temperaments also in my opinion.

I hung this hay feeder the other day and it has been a big hit for the Cotswolds and the LaManchas. The black butt is Sosa, my black Nigerian Dwarf who is just a bossy and pushy little thing and has no fear of those larger than her and who will not let anyone get more food than her.

No, there are no vanishing Shetland horns here, just some handsome half polled boys soaking up the sun and wondering if they might get some action next breeding season.
Such impatient little boys;)