Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ha! I touched one!

Little piggies let me touch them last night while they ate! All it took was 5 minutes of sitting really still, and a few sweet rolls... :)

I'll write more later in the week, but for now, we have 3 barrows (castrated males) and 2 gilts (young females). They were born on 12/28.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pigs are here!

More info soon. Gotta finish reinforcing their pig hut (the yorks did a number on it last year).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

It's piggy time!

Spotted an ad for weaner pigs today for $100 ea (pretty good deal at this time of year) and the pics on the ad look like the same barn we got our pigs from last year. I would love to get this year's weaners from the same guy, as last year's were lively, healthy, and grew out really well. Looks like he has durocs available this year, and if he's still got 4 or 5 this weekend, we may try that breed instead of yorkshires like we had last year. From what I've read, durocs grow fast, exhibit good feed conversion, and the meat shows excellent marbling.

In any case, hoping to get porkers this weekend. Probably gonna do one more year just for ourselves and our friend Jim, and then we'll probably be up for selling pork next year (and one day actually raise our own).

Happy Friday Eve everyone (that's apparently what the morning news is calling Thursday... Friday eve... Love it!)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

First goose eggs!!!

I knew they were burying them. LJ didn't believe they'd bury them. I went out and dug through the nests today and..... TAADAA! 7 of them between two nests!

Puppy love

Told ya they make out. Sickos. :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

The new pup... Gus

We brought Gus home late last August. We had stopped at a sorta grungy yard sale near where we live. As we were looking around, we spotted a playpen full of puppies. They were awfully young (prob around 6weeks), and awfully cute. The lady running the yard sale said that she had gone out of town a while back and left her female aussie in the care of her sister, who had a male chiweenie (chihuahua/wiener dog). Of course, neither dog was fixed, like the world needs more pound puppies... Sorry, but I'm pretty against backyard breeding, unless you have an exceptional dog with good temperment that is a good example of their breed, and you can ensure good homes for all the pups. Pounds are very sad places, and unfortunately many dogs end up there only to not be adopted, if you know what I mean. We fix our dogs as soon as they're old enough for the procedure. Anyhoo, I digress.

So, apparently the male did his thing. They had him there at the sale, and he was probably a 15+ lb dog. The pups had already been weaned (sooo way too young). We'd been discussing off and on getting a companion for Henry (because Cammi's a lump), and out of curiosity, we asked how much the pups were. "Well, they're free", the lady said. "We just need to get them to new homes". (didn't sound like she was too too happy about the unplanned litter). We discussed for a few minutes, and I told LJ that it would be great for Henry to have a pal, but if it didn't work out, he'd have to find a new home for the pup. We decided to go for it, picked out the biggest male pup there (females tend to be bitchy, and we wanted a pup that appeared to be a bit more Aussie than weenie), and left with the new bundle of fur.

Poor kiddo was FILTHY, dirty and smelling like pee, so he got a bath in the sink first thing.

Much better!

So, the new addition was bathed and named. I'll tell ya, in the first 2 months of his life with us, I only saw this dog sleep maybe twice. He was and is insane. He screamed bloody murder if we left him alone (never heard so many different sounds come out of a dog). I barely slept for weeks, and often contemplated feeding the little wailer to Henry, who was sure Gus was a squirrel (ok, not serious about the feeding part... May have upset Henry's tummy).

In any case, once the pup got up to about 15 lbs or so, and was less likely to be smashed and injured by Henry, we started introducing them to each other outside. They regularly interacted through the kennel fence or the bars of dog crates, but we never let them be together outside of the crates. Henry has a bit of dog aggression, as he's been attacked several times over the years (randomly by Cammi, the stupid mutt), and we didn't want him to hurt the pup. We wanted them to be friends. Their first encounters over the first couple months were with Henry wearing a soft muzzle. Unfortunately, Gus, who would tease Henry mercilessly running back and forth with him when there was a fence between them, went completely limp when there was no fence. Completely and utterly limp like he was dead. Henry would stick his nose under Gus and flip him over, trying to get him to play, and finally lie on the pup's inert form, smashing him. Ugh. Stupid dogs. Henry would normally be tail wagging, but we were never sure what he'd do without the muzzle. Plus, Gus wouldn't play. I was getting REALLY fed up, after months of dog rotations, and told LJ that he either brought a trainer in to try and work out the sitch, or his pup had to go to a new home.

We had run the full gamut of approaches. Treats, play through the fence, walking them next to each other, introductions off Henry's territory, etc, but it just wasn't happening. Well, this last weekend, LJ went in the living room, where Gus was crated while the big dogs were out. He found Henry on his side next to the crate, tail a-wagging, while he and Gus "made out" through the bars. So, LJ grabbed Henry's muzzle and gave it another go. They actually started playing, though Henry worried at the muzzle repeatedly. Finally, LJ figured "screw it" and took the muzzle off Henry. And they played. And played. And played. Woohoo!

They are now pretty good buddies, though Henry won't let Gus near his toys, food, and sometimes me. Henry will block Gus from following me into the bathroom. He'll actually run in front of the doorway and cut him off. Gus is very submissive to Henry, but will snarl-play with Cammi, and won't hesitate to jump on her. Of course, it's because Henry is king. :)

The best is when Henry goes on one of his runs, and Gus chases him. Henry really loves to run, and will tear around the backyard, jumping over stumps, executing agile turns around trees, and randomly doubling back on his trail to go the other way. Gus Gus tries to keep up with his boss-dog, but his little legs can't keep up, and he's not nearly as agile (more likely to run into things), but he does his best (squeak-yelping with every other stride). Really is fun to watch. The most entertaining is the making-out. If I can ever get a pic of it, I'll share. :)

So, looks like Gus gets to stay, and Henry's got a buddy. Gus is around 7 months old, and is around 25-30 lbs. We'll see if he gets any bigger, and if he'll ever be able to keep up with his big buddy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Busy busy and more to come

Been insanely busy around here! LJ is recovering quickly from his knee surgery, but is still mostly off his feet, so I've been running my butt off. Spreading gravel (went through a dump truck load over the course of the last two weekends, and need another load), taking care of critters, house, and (future) hubby. Henry has finally decided that the new puppy is friend and not food (they make-out for god's sake, which is hilarious and a little disturbing). We made a trip to One Green World last weekend and bought 3 lingonberries, a black spanish fig, and a chojuro asian pear (to replace the one that the stupid goats snapped in half... need it for cross-pollination!). Planning on taking out some alders and putting in another 3-4 apple trees this year. We have 10 pekin ducklings ordered, and they should arrive in a couple weeks (nummy num num ducks). We're watching for pigs at the right price, and haven't yet decided how many to get this year, though I'm gonna expand their pen regardless of the number. Last year's pen was more than large enough for four, but we have some more underbrush nearby and it would be nice if we could use the porkers to help clean it up.

I know it's already mid-February, but I'm still planning a run down of our first year on the property. Just gotta find the time to sit down and write it! :)

Hope everyone is doing well!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chickens, and their first snow

They were NOT impressed.  Usually, when I go out to open the coop on the weekend (sometimes as late as 9am...gasp!) the girls are sooo very ready to get out.  They normally boil out in a mess of feathers, squawking and complaining that I kept them from their scratch.  A few weeks ago, we got snow overnight.  The next morning, as the ladies and their main man yelled from the confines of the coop, I shuffled through the few inches of white fluff to open the coop.  The door went up and was latched, and the gals scrambled for the exit... until they saw the white stuff.  At one point, there was a mass of 8 or 9 chickens jammed in the door to the coop.  WTH is that white stuff?!!!

Dunder railed against the indignity

The ladies were confused... disgusted... intrigued

But the ameraucanas were the ones that finally braved the strange new world... and the first to find the scratch I threw out... silly girls.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Goose eggs in our future?

Ya know, I was talking to LJ the other day about goose eggs... The kind that you'd get as a kid, ie a great big knot on your noggin because you cracked your head on something. I haven't gotten one of those since I was a kid, though I've definitely hit my head a number of times as an adult (curtain rod, branches, cupboard door...). Wonder why that is? Do only kids get the spectacular lump that my grandma called a goose egg? One of life's great mysteries, I suppose.

Anyhoo, what I actually wanted to talk about is eggs (the edible kind) from our geese. Bitor the biter started getting his mojo on with the ladies for the first time a couple weeks ago, and has been merciless lately. It's gotten to where the goosey gals don't seem to want to get in their trough for a bath, because that is Bitor's favorite place to ambush them. My Affie girl has been starving (that goose is ALWAYS hungry) and extra affectionate, and Bitor has been extra aggressive, which means that it's about time for a round of giving him attention. Every couple weeks I need to catch the big jerk, hold him in my lap and pet the crap out of him while baby-talking what a pretty pretty boy he is. After a round of "pretty bird", he isn't so keen on coming near me. Usually lasts a couple weeks, and he soooo needs some attention, because he has been trying to bite me through the fence daily. And I swear that goose weighs 30+lbs. He is a BIG boy, and I surely don't need a pissed off gander attempting to goose me when I'm in the pen. Big sneaky jerk. :)

The big fat jerk...

I've been waiting for a sign that we might get eggs soon. The geese are close to a year old, and from what I've read, they lay in the spring. I've also read that the larger breed ganders (Bitor is a Toulouse) aren't particularly fertile in their first year, so we're just looking for eggs this year, not goslings.

My Affie girl

So, as I was out doing the critter rounds this morning before work, I pointed the spotlight in the direction of the goose pen and only counted three geese. Should be four geese. As my heart did a freaky little stutter-jump, I walked over for a closer look. I spotted Affie, Bitor, and Sweet Girl, but no Baby Girl. Wth? All 3 were hunkered down in their fav corner of the pen, under the trees, and jumped up to run over to me in the dark, begging for some grain (Bitor tried to bite me through the fence). No Baby Girl, though. Crap crap crap. With a sinking heart, I started looking for feathers, scanning the pen, until my eyes caught a flicker of movement... In the goose hut, which the geese rarely use, I saw a grey goose tail and a bit of fluffy petticoat peeking over the straw, which was followed by a fat little Baby Girl goose face that lifted up and beep beeped at me. That little rotund rascal was nearly buried in the straw, and was giving me the stink eye for shining a light in her face. I shone the offending light a little better into the hut at the back of the pen, and could see that she has been making a really big nest in there. Stinkin thing is probably 6-8 inches deep. Since I'd already woken her up, Baby got to work on her nest again. Woohoo! Eggs soon?! Needing to get to work, I didn't get to gander long. LJ took a look when he got home from work, but nothing yet.  Hopefully, eggs soon!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Dirty chickens

Dontcha just love watching chickens take dirt baths? I do. Cracks me up!

We've had a break in the weather and a bit of sunshine lately. The ladies sure are enjoying it!