Saturday, November 27, 2010


Yep, I've been waiting to use that one! Ever since we planted those darned things, the song's been running through my head. Late pumpkins and an early frost meant we had ... frost on the pumpkin! Click here to hear: Cal Smith's "Country Bumpkin" on That Good Ole Nashville Music. (Just hit your back button to come back to the blog.)

Colder weather than we anticipated meant Big John and I had to cut our Thanksgiving trip to Dallas short, race home, put Brownie's blanket on, and try to cover as much of the tomatoes as possible. We ended up with a low around 34 degrees, and a pretty heavy frost. We lost the tops of basil and tomatoes, a few bell peppers, and probably the spaghetti squash. Everything else looks ok.

We've spent today cuttin' up some firewood for the fire pit. Guess we'll be getting winter pretty soon. Tonight we'll enjoy the cool weather, cook some fresh cut pork chops on the fire pit, and enjoy a beautiful sunset - country livin' style.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Get your Thanksgiving decorations today! Last 4 days of this amazing sale - Buy 1, get the rest of the wagon-load FREE!!
Can't beat a deal like that!


I've been "workin' a deal" on some chickens, and this Saturday everything fell in place. These pretty birds now call our place HOME.

A friend and co-worker ended up housing some chickens for a young relative - I think it was one of those school projects that suddenly end up with live animals needing a home. While she loved the fresh eggs, the chicken poop left daily - hourly - on her patio proved to be more than she had bargained for. We discussed sending these chickens down the coast to live with us, but the rooster involved kept holding me back. Sambo is a very happy guy, with no one but Tribett to fight with, and we really want to keep it that way. My lack of egg production got the better of me though, and fast and furious emails ensued. In the meantime, two hens had vanished (it's never the rooster that 'goes missing'), so I figured I'd better act now while there were some layers left.

We caught them all fairly easily, and I brought them home in a pet carrier. For a couple of weeks, they'll live in the dog kennel. The dogs are more than happy to relinquish their prison to chickens. They hate being penned up and avoid it like the plague! This will give all the fowl a chance to get to know each other through the safety of a fence, and hopefully keep any of them from getting sick.

Meet Nathan, the rooster. He crows A LOT - and really, really early!

                      This is Star. It's said she has a bit of an attitude.

Boots - 'cause she has feathered legs.

And Sunny. As you can tell, she's very friendly and inquisitive.

The names came with the poultry. They happen to all be names I would choose - except for "Nathan." But it's growing on me. He's a very grand bird, but not in stature. More in attitude. My friend knows the probable fate for Nathan, and she's ok with it - as long as she doesn't hear about it. I also "know" the probable fate of Nathan, but hope springs eternal in my mind! What if Sammy and Nate become best rooster friends? Who needs chicken to have soup?

All seems well with the new birds, and I've already gotten an egg from one. At least they're earning their keep .... hint, hint, hint.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Big John was discing the other day and came up on a rabbit den. He found 2 babies, and brought them into the chicken coop - where else!!

We've since stocked up on bunny-survival gear and are trying our hand at keeping them alive long enough to turn back out. Bottle feeding hasn't gone over too well, but they seem to enjoy fresh lettuce and cabbage leaves.

Man, these little ones can kick!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Just a cute pic of Poppy with Pepper "under her wing." All is well on the farm tonight.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Just a look back at this year's hatches.

                                                     The banties: July 28

Pepper: September 29

                                        Spot, Smokey, and Boo: October 30

We have no plans for more hatches this year. It will be getting colder than I'm comfortable with, and we're running out of places to put chicks! I'm hoping these are all pullets and my egg inventory will soar one day soon!!


I had to bring in a steer to doctor his foot, and we decided to go ahead and wean a couple of heifers at the same time. They've taken to feed quite well, and don't bawl nearly as much for their mammas. The cows got over their separation anxiety pretty fast and have enjoyed putting some weight back on. This gives meaing to the saying "get off the teat!" We'll ship the steer once he gets some weight on him, but for now, he and the girls are loving life! Yum, yum!


Another month - and then some - has blown by, and my blog is lagging behind. This school year has turned out to be a very trying one, and I guess something has to slip. Better the blog than anything else!!

So many things have happened on the farm since fall arrived. It's been cold and windy - unusual - and hot and humid - the norm - off and on all month. The heat worked a number on our lettuces and many of them bolted, but we've replanted and they seem to be doing ok. Most everything that made it through the summer seems to enjoy the cooler weather. Bell peppers are growing like crazy, as are the eggplant. Tomatoes are green on the vines and the cilantro is going to town! We can see another big batch of hot sauce in our near future!! All those cold-weather vegetables you think of - cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuces, spinach, radishes - are coming right along. After reading a couple of blogs from other growers nearby, I'm wondering why we don't have squash or peas left, like they do. There is so much to learn about this gardening business that it sometimes seems overwhelming. But I look back at how far we've come, and I'm amazed! Big John has revised, yet again, our watering system. We've come from above ground sprinklers to in ground - popup sprinkler heads to soaker hoses to a new system now that will carry the water along the fences to spigots spaced every so often down into soakers for each row. After we purchase a pump, this will allow us to use all that water we saved from the summer downpours. Wow!! He must think of this stuff in his sleep! If it weren't for Big John's ingenuity, I'm sure I'd still be watering this garden by hand!

In homage to Uncle Dick, you may recall we planted a pumpkin patch this year. Uncle Dick was known far and wide for his giant glorious pumpkins (among other things!) He'd give them away to those he loved, and it was so much fun for all of us. Turns out, we planted about 6 weeks too late for "the big day," but we've got orange in the field!! I've already sold several pumpkins for fall decorations, and have other orders lined up. Big John and I have thoroughly enjoyed pumpkin farming, and people seem amazed that we "grew them ourselves!" Next year, we're going all out with the pumpkins.

The most fun project of all recently has been our growing flock of baby chicks. We had the three banties hatch at the end of July, Poppy hatched Pepper at the end of September, and then Cloud, pictured below, hatched 3 little ones on October 30th. Cloud is a Blue Cochin (although she looks white) so I'm thinking that blue chick might have been one of her eggs. The babydaddy is Sambo, and all of his chicks - even the one Jody and Douglas hatched - have feathered legs. It must be a strong trait! I've spent more time than Big John needs to know just watching all the baby chicks! I'm even thinkng of starting a chicken ranch!!! HA! HA!

It's been quite a struggle trying to move around all the fowl. We're just not set up as a hatchery, but we're thinking on the run and using what we've got. The banties spend their days in the covered dog kennel. They were outside in the yard all day yesterday, but it's a little scary with all the hawks around. They would be easy pickin's for a hungry predator.

Cloud and the babies are getting the run of the brood pen, since they outnumber Poppy and Pepper, who are relegated to the pigeon cage during the day.

As soon as I get home, I'm able to lock the dogs in the garage and let Poppy and Pepper into the yard. This evening, Poppy made her way into the nesting boxes - I'm hoping she's ready to get back to business - and Pepper flew right up in beside her. We're going to leave them for the night.

I'm sure I'll be up 2 or 3 times during the evening to check on them. This chicken business is hard work!! Thankfully we have no other broody hens right now. I need all the layers I can get, as egg orders are more than I can keep up with! That's a great problem to have!!

Ranger made it back from his latest knee injury-induced stay at the Equine Hilton. I'm wondering if he's enjoying these mini-vacations to the vet - there must be a cute mare that stays up there. He was confined for several weeks, which by default meant Roxy had to be penned as well.

The only thing worse than moving chickens around is moving horses around. They've since been released and are loving the freedom to roam. Ranger is safe from any real work for a while longer, but his free-loading days should be coming to an end soon. I see a sore rear end in Big John's future!! Let's pray there are no rodeos!

As always, life is great on the farm! The cooler weather has everyone feeling their oats and loving life!