Saturday, April 28, 2012


I am totally smitten with our new twin calves! These are the first twins Big John and I have had, so we're really excited. Nonie (the cow) had a heifer calf (on the left) and a bull calf (on the right.) The heifer is smokey colored (the baby daddy was Charolais,) but the little bull calf is a motley-faced red dunn.

Sister is a really good eater. Every time she's up, she's sucking. She's filled out pretty well and isn't wobbly.

Brother, on the other hand, hasn't completely gotten down to business yet. He spends a lot of time doing other things ...

like walking

and looking

over here ...

and over there ...

and just hangin' out.

But eventually, he does what a calf needs to do. He latches on and goes to town!

It's such a sight when they're both sucking!

We'll have to keep a close eye on them - that's why they're penned up for now. And the bull calf may turn in to a bottle calf if he doesn't get better at eating. But for now, things are fine.

Good job, Nonie!!

Friday, April 27, 2012


If this is any indication of the year to come, it's going to be a great year! (I hope I don't regret putting that thought in writing...)

I came home today to twin calves! The motley faced black cow had her calf today - but one calf turned out to be two! I know the photo is too dark to see, but I'll get a better picture tomorrow. For now, both are up and eating, and seem to be doing fine!

Thursday, April 26, 2012


There have been lots of developments since I posted that Big John and I were preparing to pick up some bobwhite quail. A little over two weeks ago, Big John finished his 4 story/12 box breed cage.

We headed over to our neighbors and gathered up 48 birds - 12 roosters and 36 hens (more or less!) I was in charge of counting, while the guys were "herding." Turns out quail line up about as orderly as  a bunch of 6th graders in May. They were pretty hard to count - but I think we got close.

Big John sorted the birds into groups (one rooster to three hens) and we set up our temporary feeders and waterers. We're running one step behind this bird project, and our bona fide quail equipment hadn't been delivered yet. We had to scramble a little bit - hence the neon pink and green!

We positioned the bobwhite cage beside the coturnix cage - all in the goose pen. The geese were quickly running out of room. Big John's plans were that we'd gather eggs during breeding season to incubate, then sell the chicks or raise them and sell as grown birds. That would give us time to get a shed and flight pen built - once again, just trying to stay a step ahead.

But because these quail were riased on the ground, they didn't really take to life, however temporary, in a breed cage. Within a week, it became pretty clear that we needed to get the flight pen built ASAP. Big John made a run to town and came home with a trailer-load full of material.

And early this past Saturday morning, construction began.

At some point on Sunday afternoon, there was no time left for pictures. We were up against the clock, trying to get the shed and pen complete and birds transfered before Monday morning. At ten o'clock Sunday night, we were hauling quail from the breed boxes to the new flight pen. It was a very long weekend. But here's how it looked on Monday.

The birds are much happier in their new surroundings.

And the cows are welcoming them to the neighborhood!

Other bird news:

The first set of bobwhite eggs are set to go into the hatcher tomorrow. There were two more batches added to the incubator after this picture was taken.

On April Fool's Day, we set 3 goose eggs under Cloud. (That seemed like an appropriate date!) She set diligently for the first 2 1/2 weeks, but had kind of fallen off the job in the last few days. I'd pretty much given up hope for any hatch, and was waiting for Big John to candle the eggs this weekend. When I got home today, one of the goose eggs had hatched - but the bird didn't survive. There were freshly laid chicken eggs in the nest, so I'm guessing it was sat on by a hen. Boy do I feel guilty. The other two goose eggs are safely in the hatcher, just in case they're fertile. I'm now determined to hatch some geese!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


But right now they're just eating me out of house and home.

(Note to self: we're almost out of feed ... again.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


It's "ong-yon" time, as Jerry Clower would say! Big John and I pulled all the onions Sunday afternoon. They all made really well - and much more than we anticipated.

The drying rack Big John made a couple of years ago wasn't near big enough to hold them all. So we built another one real quick and spread them out as best we could. We've probably got enough to fill a third rack, if we had time to make it.

They're hung on the back patio where we'll let them dry. I'll cut the tops this weekend and hopefully make a little more room to spread them apart.

Holler if you need some "ong-yons!"

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Things have been hoppin' on the farm the past few weeks. Spring hit early and wet, so we've been busy planting, weeding, mulching, and fertilizing. The garden is looking great right now!

The onions are close to being ready to pull. The potatoes and squash are just starting to bloom, and there is a pretty good stand of late lettuce and cabbage right now. The mild winter means the herbs didn't skip a beat, so they have totally taken over their share of the old garden. And it looks like we might even get some asparagus this year - first harvest!

The new garden has quickly filled with assorted heirloom tomatoes, pickling cucumbers, roma tomatoes, bush beans, okra and corn. Big John figures we've got room for 9 more rows - but I figure I've got just about enough to keep up with!

There are birds and eggs everywhere these days. This evening I found the first coturnix egg! So in about 6 short weeks, we've gone from this:

to this:

to this:

The quails' new sand bath pans came just in the nick of time - and seem to make great nesting boxes, as well! We won't incubate the first few eggs - to give the quail time to fully mature and hopefully increase fertility rates, but we might experiment with pickled quail eggs. Yum!

And speaking of experiments, Cloud has been broody for several weeks. I finally gave in and am letting her sit --- on three goose eggs! She's very happy to have a purpose, and maybe we'll get a couple more geese out of the deal. I just hope she's not traumatized if she hatches geese instead of chicks!

Big John worked like crazy this past weekend building a breeding pen for the bobwhite quail we hope to get this coming Saturday.

It was a bigger project than expected, but much cheaper than buying one pre-made. And it looks terrific!

We just need to build the drop pans and add feeders and waterers. We should be ready for birds come Saturday!

The chicks are growing so fast. They get to spend most of every day outside in their playpen, enjoying fresh air, green grass, and all the bugs they can find!

I hope wherever you are, the grass is green and the cattle are fat. There's nothing like springtime in the country!

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.


Big John and I went on an Easter egg hunt today.

And we found a bunch!

Ninety-nine, to be exact!

Big John and I are in the process of acquiring some bobwhite quail, and we were lucky enough to be given the eggs they've already started laying. We cranked up the incubator, loaded the trays, and started another round of hatching.

In about 22 days, we should be seeing some more babies!