Sunday, April 01, 2007


Life has been on the verge of chaos since Winter released her icy grip.

Amelia is sick with an ear infection. Well, the ear infection is waning (we think/hope) but the antibiotics are causing her to have an upset stomach. Today was the first day in almost a week that she's seemed anything close to herself.

E5 is also sick, with a fever. Poor kid woke up during the night last night, very alarmed that his bed was "doing something by itself." "What's it doing?" I asked. "It's tipping way over," he said, his voice quivering a bit, and then added, "Let's get out of here!"

We also got new neighbors. They have five, count 'em - five, kids. From fourteen years (hello babysitting!) down to eighteen months. E5 has been in heaven, asking to play with them nearly every day. And they've all been thrilled with their new playmates too. They seem like really good kids too. They were very polite, inquisitive, and conscienscious as I gave them the grand tour. (What kid can resist a donkey, baby goats, and baby chicks?) They even let E5 borrow some of their toys for a few days.

The parents seem to be on a similar wavelength with us. They're interested in getting some sheep or goats. They're putting in a huge (huge!) strawberry & blackberry patch. I noticed compact fluorescent bulbs in all the outdoor fixtures just a couple days after they moved in. They don't care that their vehicles are slightly beat up, as long as they get the job done. They've already given our kids a stack of hand-me-down books and a stuffed animal, and they met us for pizza one night last week.

As if all that weren't enough, we've crossed off a number of quick-but-necessary projects in the meantime.

Our dryer died. We're getting a replacement. In the meantime (and for future use), I put in a clothesline. It's just temporary, until our pole barn goes in. Metal T-post plus baling wire, a hook, a couple of pulleys, and some crappy clothesline that stretches like crazy. I actually had to use a fence stretcher to tighten it enough to keep the clothes off the ground. Who sells something stretchy as clothesline?!

Mother Nature played a little April Fools joke on us, bringing down the rain 30 minutes after we put some clothes out. The good news is that with our constant breeze, the clothes actually dried faster on the line than they did in the dryer.

Mason bee home
With honeybees mysteriously dying in droves all over the country, I decided to try attracting some native pollinators - namely mason bees. It's pretty easy. Some scrap lumber and a drill was all that was required. I'll write something up on this if I get a chance.

We had some drainage work done last spring, which alleviated a very soggy area in our back yard. The drainage path leads the water into one of our ponds, which is wonderful. Unfortunately, the path of the water and the path out to the pasture intersect, which left us with a frequently muddy ditch to cross. Now we have this handy little boardwalk.

More baby goats
Our last pregnant doe, Lolly, had her babies last week. A boy and a girl. They look so tiny compared to the brutes born last month. They're already climbing on top of their shelter like old pros. We (particularly Lori) had the unpleasant task of disbudding (de-horning) two kids and wethering (neutering) two more today. Man I'm glad that's over.

Growing chicks
They're gettin' bigger. Their wing feathers are coming in, leading to some interesting striping and coloring, especially on the Buckeyes. They've also figured out how to escape their pen in the garage. Luckily, they're not venturing too far to date.

More projects on the way, so stay tuned

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At 4/02/2007 7:06 AM, Blogger Madcap said...

Busy place you're running there! I hope the neighbours turn into good friends.

I know with my clothesline, we spent a few weeks tightening it every few days before we got all the stretch out of it, so maybe that'll settle.

At 4/02/2007 7:26 PM, Blogger Matt said...

I too bought new clothesline junk to use on my clothesline and it basically made the clothesline worthless. Now the clothes drag on the ground.

Sound like awesome neighbors. Maybe instead of them also buying goats you could do some kind of work share program where ya'll split the efforts on them.

I'm interested in the mason bees so I'll hit Google to search on that a bit.

At 4/02/2007 8:16 PM, Blogger e4 said...

For the record, the fence stretcher has been working very well. We've had to stretch it a couple times, but it's functional.

I'll try to get the mason bee thing written up in the next day or so.

At 4/10/2007 3:12 PM, Blogger Leslie said...

You have Buckeyes! Where did you get them?

We had hoped to raise Buckeyes but had a hard time finding any. The folks we ordered from didn't have enough to fill our order and by the time we knew that, the few big hatcheries that sell Buckeyes were also sold out for the season last year.

We got Speckled Sussex instead, and have been quite happy with them. They have the same qualities we were looking for in Buckeyes (dual purpose, sometimes broody, excellent foragers) plus they have rose combs. Our S.S. suffered some frostbite on their combs this winter.

I'm not sure we want to change, but it'd be nice to know where to get some Buckeyes, just in case.

At 4/10/2007 3:33 PM, Blogger e4 said...

Leslie - We got a baker's dozen Buckeye chicks from here. So far, so good!

I've heard good things about the Speckled Sussex too. We'll have to compare notes...


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