Sunday, January 29, 2012

It's The Weathers Fault

 That I haven't been blogging!
This time of year I should be sitting by the fire drinking a cup of tea or hot chocolate, looking at seed catalogs, and taking a break from outside chores. Should be is the key words. With no winter weather to speak of its too hot to sit by the fire or take a break from outside chores. After morning feedings I have been repairing fence and even put up new fencing in the maternity pen. With all the rain we've had I have forgotten the real color of my rubber boots. The goats are getting tired of the mud too and are walking around the edge of the pens instead of the normal paths they made. Daffodils are in full bloom around the homestead. Even the yellow bell bushes are blooming. Am afraid February will bring a burst of winter and kill all the buds and blooms.

Andy (Nigerian Dwarf buck) has spring fever. He has been ramming the gate to his pen till he bent the latch enough to open it and get out. That wasn't good enough for him. He then rammed the gate to the girls pen doing the same thing so he could get in. The only thing was when he got in he left their gate open and Tinker and Bella thought that meant they were off guard duty and took off on an adventure. It had been a week since I was off the homestead and rode with William to Lowe's. Hadn't been there 5 minutes when our neighbor called to let me know Tinker and Bella were heading  across the busy road to the woods. We hurried back (thank goodness we were about 3 minutes from home) to see what was up. Right before we got home saw the two of them sniffing around the edge of the woods. William got out to walk them home. All I had to do was tell Bella to go home and she hung her head and took off home. Tinker is stubborn so William had to  walk her. Bella was waiting by the gate when we got home. Andy had really messed the latch up so it took William a few minutes to fix it so we could close it secure. Sweet Hillary was inside the pen with the girls taking her guarding job seriously.
 She never wants to leave the pen. Bella has all of a sudden gotten the roaming fever and Tinker follows along.
 They are resting from their adventure,being scolding and put on runners. They weren't in the mood to smile for the camera.
 Not sure what she is thinking. Have been spending extra time with her and even taking her for walks around the property line. Talking to her. Will see if the wander bug will go away.. sure hope so.

Have gotten busy planning and ordering more seeds for the herb garden. William is building a greenhouse and that will enable me to move my seedlings there and hopefully have extra plants from many different herbs to sell as well as go in the herb garden. Also starting some seedlings for the veggie gardens. If I can't enjoy winter guess I might as well get a head start on spring.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Goodbye Cabana Boy and Love Around The Homestead

Saturday we sold 7 roosters and one of them just happened to be the young cabana boy rooster that Tessa the turkey was hanging out with. She wasn't very happy for a couple of hours but as soon as Fred saw EJ was gone he started puffing up and strutting around. I opened the gate and he walked out of Elvis pen without even a goodbye or thank you. He walked right over to his and Tessa's pen and waited on me to open the gate before walking right in and strutting his stuff. Didn't take them but a short time to forgive, forget, and fall back in love. They seemed very happy to be back together but unfortunately this afternoon I had to move Fred back to Elvis pen. Seems he got a little too frisky and cut Tessa under her wing in the process. When I went out to feed she was bleeding and his leg was covered in blood. I didn't know what was wrong. After checking things out it was easy to see what had happened. I cleaned Tessa's wound and put antibiotic on it. Also gave her something for pain and put pro biotic in her drinking water. Fred was pacing up and down the fence wanting to get back to his lady love but is going to have to wait a few days to let her heal. She is now resting under a heat lamp with Fred roosting where he can keep an eye on her. Poor Tessa never knew love could hurt so much.  Why, you ask are there no photos ... my camera batteries died and I didn't come back inside to recharge them.

More on love in the air... The rabbits are all paired up and  happy. Am listing what buck is with which doe more for my lack of being able to remember once they have their babies.
This is the one photo I got before camera died
Angel and Smut
Rocky (New Zeland) with Prissy (New Zeland)
Jack Sparrow (Rex) with Dreamer (California Giant)
Dutch (Dwarf Dutch) with Sara (mini rex)
Smut (Rex) with Angel (Rex)
Harry (Lion Head) with Porky (New Zeland)
Lionel (Lion Head) with Princess (Lion Head)
Cinnamon (Rex) with Freckles (Rex)
Chipmunk (Mini Rex) with Sweet Roll (mini Rex)

Hopefully all 8 does will have healthy babies that will be ready for new homes at Easter. Last year we sold all our baby bunnies to Tractor Supply and could have sold more if we had had them. Not sure if we will be selling baby chicks this year as we need to raise some for laying hens to replace the ones of ours that are getting old. Anyway, looks like love is in the air for most of the animals here on the homestead. Spring should have baby goats, baby bunnies, baby chick, baby ducks, and baby geese running around. I just love animal babies!!

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Great Pyrenees

Gypsy is loving her new home and her new owners love her! The young lady working on the farm that will be training Gypsy is from Nome, Alaska! Had a wonderful conversation with her as we walked Gypsy around the farm. I have talked with Laraine a couple of times to see how Gypsy is doing and things are great. Gypsy who chase chickens here is already helping put up their chickens each evening without barking or chasing them. She is out learning about the farm and her new duties during the day and until the goats arrive she is enjoying sleeping indoors at night. She guards her new master at night.LOL The minute I saw Laraine with Gypsy I knew they were perfect for each other and had no problem leaving Gypsy.
As for Bella, I have no idea what has gotten into her. She is usually quiet, well behaved, and excellent guarding the goats. Lately she has kept me busy. She finds the strangest ways out of the goat pen only to run around to the gate and wait to be let back in. Tinker use to be the escape artist but has settled down and behaving. Of course Hillary is so happy to have a home and be off the streets she doesn't want to get out. You could open the gate and she will go to the gate and just stand there. She loves being with the goats and doesn't bother them at all. She will bark if anything or anyone not suppose to be there steps on the property. She will bark to let me know Bella is trying to escape. She will bark if one of the goats is where it shouldn't be or something is wrong. Bella use to do all these things but has suddenly after turning 3 to be a puppy again. Right now she is on a runner inside the goat pen. I let her off while I do the morning and evening feed and when I am working in or near the pens but the rest of the time she is on the runner. This too shall pass. Over all having Great Pyrenees to watch over the goats is perfect. If a animal or human comes near the goats they will put themselves between whatever and the goats. They won't bark and chase what/whoever but will just quietly stay in front of the goats. If a dog or animal seems threatening to the goats they will quietly round the goats all together and then walk around the group of goats keeping an eye on the threat. If the threat comes for the goats then the dogs will bark and attack. Their instincts are to protect the goats in their care even if it means they have to be in harms way. They will also start barking an alarm so we know something is wrong. It is a different bark from seeing a squirrel or neighbors dog. Its an alarming bark that makes you know right away something is wrong. We had a small pack of stray dogs come through our property once. Bella and Tinker had the goats all in a huddle and were running around and around them keeping them together. When the dogs got too close they sounded the alarm and Tinker went after the dogs while Bella kept the goats together. It is truly amazing to watch how they care and protect the goats. It is also beautiful watching them when a doe kids. They stand outside the birthing stall watching real quietly. Once the goat has kidded and everything is cleaned up, I open the stall and let them come near me while I hold the kid or kids so them can sniff them. That takes a few minutes and then they understand they have a new goat to watch over. They are so loving and gentle with the kids. You will find the kids climbing on and sometimes sleeping next to the dogs. They won't let the kids wander away or if they do they stand over and bark until you take the kid back to its mom where it belongs. If you have goats or sheep I highly recommend Great Pyrenees

or Great Pyrenees mix. Tinker is Great Pyrenees/Antonin Sheperd

You won't be disappointed.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

New Home For Gypsy

This is Gypsy. She is 11 months old and came here while I was visiting in the mountains. William thought she would fit in with Bella and Hillary our other Great Pyrenees and Tinker(Great Pyrenees/Antonin Shepard). 4 guard dogs and 8 goats don't work too well. Gypsy is still a puppy and wants to play, chase, and chew. She is learning to behave with the goats but we just don't have room or really need a 4th guard dog. I finally decided to place an ad in Craigs List and was swamped with emails and calls. Took a little talking back and forth but have found Gypsy a new home. She is going to be living on a farm about 70 miles from here in Siler City. The farmer has a young college student working for him and she has been wanting to train a Great Pyrenees for their farm. They had one for a couple of years but someone stole her. Gypsy will be perfect for them as she is still young enough to train easily and is already use to being with goats and other farm animals. We will be taking her to her new home on Tuesday. That way I can see where she will be living and how she likes her new home. Really like Gypsy but am so happy she will have a home where she will be able to guard her own herd of goats and have a young lady to take care of and love her.
As soon as we finish repairing and replacing fence we will be moving the pregnant goats into a different pen. Those will be for Hillary to watch over. Bella and Tinker who are inseparable will stay in the main pen guarding the rest of the goats. After the kids are weaned Hillary will go in the buck pen to keep an eye on them. Feel like its a game of musical goats around here. Hillary is older and obeys commands so well. She doesn't mind when you move her from one goat pen to another. Bella and Tinker aren't happy when you move them or their goats. You can tell we are well trained by the dogs can't you... (smile)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Spring Time In January

The calendar may say January but Mother Nature is making everyone and everything think spring is here.
Flowers are blooming. My butterfly bush is getting leaves on it and some of my herbs are starting to pop up outta the ground.
Momma hens are showing up everywhere with babies. Here are the latest two. We still have another sitting on eggs and two other hens with chicks that are a couple weeks old.

 Sorry first one had her back to the camera. She was clucking and gathering her little ones under her. She had 8.
This momma has 7 little ones that though they are only a few days old get into everything and keep momma and me on our toes.
Since spring like weather is here love is in the air. Tessa is still being a cougar and chasing her cabana boy E.J. around her pen.
And Fred is still upset and staying over with Elvis in his pen till Tessa comes to her senses and wants him back. Or so he hopes she will when the desire to make baby turkey hits her.

Elvis remembers when Tessa had the hots for him and flirted through the fence at him. He keeps telling Fred to go home and I use to take Fred back to his pen every morning only to have him fly back over so gave up. He and Tessa will hopefully make up before the real spring gets here and by summer have baby turkey running around the homestead. This is whats going on around Hidden Haven. How are things in your part of the world?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

More Family Photos

This is my son in law Brannon with Little Elizabeth. She is the foster girl that my daughter Melody has had since she was just a few weeks old. There has been a couple times that "Sissy" has gone back to her mom's but she has always been able to back home to her Nana Melody and Poppy Joe. Her brother Jonathan spends a lot of time with my daughter Megan. In fact he spent Christmas with her and I was able to watch his excitement over seeing what Santa had left. (He is wearing one of Quintin's tees for a sleep shirt. He thinks Quintin is awesome)

And this is Baby Lily. She is Jonathan and Elizabeth's baby sister. She stays with her mom but Melody was able to bring her over for our family dinner. Of course daughter Maggie was quick to be first to hold her. It was so fun being with all 3 girls and the grands. We laughed, teased, talked, and just treasured our time since we aren't all together very often. And we evened worked on the jigsaw puzzle together without fighting over it! Christmas in the mountains was wonderful but being with family was truly a blessing!

It has been another few days of warm weather with a little bit of rain. Tomorrow is suppose to bring in heavy rain. I plan on getting lots of inside chores done as well as catch up some reading. I got several good books for Christmas just waiting for me to read. Hope you are having a great week and counting those blessings!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Around the Homestead

Inside the homestead Rusty and Whiskers are eating their supper and I am enjoying a nice cup of pumpkin spice tea and listening to the news on TV. For supper I plan on having leftover ham and blackeyed peas from New Years dinner. William will be home tomorrow so am planning what I will cook for our supper then. Finally got all the Christmas decorations down and packed. I need to put them in the storage building in the morning. Did some vacuuming and sweeping earlier and will mop the floors before going to bed. Have the firewood carried in for the night though I will only keep a small fire as tonight will be much warmer than the past few. Tomorrow will be in the 60's. My daughter Maggie called on her way home from work and had a nice chat with her. I love getting calls from the girls. I feel like I am actually sharing part of their day. Tonight I plan on cleaning my bedroom. I still have my suitcase sitting in the middle of the floor. Most of it is unpacked but there are still some gifts, books, and things I picked up at thriftstores in the mountains to put away . With William gone all week I have just closed the door and forgotten about it while catching up on other chores. Now that its the only room left to clean I have no excuse.

Outside around the homestead things are going good. No new baby chicks today and all the chicks we do have are doing really well. I got the rabbit pens and cages cleaned out today and all the poo raked and put on the mulch pile. Got some boxes and things burnt in the firepit while I was raking. Tomorrow I plan on raking the chicken and goat pens. Also have some leaf piles I will gather up and put in the pig pen. They love munching on the leaves and all the acorns. Going to start listing rabbits for sale this weekend. We really need to downsize as we have way too many. I actually would like to get down to no rabbits but don't see that happening. Next I need to get William to agree to find homes for some of our dogs. We do not need 4 guard dogs for our goats. I am sure I could find good homes for a couple of them but also sure we won't agree on which two should be the ones to go. Such is life around the homestead. My goal for the New Year is get everything downsized so it doesn't get overwhelming at times. To just 3 or 4 goats and a a few chickens would be a dream. Sure it will never get that small but its nice to dream. I want to get in the herb garden tomorrow and mulch the plants starting to come back in this warm winter weather. I still have lavender, rosemary, and pineapple sage growing. I will cut them back tomorrow and put them in the dehydrator. Make sure the whole herb garden is mulched in for the rest of winter. We are suppose to get extended cold winter temps in two weeks or so the weatherman says. We shall see. I still have some garlic and onion buttons I want to set out tomorrow. Will mulch them well too.  The daffodils next to the house are about to bloom. With the warm temps of the next few days I bet them will open up. This really has been a warm winter. Tonight all the animals are settled in their beds. Bella and Tinker are awake and guarding the goats. Hillary is sound asleep. She does her guardian during the day. I swear anyone could walk in the goat yard and actually pick Hillary up and carry her off without her waking up. I have never seen a dog sleep such a deep sleep as she does. Gypsy is in the pen with Andy and Petro. She hardly ever sleeps. Being a puppy she is always on the move or into something. It's nice knowing they are watching over the homestead and will sound the alarm if anyone or anything that doesn't belong shows up. Rusty is guarding the house and can wake the dead with his shrill barking when anyone or anything moves outside near the house. Kuma and Rusty are in their pen near the house and let me know if anyone pulls up in the drive or walks up. Even my neighbors feel safe at night with the dogs keeping watch. They will call and tell me which way the dogs are barking and if they see what it is they are barking at so I don't have to go outside. We have some deer that have been coming up  near the back of the property at night. Bella and Tinker don't think they should be there and stand and bark at them till they leave. The deer seem to know the dogs can't get to them so take their time eating and checking things out before they go back down to the swamp and woods. It's a dogs life around this homestead. Hope you are having a blessed week and counting all your blessings!

This is grandson Zack. He is a teenager that sometimes thinks he is a adult. Sometimes we have awesome conversations and sometimes we have major disagreements. Whatever we have we both have lots of love for each other and have lots of fun hanging out.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

More Babies

This morning as I headed out for morning feeding chores it was a nice chilly 20F. I was planning in my mind what I was going to give as treats along with the usual feed to the animals. Then my planning was interrupted by the cry of baby chicks. ANOTHER hen had hid her eggs. She picked this cold morning to bring 8 baby chicks out for breakfast. Feeding was put on hold while I tried to figure out where to put her and the chicks. All the nice warm houses we keep momma hens and chicks in already have momma hens and chicks in them. None of them were planned either! I grabbed a rabbit cage and set it under a heat lamp inside a roosting house. That will do for a couple of days till I can move hens and chicks around and give them their own little house and yard  to scratch in. This is the 4th hen to hatch chicks this month. Crazy winter weather has the animals thinking its spring. This weekend is suppose to bring back high 60 weather again so no telling who will have babies next. I even have daffodils budding in the flower beds next to the house. Surely winter will come to its senses and bring back the cold weather and keep it for awhile. I did finally get the feeding done though I waited till mid morning to water as the waterhose was frozen. I forgot to drain it. Everyone had water to drink till then as I broke the ice off for them. I chopped up collards for the goats as a treat and they ate like pigs. Gave the rabbits apple slices, chickens, turkey, duck, and geese got chopped up spinach. Dogs got a rawhide bone to chew on. I feel sorry for them being out in the cold even with warm beds so I give them a treat to make me feel better. Haven't let the fire in the stove go out all week. Have 2 kettles keeping water nice and hot on the stove top so when I come in I can make a cuppa tea and sit by the fire for a few minutes. Fill the stove and bank the fire before heading to bed each night so when I get up the house is still nice and warm and I just need to throw on a stick of wood to keep it going. I just love winter (when its actually winter temps) and look forward to a couple weeks from now for a extend period of winter temps the local weatherman has promised. I have a huge pot of rice,oats, and barley simmering on the stove to give the chickens as a treat in the morning. Will warm their tummies and hopefully there will be no new babies to greet me. Have a very blessed night everyone!
 This is a picture of my granddaughter Hope. She was here with her mom visiting for a few days when I came back from the mountains. Had so much fun with her at the mall even though she didn't like my taste in clothes.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tessa The Bourbon Red Cougar

Tessa when she was being normal and having breakfast with the other turkey
Tessa came to us from Boone, NC. You can read her story here about bringing her to be a mate for Fred but she feel in love with a Rooster named Elvis. This has been a on going love since 2009 until now. Tessa has turned cougar and fallen for a cabana boy, young rooster that is still wet behind his cone. EJ is Elvis son and no matter that we clip his wings, put him in a closed in pen he finds ways to escape and go back to Tessa. Fred has had enough. He decided to make his way over and join Elvis in his pen. The two of them seemed to be sharing Tessa breaking heart stories as they cry over their beer water bowl. I have taken Fred back to his pen the past 3 mornings and he has made his way back to Elvis. I have decided to let him stay for now and hope Tessa grows tired of having a young rooster wooing her. Hopefully spring will find her ready for Fred to move back in and make some babies. Around here you never know what the animals are going to do next. Makes each day something to look forward to!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Around The Homestead

Around the home things are settled down for the night. William is in Lexington, NC helping his son in law so Rusty, Whiskers, and I have the house to ourselves. TV is on and Whiskers seems to be watching somewhat. Rusty has started this bad habit of barking to go outside only to bark to come back in right away. Then barks again to go back out, repeat, repeat, repeat. When I am not opening and closing the door I am enjoying the fire in the woodstove and a second cup of hot chocolate. My nighttime cold medicine is kicking in so I see an early night for me. Winter nights are so peaceful and enjoyable.

Around the barn it was a busy, crazy day. Either hunting or target practice was going on in the woods on the other side of the swamp. Bella and Tinker were going crazy. Tinker tore open the pig gate and tried to go through their pen and out the other side. She only succeeded in getting tangled up. Got her and the gate fixed to find Bella had torn thru the main gate to the goat pen and got tangled up. Freed her up and boarded up the hole she made in the gate. Tinker and Bella are now on runners and not happy but they freak out at gunshots. New Years night was bad enough but today has them stressed out. I finished giving the animals warm fresh bedding. Got the neighbor boys to help me set the rabbit cages that fell over.  Rabbits seemed to not be upset over it and went right back to eating when we got the heavy stand back up. Have wood brought in for the few days of cold weather. I am so looking forward to having a fire going all day and night. Had to spend some time with Andy the goat as he was trying to ram Petro's pen and torment him. Also spent some time with Gypsy. She is all puppy though she is 11 months old. She wants to run, jump, lick, bite, chase, and never tires. Having 4 huge dogs sure takes a lot of energy out of me. But at the end of the day. Bella and Tinker are settled down. Hillary is being Hillary and sleeping through everything. Gypsy is finally sleeping along with the goats all snuggled down in their beds, bunnies snoozing in their nests, chickens and turkey are dozing on their roosts and all is sleeping in heavenly peace around the homestead.
This is my granddaughter Julie taken at Christmas. She has grown into such a sweet young lady. I am so blessed to have her as a granddaughter.

Happy 2012

I welcomed the new year in by sleeping. Still have this horrible chest cold so I snoozed on the sofa while William played on the computer and watched the ball drop on TV. Fixed blackeyed peas, ham, collard greens, fried cabbage and cornbread for our New Years meal and the rest of the day was spent getting the animals ready for the cold weather hitting us tonight. Still have a few more beds that need fresh straw and pine bedding but overall the animals should be nice and warm tonight. Finally winter weather is here or at least will be for a few days before it goes back up to 60's the end of the week. Such a mild winter we are having. We had New Year babies! One of our hens hid her nest and came out New Years morning with 8 chicks. Nice surprise but we caught her and the babies and put them in a pen with a nice warm nest and heat lamp. Was going to put her in the little house we usually keep hens and chicks in but another sneaky hen found the door unlatched and is sitting on eggs. What is it with hens wanting to hatch eggs in the winter time? We now have another Great Pyrenees. Yep, that makes a total of 3 and Tinker who is half Pyrenees and half Antonin Shepherd. Gypsy is 11 months old, full blooded GP and is more playful and into things than Tinker. I am hoping to talk William into to just keeping Hillary and Bella and finding homes for Tinker and Gypsy but will have to play that really slow. Our goal for the new year was to downsize...... don't see that being a fast action plan. LOL  Whatever your plans I wish for you a wonderful, blessed New Year! We have a fresh start to a brand new year and I for one can't wait to see where the adventure leads!