Thursday, June 29, 2006

Cock a doodle doo!

This was one of many firsts that we've experienced this week at Windy Acres Farm. Our 7 week old Buff Orpington rooster is warbling his first crow. He beat the Black Australorp who started with a single sound yesterday. Mr. French's crow was definitely a very watered down version of the famous "cock a doodle doo". The boys are also beginning to spar. It looks like we may have as many as 4 roosters from this group of 17, possibly 5 if one of the Wyandottes turns out male. So far, everyone is getting along well.

Other firsts:

John and I can actually pet the lambs. We started giving them grasses through the fence, and they will now come when we call. The two boys love having the ears and noses scratched. The largest lamb, Napoleon, even comes up the fence to "hug" me and ask for more. Last night, we got them to eat grass from our hands inside the pen. This is another big conquest, usually they run from us.

Goldie, our Americauna/Easter Egger/Araucana pullet who was injured in a suspected hawk attack, ran up to me the other day and squatted for me to pick her up. This is the first time any of the chickens have done this because they wanted to. We have a few that like to be picked up, but it is usually not their idea, its ours.

Snakes! We've found two snakes, possibly poisonous (Copperhead?) in the past 4 days. The first one was curled up in the nest box (cat box top) that we use for the chickens. It looked like a blackened banana peel. I was looking inside for eggs and saw it. Charles came and "took care" of it. What is really scary is that John likes to pick these up when a chicken or duck is inside. He could easily have done that and might have been bitten. Last night, I was getting ready to put John to bed and Charles was watering trees. I heard him yelling and waving his arms. He said there was a snake (he said rattle) and wanted me to get his gun. I hate guns and don't want John any where near them, but here I was running with a loaded shotgun out the front door, through the chicken pen to give him the shotgun. He said he almost stepped on it. Pretty scary. He wasn't sure it was poisonous, possibly a Copperhead or maybe just a rat snake. It was bigger than the one on Sunday. Definitely scary. The scariest part is that both John and I were walking in this area a lot on Saturday and Sunday.

Tuffy has finally found the cat door from the kitchen to the breezeway. He's been going out there a few times this morning. So that's another first. He and Tiger also escaped last night during the ruckus with the snake. If John hadn't seen Tiger outside, we would not have known to look for Tuffy.

And the last first. Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the fire at the Biblical Arts Center. The Dallas Morning News had an article about what the future has in store. They plan to rebuild it. In a former life, the BAC was where I enjoyed the best job of my career. It always felt like a mission to create the exhibits and work with the artists there. Now the office that I worked from is probably nonexistant. It was right behind the large Miracle at Pentecost painting. Charles and I loved the place so much that we were married there on May 9, 1998.

This might not be considered a first, but was really sweet and cute. It was the first time we saw anything like this. One of our 7 week old goslings (Toulouse) was "kissing" or nipping the female lamb, Josephine, this morning. It looked so sweet. Well, Louis (Josephine's twin) got jealous and put a stop to it. But it was really neat while it was happening

Well, I guess that's all for now. Just thought I'd share.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Life with chickens, ducks, quail and sheep

Wow, it's been over a month since I posted the last message. Not much has changed, but we are adjusting to life on the farm. All three of us look forward to being with the birds and the sheep. When I was first approached about having chickens and ducks, I thought my husband was crazy. He even mentioned wanting to have 50 of the things. I thought maybe 2 or 3 would be fine. But, once we got into it and I joined a few Yahoo groups and started really looking at them, I got hooked. Now, I'm not sure we have enough! There are so many different types of chickens out there it is amazing. And personality, wow. You just don't know what its like until you experience it.

So, each evening our highlight of the night is sitting in the chicken pen watching the chickens run and chase grasshoppers, chase birds, see ducks swimming in their pool. All I can say is I feel peace and I look forward to this every evening. I am planning to post some new photos in photobucket, or here on the blog, but I need to resize them for display, so it may take a few days. I'll just give a teaser right now, a picture of John with our 5 week old Toulouse goose, and some other goofy photos of John enjoying life. (I was just able to add these today, 6/25/06. Here is the photobucket link for future photos:

We've had another supposed hawk attack. One of our Americauna/Aracauna/Easter Egger chicken was attacked about a week after Dax. But, we've been able to nurse her back to health. She sleeps inside at night, but we let her out with the others when we can be there to watch her. Because she's bare backed, she stands more chances of being attacked by the other chickens. We've lost a few quail, both to heat and escape. We did lose Ethel, the mom of most of our quail. And we also lost one of our Gold Laced Wyandotte chicks.

The sheep are slowly letting us touch them. As long as little mister is not around, I can actually put my hands on the face of the largest lamb. We've named them, Napoleon, Louis and Josephine. Kind of goes along with being French sheep (Rambouillet). We haven't named many of the chicks who are now 6 weeks old. The Buff Orpington rooster is Mr. French, and we plan to name his girls, Buffy, Jody, Sissy and Mrs. Beasely. But, we haven't come up with names for the Black Australorps or Gold Laced Wyandottes. A few of the ducks have names, but not many. We have Mud Duck (the only brown one), Cha Cha (a tall solid black duck, possibly a runner), Daphne (female Rouen or Mallard). The older chickens are Thomasina, Henrietta, Missy and Mollie (Barred Rock), Greta and Gobble (Rhode Island Red), and Merry and Goldie (we were told Araucana, but probably Easter Egger or Americauna).

Well, guess that's all for now.