Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The house bunny

He is definitely a pet.

Even if he were not bred for that purpose the newly named Sgt. Peppers loves to be held (on his back having his tummy rubbed)

We will need to have him neutered and an indoor setup acquired. He will live in the play area of the girls and the outdoor hutch will once again be ready for meat or angoras come spring.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Project finished and at it's proper home

Many thanks to New Belgium, Sam Adams & Flying Dog (the cable pattern is called Tipsy and I found it went smoother with a beer or 2). Also to Jeremiah, RuPaul's Drag Race, Lost in Austin, & Drag U. (All perfect excuses to sit on the couch)

It is, after all, Jammie Day

Merry Christmas

The girls were up at 5:30 am. Rules are they can go through their stockings, but that is all until we are all up. There was squealing to be heard so Hubby and I got up knowing the cat carrier in front of the tree was causing it all.

He is a Holland Lop and yet unnamed. Hubby found him about a week ago on Craigslist. Not a meat animal, but a pet. He is ensconced in the outside hutch.

By 6:15 I was back in bed. Much to the disappointment of the girls the rest of the gifts would have to wait. They had plenty to play will (a DS game for Juju, LPS for Mesha) and Hubby had coffee.

Now it is noon, all the gifts are open and Hubby is taking his nap under this quilt sent by Mom. It is one of the last quilt tops made by Grandma Lundborg and edged with a black border to fit our bed.

Hubby blacksmithed me a candle holder. I think it is beautiful.

He took inspiration from the curves of flower stems and leaves.

Hubby received a beer brewing kit, an herb starter kit and a new book on blacksmithing. All things needed by the person holding down the fort on our urban homestead. The new projects - not to mention starting our tomato seeds the first week of January - is sure to keep him busy once the girls go back to school.

It has been a good morning. New coffee (Thanks Potter!) and the girls are playing happily.

Enya, Canadian Brass, George Winston, and Bluegrass are providing the Holiday Soundtrack.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

visions of sugar plums

IF I leave the door open
IF the light is on
IF it is below freezing

This is where Harley & Quinn spend the night.

But they still can't figure out how to get out in the morning - when the door is closed once more.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

We will have a white Christmas

This is the first time I have seen a good snowfall since living on the family farm in 1996. Except for the 2 hours to shovel out the coop and my car it is GREAT!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Pears went on sale twice in the last month at work - just under 50¢ a pound. I couldn't find them at that price in season!

I bought about 4 flats.

2 got dried (what has not been eaten already is in the large jar), 1 got eaten fresh - and one was lost to what I call harvest fatigue.

This happened to me this summer and fall more often than I would care to admit. I would have the produce and put off processing it until it was too late and became chicken food.

When they went on sale again yesterday I bought the last 3 flats of perfectly ripe Bartletts and processed them as soon as the girls went to bed. We now have 6 quarts of pear sauce that will hopefully tide us over (with the applesauce Mom gave us) until next season.

Goal #1 for 2012 - process fruits of our labor as we get them.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

waking up late

It was 8am when I opened my eyes this morning. My alarm clock had given up and shut itself off after I ignored the 6am music and subsequent reminders afforded me by the snooze button. I started the coffee before heading outside into the morning sunshine.

The ducks were not pleased. They had hovered around the coop last night until I let them in (apparently the continuing snow was an affront to their dignity) and now were trapped inside. They are still unwilling to "stick their necks out" so to speak to open the hinged rubber door themselves. In fact only Alice and Sonja had ventured outside, so the coop was a noisy place.

I had one more bag of stray/hay mix left so I spread it over the snow and poured a bucket of hot water into the "pond". Leaves of cabbage were also tossed into the yard, as well as a handful of scratch into the coop.

With the price of straw and hay going up (along with everything else) I am less generous with it than I have been in the past.

The quail are much more stoic. They are much more comfortable in their new hutch and do not try to escape when I open the doors these days. I swapped the frozen water bottles for new ones, gave them food and some cabbage leaves and they were happily scrambling over each other to get at it all.

In less than 30 min I was back inside, having my first cup of coffee before going out again to shovel the front and brush off the cars. We only really got enough snow to be a hassle.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

A place of their own

When Sonja and Heather were introduced to the flock I put a narrow roost above the "pond" in a space too small for the other hens to give them a place to escape from the hazing.

They are finally using it.

Above them is a dowel - but that is for breaking ice in the morning - I don't expect to see them use it.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Making Due

Next year I have a plan for the duck pond. It will be a small trough of some kind with a drain hose/valve combo near the bottom. I will be able to empty it into the surrounding landscape during the dry summer days killing 3 birds with one stone (clean pond, watered AND fertilized plants)

But for this year we have an old plastic drawer - it holds just over 10 gallons and the ducks enjoy bathing in it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Where am I?

It feels like MN today - the sun is shining and it is 4 degrees or something close to that. I have added a kettle of boiling water to the duck pond twice this morning and it is slushing up again. The light has been on in the coop for the last 3 days - the reflector covered lightly with foil at night. I have not replace the water inside - so the ducks don't spread it all over the dry straw again.

All the poultry got bacon drippings today - city version of suet I figure.

Why oh why did I forget to order firewood?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Snow days

With the snow and the cold the ducks have decided to nest in the coop at night. I have had to make a couple concessions for this.

1. take out water dish - as they spread it all over the place.

2. hold door open with a bungee cord during the day. This of course means that I have to open the door in the morning for them and close it at night - the chore I was hoping to avoid with the dog door installation. However, as you will see with the video the ducks are wary of sticking their necks out.

BTW Heather was already outside.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

friends in need

I had to clean the coop before work today.

The ducks, with the nights getting colder, are still refusing to sleep in the dog crate I bought ESPECIALLY for them. They decided they want in the coop at night, and can't figure out the dog door. I obligingly shoved them inside last night and this morning found all the straw soaking wet and the waterer that I thought was out of their reach on a milk crate empty on the floor.

An hour later, with the floor bare, and the light on to hopefully help it dry, I remembered I had not yet bought a new bale of straw. I ran out the door to work, asking hubby to have the girls fill it with the shredded paper from the office when they got home from school - it was snowing and I couldn't see him easily maneuvering the feed store parking lot.

It was not enough.

I got home after dark and it was getting colder. The paper once spread out came out to only 1/2 inch deep on the floor.

Luckily I have friends - ones who also have livestock.

1/2 hour later Juju & I were picking up some loose straw from Rana & Niels. An hour later I was still at their kitchen table with a glass of wine enjoying the conversation while Juju watched Harry Potter with her kids. Honestly I don't know which part I appreciated more. We got home right before bed and now the poultry and the children are tucked in for the night. The straw mixed in well with the paper, creating exceptionally fluffy bedding.

This lifestyle I have chosen would go smoother, I think, If I were a type A personality and not a procrastinator.