Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tiny Critters

My Moms button quail hatched out these cute little chicks. They are the size of a bumble bee when they pop out of their shell. The quail weren't taking care of them when they hatched, so my Mom put all the eggs in the incubator. Every time she opened it, they were like popcorn bouncing around.
The camera must add 10 grams to a chick, as they sure look a lot bigger in the picture in my hand, than in person. The picture of the chicks next to the wide mouth jar lid full of food is a better size comparison.

My Peruvian guinea pig popped out two adorable little boys. When I went out to feed in the evening she already had them all cleaned up and dry. She's quite the happy little Mamma.

Since our garden hasn't been doing well, I haven't taken very many pictures. So I thought I'd show you all some some strange things around our place.
This bug was dragging a big fat spider down into a hole it dug in our backyard. It drug that spider a long ways to that little hole, and kept running back, and digging more dirt out of the hole. 

It didn't look like it would fit.

But it eventually made it fit. Food for its young I guess.

Now these things used to entertain my Brother and I as kids. Heck, they still entertain us. If you've never seen them before they are called Doodlebugs or Antlions. Just catch an ant, toss it in the sandy hole, and watch the little claws pop up out of the sand, grab the ant, and drag it under. Here is a link that has a video, down towards the bottom of the page, of them catching and eating ants.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A GREAT Aunt At The Ripe Old Age Of 29

Call me prejudice, but I think I have the cutest Great Niece ever. Sophia is 6 days old in this picture. She is a BIG baby at 8 lb. 12 oz.!

I just realized how few pictures I have taken this summer. Our garden is broken this year. All the starts I grew my Mom planted out in the main garden, and the quail and ground squirrels ate them off. So we replanted, but nothing has done well, and the weeds took over. I think my Mom has now given up on it. I'm thinking we need to let it rest next year with a cover crop, and then turn it into a permanent garden with weed block.
What do you do when your gardens broken? Go to a produce stand and load up the car. Well that's what we did anyways.
I have one raised bed in my little garden that I planted some Annas Noire tomatoes and Armenian cucumbers, and they are pretty much the only thing that's doing well. Even the wheat grass I planted for the guinea pigs won't grow. Maybe its the wrong time of year for wheat grass.

 This pretty butterfly has been visiting our front yard for a couple weeks. Not sure what it is, but it's not a Monarch. It continually flits around from flower to flower, and back again. Its a pretty sight to have out our window everyday.

Can you spot it in the bottom left corner.


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Raising Animals Isn't Always Rosy

***An update on my pictures of polled vs. horned in my last post. Both doelings are over 1 month old have not developed horns. So swirl or no swirl obviously doesn't matter. ***

We still have several does to kid. I waited as long as possible to put them with Kanga, since they are on the small side, and it will be their first kid. Last weekend Morning Glory went into labor, and her kid was stuck in a position with its head turned back. My Mom and I took turns trying to get the kid rearranged, but could not get the head turned around. We were left with only one option. Pull the kid out, and hope for the best. The kid was lost, but Morning Glory was OK. Goats are amazingly tough animals. We felt so bad for her. So has such strong mothering instincts, just like her Mother Jubilee. We left the kid with her, hoping she would realize it was dead. But she still cried for it when we took it away, and she is left with an udder full of milk. I wished we had a abandoned kid to give to her. She seems to be a little happier the past couple days.
I didn't have any good recent pictures of Morning Glory. 
Here is one of her when she was born.

 And one from last winter.
I'm so grateful we still have her.

My Mom's Diamond Doves had these cute little babies.
I took the picture a few days ago. Unfortunately they threw one of the babies out yesterday, and smashed the other during the night. They were doing so well. I found some larger nests my Mom had stored away. Maybe they will do better next time around with a more roomier nest.

Last Wednesday I walked out to the pasture in the middle of the day, and right when I reached the gate I heard a crash. There had been a huge hawk nest in the eucalyptus trees, and the clumsy baby hawk had flown back to the nest and knocked it down. The nest went crashing down through the tree branches. I hurried out to take a look. It turned out it knocked down another bird nest on the way down. I found two baby sparrows hiding in the grass. 
I brought them up, made them a nest out of a coffee can, and fed them. We used to raise many types of exotic birds, so hand feeding is nothing new to me. They were already feathered out, and yesterday they learned to fly from perch to perch, so hopefully they will learn to eat on there own soon.

My little guinea pig mops on the lawn.

While I had the guinea pigs out, this little praying mantis fell on the lawn.

 A pretty sunset.

Dandelion had this darling little boy this morning all by herself! What a nice surprise to discover this morning. 

Tired Mama.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happenings and Lots of Baby Animals

Well it seems I sure haven't been doing well with keeping up with my blog. I think about things all the time to post, but never get around to actually posting them.

I have finally been able to see a Endocrinologist over the past several months. My doctor was trying to get me in to see one since last Fall. I have had so many weird health issues, that she said it was basically beyond her knowledge, and required a specialist. So after waiting, and waiting I have been sent to the most wonderful doctor. A Christian doctor that really spends a LOT of time with me. In fact I couldn't believe it when my Mom and I left his office the last time, and looked at the clock. We had been their about 2 hours, and he spent that whole time with us. (Yes, I drag my Mom in with me. That way she remembers all the things I forget to say or ask, and I don't have to repeat everything to her afterwards.) He is tweaking my thyroid dosage to get it just right. Not just within the normal range, but perfectly in the center of the normal range. I am very sensitive to the most minute change in dosage. He does a few tests to see how fast my muscles relax (which are relaxing to fast), and that also tells how off my thyroid is, but they are getting a little better. I can feel this difference, like I might actually be able to gain muscle strength with some more improvement. I am soooooo happy to have been sent to this doctor. Can you tell I am happy ; )

I have been on a gluten free diet for quite a while now, but have discovered more food issues. So now I am on a gluten free, dairy free, and peanut free diet. That leaves a VERY limited diet, but I don't feel dizzy every day from my right ear being clogged. The inside of my lips aren't swollen, and my stomach isn't hurting on a daily basis. And the strangest thing of all went away. I am only going to mention this for the hopes of that someone else out there that has this problem will find the answer. Because it is very embarrassing. My sweat smelled like cat urine. If something made me nervous or scared me, it would make it worse. I was always insecure when out in public about this, that if I started sweating that someone would notice. Although I don't think anyone did, because I was very careful and used antiperspirants. Upon removing DAIRY from my diet it is GONE! I told my doctor about this, and he said he had never heard of it before, and seemed to find it very interesting. All I know is that I tried google searching it, I could find people with this problem, but no one had an answer. So I hope that people will find the answer now, because otherwise that was just a very embarrassing thing to write about for nothing!

That is enough about my health, here are some pictures of what I have been up to, and some new babies on the farm.

 I slowly but surely built this four level cage, over about a two month period, for the guinea pigs. So they will have plenty of room. It was a clothing rack for hanging clothes in, that a store was throwing out.

 Linoleum floors to keep them from spoiling the wood, and for easier cleaning.
I went cheap, and made all the latches with scrap wood, and nuts and bolts I robbed from my Dads shop.

I just finished this one today. I made it last year to hold these 2'x3' cement mixing pans that work great for GP's, but they needed to be contained, so they couldn't jump out. I added wire mesh all around and doors. It's finally complete, yay. But unoccupied for now.

Vicky stepped on a bee. I put plantain on her foot with a band aid for a while. She hopped around on three legs all day, till the swelling went down.

 Tulip had this cute little girl that looks just like her daddy Kanga. She had her in the evening, and the next day when I went out to check on everybody, Tulip had something hanging off of her. I looked closer to discover it was a little mummified baby goat! I guess something went wrong and her body mummified it to protect the remaining twin. I looked it up and its kinda rare. She was perfectly fine, and never had any problems.

Daffodil had this flashy big boy. He is polled meaning naturally hornless which he got from his Daddy Kanga. Although he was presented normally at birth, we did have to assist in pulling as he was a big guy, and Daffodils first kid. My bothers 8y.o. son was over visiting and got to watch the whole experience. Afterwards he thought he was going to throw up. Boys! It was good for him to witness birth, even if it did churn his stomach.

After his bellyache wore off, my nephew helped me take these pictures. I was trying to show the gelatin coating on the bottoms of the hooves, that starts shedding off right after birth. It protects the mothers insides.

Jetta had twin girls! Who also look like their Daddy. You guessed it, Kanga.

 One doeling has swirls.

And the other doesn't. This is supposed to tell if they are polled or not. The swirls are supposed to have horns. We will have to wait and see if this is true.

 Sir Locksley and Lady Miriam (both Texels) a couple days before she had her babies.

 Proud Mama with her two little sons.

Running back to Mama.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Elderberry Plants / Mystery Plants?

My Mom ordered some elderberry plants awhile back. We were wanting to grow the sambucus canadensis variety, but they cannot be found locally. So she ordered them from Bramble Berry Farm. I have previously ordered many different berry plant from them, including a couple elderberry plants. So we know they send good sized dormant bare root plants. When the elderberry plants arrived I counted them, before my Mom planted them out around the edge of the garden, and there were several extra. Yay! 

Recently My Mom and I were taking a walk around the garden, and my Mom pointed to one of the plants and said "What is that?" I thought a peach pit had sent up a shoot inside the tomato cage she placed over them (so we wouldn't step on them amongst the weeds). I peered closer to find that the glossy, toothless, large, pointy leaves were coming from the "elderberry plant". We looked over all the plants and there are three that don't resemble elderberries. So we are puzzled. What could the extras be? We are rather curious.

We have blueberry plants, gooseberry plants, grapevines, but these plants don't resemble any of them. Before they leafed out they looked just like the elderberry plants. Now they are producing upright growth, unlike the elderberry plants that sort of fan out.

Does anybody have a clue what they are?

 mystery plant

 mystery plant leaf

 elderberry plant for comparison 

toothed elderberry leaf for comparison


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Two Year Anniversary

Today marks two years in blogging, and my 50th post. I have to say I haven't posted nearly as much as I would like or planned, but that's life. I have made so many lovely blog friends over these past two years that I tend to spend most of my "online time" reading their posts : ) Yet I can't believe it has been two years! The older I get, the faster time flies. If this is how fast time rolls by at 28, what is it going to be like at 40? Yikes!

I started out my blog with a post about our Tufted Buff Geese. We no longer have any geese. I think it was last Fall that my Mom sold them. After they multiplied and had two Father geeses to rule the roost, they started to become a rather pain in the rear when it was breeding time. We know how to avoid getting attacked, but it got really annoying that every time we walked out back (multiple times a day) we had to keep any eye on them. Plus they constantly had the dirt stirred up in the air, with their running and flapping back and forth down the pathway. So it was time they went to live on a bigger farm, where they had lots of room to flap about, and that's exactly where they went. The people that bought them had a 1 1/2 acre pond on their place. I'm sure they thought they went to goosy heaven, compared to their little plastic blue kiddie pool they had here. 

With so many things around here keeping me busy, my small garden has really gotten away from me. For those of you that think that you are the only one with weeds in your garden, take a look at mine!
I've got a lot of work ahead of me to get that mess cleaned up. I need to get my seed tomatoes planted in there soon.

Some random pictures.
Taken through a window.
This blue jay was stealing the lining from my Moms hanging basket for its nest.

Finally we have a horse trailer! Miley's not very pretty, but she will do for now.

I got to meet two book authors in a week!

Our bee guy had to take away his last hive here for almond pollination. So we finally got our own. Yay!

 I think they are happy here.

After I spent the day tending the burn pile, my Dad brought Lula Belle out to scrap the remaining embers into a pile. She's so pretty. Then we all took turns taking her for a ride around the pasture. It was very bumpy even in low gear, with all that clumpy grass.

I love the gauges. 

My Dad through the smoke.
I can't explain what he's doing, but he looks at these things like this every time he goes out into the pasture.