Not dead. Just sleeping in the sun. Not a great shot, but I knew if I changed my angle, the baby would wake up, or Mama would move, which is what happened moments after I took this picture.

Well, Peggy lost one of her turkey chicks Monday. I hadn’t thought about it (and I should have), but we have a big stock tank that the animals drink out of and the ducks  swim in. Turkeys will try to fly at a really early age. One of the little guys flew up, probably trying for the edge of the stock tank, fell in and drowned. Damn. So now she has just one chick.


Note the ladder on the left. These are old soil sifter trays that I ended up with through a circuitous route. They are useful in about a thousand ways. I use them for everything from drying onions in the fall to keeping the brooder water out of the pine litter. And now, as a ladder for the stock tank.

I still have 8 turkey babies in a stock tank brooder, so all is not lost. Those turkeys are much larger than this guy, since they have nothing to do but eat, drink, poop and sit. That brooder now has wire over the top, after I found one of the babies wandering around the room I have the tank in, peeping up a storm, after it flew out of the tank. That should have been my first reminder that they start to fly at about 2 weeks of age.

There is now a ladder of sorts in the water stock tank so that if anyone falls in, hopefully they can get back out again. Peggy spent a good part of yesterday up on the roof of the barn wandering around. I think she was looking for her missing chick. Dang.

BroodyDuckBut in lighter news, one of the ducks has gone broody. She started out sitting on a few duck eggs and some old turkey eggs from Gracie, that Gracie had abandoned. So once she started sitting in earnest, and not getting on and off all the time, I took out the turkey eggs (I’m sure they weren’t viable) and slipped in 5 more duck eggs. So now she’s sitting on 8.

BroodyChickensI’ve also started to incubate a batch of chicken eggs. Just before I started, one of the hens went broody on her own, so I put 5 eggs under her. Then, about 4 days later, everyone got the memo, and now I have 4 chickens trying to brood eggs. I’ve got 2 eggs under 3 of them. The fourth one is just out of luck. There needs to be somewhere for the other 27 hens to actually lay eggs. It’s going to be an adventure.

GrownUpDucksThe original gang of 8 ducks that hatched out around April 1st are now almost indistinguishable from the other adults. They haven’t quite figured out the duck pond yet. Still teenagers, even if they look all grown up.


Drip tape in the bean bed.

Out in the garden, I’ve installed many many feet of t-tape. T-tape is a type of drip tape that can be used under low pressure in a straight line to water your plants. I used it in Spokane when I was living up there, as the well wouldn’t tolerate the use of a sprinkler. And after a month of hand watering this spring, I decided I wanted to use it again. Still have a few rows to do, but the majority of it is in, just in time for 1/2 inch of rain in the last 24 hours.

KilldeerNestAlso out in the garden, a pair of killdeer has decided to nest in the garlic bed. The pair has been out there for at least a month, and I discovered the nest, with one egg in it, on Monday. Yesterday there were two eggs. Cornell says they lay 4-6 eggs, and then have a 22-28 day brooding period. So if they don’t abandon the site, we should have killdeer babies by this time next month. The babies are born precocial, which means they can walk away from the nest soon after hatching. I’m happy to have them, and have done what I can to not disturb them too much (though I did put drip tape on either side of the nest, and there are scallions planted in front of the nest).

In other garden news, one of the goats got into the garden (long story). Thankfully, she wasn’t in there that long, and mostly cried because her friends were on the other side of the fence. But she did do a number on some of my peppers (most have been replanted with some extras I had on hand), and munched a few broccoli and cauliflower. It could have been MUCH MUCH worse. I had just planted all of the peppers and tomatoes about two days before. Nothing like seeing a goat on the WRONG side of a fence to send a bolt of adrenaline through your system, as you think about the last two months of work that may have just been lost.

Here are a few gratuitous veggie pictures of things that are finally doing well, now that the weather has evened out a bit.


Summer squash, just breaking ground.


Cabbage. After my disastrous cabbage crop last year, this is really really satisfying.


Chard, finally starting to crank with enough water and weather in the 70’s instead of the 90’s.


Kale. I think kale is just so danged pretty. This is Red Russian, my personal favorite.

The goat babies are getting big. These two were NOT the culprit in the garden, their mother was. Apple and Jack were two months old on the 10th. Apple has managed to dehorn herself at least on one side by catching her horn on something. We’re hoping it teaches her to not put her head through every fence opening when there is a whole field of stuff to eat in the other direction, but we’re not holding our breath.

Apple&JackMayAt over two months of age, it’s getting hard to tell the babies from the mama’s at a distance. They grow up so fast. Sniff.SheepBabiesMayArgyle. Totally unconventional markings, but so darned cute. He has two white feet to.

ArguileLastly, found this in the driveway this morning. Robin egg shells. When the babies hatch, the mother takes the shell and tosses it out of the nest. Always makes me feel like a kid again to find one.


Miles Away Farm Blog © 2013, where even with all of the work and sometimes heartbreak, we are still able to keep a sense of wonder about the natural world.