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I love April. It seems every day I go out and find new things to marvel at, from ducklings that seem to double in size overnight, to new plums starting to form on the plum tree, to lilacs filling the air with their heady scent. There are future harvests everywhere!

Young Ducks and Chickens

Chickens born March 22nd, Ducks born March 29th. Now all together in a “brooder” room for another couple of weeks.

Sheep Growing Up

The lambs are growing up. Drew is off his bottle. They like lilacs too. Especially if they are close enough to eat.

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Well, June just flew by, didn’t it? Sorry for the long delay. It’s been a crazy month. Here’s what we’ve been up to.

Surviving Turkey Babies

The two surviving turkeys, and one of the surviving hens, in the “play pen” area, where they can eat chick food without being bothered by the adults.

When I incubate poultry in the spring, I start with the ducks, then do the chickens, then do the turkeys. Ducks and turkeys take 4 weeks to incubate. Chickens only need 3 weeks. Ducks are much more hardy, and grow incredibly fast, so they can go first and be put out in the poultry yard at 4 weeks. Then the chickens, timed so that when they are about 4 weeks, its warm enough for them to go out into the “play pen”, which is a separate walled off area in the poultry house with a warming light. Then its the turkeys turn. The fertility of the turkey eggs is higher later in the season, but if the timing is right, they still get 6 months to grow up before Thanksgiving. Read the rest of this entry »

DSC08493watermarkWe’ve been working on a lot of spring projects as we wrap up February and move into beloved March. The break is over. Let the craziness of spring begin.

When we moved into this house, built in 1995, it had a front and back deck. The inspector mentioned in his report that both of them needed to be replaced. Well, not only was that obvious (you could see the wood rotting away in places), but in an effort to bring new life into them in order to sell the house, they had been painted a color that I can only describe as mauve. They were poorly designed, not to our taste, and downright hideous. But…so were a lot of things IN the house. Like every single light fixture, and the 1970’s wood stove, complete with orange and avocado green tiles. So it has taken us some time to get to the decks. But this winter, my sweet sweet husband tore off the old front deck (some of it literally using his foot), put in new piers and framing, expanding it considerably, and when the weather and money permitted, worked on getting the new decking in. This one is even attached to the house with actual concrete anchors rather than just nailed into the siding. Read the rest of this entry »

Thor

This was taken looking in the side rear view mirror. That’s Loki (still alive – but getting uglier by the day), in the background. Thor LOVED to go in the truck.

When my husband and I first got married, we moved to Parker Arizona for my husband’s new job. Parker is on the Arizona/California border below Lake Havasu. We lived there for 2 1/2 years. From about May 15th to October 15th, it was over 100 degrees EVERY DAY.

My husband happened to work right next door to the tribal animal control office, and so over the course of that 2 1/2 years, we ended up adopting three dogs. One was a great dane/lab mix named Thor. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of owning or being around a Dane, you know that they are the sweetest dogs around. Thor was super sweet. He was also not super smart. And being 120 lbs and the darkest colored of all of our dogs, he suffered the most in the heat. He’d be standing there panting in the shade, and my husband or I would say in our “Thorbie” voice, “Gosh it’s hot”. We swore that he got about 10% smarter when we moved to cooler weather in Colorado. Read the rest of this entry »

Well, the tree swallows that were nesting in the nest box right next to the front door have gone along their merry way. (I think I heard a parental sigh of relief.) Normally when baby birds fledge (i.e. leave the nest) you will see them around the yard for a few weeks, trying out their flying skills and begging food from their parents from every tree branch. Not so with swallows, who spend their lives finding food on the wing. I wasn’t there for the actual event, but I have a deep appreciation for a critter who, never having flown before, or even completely stretched out its wings in a small nest box with 3 or 4 siblings, makes that inaugural flight by leaping into the air, trusting to instinct that it will all work out just fine…and it does. I was able to capture these pictures a few days before the babies┬ádeparted, when they were clearly getting big enough to be ready to go.

TreeSwallowFledgie

The yellow edge to their beaks, which all baby songbirds have, to my knowledge, is called a gape.

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Jennifer Kleffner

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