July 17, 2013

Around The Homestead

Around the barnyard

I haven't posted an Around The Homestead in awhile. These are bullet-like posts, where I can put random happenings, updates, and follow-ups to previous posts.

Summer Weather. The summer continues to be cooler than typical and rainy. By cooler, I mean we've only had a few days that have reached 90° F / 32° C. Inside the house, the temperature has gradually crept up to about 82-83° F / 28° C. during the day, but we haven't turned on the air conditioner so far. 82° F is where I keep the thermostat set anyway. If I put a fan in the window in the early morning and after the sun goes down the house is warm but tolerable. I close it up during the day and keep both ceiling fans going. Of rain we had 9.35 inches in June, and 9.6 inches the first half of July.

Corn and cowpeas

These are doing well, but the ground has been too soft and wet to do any lawnmower weeding. There is a large bare patch in the corn field, which Dan suggested I do another corn planting. I'm not sure if there's enough time before first frost, but I may try it anyway, as soon as the soil isn't so squishy to walk on.


Rabbiteye blueberry bush

The blueberries are abundant but have been slow to ripen this year, I'm guessing because we've had so little sun.The wait's been worth it, though, because they are the plumpest and sweetest ever.


Zed is still my bottle baby, although I've cut down on amount and frequency. He does love his bottle. I call, "Where's my baby," and no matter where he is, he comes running.

Ziggy, Zoey, Daisy, and Rosie

Baby chickens.

I am very sad to say that we lost another chick. I had been putting them in their security quarters around dusk; still light enough outside to see, but dim in the chicken coop. I could put Mama in the cage, shine a flashlight on her, and all the chicks would run in after her. One night we were about half an hour later than usual. I only counted 18 chicks run into the cage. They move around so much they're difficult to count, so I finally gave up trying. As I secured the door, Dan found the dead chick near the same spot I found the other one. This one also had its neck bitten open. Needless to say Dan bought a live animal trap the next day. We haven't caught the sneaky little culprit yet, but hopefully soon.


I tried to get him to stretch out well, but this was the best he'd do.

Just because he hasn't been featured in awhile.

Remodeling. The hall bathroom and Dan's study are almost finished, but I'll give them their own posts soon, with lots of photos.

Around The Homestead © July 2013 


Theresa said...

Busy as always! And awwww, bottle babies are so darn cute.

Anonymous said...

Lots keeping you busy, but it looks great!

Ed said...

I would think that down where you are, you would have plenty of time before frost. Up here where I live, we've planted corn during the first week of July before and still had an okay crop, though generally we switch to shorter maturation corn.

I can't help it but my mouth is watering looking at all those blueberries!

Nina said...

Can you find a shorter season corn to use? I'm pretty sure that there are varieties which mature in fewer days than others, in use not to much farther north.

Goat kids and blueberries..sigh, some of my favourite things. Sounds like it should be a song :)

Renee Nefe said...

Love the update and seeing Riley again.
We've been getting a lot of rain also. Which is making for some very slow going in the garden and after our late start, I'm worried that I won't get anything. I hope that perhaps I can extend our growing season by moving all the pots to my porch and covering the plants at night maybe.

vlb5757 said...

Love that you measured Riley. I should do that to my Max. I wish we had the space to plant corn. We tried one year in a small bed but they didn't do well. I would love growing our own blueberries too. I eat them nearly everyday. I hope you find out what's killing your baby chicks. I sure am curious. Could it be a rat?

DFW said...

Thanks for the update. Those blueberries look lucious! Riley is huge. How tall is he?

Leigh said...

Theresa, it's that busy time of year. :) This is the first bottle baby I've had and I have to say I've enjoyed it in spite of myself.

Stephanie, so it is with the homesteading life!

Ed, that is a possibility. This is Truckers Favorite which takes about 100 - 105 days (? I think). We can have a frost as early as the middle of October, only about 90 days from now!

Nina, I may have to look into that, although I really like this variety for cornmeal and feeding the chickens. It might be fun to experiment anyway.

Renee, yes, that rain can certainly interfere with gardening plans! Sounds like a good idea for your potted plants.

Vickie, rats are at the top of our suspect list! And it's true corn needs plenty of other plants to do well. Fortunately, the bare patch is one big one! The growing corn plants will mostly be close enough to do the job of pollination.

Leigh said...

DFW, I'll have to measure Riley's height. Everyone who sees him says he's a big cat. If he does a good stretch, he's easily 36" long not counting his tail!

Tombstone Livestock said...

you got more rain in one month than I got all year.

Plant more corn then pick the baby ears. I always thought the canned baby ears of corn were a special variety, but 2 years ago when I planted corn I picked the baby ears, and they were just liked the canned ones. Only problem is they never made it to the house, I would eat them raw while I watered. Great for stir fry.

Val said...

Leigh it sounds like you have a weasel in or near the barnyard. They are the only animal I know of that will kill chicks and not take the body. We've been there and they are hard to catch. Liver or other organ meat is the best bait if you can get something local and fresh. The fresher the better but you have to watch you don't catch a cat.

Anonymous said...

May I offer an opinion? I am not sure where and am you live, so I don't know what varmints are present in your area. However, from the evidence, it sounds very much like your chicken killer is a possum. They usually go for necks and heads when killing chickens. Most often they take the head completely off.

Leigh said...

TL, that's a good idea about the corn. The other thing I thought was that even if it doesn't make ears, I can harvest and dry the leaves and stalk for the goats. I just went out and checked the soil there, and my feet still sink into it too much. Hopefully it will dry out today and I can replant tomorrow (along with getting my fall garden started.)

Val, is that you? Good to hear from you! At first we thought it was a snake, but now a rat or weasel does seem more likely. Only two of the bodies have been left, the other 5 completely disappeared without a feather of a trace. Hopefully I'll have results to post soon. No worry about catching a cat. He can't get into the chicken coop at night .:)

Anonymous, we do have possums in the area but ruled that out because there is no way one could get into the chicken coop. It has a cement floor and all openings are covered; the chickens are shut in at night. That leaves a few mouse size openings such as the chicken wire covered door plus a few cracks here and there. So far five of the chicks are gone without a trace. Only two were left, the only clue being the bites at the neck, but no dismemberment of the head or body. Hopefully I'll have something to show you all soon.

Unknown said...

I envy your blueberries! Cute baby goat and kitty. My cat does that too :)

Sharm said...

Lovely to come and have alook around your homestead! We are still in winter mode here..... your blueberries look fantastic!!! I have had sooooo much trouble trying to get blueberries to grow here. We have been here 3 yrs now, but I'm going to have to give it another try after seeing yours!! Any tips?? (LOL, even though we are at opposite ends of the world LOL) Hugs Sharm (ps, hope this gets through, I'm up to attempt no 9)

Woolly Bits said...

I don't know if you have ferrets/weasels/minks in your area, but a friend of mine had problems with them a while back and told me that they fit through very small openings - and go for chicks etc... I hope you'll catch the culprit soon, it must be very disheartening to loose your chicks like that:(

Leigh said...

Nancy, gotta love those kitties. :)

Sharmayne, wow, what's up with Blogger? I'm sorry you're having problems but am thankful for your persistence!

The blueberry bush from which I'm harvesting is an old one. Our neighbor had to tell us where it is because it was hidden in so much brush. The first year the berries were small and sour. I planted two small blueberry bushes instead. The next year our drought ended and that year's blueberries from the old bush were huge and sweet! Water made all the difference. They like their soil acidic as well. Having said all that, I confess that the two bushes I planted have never grown very big and only produce a small handful of berries.

Bettina, because of the chicken incident we have learned that weasels are not plentiful around here, but not uncommon. We always felt our chicken coop was fairly critter proof, but being an old converted outbuilding, all those little openings you mention have been harder to cover than we thought. There have been no more losses so far, fortunately!

Cassandra said...

Ah, I am sorry about the chick. I hope you catch the culprit. Sounds like it might be an opossum.

Riley is such a handsome beast (and I think he knows it!)

Looking forward to seeing the remodeling pics. Your pics always encourage me to get moving with my own projects.

Seeking Serenity said...

Love your photos!
Num-nummy and cute :D

Leigh said...

Cassandra, I'll have news of that culprit in my next post, which should be up in a couple of hours!

I just have to finish a spot of painting, and then I can show off the bathroom. :)

Peaceful, thanks!

CaliforniaGrammy said...

I'm anxiously waiting to hear that you trapped the culprit harming the chicks. The bottle-fed baby is nothing but adorable. AND oh-my-gosh, I'm envious of that blueberry harvest! They looks scrumptious to say the least!

Leigh said...

Janice, we caught the culprit! Click here.