Howdy! Found you guys a few days ago. Haven't had much worthwhile to say though. Just the usual farm stuff.
We got about 2" of rain the other day so things started growing. My cabbages exploded and my tomatoes split. The sunflowers are blooming at 10' tall and the sorghum is awesome this year (also 10'). My neighbors went out of town and asked me to pick their tomatoes while they were gone, as if I needed more. So I canned them for them. Hopefully they aren't offended that we didn't eat them ourselves but my tomatoes are weighing in at over a pound apiece and we can't keep up. A little neighbor girl came over yesterday too with a bag full of cucumbers and zucchini for us. I told her we had too much as it was, felt really bad afterwards but can't they see we have a monster garden of our own? I have terrible social skills, I know. Should have accepted them and fed them to the chickens. What was I thinking? I need a sign for my yard that reads, "WARNING: Introvert". I want to know who owns the farm down the road too, the gorgeous Victorian house with the cute little chicken coop and run... I'm too dang shy to stop by though.
Anyway... Crisis averted with the dead pasture. Grass is growing and the sheep are happy with that. Didn't end up buying hay but probably should have - no one would return my calls though! The Oesch dairy outfit down the road gave me a lead that I'll hit up come winter, which was nice of them. I sent the hubby out to mow the back pasture yesterday because the lambs were too small to go out there until mid-summer and the wild carrot took over (the smallest lamb could fit through the woven wire fencing!). But now that they're a bit bigger and I set them out there, the seed heads were getting stuck in their fleece something terrible. Now it's gone. Happy for that. Happy for rain. Life is restored to the Serengeti--I mean Michigan.
The chickens are doing good too. We were gone on vacation for a week and had a pet sitter come, a MSU student in Animal Science. She did a good job and I might get some wool out of her father's flock as well (spinner). We're new to the area and don't have family or friends in this half of the state so that's what we had to do or not vacation at all... which might of been okay too, since I picked up a parasite somewhere near Lake Michigamme or Marquette. BAD. Still recovering from it some 2+ weeks later. Ugh.
Anyway, my chickens aren't laying yet but the countdown has started. They'll be 20 weeks this Wednesday. I let them free range on our four acres but they rarely leave the shelter of the barn and have never strayed more than a few yards from it. Sometimes they wander into the pasture a little ways but it's short-lived. It worried me that they preferred the dark barn all day. They put themselves to bed around seven, when there's plenty of daylight left too. But then I found out that there's a small hawk in the neighborhood - you can hear the finches panic when it hunts. My flock has been running back inside when it appears and staying there. Sometimes it's our sandhill cranes flying over, that sends them running for cover and they fly over A LOT. But I can't complain; they're being careful and that's good. Haven't lost a single one... yet. Instead, now they get cozy with the sheep and barn cats. They get along pretty well. The cats cower and run if they get too close so that's good. The boldest cat, Weasley, got his eye pecked by one of my BO pullets when he didn't make way for her, which got infected for about a week and a half. Taught 'im good. The chickens eat seeds and pick things out of the sheep's fleece too, which is funny to watch. Chicken TV is great.
Here are a few of them. You build them roosts and they sleep in the rafters! Oi! My only consolation for my hard work is that they use the roosts to get up there.