On the sixth day of Christmas . . .

December 24, 2010

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love sent to me . . .

picture of guinea birds

The Sixth Day of Christmas.

Six Guineas Preening!


5 Canning Rings!

The Fifth Day of Christmas

Five canning rings,


picture of baby birds dressed up for christmas

The Fourth Day of Christmas

Four calling birds,

picture of ewes with hats

The Third Day of Christmas

Three fat sheep,

picture of two llamas

The Second Day of Christmas

Two spitting llamas,

picture of parrot with santa hat

The first day of Christmas!

… And a Parrot on a Fairrryyyyy!

New Style, cost of 6 Guineas: $28.20

Old (Classic) Style, cost of 6 Geese: $52.74

I got the price of the guineas from Murray McMurray Hatchery. Pearl guinea chicks are $4.70 each for a straight run. (If you’ve never bought chicks before, that just means the chicks haven’t been sexed, so you get whatever they pick up and put in the box!) As I’ve done all along, I haven’t included the price of shipping or taxes on any of this stuff!

I choose White Embden Geese for the Old Style “six geese a-laying”. . .

. . . also from Murray McMurray Hatchery. Straight run is $8.79 each.  Of course, both the guineas and the geese are chicks instead of adults, but it’s harder to find prices on adults!

Anyway, for today, the Classic style is more expensive than the new style!

Total to date:
New Style – $1,999.90
Classic Style – $1.585.74

Will the Old Style cost catch up with the New Style? We’ll see!

Baby it’s cold outside!

December 6, 2010

It’s winter and I know it’s supposed to be cold.  And I also know it’s not near as cold here as it is in other parts of the world.  But I’m still thinkin’ … Baby, it’s cold outside!  It’s a sharp contrast to the balmy weather we were enjoying in Florida over the Thanksgiving holidays!

The animals have their own ways of keeping warm.  During the day, the guineas like to nestle down in some leaves in the yard – of which there are plenty due to the huge oak and walnut and other trees around the house!

pictue of guinea birds

Two guineas nestled in fallen leaves.

Some of the chickens like to shelter under a big viburnum bush in the front yard, even though it’s in the shade.

photo of chicken under bush

Buff Orpington Chicken hen under viburnum bush.

I suppose it provides some shelter from the wind, and they apparently want that more than heat from any sunshine there might be.

picture of chickens under shrub

Chickens 'parked' under shrub.

Meanwhile, the squirrels are still scampering around the yard gathering up nuts.

picture of squirrel with nut

Squirrel on fencepost.

Once the nut is buried, off the squirrel goes to find another!

picture of squirrel on fencepost

"I think there's one that-a-way!"

A little cold weather doesn’t slow down our mighty hunter, Spot the cat.  He was playing with his food again, and chasing this rodent around.

picture of rodent

Food to go.

He’d catch the thing, then let it go … then catch it again.  I don’t know if he ever ate it or just played with it.

While all this was going on, the goat, llama, sheep and Maremma sheepdog just took it easy and rested in what sunshine they could find.

picture of goat, llama and sheep

Resting in dry grass for warmth.

They like to nestle down where there is some dry grass to provide a little insulation.

And me, once I’ve made sure everyone outside has food and water, I’m headed back to the house to get WARM again!

Chickens Roosting in a Tree

November 9, 2010

With the time change, it gets dark so early, sometimes I am busy working and forget to go out and do chores until it’s almost dark.  And don’t get me started on the time change thing, because I have definite opinions as to how it’s the biggest waste of time (ha!).  It’s a nuisance to have to shift your sleep patterns back and forth every few months, for instance.  And studies have been done that show it does NOT save energy, and really, I can’t think of any good reason to do it.

Okay, that’s my rant with some of the reasons I don’t like the time change thing.  Now back my regularly scheduled story!

It was almost dark before I got chores done last night.  The sun was setting and a little sliver of the moon was shining brightly.

picture of sunset

Toby sat and chewed on a stick while I enjoyed the scenery.

picture of sunset

Then I saw the chickens flying up to roost in their tree. 

picture of chickens roosting in tree

Chickens roosting in tree at sunset.

Not all of the chickens roost in this tree.  The rest of the chickens are either in the sheep shed or a few even roost inside the chicken coop.  But a few end up in the catalpa tree here:

picture of sunset and chickens in tree

Getting ready for a good night's sleep in a tree.

I wouldn’t think it’d be such a good spot since the leaves are gone and it’s getting cold, but they seem to stick with it no matter what the weather.

When I throw out feed, or when the chickens and guineas roost or night are about the only times they mingle.  Here one of the guineas flew up to the shed roof then is walking over to the tree to join the chickens.

photo of sunset and tree

Guinea walking on roof over to tree.

A few more guineas roost in that tree, while the rest either roost on top of the chicken coop or high up in the big walnut trees in the back yard.

Heaven forbid they should all go in the chicken coop at night!

Friday’s Farm Fotos

October 8, 2010

Time for a round-up of photos from around the farm this week.  We’ve had some beautiful weather, and critters and people are all enjoying it.

The guineas are done nesting for the year, and back in one big flock.  Here they are in our front yard. . .

picture of guinea fowl

Foraging Guineas

They hatched a lot of keets, but made a poor showing for keeping them!  There are only two survivors.  Guineas will NOT be winning the mother of the year award!

The chickens like to forage in the grass too.  It’s a nice buffet of seeds and bugs.

picture of red rooster

Strolling along. . .

They not only forage in the front yard and fields, they go down around the pond too.

picture of chickens

Grazing by the pond.

And they are often near the birdbath, since they like to use it for their local watering hole.

picture of polish silver laced rooster

The Patriarch Rooster of the Chicken Clan

While the chickens are running around, the goat and llama are taking a break and enjoying the sunshine.

photo of goat and llama

Resting in the sunshine.

Since the weather was cooler, Toby and I decided to walk in the woods.  In the bottom pasture, there are still some butterflies flitting around.

picture of Gulf Fritillary butterfly

Gulf Fritillary butterfly (Agraulis vanillae)

There are still white flowers blooming in the fields and woods.

picture of plants with white flowers

Anybody know what these plants are?

Since ya’ll are so good at identifying birds, how about trees?  There is a pretty tall tree in our woods with purplish stems at the top.

photo of tree

Name this tree!

And to help with the identification, here is a closer look at the leaves of the tree . . .

picture of tree

A closer look at the leaves. . .

And now, a closer look at those purple stems at the top of the tree. . .

photo of tree

Looks like there was fruit here?

So how about it, anyone know what the tree is?

And now, it’s time to jump into the week-end!

picture of chicken

"Gotta Fly!"

Hope ya’ll have a GREAT week-end!

Conundrums on the Farm

August 25, 2010

Conundrum – defined as

  •  a : a question or problem having only a conjectural answer
  • b : an intricate and difficult problem

Besides the obvious conundrum we’ve had of wondering why the cria was born too early, there are other puzzles on the farm.

For instance, what happened to this rooster’s tail feathers?

red-gold rooster

Where's the tail feathers???

Or how about this?  Why does this guinea hen have a chicken chick?

guinea fowl with chicken chick

Mama guinea with her chicken chick

Or we might pause to wonder why there was a foil star balloon blowing across the main pasture . . .

balloon hovering over grass

Why do we have a balloon in the pasture?

And perhaps we could wonder where it came from in the first place.

Then there’s the question of why something so pretty as a butterfly should enjoy something so disgusting as manure tea. . .

2 yellow and black butterflies

Taking a break at the Manure Tea Cafe

We could also wonder what all these peafowl and guineas are looking at.

peacocks and peahens in aviary

Do you see THAT???

Except that’s not really a conundrum, because I know what they were looking at and squawking about. . .

hawk in sky

Soaring and Seeking

There’s a hawk that’s been hanging around the last couple of days, and I fear it might enjoy a chick or keet for a meal.  If it’d eat the mice, I’d be happy, but I don’t think it will be particular about eating other birds.

Maybe it’s a conundrum after all.  How do you enjoy having beautiful predators like hawks around without having to worry they’re going to snack on your baby birds?

An intricate and difficult problem indeed!