Our Chickens For The Next Year

Our newest layers have been growing and becoming a part of the larger flock.  It is so picturesque to see them free ranging around while we are out doing chores.  A couple of the bigger breeds have started laying small pullet eggs and we expect most to be laying regularly in the next couple of weeks (they usually start when they are around 22 weeks old).  Our mystery bird included with the batch this time is another rooster.  We call him Jersey because he is a Jersey Giant breed.  He will replace a nuisance rooster who we are now calling stew.  He attacked my mother and gave her an unbelievable bruise on her leg.  She was opening a corral gate for me to get the tractor through.  The rooster was near the gate with her ladies and grandma was a stranger and a threat.  He got his hackles up and spurred into her shin.  It was a direct hit.  Its a good thing it was through jeans otherwise I suspect we would have been taking a trip to the hospital!

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The layers taking turns in the nesting boxes

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Our newest 50 broiler chicks growing up very fast!

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Now We Really Feel Like Farmers

In order to get the pigs to the processor we have to have some means of transportation.  So Craig’s List and I got acquainted.  I was able to find this trailer for pretty cheap just up the road from our house in town.  We figure we will be using it quite a bit over the years.  We are considering raising our own pigs, so transporting them in a trailer would be quite convenient.

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And to make sure that everyone knows that we have completely lost our minds, we are also considering other livestock as well.  We need a reliable source of compost as well as some herbivores to help keep this place mowed down.  We are a huge grass field and sometimes it can feel like it is completely over-taking us.  A family cow will produce up to 15,000 pounds of manure per year.  Goats can graze down virtually any weed patch in no time flat.  So we are contemplating putting up a livestock barn to house them both.  We aren’t much into dairy so we don’t think we will be doing it for that purpose (plus, unless I retire, I can’t be here everyday for the daily milking that has to be done).  So basically we need poopers and lawn mowers.  This will mean a lot of fence building though.  Stay tuned!

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The Greenhouse Continues to Trickle In

So the saga continues with the greenhouse.  About a month or so ago we got the plastic for the greenhouse.  Then more delays.  I reported them to the BBB and also sent copies of all the documents and texts that had been exchanged to my attorney.  This, of course, didn’t make the builder very happy but being the customer and we are into month 8 of what was supposted to be a 7 week delivery schedule, I figured I had been more than patient.

3 weeks ago, the roof corners and peaks arrived via Old Dominion.  Because it was so wet and our ground turns into brown snot when it is wet, we ended up unloading about 500 pounds of steel off the semi and into the bed of my pickup.  From there I drove it to the build site and unloaded it again!  I must be made of some seriously tough stuff because everything I do seems to be heavier than it should have to be.

So the peaks and corners have been sitting there awhile now.  The next tracking number arrived and Old Dominion was able to get the truck onto the property this time.  They arrived in the middle of a Tornado warning and I was a bit worried that the driver was going to be with us in our basement for awhile.  The Phd’s at the loading dock put the joists, door framing, and trusses all in the nose of the trailer – all 1200 lbs of it!  The also didn’t give the driver a skid jack with long enough forks to lift it up to roll it to the door.  Also, while in transit, the skid itself failed.  The 10 foot 2×4’s running the length of the skid were completely broken.  The driver and I jacked it up as high as possible and then heave hoed the whole thing the length of the trailer.  We couldn’t use the lift gate because it was too long.  So once again, we offloaded all of the steel by hand and I spent the next morning sorting it into lengths.

OH WAIT THERE”S MORE!  We have one more skid coming.  This will contain the ground railings, the caulking, the rebar ground anchors, and all of the screws.  It is now closing in on the middle of June.  It was supposed to be here the middle to end of January.  I had planned – once more – to build it over the 4th of July weekend.  I do NOT know if that will happen.  I sure hope I get to use it in the fall.  Pretty ironic that it was delivered in the awful Colorado spring weather  –  as it was supposed to be set up to help us get THROUGH that weather.  This has been the single worst purchasing experience of my life.  It looks like it is going to be one stout critter, but I will never ever work with this guy again.

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Christmas Ham Is Progressing Nicely!

The pigs have been an adventure and a lot of fun.  Because of the Hampshire markings we have named one Oreo, because she has a white stripe across her shoulders and a black front and back, Double Stuff, same markings but wider, and Bossy…. well, because she is.  Doubles came down with a respiratory infection about a week or so after we got them.  So Farmer Jon got to be a Vet.  2 a day injections of penicillin.  If you have never heard a pig scream…. wow.

Since then, and now that the weather has been a bit more hospitable they are out hopping around.  Bossy doesn’t move around a lot – lazy pig – but the two cookies are almost Siamese Twins.  They never leave each other’s sides.

Pigs don’t sweat, so they need to have a way to stay cool.  We dug out a pit and filled it with water and it has become a great wallow for them to play in.  With the wet weather the flies and mosquitos have been pretty vicious and it seems that they have learned how to cover themselves in mud and that keeps them from getting all bitten up.  Pretty genius for a hog!

Basil the dog gets sooooo jealous when we are out feeding them.  We have let her in on occasion to play with them and they all seem to get along fine.  However, once the excitement has worn off and all it seems that they are doing is trying to bite each others ears, its time to separate them.  Today they all had a great romp in the mud!

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Another Very Interesting Spring

Greeting all!  Again we have had a bit of a hiatus from the blog.  Once again Colorado has not disappointed in providing some very entertaining spring weather.  Recall that last year we got hit multiple times with hail.  Fortunately that hasn’t been the case yet but we have had week after week of rain.  Flash flooding has been going on all around us.  The ground is unbelievably saturated so every time it rains it simply runs off and pools in the lowest points.  A neighbor down the road had a veritable lake in his front yard with the water practically to the front door.

Because we still haven’t received all the parts for the greenhouse (8 calendar months now), we decided to put the tomato plants outside in the city under the hoop huts so they could harden off and so we wouldn’t have such crowded seedling rooms.  As Colorado spring would have it, the temperatures plummeted into the mid – 20’s killing many of them off.  So what is considered a sacrilege to Farmer Jon, he had to go and BUY tomato plants.

We are keeping an eye on radar these days too as the storms in Mexico could send some pretty big rains up here.  Its always something until the mountains melt off.

This has been the sky just about every afternoon for a month!

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This was the scene near one of the towns next to us!

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The chicken coop got really nasty!  We had to turn over gobs of wet straw to help it dry out.  The chickens thought pecking through it was great fun!

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This from the local paper.  During one of the storms, Byers lost an ambulance in a flash flood.  There were people in it and they had to walk a mile (patient too) in order to get help.  Evidently all are ok and the ambulance is salvageable but what a night that must have been!

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