animals · cows · farm animals · peacocks

Cows are Comical

On Sunday I picked up some hay bales.  We drove the truck into the pasture with the cows and hilarity ensued.

First, the cows were fascinated by the truck and trailer.  They gathered around and inspected it from all angles.



Once we offloaded a hay bale the cows were in heaven with scratching.  Lots of scratching.


More scratching.  Lots of scratching.  Maybe a nibbled bite or two.  But mostly scratching.

Then the peahen came into the pasture for some unknown reason.  Two of the cows, Dinner & Milkshake, always chase her off quite adamantly.  The other cows never care that the peahen is there.  And none of the other birds elicit such a response!



I never knew cows had such personality!


animals · guinea · hemlock · peacocks · plants · Uncategorized · weeds · wildflowers

Plato, Aristotle, Socrates? Morons!

I can never resist the opportunity for a Princess Bride reference, even if it is a stretch.

I have been curious about all the plants on our property, and learning a lot.  We have found all manner of edibles:  the cherry tree was a favorite until the birds ate all the fruit (the kids had eaten all they could reach anyway).  Now we have mulberries in bloom and soon we will have wild raspberries.  All fun!  We also have a peach tree full of unripe peaches and baby grapes on the vine.

About a week ago I noticed a patch of tall white flowers, that I thought was perhaps Queen Anne’s Lace.  I had heard there were some dangerous look-alikes to the wild carrot, so I did some research and discovered that we did not have edible wild carrots, but instead had Poison Hemlock.  Hemlock- the one that Socrates drank in tea form when he was sentenced to death.

These weeds are giants– way taller than I am (which admittedly isn’t that hard).  And some of the stalks were 2 inches in diameter.

Thankfully it isn’t dangerous to touch like wild parsnip or poison ivy.  Hemlock is only dangerous if ingested or gets into an open cut or your eyes.  So I suited up in long sleeves and a bandit mask.

It isn’t a strong plant, much easier to cut than honeysuckle, so I was able to use a branch trimmer.  The trickiest part was not falling down the slope into the creek!

On a positive note, we saw a fawn.  No picture, the baby was old enough to scamper away in the tall grass and was quicker than E was.

It took about an hour to get the big patch all down.  Then E pointed out another much smaller patch on the other side of the meadow. On our way there we startled a woodchuck.  It was cute.  Not a great picture, but there it is!

The positives from today:  the hemlock is all cut, we saw the fawn and the woodchuck, and we found large amounts of monarch food:  milkweed!  We also discovered a pawpaw tree, so we are looking forward to trying the fruit.

And finally a bit of humor….apparently the guinea fowl want to be peafowl.  They keep hanging outside the peafowl pen, clucking at them.  Crazy guys!



animals · chickens · farm animals · guinea · mowing · peacocks · tractor · Uncategorized · zero turn

Adventure Filled Day

I thought today would be filled with normal busy-ness.  My to-do list included 15 items, some of which were easy (give dogs flea/tick/heartworm meds), others were lengthy (mow).  I did not complete my list, but I made a good dent, even with all the detours!  Some of the list was easily delegated to the kids.

I started my day by mowing the goat pen.  The silly goats are not as fast at eating as the weeds are at growing.  It was a quick mow, and I kept the blade high so it won’t take long for the weeds to be tall again.

Moved on to mowing most of the park area, then the backyard.  Unfortunately, our backyard is badly sloped, which resulted in this:


That picture is from a few weeks ago when hubby did the same thing.  I had foolishly thought that since the ground was dry this time the mower would be able to handle the slope.  I was wrong.

Hubby was at work, so my oldest and I copied his method and got the mower (both the machine and me!) out of this predicament.  Tractor to the rescue!  The chain and winch is actually supposed to be for trees, but I think right now the usage is tied between trees and getting the zero turn out of the fence….


Meanwhile, back at the barn…..

When P and I went up to get the tractor we found the goats had escaped and were eating  chicken scratch out of the storage bin.  This is their first ever escape where they weren’t coming toward our voices.  They were pretty easy to get back to their pen, if they had been super stubborn I would have pulled out the secret weapon to goat love:  rabbit food pellets.

I was able to get back to mowing and got a good bit done today.  There is more to do tomorrow, but not too much.

Our peacock keeps showing off!  He is gorgeous.  We really need to name him and his harem.


I need to get a good picture of his tail completely out, but he hasn’t been in the right position when I had my camera handy yet.  This pen is temporary- in a few weeks they will free range.  This is really barely big enough for him to spread his tail in one direction (the other direction has plenty of room).  It is sufficient for him for learning where home is and will be great for night time once they are all free ranging.

Lots of normal stuff and tasks handed to the kids.  The goats escaped again, this time into a different weedy part of the yard.

I took the teens to youth group, and when we got back they had to do their nightly animal chores.  Hubby came out to look at the peacock with us and I had to take the goats on a walk.  Except the goats were out of their pen again!  E thinks they are mad that I mowed down their weeds, I think mowing the weeds opened up their eyes to the possibilities beyond their pen and showed them an easy escape route.

The goats love their nightly walk.  They pretty much lead the way.

The white goat is Storm, the black one is Confetti.  They are spoiled rotten and I love it.

About a week and a half ago our guinea fowl quit coming back to the barn at night.  We will see them and hear them occasionally during the day, so we knew they were nesting somewhere.  The older girls had unsuccessfully searched for the nest over the weekend.  Tonight while I was out with the goats I heard the guinea, so I suggested they might be nesting in the cow pasture.  E went off and after a while yelled “I found them!”


They are nesting in a pile of brambles we had cut down from the fence line– a mixture of honeysuckle, autumn olive and wild rose.  Between the brambles and the cows, they seem to be really safe, we hope!

E brought back 26 eggs so we could incubate them, leaving 5 for the guinea to brood.   Potentially they will lay more.


So now we have 40 guinea eggs in the incubator.  Oh my, not sure what we are going to do with so many if they all survive!

Current bird totals:  7 free range chickens plus 1 rooster, 12 pullets we raised from chicks that will free range after Fair.  A pair of Mille Fleurs (bantum chickens) that were given to me by a nice man at a Poultry Swap.  21 Meat Chicks that are almost 2 weeks old, living in a cow water tub in the half bath by my laundry room.  Those will be gone after Fair- either sold at Fair after showing or made into freezer meals.  3 guinea that free range, 4 peafowl.

Current egg totals:  40 guinea eggs in the incubator and 5 in the nest, 30 chicken eggs in the incubator and a bunch in my fridge (yum!), and a few peafowl eggs that we aren’t incubating, waiting to see if the birds will do it on their own.

Yikes.  We seem to like collecting birds…..


animals · farm animals · guinea · Uncategorized

Fowl Adventures –Part 1

Not long ago we went to a poultry fair to buy a rooster.  We came back with a rooster, 2 mille fleur bantums and 4 guinea.  The guinea caused quite an adventure and the three oldest kids wrote about it.guinea feather

Written by P, age 14:

There and back again a Guinea Fowl’s tail

A long time ago in a barn far, far away.


There lived a Guinea Fowl and his friends. This Guinea Fowl’s name is Dave. Dave never liked being in cages but now he was in a cage with three other Guinea Fowl. Their names are Dumb, Dumber and Dumest. Dumest was so dumb he didn’t know how to spell his name correctly, and he didn’t know how to fly ether.

Dave was let out of his cage so he and the others ran into a bigger cage outside. Not much better than the small cage but it had dirt to peck at so not all bad. The big monsters left the cage and went to the next one.

And here is when Dave’s thoughts begin: The monsters came back later. We were enjoying the outside cage and the monsters chased us out into a slightly smaller cage inside, closed the door to the outside and then left the inside cage. We were all alone except for the chickens next door. I was so sick of the cage; I decided to take the leap of faith over the walls and into the rest of the barn.

Then I saw it: a small demon approached me. I flapped my wings and chased it. I ran as fast as could which was faster than the demon could run, and I started pecking at it. It then hid under a part of the floor. I had defeated the demon.

Two of my friends flew over the walls of the cage but Dumest was too dumb to fly so he just walked around in circles. We walked around for the rest of the night chasing off demons and other monsters until morning.

The biggest monsters came in and tried to catch us, but they foolishly left the door open so me and Dumber got out! But Dumb and Dumest got caught.

Two monsters went after us they started circling us. Then all of a sudden one lunged at us and we ran. The monsters were right behind us so we ran straight but one got in front of us. We turned in unison but the monsters were on our tails. We took off and aimed for the roof of the prison. We got to the roof and the monsters circled the building until I glided with Dumber right behind me. We landed in a field far away from the prison and the monsters didn’t chase us. We were free!

Or so we thought.

We saw that Dumb and Dumest were trapped. Me and Dumber went to save them and that’s when it happened. The two monsters started chasing us again! I ran away, but Dumber went into their trap and was caught and thrown into the cage with Dumb and Dumest.

It was not safe for me to be out in the world alone so I had to go to the cage and rescue my friends. I went there. The doors shut! I was trapped in the prison and the two monsters were smiling. One pulled out a net and they both started chasing me! I ran and flew as long as I could, but they caught me and threw me into the cage with Dumb, Dumber and Dumest. Then they picked up the cage and put us in the inside cage, turned off the lights and it was dark once again.

The next day the monsters opened the door and a terrible beast ran in. we had to break through the door to get away. Me and Dumb flew away. The monsters chased us a little bit but then walked off. But Dumber and Dumest were trapped in the cage once again. Dumb soon gave up and went back in but he didn’t appear in the trap so they didn’t catch him.

I went in and looked for him but I was caught! Later he was as well. Until further notice we seem to be stuck here and here we will stay.

The End


For you information “Monsters” are humans

“Demons” are cats and “Beasts” are dogs.

This story should not be taken too seriously, since it was written by a bird!





animals · farm animals · peacocks

More feathered friends!

It’s a long weekend here, and that usually means we get bored…..and when we get bored we scour craigslist for new animals!

Today we started by searching for pheasant eggs.  That search was not successful, but in our quest we found both guinea eggs and peacocks!

Side note:  two of our guinea are not returning at night, they seem to have decided to nest and we can’t find their nest.  It is likely we will lose them to predation, so finding replacements is necessary for tick and bug control!  Besides, they are so fun to watch walk around.

20170529_140508First step:  build a special peacock carrier.  The tails of the male will break if they try to turn in most cages, so there is a special way to make one that allows for the tail.  We did our best to estimate the correct dimensions.  We also packed up the dog cage to bring the peahens home in.


First we drove 45 minutes to pick up guinea eggs.  From there it was an hour drive to the peafowl.  The seller first grabbed the peacock and he was feisty.  Our diy cage was way too big and he was able to move around too much, so we jury rigged another idea and Ken pulled off his undershirt and we wrapped the peacock in it.  The peahens were much easier to contain, less skittish and no tail worries.

We drove the 75 minutes home, and then had to finish setting up their new home.  We had started this morning not sure where to keep the peafowl, then 20170529_193010decided that an add on to the back of the barn was the perfect spot to keep them.  It is fully enclosed and has high rafters for them to roost.  The previous owner had used this for sawdust storage.



The peahens had laid a few eggs, and the seller let us have them.  He said last year they sat on them and tried to hatch, but the male was young and the eggs weren’t fertile.  But this year they might be, so we set the eggs up for the hens.

First we brought in the peacock, we were most concerned about his travel arrangements.  Thankfully he was fine.  He has a couple of broken tail feathers– a few happened before we got him and a few additional ones during the trip.  But he will shed all his feathers in the fall and regrow new, so it isn’t a big worry.


The peahens were much easier to relocate into their new home.


Within minutes two of the peahens were in the rafters and not much after that all four of the birds were up high.  We spent quite a bit of time building a lower perch for them and it seems like they don’t even care about it, they like the highest roost, of course!

After this, we set the guinea eggs in the incubator, they should hatch in about 28 days.  This is a fun comparison between a peacock egg, chicken egg and guinea egg.


We will keep them in here for a couple of weeks, then start to let them free range.  It’ll be fun to watch them walk around on our park!  They are so beautiful.




animals · chickens · dating · farm animals · Tractor Supply · Uncategorized

Dating, Farm Style

Teens make great built in babysitters.  And they are cheap labor!  I pay mine in ice cream.

So now that we have teens, hubby and I are able to go on dates again.  It has been wonderful.

Partially because we live in a rural area now, and partially because we are just weird, most of our dates involve going to Tractor Supply.  And those same dates lead us into impulse purchases and “trouble” almost every time.

2016-12-30 21.10.19

One of our first dates, back in December, led to us getting chickens.  We had been following some craigslist ads, but found a flyer at TSC and picked up eight chickens that were already at laying age that very day.  Almost immediately we were getting 2 or 3 eggs.  Now we get up to 8 in a day.


adj3I spent several weeks taking pictures of the eggs.  I love looking at my farm eggs nearly as much as eating them!  The speckled ones are my favorites.

chicksAnother time we purchased a dozen adorable fluffy chicks!  Those guys lived in our extra bathroom for weeks before we moved them to the barn.  It was fun hearing the little peeps from the kitchen.  The dogs especially loved having the chicks in the house, because our dogs are crazy!


Other impulse purchases while going on TSC dates:  seeds, gardening stuff, honeybees, apple trees….the kids say that every time we go on a date we bring home a new project!


animals · dogs · Uncategorized

Meet the Animals, part 1

Since it is a dreary, cold, rainy day there isn’t much going on around the farm.  And that makes this a great day to introduce some of our animals.

We have three dogs, we brought two of them (both adopted mutts) with us from Texas.

snickersSnickers is almost 16 now, having lived twice in Texas, once in Michigan and now in Ohio.  In her younger days she would have loved living here because she had a strong wanderlust and was constantly escaping the house to go on “adventures”.  Now she doesn’t get too far from home, thankfully.


Cassi is 2.5 years old.  She is a big baby (nearly 70 lbs) and thinks she is a lap dog.  She likes to jump the backyard fence and find stinky things to roll in.  But she is also the most patient and sweetest dog ever with her people.



DSC_4130Fluffy was our first Ohio addition, although he was actually purchased via a craigslist ad in Indiana.  He’s a shepherd.  He’s also about 6 months old and at the annoying teen/puppy stage.  I keep finding shoes and other important items in our backyard, half chewed.  And I just now found the afghan I spent months crocheting with a big hole in it and a very guilty puppy.  Sigh.

The two teens, P & E, are doing dog obedience through 4H with Cassi & Fluffy.  E and Cassi have done agility before and that is really their love, but they don’t do agility in our county and I’m not ready to commit to a longer drive this year.  Obedience is good for her anyway, it will help Cassi to be less nervous in crowds and unusual places.  Cassi is half chicken anyway, scared of tile floors, florescent lights, and hallways.  Cassi is already doing really well with obedience practice, Fluffy not so much yet.

This is one of my favorite photos.  I took it in our backyard while still in Texas. Three brave siblings were willing to be the jump obstacle and one smart one declined.