Monday, February 22, 2010

New Eggs in Town

Our chickens, like other chickens in the country are starting to lay again. They have had a nice little vacation from laying. They have been on hiatus for the winter months now. Our days have begun to lengthen, they hens are outside more and we don't have much snow. The girls have been going out into the pasture with the sheep, scratching around in the exposed grass. We even have mud for them to play in. This evening we cam across a rather small egg. We don't have young hens. Ours are all two years old so there is no reason for these small eggs. Well, maybe not hen eggs. There is no other explanation besides....the guineas have started to lay.

We had 17 eggs tonight. This little egg fit in the basket with all the other hen fruit. Tiny in comparison.
Do you think anyone will notice the small egg? Should we give 2 for 1?
I guess we will just keep these for ourselves. Thank you hens and guineas. We now have eggs. Breakfast is open.
Blogger is crazy tonight. I don't know what happened. It is blocking all of my text into one or two giant blocks and wont let me change it. This is anoying. I don't like it at all. this why others are going to different formats? Much love and prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Update on Bella's Nose

Hi everyone, my nose feels much better since my goatmama's took care of it. I don't have some of the terrible things that we were afraid of. My nose is healing up nicely. I am back to my sweet loving self. The hay is wonderful. I just have to watch for thorns and this...this...those prickly things that make my nose burn and itch and my eyes water. Goatmama Kelly was going to take my picture today but she is so hair brained that she lost the memory card for her camera. I think she has been in the this...this..thistles too. My goatmama's are back to work for 2 nights then off for 2. Ted is going to spend alot to time with us when they are at work. That way we aren't lonely. Have a wonderful day. We send all of our love to you's.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Nose Has Bumps!

We were out feeding our goats this morning and I noticed something strange with Bella's nose. She just didn't look right. Their stall doesn't have lights on during the day so I wasn't sure what was wrong. There was something definitely wrong. We love to spend time with our animals. This shared time is always a good time to look closely, observe for any changes. We lift tiny hooves looking for any lodged foreign matter like rocks or small stones. We look at poop. Is it normal for goats? Little pellets or diarrhea? Are there changes in the texture of the coat? Is there a runny nose? Is someone coughing? I kiss my goats. They kiss me back. I love goatie kisses. So when I noticed that Bella's little goat nose had some bumps on it, I took a closer look. These bumps are not normal. We were immediately concerned. We looked through a couple of reference books on goats. We searched for anything that would cause the bumps. Nothing we read fit. We called Janice Spaulding from Stony Knolls Farm. We went to Goat School there and bought Isabella and Carina from their farm. Janice and Ken are a wealth of information. They have been raising goats since 1989. After exchanging info over they phone one possibility is that Bella had contacted stinging nettles in the dried hay.

Janice said to see if there were any thorns in the bumps. There was a small amount of pus in the bumps but we couldn't find any thorns. Bella was not happy with our treatment. Alex had to hold her to prevent her from bolting.

As you can see they were rather large bumps. Not much bleeding.

Next we were told to clean the area with Regular Listerine Mouthwash. We had this on hand as an antiseptic for the animals, again items we gathered goat after school. After reading about Listerine I found out that it was originally formulated in 1879 as a surgical antiseptic by Dr. Joseph Lawrence. It was named after Dr. Joseph Lister, the pioneer of antiseptic surgery. It was later sold as a mouthwash in 1914. This information was compliments of Wikipedia.

We cleansed the area with sterile gauze dipped in Listerine. Bella was even less impressed with us. I'm sure that it stung on the open sores.

We will continue to keep a close eye for any signs of infection or any problems that come up. We aren't opposed to taking her to the vet. However, we are trying to learn how to manage as many issues as possible at home. Each episode is a learning experience for us. The upcoming kidding and lambing season with be another learning experience. We strive to be good shepards. It is wonderful having such patient animals to work with. We are thankful for our friends and mentors for their aid. Last winter we kept asking Peggy from Hidden Haven, and Bev from Bee Haven Acres chicken questions. This year we feel more equipped to deal with problems as they come up. Our animals are healthier and happier and we feel the reward of keeping them safe and healthy. Thank you to everyone who has sent advise. Keep warm and safe. Much love and prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Wall Board Up

The wallboard is finally in place. No the walls aren't square. Even after measuring and cutting the wallboard it still didn't fit. Thank goodness that it is easy to shape with a knife. Then, thank goodness it is easy to repair with mud. I think it looks rather good. Mo, the kitty on the floor thinks so too. She is probably there looking for the dried up old mouse we found in the wall. Good Kitty!

The second wall went up so much easier. No electric outlets or light switches and no big window.

Ok, Alex has camera in hand and it's time for payback. The mudding has begun.

This is what the tops of the other two walls look like. I see major mud usage in my future. It covers a myriad of sins.
Our walls on their second coat. Not too shabby.
I can't say that mudding and drywalls are that exciting. I do like the outcome. We are back to work for a few nights so the room sits quiet. No elves who show up to finish the work for us. We do find pleasure in the finished product though. We had the plumber come Thursday and give us an estimate on re plumbing the kitchen sink and dishwasher so that we can continue with the floor in the kitchen. Sorry about the boring post. Somehow, I so enjoy reading about the animals much more. The house will be making some changes over the next few months. All of this in between the lambs and kids births. We have started reading the "Goat School" book front to back in preparation for the births. I think I may need drugs, drugs for me to get through these births. Much love and prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.

One More Step Toward Self Sustainability

In Maine winters are long and cold. Like many of our neighboring farms we use a mixture of heat sources. We heat with propane in the form of gas logs in the living room. These logs also heat the upstairs via the natural process of heat rising through the staircase. The bedrooms stay nice and cozy. We have 2 wood stoves. One in the kitchen and another in the basement. These heat the back of the house and the basement which keeps the pipes from freezing. As long as these three heat sources are kept fed life is warm and good. We tried using a pellet stove in the basement last winter. The stove just couldn't keep the basement minimally warm. We bartered it and the remaining bags of pellets to a neighbor for 4 cord of firewood. This firewood is now getting low. We knew we had to start the search for wood again. At this time of year a cord of wood delivered would cost approximately $250 and up green (unseasoned). Alex came up with the idea of finally using wood from our own farm. Duh. We have 30 acres of wood. Some trees had been felled over the last few years and left uncut. What a great idea. Ted used our tractor to pull the trees down near the house while Kevin, our neighbor, cut a few more. When we looked out the window Monday morning this is what awaited us. Work!

Ted started cutting some of the smaller dry trees up to use immediately.

Finally, we are using wood from our farm. We are rotating seasoned wood with green to extend the burning and keep the fire hot.
We are planning on purchasing this log splitter from Tractor Supply which will work from the PTO on our tractor. It will save time and our backs. It will pay for itself with the wood we use the rest of this winter.

Each step we take is another step toward existing as we imagined in our dreams. We don't intend to take it back to making our own detergent, giving up toilet paper, washing clothes by hand. For some these things are important. There are different levels of self sufficiency. We are very happy with the progress we have made in the last 2 1/2 years since we moved to the farm. Sometimes progress is measured in inches instead if feet. We take it as we can. Stay warm and safe. Much love and prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Insulation in Maine is Overrated

Everything outside seems to be in good order. The animals are doing their thing. Eating, butting heads with each other and bellies getting bigger. Winter is our time to work on the inside of the house. We have tried to make the animals more comfortable, now it's our turn. We love our farmhouse. We have been working on it for the last three years. The improvements have been drastic. This room is our project for a couple of days. It is our office. It is a small space, just big enough for us. It serves a purpose. However, when we sit at the computer we can feel a breeze. It gets darn cold in the winter. The previous owner hired a inept carpenter. I say inept in a nice way. I have said many other things about this carpenter. Why don't we call him a "handy man". We stuffed insulation under the window sill to stem the cold air. No, he didn't bother to have the wall board meet the window sill. We have found many other repairs done with this quality of craftsmanship. Room by room we are trying to make improvements. At first glance things don't look too bad.

Alex started the demo by removing the door frame. She will be framing in the doorway. There really isn't any space for a door. We don't need one, so there goes the door frame.

Why, no wonder it is cold. There isn't any insulation, at all. Notice the two layers of wallboard? Old with new added? I guess the "handy man" didn't look to see if there was insulation. Insulation in Maine. Nah, not necessary.

Double wall board. Insulation?

Evidently there was a window here at one time. This is the only insulation that we found in the room.

Wow, look at these boards. Yes, this was part of the original old barn.

Look at these worm markings that existed under the bark of this old tree.

I have an infatuation with insulating foam. I know they can build a house out of this stuff. It's great. As you can tell, I have foamed every hole that I could find. The reason for the breeze is that there were several holes that went to the outside. I even vacuumed up a dried old mouse. I didn't realize what had clogged up the vacuum till I grabbed it by the tail and pulled. Ewww..... I couldn't say anything but Ewwww..... It was probably older than me.

Now time for the Pink! Owens Corning is an excellent insulation. I just love the Pink Panther. I guess it comes from too many Saturday morning cartoons when I was a child.
Every time we rip out a wall we look for treasure. By "treasure" I mean little bits of the past. Things that other people would consider useless. Of course if we were to find thousands of dollars that would be okay too. I don't hold any hope of that. Remember when we planted the cherry trees in the yard last spring and dug up an old bike intact? That is not the treasure I mean. We decided to write a note for the next person who lives in our house to possibly find. Imagine someone tearing out this wall to build on to the house and they find our note telling them what and when we worked on this room. How cool would that be? Treasure for future residents.

Insulation in and ready for wall board.

Wall board will have to wait until tomorrow morning. My back hurts and everyone is ready for supper.

It is so much warmer already. Each remodel, each repair brings this old house closer to a place where it will survive for several more years. Water damage, neglect, and total lack of caring have almost caused this house to be lost. As we were ripping out the walls it made me think that we were giving back. Giving something special to future owners. I know as past owners lovingly repaired or rebuilt this house they probably felt the same way. Thank you so much to them for their gift. We really do appreciate this house. It is a home. One we love. Next, wall board. Did I mention that I hate sanding wall board? No, well that will come tomorrow. Tonight, I will sleep and dream of sanding wall board. Much love and prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.