Friday, July 29, 2011

Hen Update

Our ladies are about 4 years old now.  They continue to lay but just aren't so reliable.  Like people, chickens don't have eggs their whole life.  I guess some of our hens are going through menopause.  Do chickens have menopause? I wonder if they have hot flashes? Mood swings?  Hmmmm.... Should I start adding
St John's Wort into their feed?  About 12 weeks ago we ordered Buff Orpington hens from Murray McMurray Hatchery.  Sweet little chicks.

They ate and ate and grew into much bigger poults.  Too big to stay in the brooder so we moved them to their own section of the coop.  They still had to share their space with the turkeys but had so much more room.  They had to be kept separate because the hens would bully them.  Evidently they haven't seen the PSA about bullying.  I wasn't sure how to introduce the new kids to an established flock.  I did what I do a lot.  I went online.  The Murray McMurray Hatchery site had a blog with ongoing information on just this subject.  We put in a gate and a chicken wire mesh to allow the birds to see each other but not mingle.  We did this for about 3 weeks.  Then each day after I opened the coop up, and the hens went out to free range, we let the new poults out to get used to the coop.

They enjoyed the freedom.  The hens would come in check out the new girls.  There were a few episodes of hair pulling and pecking.  Just like transition to middle school.

The turkeys were right at home.  They even fly up to the highest roost.

Everyone is getting along great.  The poults still tend to roost together and no more bullying.

Now we have an integrated flock.  I guess they get along well because they have so much room to range. 

Happy Chickens!
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ebay! I Won!

Do you ever have some down time and peruse through Ebay looking at items that you just don't think you have a chance of winning?  Well that happened to me a few weeks ago.  I have been looking at spinning wheels for about 2 years now.  I didn't want anything fancy.  Just something that would last be a looooong time and be easy to learn on.  Well, if you haven't looked lately Ashford spinning wheels run about $400.00.  Ouch!  There are alot of sellers out there.  Not much bidding going on.  A whole lot of "Buy Now".  I found a private seller that had an actual Ashford spinning wheel for auction.  The bid was at $230.  I thought that just wouldn't last.  There was another 3 days left on the auction.  So I put in a bid for $235. I didn't expect to be the highest bidder. I just knew that someone would out bid me.  Well,  I WON! A week later the wheel arrived.  Arrived in many pieces.  Oh my! 

After admiring my new Ashford Traditional Spinning Wheel parts I sat down and put it together. I made a call to a very dear neighbor who sold spinning wheels in the past and is an avid spinner.  Diane came over and got the settings adjusted.
She brought over some roving to get me started.

It was great fun. I need alot of practice to make my yarn thinner.  Practice, practice, practice.
No time for that right now. This is a winter activity. 
We will shear our sheep this fall.  It will be a great experience to skirt, wash, dry and card our own wool.  I have a drum carder that belongs to Diane too.  At least now I have my own spinning wheel.  It makes nice furniture too. 
Just remember, if you place a bid on Ebay you just might win. 
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Talking Turkey

Okay, even in summer there are days where we just take the time to enjoy the animals.  The turkeys are growing so fast.  We have two toms and 3 hens. I think we will keep all of them this year.  Hopefully next spring we will be able to put a few turkey eggs into the incubator to hatch or under the hen.  I just love turkeys. I know that some people think that they are dumb. There are old wives tales about turkeys not having the sense to come in out of the rain and drown themselves.  Sorry, but that just isn't true.  I think turkeys are loving, will follow you around, and are great conversationalist.  See for yourself.

Well, maybe we are a bit strange. It makes for great entertainment down on the farm.  We are in a kind of calm time here.  First cut hay is in the barn, just finished de worming the animals.  Now that I think of it, we need to get started on cutting wood again. Darn. I thought we were all caught up. Well, back to work.
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Guinea Keets Hatching!

Way way back on July 1st we placed 72 guinea eggs into the incubator.  We found two nests in the hay field. The birds were very upset with us.  We had to remove the eggs. Guineas don't make the best parents.  They love to set on eggs but will walk off and leave the newly hatched young. It's like they just don't have a long enough attention span to remember they are parents.  Heck these birds will watch a car run them over even though they can fly. They really keep the ticks and bugs down and are wonderful watch dogs.

Yesterday morning we heard a cheeping coming from the incubator.  We didn't know when they would hatch because we didn't know when the eggs were actually laid.  Guinea eggs take 28 days to hatch per the internet.  Well this is what we found when we opened the door. We had taken the eggs and placed them in the bottom hatching drawer so they wouldn't tumble down and get hurt once they started hatching.

They spent the last 24 hours hatching.  So this morning we gathered the 18 little keets up into a container.

Then took them out to the barn and into a nice warm (100 degree) brooder.

They look so small in the big brooder.  It looks like we have a few pearl and the rest regular.

At least they will have plenty of room to run around. 

I just looked a few minutes ago and there are more keets hatched. I put an add on Craigs List and Uncle Henry's.  Hopefully we will be able to sell some of these little darlings.  If not we will have a noisy farm.  A very, very noisy farm.  Ted said that we will get a fine for the noise. Thanks for the incubator Mom. I think we will send a few guinea keets to her in Florida.  I bet her neighbors would complain a bit.
Our prayers go out to all of you in the "heat dome".  We were up to 100 degrees for a couple of days and thought we wouldn't make it.  Today our high is in the upper 70's.  More like Maine weather should be.  Stay safe and remember to hydrate!
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Stinky Bottom and Lambert Update

Elise is a special kid.  She is the first born of Sophie, our bottle fed and raised in the kitchen goat.  Elise has to be there first, eat first, drink first, be the loudest and bounce higher.  I would love to say she is a lady. Nope, she is a tom boy.  Well I think Elise ate a little too much of the fresh hay and got stinky bottom.  Otherwise known on our farm as pigging out disease.  I would be worried if more than one goat had diarrhea but it is only Elise.  If the whole herd came down with diarrhea I would fear clostridium and treat everyone accordingly with Coreg.  Just one stinky bottom requires Pepto Bismol twice a day and a good healthy dose of ProBiotics.  While out taking care of Elise we went ahead and separated the last lambs from their mom, gave them their last CD&T shot for this year and dewormed. Never a dull moment. Now it is noisy with the lambs being sad and I swear I heard Ciera give a whoop of joy in the ewe pasture. I think she is, yes, she is dancing! Oh, please cover those udders girl. You ain't as young as you use to be. Sorry.....

Ted held Elise and I administered the Pepto.  She held it in her cheeks and refused to swallow. Just like a goat. "I will do it in my time and like I want."

Now for the Lambert update.  He is doing well, happy but still thinks he is NOT A SHEEP!

He is the only lamb that gets to come out of the pasture and play in the barn. Once in a while we have to rescue the fella. He is very curious and requires supervision.

Of course he is just one of the dogs. They all get along very well.

Then at the end of the day it's time to go back into the lamb pasture. 

As we go back into the house we hear a frustrated little boy voice say "but I'm not really a sheep. I want to go in and watch Ellen and drink ice tea".  Poor little guy.  At least he will remain with us when the other lambs go away.  We love you Lambert.
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New Holland 66 Baler

Here we are again.  Another piece of new to us hay equipment. She may be a bit used, a bit old and a bit rusty but in our eyes she is one of the most beautiful balers we have ever seen.  Ted has spent a large amount of time looking  through Ebay, Uncle Henry's and Craigslist for hay equipment.  The really new equipment is horrendous in price. I checked online for a new New Holland baler and we were looking at $24,000 minimum. No bells and whistles.  Heck, we only have 20 acres of hay fields.  This sweet lady actually works. After our John Deere tractor being in the shop for 2 summers straight maybe new isn't such a good idea. 
(after looking at this picture, we have to take that Christmas wreath off of the barn somehow!)

There is a whole story that goes with this purchase. Like Ted was on his way to southern Maine and about 15 min away when the seller texted Ted and said that he had already sold it.  Like, 2 hrs away from home, almost there.  Evidently, the buyer only wanted the clutch and pto and would sell us the remaining baler and a motor that would run the baler instead of the pto.  So off he went to the new owners house to pick up the baler.

The clutch goes here.  It looks kind of lonely without the pto. 

Not to be deterred Ted went back to Ebay, Uncle Henry's and Craigslist looking for the pto and clutch.  Ebay is where we met a wonderful family who had the exact parts we needed.  Have you ever ordered a tractor online? No? Well, we did and it arrived. In a few boxes that is.
It may not look like much but to us it is beautiful.

Put together like a puzzle.

Ted just couldn't quit till it was completed.

So a little after 8pm last night the baler was all put together and ready to go.  

No rain in the forecast for 3 days.  Perfect haying weather.  Updates to come.
Oh, I'm going to be tired. I can already feel it in my bones. 
It comes with excitement and expectation. 
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Strawberry Hunters

Please join Emma and Lucy as they search through fresh cut hay looking for wild strawberries.

These pups love to eat everything. They like vegetables, fruit, (except grapes) meat.  They love when the apple trees drop fruit. When we have veggies the pups get their share too.  I love to take frozen peas and toss a couple of handfuls onto the floor and watch the pups find every pea. Oh, corn and green beans the same thing.   I can't help but laugh in the video as they search and sneeze.

These berries are small but have a powerful taste.  I have to admit that I helped them find berries and ate a few myself.  The joys of summer.
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Oh No! Another Hay Post

Oh no! Another haying post.  If it's summer it must be hay season.  Sunshine, cool breeze and we're off to the upper meadow.  Otherwise known as the upper hayfield. Beautiful trip through a thick forest of trees.

The views are breathtaking.  The beauty of a corn field is so Americana.  This corn field is destined as silage.  Silage is fed at most dairy's here.  Basically it is corn.  However, they don't just pick the ears to make feed out of.  A machine comes down the rows and cuts the stalk off about 6 inches from the ground and grinds the stalk and ears.  Nothing wasted. The silage ferments and provides a great source of feed for dairy cattle.  Not for goats. The fermentation can be dangerous and may contain a bacteria called Listeria. Listeria can be deadly to goats. Therefore, we use sweet feed specifically designed  for goats. Safer.

Hay all mown. Tedded by Ted of course.  Nice and dry.   Ready to be raked and baled.
Ted on the blue tractor raking, Fred on the baler.

Emma and Lucy helping keep any bugs or mice away.  They did find a dead snake. Oh joy!
New Holland .  Great dependable baler.  This is Freds' baler. Good news we are now the proud owners of a very rusty New Holland 66 baler. Old. Very old. It works and that is the best thing about it.

Plop...plop out comes the bales in neat little well...bales.

We are expecting showers tonight so we will wait till Wednesday to mow the lower pasture.  At that time I will yell that we have completed the first cut.  Today  is one of the hottest and most humid of this summer.  I keep reminding myself that it will be cold weather soon enough. I am trying to convince myself that this feels good.  No luck so far. Blah.....too hot.
Hope you all are having a wonderful summer. Keep in mind that it will be cold soon enough. Just try it and see if it works for you. I sincerely hope so.
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Tedder!

One more piece of equipment. It is a used  new Tedder.  Let's just say it is new to us.  It doesn't look like much but it is so necessary to "fluff" up the hay after it is cut so it can dry nice like before it is baled.

Now Ted has a Tedder

When the arms are out it covers about 18ft.  Go forth and do your thing.

So far we have broken off 2 of these coil finger things. I know they probably have a name. I'm sure when I call to get more the man on the phone will educate me. But for now they are coil finger things.

Baled hay for some greedy goats.  They have been enjoying some fruits of our labor.  Hay bales that break or fall apart are fed out.  Like candy and babies.  Our spoiled, greedy babies. Goat kisses to all.
The sheep have lush summer pastures right now.  We put a bale of fresh green hay out for them and it was exciting for about 3 minutes.  Then back to grass and weeds. We want to fence in a wooded area for the goats to graze.  In time, in time.  Patience is not one of my stronger characteristics.  Nope. I want it all now.
We are still haying and baling.  My back and hip hurt from throwing bales and climbing up and down the tractor.  I still have to say I find it enjoyable.  Ibuprofen is my friend.

Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Birthday USA

Here we are again. Another year older.  Another year of uncertainty. What will the coming days bring?
Here is wishing America another birthday.
May you grow old with dignity.
May you realize your dreams.
May God bless you and yours.
Happy Birthday sweet lady!

Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Our New Kuhn Drum Mower PZ170

Yes, we finally have a mower for our hay.  Piece by piece we are acquiring farm equipment.  This is the first "new" one.  There is a darn good reason for that. New=expensive.  Kuhn has developed a drum mower.  It works differently than the regular mower/conditioner.  The drum mower just cuts the hay down. It doesn't crush it.  It may take a bit longer to dry but for less money we are willing to wait a bit longer.

It is light weight and easy for the tractor to run.

Here is a peek of the "drum" part.

Those little square tabs on the bottom of the drums are blades.

It cuts the hay cleanly.

This belt runs off of the PTO and rotates the two drums

We are so excited.  We can now cut our own hay. Little by little we are getting there. 

See us in action!

 I hope we will be independent with our hay season next summer. 
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.