Saturday, March 27, 2010

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Taking advantage of the sun & clearing off the huge patio of moss, weeds & leaves/pine needles. Helped by DH & occ. by DD, goats & chickens.

Sunday, March 7, 2010








wow, chickens

So much fun this morning with the chickens. I was told they're Cinnamon Queens, but they're not, as those are a hybrid between Silver Laced Wyandotte with a New Hampshire, but these are White Leghorn, White Plymouth Rock and Rhode Island Red crosses. They're theoretically sex linked, and very pretty, despite having had their beaks clipped.

Polka was pretending to be a chicken this morning, clucking and chirping, "flapping her wings" and "pecking" at her reflection in the waterer with the rest of the chickens. She then danced around them singing "twinkle, twinkle little star" and petting them.

Need to add a T-post to the long edge of their enclosure, and we need to do a little bit of fixing to the coop (making a door/ramp with a way to latch it). The top of the coop opens, and there's a nesting box inside.

Oh, goats and chickens both like honeysuckle leaves. :)

In other news, apparently the rest of Buddy's chickens thought ours were making a break for it, so they dug under the fence and about 2/3 of the 300-odd got out. Buddy and I don't know who all else have taken at least a couple of hours to get them all back in!

Photos to come in a little bit!
Polka is enamored of the chickens. I've about decided their names are Bitty, Marilyn, ZsaZsa and Bea. Bea is still under discussion.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

yay, chickens!

We now have 4 Cinnamon Queen hens, and my poultry shears are being used to clip their wings as currently the enclosure doesn't have a top (to be fixed ASAP).

For some reason, I'm surprised at how pretty they are! Hoping to get pics in the morning. :)

I'm very excited as they should start laying in the next week or so, and in theory, we should be getting about an egg a day from each. w00t! Looking forward to lots of VERY fresh eggs! :)

Also, starting next weekend, we'll probably start letting them "free range" during the day. Goats and chickens loose during the day! Should be fun for Polka.

Also, finally started getting sprouts from the seeds I planted almost 2 weeks ago. They were on the glassed in patio, but that's still been only around 45F until the last few days. So far we have lettuce, swiss chard and lavender poking through the soil. Have a ton of tomatoes and peppers planted and a handful of squash, zucchini, melons, cukes and some other herbs planted, but not sprouted yet.

Friday, March 5, 2010


So, over the last few weeks Wilhelm and Buddy have been getting ready for 300-odd chickens out at Buddy's place. They were delivered last Friday, and they got more than anticipated. This, plus my deep-seated desire for chickens on the property has led them to build a run and small hen house behind the cottage. The plan is to keep them in their run for a week or so to get them acclimated, then let them free range, kind of the way we did with the goats.

Oh, the chickens are odd in more than number, apparently they're some sort of cross between 3 breeds.

Wilhelm will get four or five chickens tomorrow, and they should start laying in a week or two.

Still no kids. I'm getting impatient, but I know she'll drop them when she's ready.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

This was a post from my phone... no clue what it was supposed to be, but it wasn't. Same with the last post. Weirdness!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Instead of washing dishes, I conned DH into helping me weed/clear the herb plots. Mints, lem balm, thyme, sage, chives, lambs ear all alive!
It's almost 60F. Small child is chasing goats, trying to call the horses to her, stalking the cat and racing around. Still no baby goats.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

photo opportunity, lost

Lakshmi has been getting more and more interested in the goats. She's been coming to the barn with us and sitting on the top rails of the stalls. Yesterday, they were on the causeway, eating honeysuckle leaves, when Lakshmi wandered over in typical cat fashion. Jenny came out onto the causeway and stuck her nose out towards Lakshmi, who then took a few steps over and touched noses with the goat. Too cute!

Sadly, no camera.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lakshmi, the Shoulder Cat is flipped out by the goats wandering around the perimeter of the house. this is ok, except she's spending more time on my shoulders.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Goats on the patio...eatin' my herbs! Well, now they're back in the barn, with minimum of fuss.

Monday, February 8, 2010

goat photos!!!


Sweetie is our soon-to-be mama, and the larger of the does, Bucky is the head buck, Jenny is the smaller doe whose kid died a few weeks ago (before they were moved over here), and we're not sure why, and Ramsey is the smaller buck, who has been sick, but he seems to be doing better on the new "pasture."

Jenny's totally an escape artist, fortunately, she wants to be with the others so she doesn't roam to far.

The guys let them out of their enclosure for a couple of hours while they were doing some other stuff around the property. Wilhelm says it was easier to get them back in today than it was yesterday. Not sure if that's because Buddy was there or what. They stayed right around the barn, which is good. I'm scared that they're going to end up straying into the woods or something and get where I can't get to them easily. I'm wondering if you can train goats to come at a bell or something (like with treats...)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Escape Artist #2

So Jenny, the smaller of the two does escaped not once but twice today. The first time, it was just me and Polka, and I managed to get her in with a minimum of fuss. She got out again after Wilhelm got home. I was in the bathroom washing my hands and thought, "oh, I can see all the goats... wait, why is Jenny on *this* side of the t-post????

We decided to let them free range for about an hour, then the three of us managed to herd them back into their enclosure.

I'm thinking Jenny's trying to get away from Bucky's advances... it's been long enough since her kid died that she may be in heat again. Fun, fun.

The horses are still very interested in the small, noisy creatures, and I think they're a little jealous that the goats got to be outside their fence for a while.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ack! my text mssg post didn't go through!

so y'all don't know about the goats!!!!

On Wednesday, Wilhelm and Buddy finally made a decision on how to do the pen for the goats! We have a fairly dilapidated barn behind the cabin. Most of one of the side walls are gone, there are some pretty serious holes in the roof over what used to be the stalls, and I don't know if it ever had exterior doors. But, the center aisle roof is pretty sound, and the back of it opens into a good sized area before it drops down into the field. With my input, they decided to use cattle and hog panels to fence in about 15' deep of the center aisle of the barn, and about 20x30' outside the barn. Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot of browse in there right now (as it's February and all), so we've been giving them hay and assorted greenery as we can find it. We have a problem with Devilwood (aka osmanthus americanus around the house, and it tolerates pruning well, so we've been feeding that, blackberry brambles, and a few pine boughs dropped by the latest big storm. So far, they've liked everything. :)

They seem to be doing well, but they're still a little shy of us. The does are Sweetie and Jenny, the bucks are Ramsey and Bucky. I had nothing to do with naming them! Sweetie and Bucky are "ours" and Jenny and Bucky are Buddy's. Sweetie is currently pregnant, probably with twins, and is due to drop in the next couple of weeks. Very exciting!!!

The horses have been extremely interested in what's going on across the road from them. When we were installing the goats, the horses were all standing right near the fence, looking very intently at the barn. It was really quite amusing. They've chilled out considerably in the last 2 days, but from what I understand, they weren't terribly well human socialized to start with.

Polka is totally enamored of the goats, she wants to go see them all the time, and would love it if they would play with her (and since they weigh about the same as she does, I don't know if I'd be worried about it or not), She was very close to climbing into their enclosure by herself today, but I'm trying to convince her that its a bad idea. There should be photos soon! I took them, but haven't put them on the computer yet, and the camera is down at the cottage, and the internet is up at the big house.

Plans for chickens are still underway, as well.

Monday, February 1, 2010

day 2 of only seeing 11 of 12 horses in the field. The Escape Artist is out again. Not following to the gate, sent hubby w/carrot.

Friday, January 29, 2010


Today I saw a small flock of birds of a type I've never seen before, the Eastern Meadowlark.

They're calling for very cold rain, freezing rain and "ice pellets" starting tonight through Saturday evening. I'm wondering if we should conserve energy/wood and stay up at the big house more or less for the duration, or what. I don't think my Focus wagon will make it up and down the mostly dirt road if it is slicked with ice. We may have to borrow the red truck to check on the cat.

Wilhelm is currently scraping the dirt road to try and get the road somewhat less holey before we have more precipitation.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Beautiful day on the farm!

Wow! it was a gorgeous day in SC today, the thermometer down at the cottage read a high of 62.

Polka has a cold, which is no good, but no fever, so we spent a lot of time outside today, picking up sticks and pine cones, and assorted trash off the patio (it's something like 25'x20', so there's a lot of area to pick up), threw some of the sticks into the pond, went and looked at the horses, played in the mud, and we both took a good nap!

While outside today, we saw a heron, a red shouldered hawk, assorted blue jays, mocking birds, crows and turkey vultures.

When we were getting ready to go up to the big house for dinner, Wilhelm heard something large moving in the dry pond site in front of the cottage. There have been poachers/trespassers in the past, and no one except family currently has permission to hunt on the land. Also, there are wild boar in the area, and Wilhelm and Buddy have seen sign fairly close to the cottage.

This weekend is shaping up to be both cold and wet, which means Wilhelm and Buddy probably aren't going to be doing a whole lot, and I'm probably going to be cleaning house. It's astonishing how much dirt gets tracked in when we're heating with wood. Even with sweeping just about every day, it's still a mess.

The guys pulled an old tractor tire over next to the small garden for raised bed gardening. Since what we have is basically clay, it's really difficult to grow root crops, and I LOVE fresh radishes and carrots. I meant to measure the tire to figure out how much soil we need to fill it, but got distracted by nap. :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hello and welcome!

I'm Magpie, welcome to my homestead blog!

PLEASE NOTE: all people's names, with the exception of celebrities, have been changed to protect the (sometimes not so) innocent.

Last March, we moved from Durham, North Carolina to Newberry County, South Carolina. That was a HUGE change for me, since I've lived almost all my life "in the city" (well, except for my high school years, when I still lived pretty close to town).

Now, I'm in the county, close to the interstate, but a 20 minute drive from pretty much anywhere.

We are living in the "cottage" on my husband's (Wilhelm's) parent's property.

There's a pretty big garden at "The Big House" (the in-law's, for whom I need code names), a much smaller garden at the cottage, a dozen horses that aren't doing much of anything except being decorative and eating hay and pasture, a deaf Boykin spaniel named Beau and a gray cat named Lakshmi. Oh, and my almost 3 year old daughter, Polka, who is usually my joy, but sometimes makes me want to pull out my hair!

We'll be getting a couple of goats from a friend as soon as his goats stop dropping kids (and we have containment for them), and we'll be getting a few chickens in the next month or so, too. (The Chicken Book and Goats: Small-scale Herding for Pleasure And Profit (Hobby Farms Series) have good info on both of these subjects)

I can't wait for the greenhouse to get here! It was purchased from a family friend some months back, but not moved because it had serious brambles in it, now the property it's on is too wet to move it.

I made my initial seed order a few weeks ago and can't wait to get them started. I went ahead and did a couple of  Bright Lights swiss chard seeds in a window box that gets a lot of light. Here's hoping it doesn't get too cold!

That's about all for tonight!  Thanks for stopping by!