Homestead Update: Baby Animals Galore!
Hello, all! Sorry for the radio silence over here for the past few days (and weeks). I realized that I had been writing every single day for the past two years... that's a lot. And while I feel really accomplished by that, I was beginning to run on empty. Not a block, per say, but I needed some time to just experience life here on this farm. The weather has been crummy and not much has been happening around here other than the same: growing plants, fixing up the farmhouse, cooking meals, and being a mom. But I wanted to give you a little update on what has been happening here on the homestead. The weather is looking up! Yesterday and today have brought their promise of 70 degree weather. Yesterday was such a gift. We spent the entire day outside exploring, romping, and taking care of the ducks. There was an even a surprise at the end of the day that I cannot wait to share with you later in this post!
One of the things that I have been noticing lately, as a mother, is a new spark in Tad's curiosity. He already has so much knowledge on how plants grow, how to take care of animals, and the like. He spends time around those things every single day. I was sitting on the porch taking some notes, while he played beside me, and he ended up calling to me, "Mama, can we see what is inside of this?" holding up an old, dried out gourd that was left behind however many years ago. I didn't really take it as an "let's teach a lesson right now" kind of moment, but it sort of turned into one. I found a rock and we cracked open the gourd. Inside was a lot of dried meat and fluff, along with an entire cluster of seeds. Tad exclaimed happily, "Oh, seeds! Can we plant them?" and I figured... why not! We pulled out the seed trays, potting soil, and watering can and set to work. He planted each one with his still chubby fingers. I am not sure if they'll grow (though I am hoping they might... they're old but not moldy!) but if they do, I know a little boy who will be incredibly excited.
In The Garden
The garden is something that I have been avoiding thinking about, yet I start to worry and clench my teeth over every day. I knew that my "plan" was going to be thrown off. Plans are meant to be juggled and changed around; they never come out exactly how you thought but somehow push out the end result. I knew that. I did not realize that we would have an everlasting winter this year. I planned way ahead; more than I did last year knowing that we'd be having a huge undertaking. We are currently turning upon three weeks behind schedule... not with plant starting, but with plant sowing outside. Our garden plot is waiting for us to cut it out and dress it. Our plants are bursting out of their trays ready to be in the ground. I hope they can hold on a little longer. There is an expected snow storm this weekend; I really hope it blows over, but the past few weeks have shown no sign of mercy. I am currently starting all of our squash plants like pumpkins, zucchini, gourds, and winter varieties. We are currently sitting ducks among what Mother Nature dictates. Please cross your fingers for us that we can start our crops soon!
In the Coop
Over the last week, I decided that it was time to merge the two groups of ducks. I realized that I have not shared here on the blog, but rather on our Instagram, that I purchased a new set of ducklings while meandering through the feed store. I was picking up more bedding for the Rouens when I stopped by the bins of chicks to just take a peek. Low and behold, a new shipment of day-old ducks had just arrived... pekins. I had from the start really wanted the standard white farm duck. I am all about keeping rarer breeds or endangered ones, but there's something about the good ol' white farm duck that hooks you. The little yellow fuzz-balls were too cute to pass up. I asked for the bin to be opened and scooped up three to take home. What I didn't realize when I got home was that the rouens were so big and the pekins so little. The rouens would have been two weeks old at the time, the same size as the pekins pictured above. They would have easily trampled the pekins. Thankfully we had a second heat lamp and feeding supplies (for the chicks) and I placed the pekins in their own brooder. On Wednesday, I thought they looked big enough to hold their own. I placed them in a rubbermaid bin in the coop, where the rouens had been living for a couple of weeks, and let nature take its course. They all pecked and studied each other for a bit and then got bored. I left them to their devices until later in the evening. I carefully placed the pekins into the coop and watched for about an hour. The rouens were very territorial; they chased and darted at the pekins trying to knock them over. We decided to create a barrier for them over the night. In the morning, they were completely used to each other, and we removed the barrier. Nothing to report on bad attitudes! They kind of keep to their own gangs, which I find funny, but they are being civil. Let's hope the same goes for the chickens who arrive on Tuesday!
On the Farm
Last night I had a meeting to attend to and arrived home to a new surprise: a newborn calf! Our neighbors, The Barn Iowa, raise beef cattle on pasture. Every single day since we've moved to the farm, Tad wakes up and runs to the window of his bedroom. We can see their cows in the field across the street, and he absolutely adores them. He tells us quite often that his favorite animals are cows (and kitties), and for some time, he's thought that those cows are his cows. We think it's just the cutest. The other day, John asked us if we'd like to have a bottle calf on our farm. One of his heifers had twins, and she ended up rejecting one. He knew that Tad would have the best time, so we of course said YES! I am just amazed at the generosity of our friends and neighbors here in the country, of the way we all team together, and of my sweet boy who is absolutely smitten with the baby cow we'll be caring for within the next month or two. He's named her Pickles. I haven't been able to get any photos of her with my big camera yet, but I am hoping to this weekend!
That's all for now. I have some photos of the inside of the farm house, but I will have to save them for another blog post. This one got a little long! I hope you enjoy reading these updates. I do love sharing our homesteading life here with you and showcasing more "real life" photos than over our tips, lessons, and recipes. We have a long weekend ahead with snow and rain. Hoping we get through it okay and back into that beautiful spring weather! Happy weekend, friends (: