Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Meanwhile, Back on the Farm...

While Johnny was having fun in the sun in California, I was home having, well, fun in the sun in Oregon. It did not rain the entire 11 days he was gone. Having recovered from my Timolol debacle, I was bursting with energy and caught up on horse and goat hoof trimming, pen cleaning, grape pruning, asparagus and artichoke bed weeding, cleaning bird nest gourds and putting them up. Well, I also watched birds a bit for the four days of the Great Backyard Bird Count. Those photos are on my blog posts about that count. I did not take photos of hoof trimming or weeding or pen cleaning. Nor did I take photos of the huge hole I dug for burying a goat that died (not unexpectedly... she had been on her way out for weeks.).

But I did take a lot of photos of the lovely sunsets we had each night.

And a few of the many flowers blooming in our yard on this early spring.

But mostly I worked. After all that work, on Thursday, Feb. 19, I took a day off and toured the farm with friend Nancy. That morning, friend Harold had brought me a Jersey bull calf that I had ordered. Sir Loin is as cute as can be but the goats are terrified of him.


 And I made custard and ice cream, lots and lots of ice cream.... because I had too much milk from my four milking does. Sir Loin will help take care of that now. But I have been eating a lot of custard and ice cream and have plenty of milk beyond what Sir Loin drinks for making more ice cream... vanilla and mint and mint chocolate chip. Yum! Nancy got to taste the custard and ice cream and was so impressed she took some milk home to make more for herself... using her emu eggs for the custard.

On Saturday, Feb. 21, the day Johnny was to arrive at the Amtrak station, I took 85-year-old neighbor Irv, with his 14 homing pigeons, 5 Polish crested chickens, and 7 sacks of jerusalem artichokes to the Poultry Swap in Rickreall. There turned out to be far more miscellany than poultry at the poultry swap. Irv sold out of all but one bird in the first five minutes after we arrived... before we were even set up! It took a little longer to sell all the artichokes and the last rooster. Although I took my camera to the Poultry Swap, fully intending to take photos of Irv's set-up with his poultry, I did not have a chance before they were sold and gone. He even had several people give him their names if he had any more pigeons to sell in the future. 

I bought a dozen hatching eggs and gave nine of them to our setting half-banty hen. In three weeks, hopefully we will have chicks.

After we were sold out, we went to meet Johnny at the Amtrak station and take him home. It was good to have him back again. That night the crescent moon and Venus and Mars put on a show for us.

For some reason, the crescent moon looks like a full moon through the camera. I guess the bright portion lights up the shadowed area.

Zoomed up closer, Mars appears red next to bright white Venus.

And now, after two weeks of no rain, our seasonal pond where I have been watching the tiny water creatures  has nearly dried up. Today I took photos of the copepods that are in horse hoof prints, about the only places still holding water. In other areas, their little red bodies are thick and motionless in the mud. Will they come back to life when it rains? Do they die in the dry season or estivate in mud? How do they come back in the wet season? So many questions...

copepods in water in a horse hoof print

hoof print

drying out
There was another thing besides a goat and tiny water creatures that died while Johnny was gone... a deer, half hidden under a log and covered with mosses and other things meant to hide it. I set up trail cameras to see what came back to the kill. That story and those photos another time...

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