Monday, September 29, 2008

This little piggy's going to market...

Content warning: Gross stuff on the way.

Well, we have learned a little more about hogs than we knew before. And we could really have done without this bit.

Yesterday, with three sets of guests at the farm, girl pig presented with a most disgusting new issue. Two words: Prolapsed rectum. Let's just say it looks like she's, um, well -- trying to smuggle water balloons into the pig pen. Yow.

Our time on the Googler gave us two options. Well, three - but one involved the insertion of a plastic tube and some heavy duty rubber bands and was therefore not an option at all at BHF.

Long story short, when it looked like reversal would not be spontaneous, we tried one thing which shall never be put into words nor spoken of again and then we made an appointment with the butcher. Girl pig goes tomorrow.

What we learned is that this is not terribly uncommon, and it does not appear to be terribly painful, as she is still eating, playing and napping with no complaints. She is also able to defecate. Just in case you were wondering.

But since she is a food animal, we thought it best to turn her into food before the tissue had a chance to get abraded and infected. Boy pig will stay behind to eat whey and get fat alone.

We recently moved the pigs into the buck pen, so I hope he won't be lonely. And truthfully, I think he may be glad to be rid of his sister, as she was the dominant pig and got the lion's share of the food at meal time. If I had to estimate, I'd say she's at about 160 pounds right now. We'll have a good hundred pounds or so of home grown, whey-fed pork in the freezer next month. Goodbye girl pig. You were a nice, silly resident for your short stay.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Who's the striped private kit
That's a sex machine to all the chicks?


That's right, T. Boone thinks he's shaft. Christian caught him trying tt look sexy this afternoon. Too much.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ducks? What Ducks?

Hmmm. The duck thing just keeps getting weirder. We have gone out to the pond every day since that last report and have never seen the random ducklings again.

I guess they didn't belong to Harpo and Karl. I think those two ran off the migrants and now they just hang out at the pond a lot themselves.

Very, very strange.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Trotsky is dead.

Oh, the kitten is still alive, but I have changed his name.

...he is now known as T. Boone Kittens. It just seems to fit him better. He's all about energy.

Need more fingers and toes

I seriously am unable to count our poultry anymore. And I'm way confused about it.

We lost a peep peep last week, so those are down to five. The poor guy was just missing. No feathers, nothing - until 3 days later when Christian found him floating in our duck pool. It was too late to go to the salon. Sorry little guy. So, five peeps. Add Dawn and the peep peeps' two dads and we have eight.

Next we count the turkeys. Still two. Yay.

The chickens are holding at six if we include the rooster. The three original girls are no longer laying eggs - or if they are, we have no idea where. We haven't seen an egg out of any of them in over a month. Eunice and Frenda however are egg-laying machines. They each lay one a day, and conveniently both put them in a goat feeder for me to find.

The ducks have become complicated. Karl and Harpo are still here - then we added the three new girls: Vera, Flo and Alice. (Who we collectively call Mel's Diner) Karl has matured and spends a WHOLE lot of time molesting Harpo. I mean a LOT. We decided there would probably be ducklings soon if she ever starts a nest. We have not seen any eggs yet.

About two weeks ago we decided to take Karl out to the pond. It seems kind of silly that all of our ducks swim in a baby pool when we have a perfectly nice stock tank. Christian caught him and marched him out there. He seemed to like it for a few minute but then flew back to the barn. Whatever. We did it once more a day later and hoped he would show Harpo where the tank was and how much nicer it was than the pool, but didn't hold our breath.

Well, now the older ducks have been leaving at dawn and returning at dusk for about a week. We never see where they go, but recently they flew in from the direction of the pond. We thought maybe Karl finally put it all together. And we thought there may be a nest. C was out moving the electric paddocks last night and thought he'd take a look for eggs. About half way through his search he saw three little ducks float out to the center of the pond. What the...??

I am stymied. They are old enough to swim. This means they are too old to have been born in the week that K & H have been leaving. And they are totally wild. Our big ducks were not around at the time, they were off in another part of the field. These guys seemed to know that they should get to the middle of the pond for safety as we approached. Now Ocam's Razor says these are Karl's kids. But honestly, I just can't see how. Harpo was never gone long enough to brood a nest until this week. And these guys are definitely a few weeks old. I haven't been close enough to see if they are Muscovies for sure, but they are brown - so maybe.

The only other possibility would be that wild ducks left their ducklings here. But... I just don't know. I'll try to get out and take some photos today to help figure it all out. But for the moment, I'm going to say our duck count may be seven. Totally weird.

..and stupid that we recently bought Mel's Diner.

Here are some pics from Karl's pond day. (Click to enlarge) Which also seems really stupid now if these ducklings are his and were already born and hiding in the grass somewhere. I just don't know what the heck to think.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

Friday is my birthday. I decided to give myself a present.

Meet Trotsky.

He is just so delicious. If he can be trained to potty outdoors but snuggle inside he'll be a house kitty. If he fails at indoor behavior, he'll join the crew of well loved barn cats. But I hope it's that first thing. :)

Where are they?????

Where are his ears???????????????????

Meet Indy. Indy is a LaMancha buck. As such, he is actually not supposed to have ears. I can't help freaks me out a little.

Indy came to BHF from Fairwoods Farms and actually belongs to FOF Caroline now. But he will stay here a while and knock up some of Caroline's does. At her suggestion, we will also do a little bit of cross breeding this year to see what we get.

LaManchas are the only other breed we considered when we started the dairy, but I just couldn't get past the ears. But they do have nice, sweet milk and they often give lots of it. We'll see what a few crosses would do in a couple years.

Yesterday upon his arrival he promptly bred Limerick. So...the ladies like him.

The Bishop is not sure. Indy is considerably larger than he is, and mostly the Bishop is scared right now. We separated them overnight and will put them back in the same field together when we go out to milk today. I think they'll be fine. We'll let you know.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Yard Pigs

Well, here's another thing we never did in the city...let pigs into our front yard.

Between the seasonal change and the hurricane, we have about a zillion acorns in the front yard. After squatting to fill bags two days in a row, we decided it would be easier to just let the pigs in the yard.

Is this country, or what?!

We also used the occasion to resurrect a BHF favorite...pig rodeo. I am the official rodeo photographer, not a participant. But y'all are welcome to come challenge Christian's record.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Houston Farmer's Market - 9/16 - It's on!

We got the call last night that Rice University will let us set up the Farmers' Market tomorrow.

If you read this and need cheese or know some folks in the city who need good, fresh food to get them through the waiting for power, send them over. We'll be there from 3:30-7:00 pm -- as usual.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mostly back to normal

We had an ugly thunderstorm early this morning, ahead of a cool front, that dumped a bunch of unneeded rain on us, but really we're pretty much back to normal here.

I am making cheese now because, well, the milk doesn't stop coming. The problem is that I am sure Tuesday's market will be canceled and we may soon be sitting on a whole lot of cheese that we can't move. But if that is the worst of our problems, we are still in a really good place.

A little peep peep update - they are all flying now. Dawn had them up in the rafters of our big hay barn during the storm. All the birds are wretched and wet now, but they all made it through.

Speaking of wet, we had a little drama on Thursday. We noticed Dawn was missing one peep and we figured it may have been lost to a hawk. (It was one of the white ones - they are easy for birds of prey to pick off.)But just as we were giving up, Christian noticed it bobbing in the duck pond. We snatched it out and went into emergency mode.

We thought it would die of hypothermia, so C tucked it inside his shirt while we discussed our options. We settled on a trip to the beauty salon (AKA our bathroom) where I used a hair dryer to warm the little guy up and dry him off. He was still shivering and unable to walk when I was done, so we set him under a heat lamp for another ten minutes or so before returning him to Dawn - who had just settled the other peeps under her for the night. With a little gentle poking, he made his way into the community peep bed and slept off his big day. I can't believe we manged to save him.

They are all out getting wet today, but I think Dawn knows when it's time to warm them up- she takes little breaks and gets them all under her wings. Which is increasingly difficult for her and comical to us as they grow like weeds. I'll try t get some new photos soon.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ready for this to be over

It is noon and the wind is still blowing pretty strongly. I am officially tired of it. Like, Category 4 tired.

As soon as the wind gets below 30 mph we'll go out and clean up the barn and think about milking goats.

I don't know how people live in windy places year 'round. The howling is driving me totally insane.

But we dodged any big bullets, never lost our power and are safe and dry. I don't think we could ask for more.

We suspect the Tuesday Farmers' market will be canceled if power is still out in Houston. If not, we'll see some of you there. Stay safe.

Halfway through Ike

It is 8am. We still have power - so that's good.

So far we have lost half of the goat barn roof, the other half of the cedar we lost a couple months ago and another big tree on the side of the house.

The winds are still HOWLING and I think we have a good four or five hours before we'll be out of it.

The ducks are out there partying like it is 1999.

Here are some pics I took from inside the house. The first one was before sunrise. The camera had trouble figuring it out. I'll check back in when it is all over.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Awaiting Ike

As you can imagine, we have been closely watching hurricane Ike for the past few days. The trajectory has changed a few times, giving us temporary ups and downs. But as of now it looks, well, less than good.

We are almost 100% sure we will lose the roof to the goat barn. And we hope that is as bad as it gets. We're going to go clean up the rest of the logs in the yard from the big tree escapade before the 90 mph winds kick in.

...wish us luck.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Peep Update

I took some peep peep photos the other day. They are growing SO fast. A few are already trying to fly. ...thought they don't make it very far since they are still more fluff than feather.

Here is the Trude keeping an eye on the family. You can see a couple keets behind Tony. (...Who is doing some bizarre grooming in this pic...)

And here is a slightly fuzzy shot of the flock of peeps. I got in between them and mama, so they were all on their tippy toes trying to look for her. So funny. They look like penguins when they do that.

Monday, September 8, 2008

An unexpected visitor

Last night I was packaging up cheese when I heard the dairy door slam. Soon thereafter the unattended goats began yelling. (Well, Peggy Sue did. The rest were looking at her the way I did, which is to say, "What the $#@%$#, Peg? Chill!)

I went out and saw Christian across the yard, scooping up a black lump that I was afraid was TOD - and was even more afraid had fallen victim to Max.

It wasn't TOD.

One of our neighbor's dog's new-ish puppies had somehow made it onto our side of the fence and then managed to get tangled up in the electric fence that keeps the pigs in. She was completely shell shocked. So sad.

I brought her into the house and while she got back to normal, we debated taking it as a sign that we should keep her. (Tom has been trying to get us to take a couple of the pups since they were born.)In the end - after a few hours of sweet puppy time - C brought her back home. We really do not need another dog now. But man, was she cute. I called her Shockey. Which became Shocka Khan by the end of the night. ...I know, I know.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

This is just mental

For at least a year now, we have had a hairy, black and white jumping spider living in our mailbox. I don't have a photo of him, so I just pulled one off the interwebs ... gross, huh? And did I mention he's a jumping spider?

Most days I just say a little silent prayer that he'll be in the back of the box when I go to get the mail. 'Cause if he's on the Netflix, there ain't no movie watching that night.

It has occurred to me that I could kill Mailbox Spider, but it seems unnecessary, so I haven't. I mean, he hasn't hurt me. He's no worse than the bathroom spider.

Anyway, last week Christian and I were heading into town and decided to grab the mail on the way. C rolled down the car window, grabbed the mail, pulled it inside the car and drove on down the road. About 100 yards later we saw that M.S. had hitched a ride. Now - I saw this as the perfect opportunity to finally rid myself of the guy, but my mental husband actually put the car in reverse, rolled back 100 yards and chased the dang spider around his own torso and neck (where he had jumped from the mail)for a good minute or so before I helped scoop him up with a circular. I handed the spider and the ad over to C who gently placed him back in the mailbox and shut the door.

We need help.

And we are probably not watching a movie tonight.