Thursday, October 30, 2014

Friday Photos from the Farm #9

Happy Halloween!

I hope you are all having a great day. I bet it's one of your favorite days in school.

I'm going to keep today's message short because I'm sure your teacher has many fun things planned.

Here is this week's photo of the old chicks. Look how big they are getting! They all have the same father, but they have different mothers. That's why they aren't all the same color. Next week I'll send some photos of the hens that laid the eggs that hatched into chicks. You can match the hen to the chick! Even though the black mother hen hatched the eggs, she isn't the one who laid them all.

Do you see the little chick?

Where did it go? Look closely and you will see some tiny orange legs.

I put some chicken food out for the new mother hen. It's chilly this morning! Watch what her chicks do to stay warm!

How many chicks did you see? Did you count four chicks? Last week there were only three chicks. One more egg hatched the day after Farm Friday so now we have four new chicks.

It was so cold this morning that the water had ice floating on top of the buckets. Now you know why the little chicks were hiding under their mother. They were chilly, too!

All the animals have grown a winter coat of fur. It keeps them warm in the winter. I'm sure you wear your coat outside to recess when it's cold. The little chicks listen to their mother. They snuggle under her when it's cold because they don't want to get sick. I hope you listen to your mother and your teacher and wear your coat outside when it's cold. I don't want you to get sick!

Do you see the big bottle Quin is carrying? The bottle is a clue for the new animal that came to Welcome Home Farm last week.

Can you guess what animal drinks from a bottle that big?

After you make a good guess your teacher can scroll down to see if you are right.

It's a new calf! His name is Remington Steele because he was a beautiful grey color when he was born. His nick-name is Remi.
Do you have a nick-name?

I thought you might like to see Remi drink from a bottle, so we took a video of him.

He's a messy eater!
He always has milk dripping off his chin when he's done eating.

He is a sweet calf and we are so glad he came to live with us on the farm.

That's all for today!

Next week I'll post some pictures of the old chicks and some hens. You can guess which hens laid the eggs that hatched out each chick.

Have a Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Friday Photos from the Farm #8

Welcome back from Fall Break! I hope you had a wonderful vacation.

We used our time to start getting ready for winter on the farm. We cleaned out the garden, raked leaves, and put up some shelter for the chickens.

Here is what we do with leaves after we rake them in a pile!

Guess what? I found the picture of me holding a chick!

The chicks look like little chickens now that they have all their feathers. They still 'peep' instead of clucking like an adult hen.

Can you hear them peeping? You can hear the turkeys gobbling because they are loud!

This is Stew, our lamb. His fleece is too long and needs to be clipped off. We call that 'shearing.' It might seem funny to be shearing a sheep in the fall. This breed is called "Navajo Churro" and they get sheared twice a year.

The stomach is always sheared first. Stew might look a little uncomfortable, but he's really taking a nap. When you put a sheep or a lamb on its tail like that he almost falls asleep!

Those shears look like giant scissors!
Dallan is very careful when he shears the sheep for us.

Doesn't Stew look nice!

He's happier, too. He doesn't have a heavy coat to carry around.

He's telling me to put down the camera and give his nose a pet!
I hope you got to see and feel some of Stew's wool. I sent some to your teacher so you could see what it looks like right after it's been sheared. I haven't washed it so it might have bits of leaves and grass in it. It will smell just like Stew. If you don't like the smell of sheep, don't open the bag!

Do you remember what I said a few weeks ago about the new hen sitting on eggs?

Did you remember that I said they might hatch while you were having your Fall Break?

Guess what!!!

Look very closely!

Now you can see them! I moved the mother hen out of the way. The chicks were born on Thursday. So far three chicks have hatched out. I'll let you know next week if there are any more.

The mother hen is so sweet that she doesn't mind me holding her chicks.

Can you hear the chicks peeping? Can you hear the mother hen clucking? These chicks are only a few hours old. Watch the mother hen closely. She is rolling one of the eggs underneath her to keep it warm.

Get excited for next weeks photos! We have another new animal to show you! I think you will be so happy to see our new addition to the farm!

Have a great week!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Friday Photos from the Farm #7

Welcome back! I hope you all had a wonderful week. We did!

This week I have some photos and videos of the bees. It's important to check the bees before winter comes. We need to make sure this new hive of bees has enough food for the winter. They need food storage just like our family does.

Bryon is opening the hive to check on the bees. Honey bees are usually very calm and don't bother anyone. He wears a special suit because sometimes the bees don't understand what people are doing when they are opening the hive! This keeps him safe from getting stung.

He also likes to squirt the top of the hive with sugar water. The bees love sugar water! It's like candy for them. They are so busy licking it up that they don't worry about who is opening up their hive.

Look at all the bees on the inside of the lid!

Here they are on the frame. All that dark stuff that they are on is wax that is covering up honey.

Can you see them wandering all over? It's fun to watch bees working in their hive. All the bees you see are girls, they are called worker bees.
I'm not wearing a suit and they aren't trying to bother me because I'm being quite and moving slowly so I don't surprise them.

The chicks are growing up! Can you find all five? I'll give you a hint, one is hiding behind the mother hen.
I'm sorry I don't have a photo of me holding a chick. We took a photo, but it got lost somehow. Do you loose things sometimes, like I do?

We thought our black chicken was funny for hatching chicks so late in the summer. We have another hen that decided she wanted to hatch some chicks, too!

She is sitting the corner of Stall #2. She made herself a very nice nest where it is warm and safe.

She is a nice chicken and let me move her off her nest so I could take a picture of her eggs. She started sitting on them on October 2. That means if the chicks are going to hatch (sometimes they don't) they will hatch around October 23.
Do you see the 'X' on some of the eggs? I marked the eggs that were in the nest on October 2. I check the nest every day and leave the eggs with the 'X' on them for the hen to hatch. I take all the newly laid eggs for our family. There are a few different colors of eggs because many hens decided to lay eggs in this spot, but only one hen decided sit on the nest.

Here is our new nesting box. Quin and his dad built it for me. We are so happy to have a place for the hens to lay eggs. Hens don't like laying eggs in dog crates very much. Sometimes hens are sneaky and hide their eggs where I can't find them! The nesting box will make it easier for us to find the eggs.
Can you see the hen in the picture?

There she is! She has 3 eggs under her. She didn't lay all three. She was the last chicken to lay an egg in the box.

Quin likes to help gather the eggs when he comes for a visit. If children come to visit the farm, I always let them gather eggs.

Our hens are so nice that they don't mind Quin getting their eggs. Quin helped raise the hens when they were little chicks only a few days old. The hen in the picture is just watching Quin put the eggs in the basket so he can bring them into the house for me.

I thought you might want to hear what Charlie, our rooster, sounds like when he crows. What did you think?

Your teacher said that you are still learning about maps. She said you were going to draw a map of your bedroom at home so I thought you might like to see a map of our barn.

What do you think of my barn map? Do you understand what all the symbols mean?
Thank you for asking questions! I hope you start writing down your questions and sending them to me. If you do, I will pick a few and put them up on the blog for everyone to read. That means you have to have good handwriting so everyone can read what you wrote!

Have a great week!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Goodbye Dinner

One of the difficult things about raising our own meat is saying goodbye to the animal.

We treat them well and kindly, they have the food they need to grow and be healthy, and they have proper veterinary if it's needed.

On Tuesday Matt and I spent about 90 minutes trying to get Dinner in the trailer. He really didn't want to put his back legs in! You would think after trying for so long Dinner would have been running for the corners of the pasture, going as far away as he could get.

No, he had such a good nature that he was still happy to hang around us.

Here's the last video we have of him. We were sorry to see him go, but he was a steer that was raised for food.

We were grateful for the opportunity we had to care for him, and to raise him well. We have seen how many meat animals are raised, and that's why we do what we can to raise some of our own.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Friday Photos from the Farm #6

Welcome back!

I heard you had fun pressing cider last week with my cider press. Our family loves pressing cider!

Your teacher sent me some photos of your exciting day. I can't post them all, there are so many! If you can't find yourself in the photos, look for one of your friends.

Are you curious to see how the chicks have grown this week?
Look how big they have grown!

They have their feathers now. They still follow the mother hen everywhere, but they don't stay quite as close as they used to when they are wandering around the farm. If they hear their mother hen calling them, they still come running!

Here are some photos of the barn and the barn yard where the animals live.

This is what I see when I walk out to milk the goats. It's not always this messy looking, but we've been very busy the last few weeks and haven't had time to clean everything up.

A little closer. You can see the milk stand in the middle of the big, open door. We don't leave the big door open very often.

Do you see the blue hose on the left of the door? That's where we get water for the animals' water buckets. You can see both milk stands with the short milk stool between the two stands. The stand on the left is a tall stand, the stall on the right is a short stand. The goats stand on the milk stands and eat some grain while I milk them. They love being milked because they always get grain.

If you walk past the milk stands you can see the three stalls on the right side of the barn. Stalls are like bedrooms for animals. They don't live there all the time, but they sleep and eat there. They need shelter from the rain, snow, and from the sun in the hot summer.

Look at the hay bales! They are so big! It takes the animals about one month to eat a whole bale. Two bales weighs about the same as a small car, that's heavy!

On the other side of the barn we keep grain in big, blue barrels. We buy grain in big bags. Do you see the two stacks of bags to the right of the blue barrels? We store food for the animals just like you store food at home.
Do you see the white door? That's how we get into the chicken pen.

The chicken pen is under the roof. The chickens need shelter from the weather just like the other animals. And you can see our red tractor!
The little dog house is for the ducks. They need shelter when it gets cold, too. Sometimes they go into the chicken pen, sometimes they like to get into the dog house.
Are you wondering how the chickens get in and out of the pen? And how the ducks and chickens get behind the big fence? The fence has holes that are big enough for the chickens and the ducks to get through, but the holes aren't big enough for the goats to get through.

Here is what our farm looks like if you were flying over it in a helicopter. We have fences in a few different places now that when the photo was taken. You can see the new fences in the map below.

This is what it looks like if I draw a map of the farm!

Do you have any questions about the barn? What would you like to see next week?

Would you like to see what the milk stands look like with goats on them?