Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Incubator? What Incubator?

      Remember back in the old days when I got my incubator? When was it.... May 1st maybe? Yes, I think so. Now, do you remember the 23 eggs I had in there? 12 ended up being fertile. Well those eggs hatched. 10 out of 12 eggs. Now they are about a month old. Do you think I'm a little late on posting about them?
      They are all fine and growing into total monsters. Oops. Did I say monsters, I meant "angels".... Ya, sure angels. Well that's it for now.

Until next time,
 The Crazy Chicken Lady

Monday, June 11, 2012

Our Riparian Life

Before we moved to our farm we lived in a subdivision. We had cats, dogs, rabbits, and a few fish. We leased a wonderful horse for a year but I had to drive almost an hour every day to take care of him. 
wild grapes just starting to grow
I longed to have a farm. We searched for a year before we found this house. In that year I prayed and prayed that, if it was the Lord's will, we would find a piece of property in which we could have a farm. At first it started like any other dream but then it became an obsession for me and it occupied almost all my thought. As the year progressed and we couldn't find any land that we could afford or that was livable, I began to think that it was not the Lord's will for us to have a farm. I cried myself to sleep many days. Then I asked the Lord to change my will so that I wouldn't long for a farm any more. The Lord's timing is perfect. I know this and I was completely aware of this at the time of my heartache.
wild grass
However, when you become obsessed with a desire a battle begins and sometimes a war will start with what you know and what you want and perseveration is all you do. About the time I asked the Lord to change my heart this house fell out of escrow and we stumbled across it. I say stumbled but I know that the Lord had his GPS working in us and he pointed us to this house. With the help of my parents we purchased this house and built our barn and now we have a farm. I am grateful everyday and I thank the Lord everyday for our farm. How does this connect to the riparian life? Well, the Lord could have brought us to any property, but he didn't. He brought us to this property and it has a beautiful creek flowing right through it. Within our beautiful farm there is another completely amazing world that we get to explore. The Lord far exceeded anything our hearts were even hoping for.

bullfrog tadpole

more tadpoles from smaller varieties of frogs

possible parent of some of those tadpoles ~ beautiful I might add!

stunning rock on the side of the creek

wild grass growing with some non-native mint

horsetail plant

wild grapes

a micro tadpole

damselflies ~ oops sorry to intrude

a honeybee stopping for a drink

the western view of the creek

tiny fry

a medium sized tadpole

possible newt eggs ~ we will carefully check back in a couple weeks

eastern view of the creek

wild mint ~ I wonder what the story is behind its growth here?

a beautiful blue rock ~ we need a geologist to help us identify these beauties

heading east in the creek

a mayfly nymph

Caddisfly larva inside their fancy little stone houses

A water boatmen

a damselfly enjoying the mint

thousands of mint roots

wild grapes ~ I can't wait until we can feast on these.

a micro frog trying to camouflage

iridescent green fly

a water loving snail

one of the ancient oaks that guards the creek

wild roses

fruit of  a crab apple tree growing in the creek

Likely frog eggs belonging to the frog below

frog found hiding near (above photo) eggs
Woodpecker pantry
Peeta's hideout

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Meet the Western Tussock Moth

We found these cute little caterpillars recently and have been fortunate enough to see their progression into moth hood. They are Western Tussock Moth caterpillars. There are over 2,500 known species of Tussock moth found on earth.

You should handle these little caterpillars with caution as  BugGuide notes:  “Contact with hairs may cause an allergic reaction.”  

Adult moths of this family do not feed. However, Tussock Moth caterpillars are defoliators and "are voracious eaters capable of defoliating entire forests."* Wow, really? Maybe in mass numbers but we found three. 
beginning of metamorphosis ~ pupae just forming

The first stage of their metamorphosis is to become a fuzzy clump. Then within 10 to 18 days (depending on the surrounding temperature) they begin to emerge as a moth.

pupae of moth
Now if you are reading this and starting to shake your head or you are getting all hot under the collar with anger and judgement that we are coexisting with a creature that is eating the surrounding vegetation. Stop and consider a few things. This is an ecosystem. These caterpillars are eating some of the vegetation but they have several predators here too. It is our opinion that the damage the chemicals used to prevent or eradicate these caterpillars, is far more extensive than the damage they are doing. Besides, we are learning and witnessing an amazing metamorphosis, and we only found three.
tiny moth shortly after metamorphosis is complete


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Everything is Coming up Roses

When we bought our farm we inherited a dozen or more beautiful rose bushes. They are scattered around the house.
Great care probably went into their purchase. Unfortunately this is lost on us as we know little to nothing about roses.
Well, the research and time involved purchasing them is lost on us but not their beauty. 
We do stop to smell the roses, almost daily, and we marvel at their colors and intoxicating aromas. They each share this with anyone staying long enough to appreciate them.
You can get lost in them and time just fades away. Before you know it search parties are sent out to find you. It shouldn't take an hour to walk to the garage and back but somehow it does when you stop to smell the roses.
We did name some of our baby goats after roses this year. Not the ones in our yard because we don't know what variety they are. We named them after their father, Castle Rock Chicago Peace. He, his dam, and granddam are all named after beautiful varieties of roses. However, I think it goes without saying, that he does not smell like a rose. Ironically the Chicago Peace Rose, a mutation of the famous Peace Rose, was cultivated to have a very strong perfume rose scent. Well, I'm sure he has a very strong perfume scent too, but not necessarily "rose".
"Chicago Peace Rose" photo from the gardens of Cantigny Park in Illinois (

Below are just a few more photos from the roses around our house ~ I only wish you could smell them.