Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The First Signs of Spring

     It has been cold here, colder than winters we normally experience. It has been averaging 23 degrees most nights and we even had one night last week in which the temperature dropped to 17. So I was surprised when I found the little plants growing.

     This is volunteer Cilantro. I was going to clean out this pot and add all new soil to get it ready for some new herbs but since these little plants decided to grow I guess I will just leave this pot to them and plant my new herbs somewhere else.

     I'm starting to have spring fever so I'm excited to start planning and planting. Of course, with all the goats who are expecting next month, my garden ideas might have to wait a month or so. Perhaps that is for the better as it is so cold.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Goodbye Guineas

Yesterday the Guinea Hens went to a new home. I have such conflicting emotions about giving them away. They were sweet birds in their own way. They followed me everywhere but always at arms length. They chattered constantly and yelled at the top of their lungs occasionally, but for the most part they were no more noisy than anyone else who lives here. Recently however, they had begun ruthlessly attacking the chickens and chasing the baby goats and I decided they needed to move to a home that was more suited to them. I hope they will be happy. I will miss them. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Worst of the Worst

      I am the worst farmer ever. I'm sure if there was a vote I'd win hands down because I just can't kill anything. OK, that is not true. I have no problem killing Black Widow spiders but that is about all I can kill without feeling great shame.
      Today while I was cleaning the barn I found another nest of baby mice. I say "another" because I found one last week too. They were teenagers and ran in all directions and instead of doing anything about them I just covered up their nest area and left them. In my mind I was thinking that maybe just the mere encounter with me would send them looking for a new residence. I guess that was not the case. Not only did they stay, but one of them or maybe their mother decided the hay area was as good a place as any to have another batch.
      I probably should have seen this coming last year when I found one lone mouse living in the corner of the hay area. I know there was only one because every time we use up all the hay I lift up all the pallets and sweep all the hay from under and around them and then put them back before stacking new hay on them. So today when I was getting ready to do my pallet cleaning routine and I found the six new, just past pink, babies I knew I had to do something to get them to leave.
      Kill them? I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I played out about a half dozen scenarios in my mind and each one sent me into a downward spiral of guilt. Thoughts of Mrs. Frisby haunting me with each new idea. In a moment of shear despair I went to find Ferryn, the cat. He would have to solve this dilemma for me. 

     Ferryn has been in our family since he was about three weeks old. We rescued him. At one time he was a house cat but he begged and begged to be an outdoor cat and when we said "no" he decided to start spraying. Needless to say he is an outdoor cat now and he is not allowed inside.
      When we moved here I figured he'd love life as a barn cat. He doesn't. He is great at hunting gophers but he avoids the barn at all costs because he is terrified of the goats. So getting him to rid the barn of mice is probably going to be an impossible feat. However, I decided to try anyway.
        Well, I'm the worst farmer ever and Ferryn is the worst barn cat ever. Together I guess we are the worst of the worst.
      If you have a humane suggestion on ridding the barn of mice please let me know. In the meantime I did my pallet cleaning routine as the teenagers ran in all directions and I set the tiny babies outside. I figure their mom will find them or something else might, but I going with the "ignorance is bliss" motto right now. Yes, I know, I'm the worst farmer ever ...