Thursday, March 31, 2011

I felt so Farmie

We came home on Tuesday and Nosy Rosy was sitting on her nest by the front door.  This isn't so unusual, except that she was sitting there when we left 5 hours earlier.  My first thought was "SHE'S GOING TO DIE!!!!!   ALL MY CHICKENS DIE!!!!"

Then I realized she was



Broody is when a hen wants to sit on eggs and hatch them.  It's a problem because they won't lay eggs while they are broody.  It's NOT a problem because they will hatch eggs....wonderful....lovely...eggs!!! 

But she only has one.  We didn't know she was going to go broody so we've been eating her scrumptious pseudo progeny all week.  Now I'm scrambling to find some hatching eggs to stick under her. 

In the mean time, we couldn't leave her on her nest next to the front door.  She has no protection from the rain, and no protection from predators....other than Smith and Wesson......

she has no protection from predators.


under the cover of dark, we pimped her nest box in the chicken house, put one of Ugly's eggs in there and gently lifted Nosy.  She isn't make a sound.  chickens basically freeze at night.  We put her egg in the nest box too and then put her in.  It made me feel so farmie!

Hopefully she decides to stay there and be safe, or give up on the eggs and keep making us breakfast.  We'll hope for one of the two.

Maternity Ward

We should have babies in 3 days!!!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pixie and Sprite

I have two favorite chicks.  I shouldn't have two favorite chicks.  Especially since there is something wrong with both of them.  We've lost 6 chicks so far, most of them in the first 48 hours.  We lost 2 dominiques, 2 Cornish, one Leghorn and our exotic chick.  Two of them that were not thriving though stayed alive.  I'm thinking now there was probably a reason they were puny and I might should have let them go.  But their special.   This is Pixie.
I call her Pixie because she looks like she has fairy wings.  She is also very small.  Here she is compared to another Leghorn.

Her little friend is a Dominique.  Sprite has the same wing and size problem.

But I love them.  I nursed them to pseudo health and they will probably be keepers even if they aren't productive.

 Don't you judge me!!!

*update*  Shortly after creating this post, Sprite died.  Pixie seems to be doing fine though, just about 1/3 the size of all the others and is everyone's favorite.

Spring Has Sprung

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chick Update


These guys are growing sooo fast.  I'm continually amazed.  I do feel better about raising them now though.  We started taking their food away at night and now we are not having the leg problems.  They are walking and acting like normal chicks.  Whew!  I feel much, much better.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Apocalypse Now

I went couponing again!  We are prepared for the Apocalypse!!!  Or flu....or migraine.  Well...anything that might deter me from making breakfast.

Make your guess on how much this cost.....come on....I know you want to......

$16.96!!!!!!!  Go me....go's my birthday....not anyway!!!! 

It would have been about $5 less too, if I had paid more attention to sales.  Oh well....I'm learning (thanks to!).  Shoot the milk and Miracle whip by them selves would have been more than that.

So while the above picture is something I would not enjoy feeding my children on a regular basis, last week when I had the flu showed me that I need reserves that don't require much prep.  I think this fits the bill. Cereal is better than donuts any day.   My goal is to use couponing to get those reserves so my shopping trips are not going to look like anything like a normal weeks worth of groceries.  I think this trip was successful!

So bring on the Apocalypse!!!  WE HAVE CEREAL!!!

Home Security

We have a need on the farm.  We need security.  Not like financial or emotional , or spiritual, but actual physical security.  I mean we are out in the middle of no where.  Granted there are not many people here in no where, but there also aren't that many law enforcers either.  On top of that we have the whole livestock security need.  Between mountain lions and hawks, our animals...and children just aren't safe.  There are a couple of ways we could go.  We could install a hi tech security alarm system and pay for monthly monitoring.  But I'm pretty sure they don't monitor our chickens for hawk predation.  So we went another way.  A tried and true way.

Meet Smith and Wesson:

These dogs are not pets.  These are Livestock Guardian Dogs.  They are 1/2 Pyrenees, 1/4 Anatolian, and 1/4 Akbash.  They have been breed to protect home, land, family, and animals.  Already this morning their breeding is evident.  Shortly after walking them around the perimeter of the property, a pack of dogs approached.  These two took off barking and stopped at the fence line.  They could have easily gone through, but didn't.  They are incredibly intelligent resourceful animals and I'm excited to see them grow and prosper at their jobs.  I'm a little anxious also.  As I said, these guys are not pets.  They can not be treated like pets or they won't do their job.  I have to wrap my preconditioned mind around the idea that doing their job makes them happy.....not intereaction with me.  It doesn't mean we can't pet and love them.  It just means they have to be on their own most of the time and not inside learning to roll over and shake.  By the way, I want to give a special thanks to the Weeks family for these guys.  Their puppy manners are exceptional.  I don't think I've ever met a calmer, more polite puppy.  YES, they're puppies.  Their only 3 months old.  YES they will be huge.....the better to fend off mountain lions with my dear!

Smith (aka the big one):
 Wes (aka the small one):


Friday, March 25, 2011

And Then I Almost DIED!!!

Farming is DANGEROUS!!!

I put the pigs in their hut and I went to push it against the protect them from the MOUNTAIN LION!!!

Little did I know a more eminent threat was stalking me.  As I pushed the hut, I slipped on the grass and fell neck first onto the cut end of the METAL pig hut.  I saw my life flash before my eyes.  I just knew I had sliced open my jugular.  "CHARIS!!!  AM I BLEEDING!?!?" I screamed.  "Oh a little I guess." she replied.  I ran inside to look in the mirror.  If it had only been a few inches to the left......well....there would have been a slight scratch there too!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Starting Seeds

I'm starting seeds indoors this year.  I'm not getting much.  I"ve been saving toilet paper rolls for this purpose.  Hopefully I get SOMETHING from my garden this year.  I still need to till it.  I guess that might happen this Sunday.  We'll see!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Our Marans eggs have been in the incubator for 9 days now.  Today we candled them.  This is an egg Nosey Rosy laid this morning being candled.
(our Candler by the way is a mug with a small led flashlight and a piece of cardboard with a hole cut in it.)

As you can see the egg is clear.  There are no dark spots, just as it should be for a freshly laid egg.

Here is one that has been in the incubator for 9 days.

YEAH!!!  It is mostly dark!!!  That means something is happening!!!  Of course since the eggs are so dark and my candler is not the most efficient we can't tell exactly what is going on.  In white eggs you can see veins and even heart beats!!  We made a chart showing where each eggs was dark and when we check them in another 9 days we will see if anything has changed.  The amazing thing is that ALL 13 showed some signs of growth.  There are two that may not have grown and we will keep an eye on them for signs of spoilage.  I"m so excited!!!  More baby chicks in .....12 Days!!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Completely Amazed and Conflicted

Remember those cute little chicks from a week ago?

Well they've grown.

All of them have grown, but the Cornish Cross have really grown.

As a matter of fact they weigh half a pound already!!!  It's completely amazing to watch them grow.  The White Leghorns have all their wing feathers.  The Dominiques, as expected, are not growing as fast and don't have all their wing feathers yet. 

But I find myself in a delimma.  The Cornish are growing so fast that their legs can not support their weight.  I knew this was a problem with these guys but I thought it would happen closer to slaughtering size.  As of now, some have lost all the fluff on their undersides from dragging themselves around.  However amazing their growth is, their condition disgusts me.  I'm mostly disgusted with myself for buying them and disgusted with those who breed them.  While they are not genetically altered, they are bred to be this way.  I'm not sure if I agree with creating such an animal just because it can be done.  Yes we get fast growing food, but at what cost?  These animals are not living as God intended them.  I will grow these birds out and process them, but I doubt I'll ever get another set of them.  It tears me up.  We did start taking their food away at night and a lot of them are doing better.  But I'm still conflicted.

My other delimma is the chicken I sell to others.  They are the same cross.  It is really good chicken, they are free range and processed minimally, but do I want to contribute to the production of such grossly mutated animals?  So many questions to ponder.  What do you think?

Monday, March 21, 2011

When the Farmer is sick.....

None of the chickens bring her chicken soup.  They expect to be fed.  Even after all the nursing she did for them when they had the fowl pox.

The pigs don't bring her a blanket when she's cold.  They expect to be fed.  Even after she built them their 5 star accommodations.

The horses don't bring her comfort.  They expect to be fed.  Even after she took them in when no one else would.

The chicks don't give her medicine.  They expect to be fed.  Even after she sat up with them and made sure they got everything they needed when they weren't well.

The dogs don't coddle her.  They expect to be fed.  Even after 13 YEARS of care and love.

It's a good thing the Farmer has a feed the animals.

We're Expecting!!!

We have another event going on that has been overlooked with all the pig and chick excitement.  The Extension loaned us an incubator.  I've been collecting Nosey Rosy and Ugly Betty's eggs.  We have 13 eggs that we will try to hatch.  They are due April 2nd.  Keep your fingers crossed!!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Only On the Farm

I can't turn my back for one minute.

Friday, March 18, 2011

No Freakin' Way!!!! I'm totally into eating non processed foods and being healthy and junk. ........And grammar.  But I'm also for sticking it to the man.....and English teachers.  In these economic times free food, is free food and if there is a shortage, food is food. Recently I've been wanting to stock my larder, but not having the economic fortitude it was merely a dream. friend Kelly told me about coupons.  I know, I know.  Who has the TIME or ENERGY to look through adds, clip, save, and keep updated stupid coupons.  Well somebody does.  And that somebody put it on her website, gives you the shopping list and a place to print out the coupons.  I tried it....and it works!!!

Can you guess how much I paid for this?  It's 4 boxes of spaghetti (two are whole wheat), 4 boxes of other pasta, 1 6pack of jello pudding, 1 6 pack of jello gelatin, 4 packs of jello temptations, 2 boxes of lean pockets, 2 packages of lunch meat, 4 banquet microwaveable fruit pies and a gallon of milk.  Go on...guess!!!  What did you get?  $40?  $25 on your lowest guess?  NOT EVEN CLOSE!!!!



Most of it is going into the deep freeze or in the back of the pantry.  The kids are going to get things I NEVER buy them and they will be happy.  I'm getting my freezer and pantry full for next to nothing so I'm happy.  Free is free is free.

If you would like to give this a go and you live in Oklahoma, you can check it out at  If you live elsewhere, I'm sure there is a website for your area.  This website gives you great info, but a lot of the deals are store specific and you may not have those stores where you live.

So while I'm generally opposed to processed food, I'm more into taking care of my family the best way I can.  We are planning for the future and stocking up is on the list.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Why I want American Guinea Hogs

A few months ago I did a post on why I wanted Dominique Chickens.  I'd like you know why I want American Guinea Hogs.  The reasons are quite similar.  This breed of hog, like the breed of chickens, is endangered.  It's a true American breed that is on the brink of extinction.  Why?  For the several of the same reasons.  They grow slow.  Commercial breeds grow fast.  So fast in fact that they have to be processed quite young because, like commercial chickens, their bodies can not handle the rapid growth and would die or be paralyzed from their weight.  A stressed animal produces stress hormones that stay in the meat.  They are small, but they produce great meat at just the right amount for the average family.   Their small size also contributes to the their ease of care.  And unlike other hogs, they are extremely docile and only the best tempered animals are bred.  Commercial pigs are kept in their own filth and small quarters.  They are fed fattening food.  Guinea hogs have retained the ability to forage for them selves on grasses and roots.  They will have fat, but their meat is not saturated with fat and stress hormones because they can live their lives more naturally than commercial breeds.  If you would like to know more about the AGH, you can visit .

Introducing our AGH: Lois and Lana

I decided that naming them after Old Testament characters was a bit sacrilegious and the Lord of the Rings names were just too hard to say.  There are a lot of super heroes to draw from though, so it should be interesting!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sick Chick

We counted chicks today.  We have exactly 60.  The hatchery gave me an extra Dominique, and extra Cornish X and an extra White Leghorn.  Everyone is doing fine and it amazing to see how the Cornish X are growing.  I swear I can actually SEE them growing.  There is one little Dominique that is not so well.  He's in the CCU (Chicken Care Unit).

He gets a hot water bag, and warmed up rice sock as well as a heat lamp.  We make sure he gets water every couple of hours and try to feed him, which he isnt' taking.  I called the hatchery and they gave me some instructions.  They said feed him honey with an eye dropper.

Here Chicky Chicky!!!

I'll keep you updated.  I'm afraid he hasn't formed right.  He has yet to open his eyes and he was literally stuck to the floor this morning with leakage from his "umbilical cord".  Poor chicky.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mrs. Havens? I have a package for you.......

I didn't sleep well Sunday night.  My dreams were of chicks.  Soft fluffy chicks.  Cute little chicks that for some reason I could not keep contained or alive.  I dreamed this all night long.  So when the phone rang at 5am and the lady on the other end said "Mrs. Havens?  I have a package for you.  It seems to be chicks."  I wasn't sure if I was still dreaming.  Well I wasn't!  I drove up to the post office and picked up these little guys.

And this is what the drive home sounded like.

There were a ton of instructions to follow but I won't bore you with those.  The end product was this.

This is our expandable brooder made of old closet doors. 
And this is what our garage sounds like.....and will sound like for the next 4 weeks

I tried to get individual pictures from each breed.  Did you know it is increadably difficult to photograph chicks?  I"m just not good enough.  They turn into white blurs.  I did manage this one though.

There are two types of yellow chicks here.  One is a Cornish X.  They will grow fast and go to freezer camp in 6-8 weeks.  The  other yellow ones are White Legherns.  They will lay white eggs in 4 months or so.  Who wants eggs?

And then there are these.

These are my Dominiques!!!  Can't wait to see how they turn out.  See the brown one at the top of the picture but not in the bowl?  That was our free exotic chick.  It's Eythan's.  From what we can tell, it's a Dark Brahma.  Don't know anything about it, but it's "safe".  The kids are allowed to name it.  There is also a little peach chick in there.  It's a Buff Rock.  Charis choose it and it's also "safe".

Now if they will all stay contained and alive I'll know that I'm not dreaming anymore!

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Here come the pigs!!!

Let me tell you, yesterday was exciting!!!

We drove two hours to Okmulgee, OK to pick up two female American Guinea Hogs.  The breeders, Anthea and Wayne were very informative and helpful.  They showed us around their place and we met all their pigs (and goats, and dogs, and sheep.....).  Once we met everybody Anthea took us to our first pig, #11.  #11 was the last pig to come out of the hut.  She was very shy.  She is unique in that she has two front white socks.  Also her tail doesn't curl much.  When they grabbed her she hardly made a sound.  Then the torture came!!!  Anthea needed a blood sample and she had to scrape #11's ear.  THEN she had to put a tag in her ear.  It was basically a glorified earring.  #11 didn't like it and gave some squealing protest but it was over soon and she was put calmly into her crate to come home with us. 

Then......#24.  #24 is from a different mother.  I specifically requested that we not get an escape artist as some of the piglets were out when we got there so Anthea chose #24.  Had we only known.  She might not be an escape artist but she is a screamer!!!!  And spit-fire to boot.  She screamed and struggled so much the first time she was caught, Wayne dropped her on her head.  Of course she rebounded and went for more corn. He caught her again and she screamed and struggled so much, her very mild tempered mother got riled up and almost bit Wayne!!  A little feed though and she ignored the situation completely.  OH, #24....had we only known.  As calm as #11 had been, #24 was loud and wild.  With the help of bananas she got through her blood test and tagging.  We put her into her makeshift crate (a Rubbermaid tub with air holes in the lid and bungee cord ties).  She did NOT want to stay in.  We wound up having to put the bungee cord and two other tie downs on. SPIT-FIRE!

Then we made the two hour drive back.  #11 was quiet the whole way.  #24.....snorting, squealing and trying to pop the lid off her crate!  Once we got home, it was past sunset, but we still had a little light.  We let #11 out, but she stayed in her crate.  #24?  After about a second she jumped out and started running willy-nilly around the pen.  She ran into it, and tried to run under it, and at one point I thought she might try to run OVER the fence.  Of course a little pig feed calmed her right we see a pattern here?  I finally dumped #11 out of her crate and she just stood there frozen like a statue.  It was the most curious thing.  I touched her, pushed her, called her and she just stood there like she was paralyzed.....until I put feed down for her.  Then she was back to being a normal pig.  Pigs will be pigs whenever food is available. 

After they got finished eating, we wanted to put them into their pig hut for the night.  The reason was two fold.  First, we didn't want them eaten by the mountain lion.  Second, if they escaped in the night, they would have quite a head start on us.  I walked over to #11, picked her up with not so much as a squeal (just a couple of grunts), put her into the hut, and there she stayed.  #24?  It is hard to describe the chaos which ensued.  There was much squealing, running, banging into fences, and falling and that was just me.  #24 was worse.  Finally....with a little food.....Jon was able to pounce on her.  At that point, even though we live a good 1/4 mile from our nearest neighbor, I was hoping the police weren't going to be called because of her squealing.  Jon tossed her in the hut and Eythan and I put the front door on, at which point I was summoned to a 4 year old on the porch who had had diarrhea in his pants.  At least it was on the porch.

Jon figured out an "ingenious" way to keep the door on the hut for the night.

This is #11 hanging back in the hut this morning

Here are the girls peeping out to get their first bite.

Cute piggy tails!


#11 from top.  See her uncurly tail?

I didnt' get anymore pics because my camera went all weird, but I'm sure there will be more!

So here are our choices for names.  Of course our partners have the biggest say, but I'd like some opinions. The names also include the name for the male we are getting next week.

 Place your vote!

1.  #24 - Loise
     #11 - Lana
    Male - Clark

2.  #24 - Eowyn
     #11 - Arwen
    Male - Aragorn

3.  #24 - Leah
     #11 - Rachel
    Male - Jacob

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Eaten by Mountain Lions?


We are definitely alive!!!!

The tracks have been verified by two forest rangers, and two game wardens as most definitely Mountain Lion!!!!  How intriguing...and terrifying.

It has been a crazy month.  I simply can not get on the computer to post anything.  We only have one and Jon is on it most of the time for work.  THEN I babysat in OKC for my friend for 3 days followed by a weekend of conference stuff.  THEN my mom had open heart surgery.  BUT, the farm has not been at a stand still.  There is some major progress into the world of self sustaining.

I've got seeds started for the garden.  I'm collecting chicken eggs to put in a borrowed incubator.  I have 50+ chicks heading my way on Monday.  I've started a Farm Partner program and will have a breeding trio of Guinea Hogs THIS weekend!!!  My sister gave us a truck.  There is much to be done though.

Garden tilled
Pig shelter to erect
brooder to build
chicken tractor to build
yard to be dusted with DE
plants to buy
more seeds to start

How fun is this!!!!!