Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hello, Deer Boys!

The other morning a herd of big boy deer came to visit us!
I apologize for the bad quality of these photos.  They were shot through my kitchen window.  I had the best view of the deer from the kitchen - there were things blocking the view from the other windows.

How many deer do you see in the below photo?
There's 3 - one is walking behind the fence on the lower right.
The boy in the center of the photo appeared to be the herd leader.

Well, Hello! The buck that was walking along the fenceline put his head up.  He's a good-looking buck.
Leader buck is looking around to his left, always on alert, listening, watching.

I was so lucky to have seen all these bucks.  They were gorgeous.
While I watched they tossed their heads around, playing with each other.  It must be strange to grow these heavy horns on your head.  The antlers certainly look heavy all done up in velvet.
Leader buck is looking in my direction.  He wasn't playing with the others, just standing guard.

There were a couple first year bucks with little spikes of antlers, too ~ I don't know how I didn't get a photo of them.  They were running and playing and tossing their little heads around.  They were proud of their little horns. 
Leader buck is really looking around now.

Oh, hello there.  Another buck has appeared on the left.  That's what the leader was looking at.

I caught a picture as the boy up front was tossing his head around.  His eyes are closed.  He looks so peaceful.  Is he smiling?

Everyone is slowly starting to walk away.  We counted over ten male deer in this buck herd.  I didn't get photos of them all, as some were behind bushes, and some were running and the photos came out fuzzy.

Right now the female deer are off raising their adorable little fawns, and the males separate off to form their own herds.  We don't see many buck herds, but we see the groups of females and babies every day now.

I know, the blackberry bushes are growing wild on the fences.  That's another task for another day...
Happy Saturday!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Guinea Update

Our guinea keets that we hatched from eggs are turning into teenage guineas.  They've been integrated with the chicken flock for a while now.  The mama chicken hens no longer are mothers to them.  Just recently we've encouraged them to start sleeping outside the chicken coop in the tree that's inside the chicken pen, so they are still protected from night monsters.  They are starting to make guinea sounds, too, and are losing their baby voices.  Raising keets from eggs has been a great experience for me since I raised their parents, too.

We appear to have 7 lavender (gray colored with white dots), 4 pearl gray (the dark ones), and 1 all white keet.  The dark ones are changing from brown feathers to dark grey, and they are looking rough right now.  They will be beautuful they they are adults.  Right now we don't have any adult pearl gray guineas - I'm so happy we got some eggs that belonged to our pearl gray guineas before they were killed. 

I love the light blue eyes!

Yesterday it was over 100 degrees F outside.  Randy was feeding the birds frozen corn.  We appear to have quite a few birds right now, but most of them are teenage keets and chicks. 
I love how the rooster stands back on the right and lets everyone else eat.

Here are the 2 adult boy guineas.  They are very lonely now.  The White Boy is the leader, but there's not much of a flock, with just 2 of them.  They finally have become friends.

And here's our 1 female adult guinea.  She's broody.  She's sitting on a clutch of 15 eggs.  We've decided to let her hatch out her own keets.  We'll see if she makes it.  It's dangerous for her to sleep alone out in the woods overnight, sitting on the ground, blind.  Guineas are very blind in the dark.  Sometimes we discuss taking half her eggs and giving them to a broody chicken hen, so we know at least half of them may live.  We have heard it's tough for keets and mama guineas in the wild, with fox and owl and coons out there in the woods.
Bella the chicken hen is broody again.  She was the mama to half the guinea keets which are now teenagers.  Bella's always broody.  I guess she likes being a mommy.  She's very hormonal right now.  She would be the bird that we give the guinea eggs to hatch, if we give guinea eggs to anyone.

So we'll see what we decide to do with the additional guinea keets, if they live.
We're taking it one day at a time in this summer heat...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Come Take a Walk in the Woods

Happy Sunday!!
Today is a relaxing Sunday around the house.
We decided, after seeing fat Jack lounging, to take a walk in the woods.  We all could use some exercise.
Jack didn't join us, though.  He preferred to nap.
See you later, Jack!

Bobby, the outside cat, had a bad night last night.  He got locked in the garage.  He was not a happy cat this morning when I found him at 5:30AM.

Bobby started the walk with us, but stopped at the entryway to the house.
He only goes so far into the deep woods.
He knows there's foxes and other monsters out there in the deep forest.
He's a smart cat, that Bobby.

And so it was Just Randy and I on the walk.

We found the 3 adult guineas out in the field.  The Girl Guinea is broody.  She wants babies and is sitting on eggs.  I call her "pregnant", even though birds don't get pregnant, just broody.  But to me it's the equivalent.  So far Girl Guinea leaves her eggs and returns to our house every night with her 2 men to roost in the pine tree.
The male guineas don't know what to do now that their woman sits all day.  They are actually getting along with each other, since they only have each other for company.
Soon enough all the baby guineas will be released and there will be lots of guinea drama.  We have 12 baby guineas - I can't wait till they get to be free with their parents!

Can you make out Girl Guinea sitting behind all the leaves.  I wonder how many eggs she has under her.  She will be sitting for about a month.  This "pregnancy" wasn't in my grand guinea plan.  I planned on releasing all the teenage babies in a few weeks, but if Girl Guinea wont be a part of the festivities, I don't know what to do.  Plus, with the addition of all the young guineas, the 2 adult males may stop protecting Girl Guinea, and she needs their protection while she sits.  She's easy fox prey right now.  Plus, I planned on her teaching the female teenage guineas how to be adult female guineas.  But now she will be busy with her own babies, who will be newborns.  Her "pregnancy" totally wasn't planned and it stresses me out.

Look at the below picture ~ what do you see????

Yeah, lots of high grass.  But in that grass is my green wine bottle collection!  Remember that?  The grass has taken over.  Everything looks different here in the summertime, the grass and weeds, the trees and vines, they totally take over.

Behind all the trees in the picture below is the old fallen over barn.  In the small house (that you cannot see anymore in the trees) is the baby vulture nest!
Yes, we visited the baby vulture today.  I will post photos of him in my next blog post.
(PS - He's adorable!!!)

Below is one of the fields.  Trees have taken over.  A couple years ago there were NO trees in that field.

And this concludes the photos of our walk today.
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Meet Maggie

My name is Maggie.
I'm a mama coon. 
 I’m just hanging out here.
On the AC unit.
This is where raccoons normally hang out when they’re not doing anything.   

Hmmm Hmmm.
Really, this is where the cool coons hang.
At least, the smart ones.

If I lean this way, I can look in the dining room window, and I can see the humans walking around inside.
Sometimes, they carry food, those humans.   

I can also can see the back door over there on the left from my AC unit chair.
The humans bring food out the back door for Bobby, the cat, and put it on the porch.  
Bobby likes to share.

If you need me, I'll be here.

If you'd like to share some food, that would be even better.
I'm not above begging.

Thank you!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cupcakes & Deer Tales

It's cupcake Thursday.  What better way to celebrate the almost weekend?

These ones are lemon with vanilla buttercream icing.

The whitetail deer does that have been hanging in my backyard are all having their babies.  The fawns are so adorable.  And so small.

These twins didn't belong to the doe right behind them - their mama was a little behind them in the further field.  There's an old barbed wire fence behind the doe pictured here and the other mother is behind that.

There's their mama on the left in the photo below.  There's the fence between the two female deer.
When the twins decided to return to their mama, one of them got all hyper and started bouncing around the adult deer like a goofball.  But she went to the wrong mama deer.  Her fellow twin happy followed her to the wrong mama.  The wrong mama deer didn't want to put up with the playful babies are started kicking out at them. 
The playful baby quickly realized her mama was on the other side of the old barbed wire fence, so to get away from the crazy kicking doe quickly, the baby jumped through the barbed wire fence!!
Not a good idea. 
Of course her back legs both got caught in the fence - her upper body made it through.  And then she was hanging in the fence, kicking like crazy.
Oh, no!
I quickly put down the camera, opened the back door, and ran to the back porch. 
Luckily I didn't have to intervene - the baby pulled free from the fence.  I hope it's not too hurt from the barbed wire.  The other baby walked around to the gate in the barbed wire fence and joined her mama like a civilized fawn.

Just another day in the life of a deer...

Sorry for the bad quality of the deer photos!

Happy almost weekend!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hard Working Farm Cat

Bobby the farm cat has become a standard fixture around here.  He's always outside, nearby, waiting for a pet, offering a helping hand.  Well, he would help if he could.  We feed the chickens, he's right there watching.  We work out in the fields, we hear his little voice talking to us from under the bushes nearby.
When Randy was spending nights outside hunting the guinea killer, Bobby was by his side all night.
The guineas are so used to him they ignore him now.  And he's not afraid of them, either.

Here's Bobby lounging by the front door.  You can see my new boots I just put on for my photo shoot for yesterday's post in the reflection!  He wasn't impressed with the boots.

Bobby's getting fat - he's got a white spot of fur on his fat tummy.  The white spot is growing as his tummy is growing.  Maybe I'm overfeeding him - just a little...

The raccoons and Bobby are friends, although it doesn't look like it in this picture!  I often see the coons and Bobby all sitting side-by-side on the front porch, begging for food from me.  The coon in the photo below was wanting to eat Bobby's leftover cat food that he didn't finish, but I had just chased her off the porch.  She was begging me for the food, trying to sneak on the porch when she thought I wasn't looking.
But Bobby wouldn't let her past him -he wasn't moving out of her way.

Bobby's eyes glow light blue at nighttime.  Often at night we look outside and see 2 little blue glowing lights in the bushes; we know it's Bobby watching over the property.  I haven't seen any other animal who's eyes glow blue like Bobby's.  The other cats' eyes glow yellow (Jack) and green (Shadow) in the dark.  It's funny how different animals have different colored eyes in the dark.

I didn't want another farm cat, but this one's a keeper now.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

New Work Boots!!!

I've been wanting a good pair of work boots for years now.  Boots that can go outside and slosh around in the mud.  Boots that I wear when I clean the chicken coop and work outside.  Boots that could be worn in winter or summer.  Durable and hard working.  Yet I still wanted boots that were fashionable and show my feminine side.  I wanted boots that can handle the farm work, and still look cute.  Previously I was wearing an old pair of sneakers outside to work, and when I'd come in I'd take them off because they would be trashed.  But sneakers absorb water and dirt- I was looking for something more waterproof/dirt-proof.

And so I kept my eyes open, waiting for the perfect work boots to enter my world.
Today I found them!
What do you think?
I luv them!

I found them on sale at DSW - one of my favorite places.

They are Bogs Classic High boots.  They are cold tested down to -40°F. They have a non-slip sole that kicks away dirt so that you always have a sure step. Breathable, perforated insole provides shock absorption and vapor reduction.

I am a happy girl today.

PS - I also bought a new pair of sandals on sale!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July

We don't know how to take a break around here. 
A holiday from work means we have more time to work around the farm. Yeah!
This weekend we spent alot of time outside. 
Not at the beach, but in the fields.

Trees grow like weeds here - it's hard to keep them down. Many trees grow that really aren't that valuable trees, and they kill off more valuable trees. By pruning and cutting back trees we don't want to take over, we are able to make more room for growth of good trees.

Randy cut back trees and I mowed the fields with the riding mower.  I love to mow with the riding mower - it's relaxing to me.  And I get to listen to my iPod and have some "quiet time".  These photos were taken before I mowed.

  Recently 2 pregnant whitetail deer have been living in our backyard near the old barn.  They know it's a safe place, and have been waiting for their babies to be born.  There's plenty of grass and trees to to eat, and we don't disturb them there.

The other day last week I was baking carrot cake cupcakes for a co-worker, and I looked out the kitchen window and saw one of the deer had twin fawns with her!!!

One of the deer had her babies!  They were staying very close to their mama. They had long gangly legs and plenty of white spots all over them.   As I was appreciating them, before I got the camera, I heard a loud screaming noise. It sounded like a bird was being killed. I thought maybe that Bobby, the outside cat, caught a bird in the backyard. It was very close to the house. I looked out the window as close as I could to the house, but didn't see any cat or bird or anything.

Then suddenly, the oven timer went off. I rushed to get the cupcakes out of the oven and get them out of the muffin tins. I was really distracted by all the screaming outside, which was growing louder.  As soon as I could I rushed to the back door, threw it open, and started to run outside and around to the kitchen area where the noise was still coming from.

Then, to my absolute surprise, I looked down and saw a mama raccoon and one infant raccoon standing by my feet eating from the cat food bowl.  The baby coon was all head and feet.  It was beautiful.  I looked around and realized the screaming was coming from the edge of the woods where another infant raccoon couldn't climb over the fence and enter the backyard.  He was screaming because his mama and sister left him.  I stood there for a minute, just looking at the baby, realizing how amazing it was to see the deer and coon babies all in the same few minutes.  At that moment I loved where I live.

Then, suddenly, I remember how just the day before I chased a large red fox out of the backyard right near where the baby coon was stuck outside the fence.  An infant coon would be a great snack for that fox.  The coon was making such noise, I would have been surprised if any wild animals in the woods didn't come to investigate.  And it had been alone for a while now, for at least 10 minutes.  I worried for the little baby, and so I chased the mama coon off to her lost child.  She quickly scampered away and disappeared over the fence and into the woods, and she left her other baby with me on the back porch!!! 

The coon baby stood up on her hind legs, looked at me in terror, looked around to where mama used to be, and then she started screaming!  Her screams where just as loud as her brother's screams used to be.  Coons make such a unique noise.  I could have reached down and picked up the baby, she was so close.  I pointed to where mama coon went.  The baby coon looked, and timidly started off.  She got confused a few times, but finally heard her mama in the woods.  She climbed over the fence with a little trouble, falling on her butt a few times, but eventually made it, and disappeared into the woods.  That is the last time the mama coon brought her babies to my door.

Jack the cat made the most of the holiday.  He got lots of sleep.  Oh, wait, he always gets lots of sleep...
I love to see his pink toes and nose and ears in the photo below.  He's so cute I just want to hug him.  Jack loves hugs and snuggles - I've never known a cat who loved to be held like Jack.  And to think, he was once a wild stray.  Now he's spoiled.

Jack has the biggest smile that I've ever seen on a cat.

It wouldn't be a holiday without something from the oven, so I made blueberry muffins to celebrate. Yeah!

Happy 4th of July!!