Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Join me on the deck

James and I are in the Outer Banks visiting Adam and Melissa this week.  We rented a really nice house in Corolla with a pond just off our deck.  The pond is covered in lots of green water plants/algae/lettuces??  Whatever you call it it would make fishing very hard and you probably would have to be very brave to put your feet in it.
It's teeming with wildlife.  There must be thousands of turtles and frogs and all kinds of swimmy things in there.  There are probably lots of snakes too but I haven't seen any yet.  I love watching the life move through this marshy habitat.  Nighttime brings a concert like I've never heard before.  It's much louder and busier than the frogs in our hot tub.  I wish I could get pictures of them.  There are many varieties, or at least they have many different voices - high beeping sounds, chirping and low croaks of bullfrogs.  It usually starts with just one frog, then a few more join in until it sounds like everyone in the pond has joined the chorus.  Slowly a few drop out until it ends in a solo.  It gets quiet again for maybe a minute and then starts all over again.

Also living in there are ducks and nutria.  I'd never heard of nutria until yesterday.  They look like beavers only their tails are more like a rat and they only get up to 25 lbs.  We've seen several of them.  They're a nuisance here because they eat every kind of plant and can eat up to 25% of their body weight a day.  I like watching them though.
Tomorrow I'm going surf fishing.  Get ready for some pictures of big fish, or at least some big fish stories.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

How can I be expected to get any work done?

I really try to get stuff done, I do.  Today I went down to the river to do some pruning and clean things up but I took Keri and Baxter with me and I kept wanting to watch them watch the river and play in it instead of work.  It was so distracting.  The noise you hear is the wind.  A storm was brewing.

I don't know if the storm had the piglets wound up or what, but they sure were excited.  As I filled the water buckets I was entertained by these busy, floppy eared, spotted, mud-covered bundles of energy.

They reminded me of puppies as they destroyed this piece of plastic they'd found.

Maybe if I lived somewhere boring, without animals and great views I'd get more done.  Thank God I don't.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

This is adorable, right?

It's a little odd but I still think it's adorable.

They do this several times a day.  Perhaps Baxter has always wanted to be a mom, or a dad, or a cat.   Maybe he's always wanted to be a pacifier for a cat.  Or maybe he just likes tummy massages.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

It's noisy here tonight

As many of you know I've given up on my spaquaponics garden.  Let's face it, James is the gardener.  I'm the animal person.  The ugly spa is still on our back patio and is full of green rain water which I have to keep emptying.  It's rained the past couple days so it's filling up pretty quickly.

While we have no use for the hot tub, some critters do.  Like I said, I raise animals.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Windsor's growing up and more of Baxter and Willy

I realized I haven't blogged about Windsor since he was born in April.  He's really growing into a nice looking steer.  Tonight he decided I might be ok afterall.  He's been coming closer and closer to me every day and I can tell he's curious about me but he has yet to let me give him a real massage like his mom begs for.  When I milk he lies right outside the barn gate and watches.  As I fill water buckets he stands close to observe.  Tonight when I went out to feed Keri I gave Raisa a rub down.  As I did he came closer and closer until I could touch his nose without him running away.  Eventually he made a nest in the tall grass and laid down.  As I got closer to him to take pictures he didn't jump up and run away like he usually does.  Check out this handsome guy.
 I love the black rings around his eyes and nose.
Raisa has shed out nicely and is very silky and shiny.  I miss the curls on her head though.
I'm pretty sure Willy thinks Baxter is her mom.  She tries to nurse from him a lot and he usually allows her to nudge his belly for a while but if he sees me watching he jumps up like he's embarrassed.  Sometimes while she's doing this Baxter licks her all over like a mother would.  It's so sweet and comical.
The piglets are getting out and about more often but I haven't gotten them on video yet.  I like the way they lie side by side.  Look at those bright pink noses.  I was afraid if I got a closer picture they'd get up and run away.  They're still kind of afraid of me.
They're not afraid of the other pigs though.  It's interesting to see how all the bigger pigs have welcomed them and everyone gets along so well.   Black Olive is an 8 month old Large Black gilt.  Yesterday and today I saw her go into their shed, lie down on her side to expose her nipples  and let the piglets try to nurse off her.  They'll try and try until they discover she has no milk.  Black Olive is happy to get a 5 minute tummy rub from them.  Mickey doesn't care that the piglets are trying to nurse from someone else.  I think she likes the break.

Lots of cuteness at the farm right now.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Strays make good buddies

The second Baxter walks out the back door Willy comes out of her cubby hole on the back steps.  She runs right to him.  I could waste lots of time watching them.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Piglets, finally

This afternoon when I checked on Mickey she looked lethargic and uncomfortable.  I knew it wouldn't be long till piglets arrived.  All the other pigs were very interested in licking her backside.  At this point I wished I had separated her from the rest.  Wendell was a little too interested in her and kept wanting to make more babies with her.  The poor girl just wanted to be left alone.  I think I heard her say something very mean to him but I can't repeat it.  I mean, c'mon, give the poor girl a break, will ya.

I was probably irritating her too by standing close by but she ignored me.  Just as she was beginning to push a storm rolled in.  I ducked into her tiny shed but so did 4 other pigs who wouldn't leave me alone so I had to venture out into the wind, rain and lightning and found shelter in the horse trailer.  Roxie and one of the black hogs waited out the storm in the trailer with me.

When the storm subsided I went back to see how Mickey had progressed.  I missed the first birth.  Luckily I got there in time to video the second, which was a breech birth.

It was a long time till the third arrived.  A young family arrived to ask if I had any pigs for sale.  I invited them to come watch with me.  They also raise goats.  We enjoyed visiting and they were happy to watch with me.

She only had 4 piglets total, which was disappointing, but I'm going to chalk it up to a young boar and gilts' first time.  These 4 little guys (or girls.  I haven't checked yet) are going to be very fat because they're nursing well and she has plenty of milk.

The last one born has almost as much black as he does white.  I'll have to get a picture of him tomorrow.

Mickey seemed wiped out afterwards and was happy to be stroked and babied.  For the last hour she hadn't made a sound but when I petted her she purred.  Good job, Mickey.

I'm sure I'll have better pictures and video to post in the next few days.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Willy or Wilhelmina

We've been adopted.  Three days ago I saw James stooping in the woodshed.  I went out to see what he was doing and caught him giving milk to a very tiny kitten.  We don't know where he/she came from.  We've recently lost all our chickens to a predator or predators.  I'm wondering if maybe the same animal got her family or maybe she was just dumped here.  Whatever, she seems to like us and calls to us constantly.  If we aren't spending time with her she seems happy to have Baxter hang out with her.  He licks her and she rubs against him and follows him.  I've seen him carry her in his mouth which worries me a little but I don't think he's squeezing her and she doesn't seem to mind.  He must remind her of her mom.  The 2 of them have similar coloring.  Baxter has spent lots of time with her over the past 3 days so they've already bonded.  Today was the first time Lex has spent any time with her.  They were both nervous of each other at first but it didn't take long till they decided to be friends.  She's moved from the woodshed, to the garage or under the Toyota, and now to the steps by our back door.  If she hears us walking in the house she cries.  She's cute but we don't want a house cat.

Today James said, "so, should we give her a name?"  I named her Willy.  Tomorrow I'll look more closely at her to see if I can tell if she's a boy or girl.  I had to go online to see how to tell the gender of a very young kitten.  I think I know now.
I thought I was going to be blogging about piglets today.  Yesterday morning I was able to express some milk from Mickey's teats.  I've read that once they have milk they will farrow within 24 hours.  Mickey isn't following the rules.  It's now been 36 hours and she hasn't begun nesting.  Maybe tomorrow morning but I'm not counting on it.  See how round her tummy is.  If you watch long enough you can see hooves and noses pushing on her sides.
 Here are the happy parents-to-be spooning.  I had just given Mickey a tummy rub and Wendell wanted one too so he pushed up against her so I'd do him.  I think Mickey fell asleep.