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Certified organic poultry farmer in SE Mass

Mallard brings her family!
June 11. Yesterday afternoon at late-day feeding time, I found Mallard with about 12 ducklings in the pullet yard. She was causing quite a stir among the ducks and chickens. The ducklings were pretty new, I am sure they were probably out of the egg only a few hours and barely dry. I tried to give her some scratch but the chickens and ducks were greedy and chased her away...even tho' I had given them plenty before I offered some to Mallard. I followed her around with food and water but she stayed in front of me the whole time. I finally left the food and water and retreated. By dusk, she had vanished, ducklings in tow. I hope she had the sense to hide in the tall growth in the yard and didn't wander off into the unfenced fields for the night. I had hoped one of the people I called for help would respond in person to help me round the family up and put them into a condo unit for the night, but no bodies showed up.

A pet peeve of mine is when I call someone, leave a voice mail message...and they call me back without listening to the message. When I call someone, I leave a message for a REASON. I don't say " This is me, call me". I really got peeved with this yesterday when two of my calls were returned while I was out in the yard, hoping for some help to round up the duck family. And when I called these people back, I told them I was pretty tired of this behavior. What is the point of having voice mail if one doesn't listen to the message?  If I tell someone the best time to call me, do you think they can pay any attention??? NOOOO! They just see my phone number and call me right back, they don't listen to what I have to say in the message. I come back inside and find a message from them...hey, you called, what did you want? I can rant for some time on this subject!!!

Well, time to get off this subject an outside to the birds. No rain, pollen is coated on everything. Hope it will rain soon, we are pretty dry here.

Thanks for your comments and thoughts.
June pollen
June 10. Still packing. Endless task! I didn't know I could stuff so much into a trailer! Putting some tings into the camper. While I was getting a locking door handle for the entrance door (the one on the camper didn't lock), someone went into the bathroom and pissed into the toilet. I know who would do that, but can't prove it unless I hire someone to do a DNA test. I can't seem to open the discharge tube to empty the toilet. I will get some help with that, I hope! I don't want to have to sypohon (SP) out the stink! I did manage to get a locking entrance door handle on and it works, but is quite stiff to lock and unlock. Since the camper is vintage, parts are not easily obtained, even online.

I caught a cold from the one helper that came ten days ago. This is a bad cold and lodged in my chest. After coughing my head off all weekend, I went to see a doctor. I now have bronchial asthma. The doc loaded me up with Prednisone, both orally and through an inhaler treatment right in immediate care. He gave me Rx for more Prednisone, an inhaler and some pretty strong antibiotics. He told me I was one step from pneumonia. At least I could breathe and now my coughing has ceased to be non-productive and I can get some rest. I am not crazy about any of these treatments, but I believe I am pretty sick and wouldn't get better without them. I was doing all the homeopathic treatments, Netti pot several times a day and Black Walnut hull tincture. Still doing these.

The pollen drop has been enormous lately. Pine, I believe. Everything is covered with a green-yellowish powder. The grasses are now pollinating and everywhere there is uncut hay, the pollen is enormous. When I walk BB the dog, he is covered with the stuff and he is sneezing, so I wipe him off with a damp cloth to remove it. He needs a bath to get it out of his fur.

I am sorting things out for three storage areas...and a campsite. I got the tent up over the weekend so I could measure it (it has been about 14 years since I put the tent up) and check it out for problems. It is a nice, old canvass tent and measures 11' 6" square. The floor is rubber and it has nice zipper windows and a canopy over the front door. It will be cramped, but I can manage.

I have read your comments and appreciate them. Pam has been busy with her farm work and gardens. One new commenter says that is a shame I have to move, but if all the facts were known to them, they would understand it is the best thing for me. I need to be out of this place where I can't go forward and am stuck in the same place. Gem understands some of the challenges I face. I have farmed this place since 1997, given it my all and have the disability to prove it. I have also learned many things about myself and the other owner of the property. I will use this knowledge as I go forward with the next chapter of my life!

There are now three clutches of chix with broody hens out in the pullet yard. Another hen is hatching chix out, the eggs may be all hatched out by tomorrow. I will clean out another condo unit and get it set up for them today.

Warmer weather has helped sprout the barley faster for the little ones to eat. Barley is not the best feed for chickens under 18 months of age since there is an enzyme necessary for digestion and chickens don't make that enzyme till they are 18 months of age. Sprouting the grain removes most of this product so young birds can digest it. Seems barley is the only small grain available at a reasonable price through our grain supplier. I could have bought seed wheat at a cost of $38 per 50# bag, but that is way out of my budget! The birds love whole grains!

Mallard is coming around often at late-day feeding time for food. She is now brooding her own eggs somewhere and stays to eat, bathe in the pool and groom. I have not seen her mate in about two weeks. Maybe he was taken by a hawk or snapping turtle? The hazards of living in the wild are huge! I wonder if Mallard will walk her ducklings over for something to eat once they have hatched? The trip will be of great danger to the little ones since the hay is tall and the ducklings can't fly. I shall be at the ready with starter mash and fresh water for them should they show up.

Regarding camping out and the associated dangers, there are few. I will be camping out about 1/2 mile from my farm close to a friend's home. I have done this before when leaving New Jersey in 1986. I did quite well, but have some concerns about safety of the site when I am away. My dog will present a challenge since I can't leave him should I need to go shopping or run errands. He can't stay in the car in the summer while I shop. I will be reluctant to leave him with anyone. Another challenge to overcome.

I will be selling my poultry business in entirety. I have told very few folks about this, and was quite surprised to get a voice mail inquiry about selling some of my chicken houses. I am not going to nickle and dime this business, I am going to sell it as a whole. All coops, condo units, chickens, ducks and equipment. Moving the coop is a challenge and I surely would like to sell it before I have to pay a bunch of money to have to coop moved 100 feet or so!

Well, time to get off the computer. I will be storing my computer until I have another place. I will access my internet from the public library or friends to check my emails and update my blog.

Thanks to you all for your interest and comments. I shall keep you posted.
First week of June
First week of June has been one of nice, cooler weather than last year. Today, we are getting some much needed rain since May has been dry. Many things are coming on early this  year. Lightening bugs were seen the last Saturday of May. I have never seen them before June 15 here on the south coast. Some of the Milkweed is heading into flowers. This normally happens later in June. The Locust trees are blooming now. With no pollinators to speak of, the pear tree is having a large fruit drop right now. I have not seen one honeybee and few bumblebees. None of my daffodils made seed heads. The winter moth larvae have done severe damage to most fruit and ornamental trees along with oaks and maples. Some are completely without leaves (mostly the hickory trees).

I am packing to vacate the trailer I have lived in for almost 11 years. I will camp out in a nearby woods belonging to a neighbor. I have good camping equipment and will set up a good site but the area is rift with poison ivy and loaded with ticks and mosquitoes. No bare feet or legs for me! I picked one tick off my back the morning after I worked on clearing the campsite. It was a deer tick, but hadn't been on me for long since I was able to scratch it right off without any help. I will have to be very diligent and spray a lot of Garlic Barrier around to deter the ticks!

Problem with moving is reliable help. Seems I have complained about this in the past. Last Saturday, I had three strapping young men scheduled to come help in the morning. Only one showed up. Hard for me to move a freezer and fridge with no pick up...one of the missing was bringing a truck. Instead, the one fellow and I did a bunch of other things that needed doing. I rented a small storage unit and we moved a car full of packed boxes and some other things.

On the Friday before, a friend came to help me pack. While I was distracted with feeding the flocks, she packed up the new locking handle for the camper. It took me three days and four hours to locate it! The washer went that same night to a friend with two kids. She is a single mother and has been doing the family laundry at the laundromat for over two months. I figure she deserves it.

Things are moving along with my mother's place. It went on the market early in May and there was an offer on it within four days. The for sale sign is now down, so I figure the offer is now under contract. I hope things can come to fruition by the end of the summer.

I am going to sell my entire chicken business so I can move on from here. I have decided this is what I have to do to sever myself from this place of doom. I have bought a newer Volvo 240 station wagon and am awaiting it's arrival. I will need to buy a camper that this car can tow and then I will head west...or south for the winter!

I will be loosing my computer by June 15 and will do any updates at the public library.  I hope you are enjoying the warmer weather!
Mother's Day weekend
May 12. The weekend was much more quiet than I had planned. I hoped that I would have two extra pair of hands to work on Sunday, but Mother's Day plans put them out of the works. I would have had them scheduled for Saturday, but the weather man said it was going to rain hard. It didn't, they didn't come and the day was lost.

Two hens now set on eggs. A third is now broody. All of these hens are Dominique. One hen has her lone chix, she is quite off her rocker right now. A week after hatching her lone egg, she doesn't have enough to worry about. She needs to get outside with the chix, but it was very cool and windy till yesterday, and even yesterday, the wind was pretty gusty.

I can only hope I can get some help here soon so I can get somethings done that are not just keeping up with the birds.

Ducky Lucky (my oldest Muscovy) has improved greatly over the past three weeks. She is now going out into the yard with little limping. I have seen her bathing in the duck pools and she seems to be pretty happy except when Sir Walter Drake has his way with her.The ducks are laying pretty regularly now, I collect between 5 - 6 eggs every day from the ducks. I have hard cooked some duck eggs for the hens this morning since I have so many in the house.

Today, temps will soar into the 80's. Too early for these high temps, for sure. Tuesday, the weather will cool off, be cloudy with some chance of rain. The pasture needs watering! The birds have eaten the clover and grass down to the nubbins and are eating broad-leafed Plantain now.

Have a great day, enjoy the coming cool weather!
Today, one year anniversary
May 6. One year ago, my mom died. I lit a candle and will let it burn right to the bottom for her today. If her spirit is still earth bound, maybe this will help her find her way to where she is headed. Mother's Day is this Sunday. I think of going to her place of rest for a visit. Somehow, I don't think I can do that just yet. I will be sad all day today.

When I came home yesterday from running errands (I bought two new garden hoses!!! Big purchase for me!), unpacked and put away purchases, I went out to late-day feed and other related chores (walk dog, put up solar lights on relocated fencing). I checked on the one egg that was pipping out earlier in the day. It had hatched and I am almost certain it is a boy. Of course!!! I cleaned out the condo, dusted with DE, put fresh shavings in one corner. I waited till dark and lock up time before I transferred the broody and the new (boy oh boy) chix to the condo. I re-dosed the broody for lice. She clucked plenty on her way out b/c the chix wasn't right under her. As soon as I set her down in the fresh shavings, I slipped the chix under her. She was quick to peck at my sleeve, the little nut. I shut the roof and left them to "be alone".

Then I headed to the main coop to re-examine the Dom roo. Once again, he was very easy to handle once he was off the roost. I placed a towel around his body so I could keep him from flapping his giant wings. I flipped him over onto my lap and checked his feet out (second day in a row for this). I don't think the raw area has diminished, but overall, the feet look a bit happier. Earlier in the day, I bought some special salve and put that all over his feet and up onto his legs under his feathers. I dosed him again for lice. After I flipped him over so I could look at his comb, I checked his crop. It was not easy to find under all those glorious feathers of his, but when I did and expressed it, he BURPED!!! Crop had a lot of air in it. Air may have gone into his crop while he was on his back, but since I didn't check crop before flipping him over, I won't know. Anyway, I massaged his crop so the air was out and gave him some red wine. After about a teaspoon, he started to shake the wine off his beak and I put him back on the roost.

Then I moved the one white layer out of the nesting boxes where she was setting. As I picked her up, I noticed her lower abdomen was very hard. When I looked at her vent, it seemed as if she was about ready to lay an egg. I carefully transferred her to a clean kennel for the night. No food and water, I want to check her crop and give her some red wine first thing in the morning.

9:30 when I came inside. Tired. Cleaned up, went to bed.

Today is another cog in the wheel of life. Keep it turning!