Saturday, June 21, 2008

Summertime is Here!

Cutting With Some Teeth!

I bought a new chain for my chainsaw and wow! what a difference. My 18" Poulan zips right through this fallen maple. I cut and Ruth loaded the chunks into the truck. Later, we tossed the wood into the corn crib where we will stack it and let it dry all summer. We'll be toasty around the wood stove this winter. But I do miss my bee tree. The bees have flown the coop!

(P.S. Several of my good friends have commented on my lack of safety gear and they are absolutely correct to point that out! I have the gear, but I am sometimes lazy and don't wear it. Thank you for showing your concern!)

Beaver Teeth Leave Their Mark

My dad found this log floating in his lake and knew I would want it for my classroom. I like this a lot! Notice how the beaver scraped long lines in the wood. The sides of the log are full of little tooth marks where the beaver stripped the bark off for dinner.

Olive Tomatoes!

I didn't even know they were this far along until Ruth showed me this photo. I'm ready for some garden fresh tomatoes.

Jungle Gym
Our ancient apple tree blew over this past winter and I cut this chunk off to put in with the chickens.

When I put it in the enclosure, they all beat it into the coop. One by one they came out and with a little scratch for motivation, they began to feel more comfortable. Now they are climbing around like little chicken monkeys.

Here are a couple of the girls pretending to be princesses and lording it over everyone else. Nobody paid any attention to them, except Ruth.

Bad Hen is showing everyone how brave and tough she is. She got to the top and slid down like a little moon walk and then promptly fell off. She made an odd sound and left in a huff. Cackles all around!
Pilates anyone?
Floozey and Honey aren't too sure of the new contraption. They think somebody is going to get hurt.

Somebody getting ready to get hurt.

"Nobody will play with me!" Kuifje just figured out how to get up on it and everyone went in.


freefalling said...

Extraordinarily exotic - to me at least!
The piece of wood with beaver teeth marks in it!!
Very cool. don't seem to have much safety gear on whilst using that chainsaw!!!

As always - LOVE the chooken shots!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you've got some nice firewood now. I feel bad for your bees too. The poor things are having a hard time with the mysterious "bug" that is destroying hives. You have a very good looking flock! I have 4 breeds but your flock has much more variety and color. Very nice! I like the way you recycled the apple tree branch too. What a great idea!

Ginnie said...

I just laugh out loud hysterically, Don, every time I see your chickens AND read your text. This is so much fun. I LOVE IT! You are having so much fun. Can hardly wait to see it all for myself come Farm Day!!

Stiggy said...

You have so many interesting things happening on your land - I just love reading about them.

The beaver chewed log - the sort of thing I only see on nature programs - what a fantastic find! Will you make any effort to try to see the beavers at any point?

I agree with freefalling actually Don - I almost bought a chainsaw the other day, and I was looking at doing a one day course before I did so I'd know what I was doing, as I know the chainsaw is one of the most dangerous power tools in the world...

... but on a lighter note, it looks great fun and I can't wait to find an excuse to go buy one!


Honey is STILL one of my faves from your flock - she just looks so cool! I look forward to reading about Stiggy one day too.

Kuifje sounds like me!


Don said...

freefalling: thanks for the admonition for safety! I get a little bit impulsive.

The beavers are making a strong comeback in Michigan. I think that 100 years ago most of Michigan was farmland and now a lot of that is reverting back to wilderness as the small farms have become a thing of the past. My grandfather had 100 acres up north in Michigan and it is now either pasture or forest. I wish I had that farm! He built a stone house in 1904 and it is still there, minus our family.

Don said...

Amy: Yea for firewood, boo for bee tree. I don't know what I think about the great variety I have in my flock. On one hand, they are diverse and multi-colored and sized, but on the other hand, I doubt I get the egg production you will get, plus I feel bad for the crested Polish hens as they seem to have very limited vision. Ruth and i gave another haircut this week and may do a few more today!
Here is what I have: 1 golden polish, 5 white crested black polish, 4 partridge cochins, 2 buff cochins, 5 cuckoo marans, 1 sumantra hen, 4 aracaunas, 3 ameracaunas, 4 silver polish crested, 2 golden penciled hamburgs, 1 buttercup, 2 crevecoeurs, 1 black polish crested. There, I think I listed them all. Oops, I also have 25 meat birds going to the freezer on Tuesday. I'll post sometime about that experience.

Don said...

ginnie: I can't wait to see you and Donica at Farm Day too! I have a chair and just sit out there sometimmes to watch the antics. It's interesting to see them react to things in the sky. One of them will spot something she doesn't like, make a strange squawk and they all then make a mad dash for the coop. Sometimes it's an airplane, but often it is a vulture spiraling by. I like how they are watching out for each other.

I'm glad to hear our knee is improving. Work it!

Don said...

Stiggy: Thanks for the safety chat! I will obey.

There are many streams that feed into my father's lake, and the beavers probably live on one of those streams. A few years ago, he sold his 40 acres of wilderness and there was a beaver dam on the property! We saw them regularly. The farmers up that way don't like them much as they dam the creeks and flood their fields. One farmer goes on a walk every day to clear out the dams so he can grow his corn! I don't think it's legal to trap them for their furs, but I also can't imagine that many fur coats are sold anymore!

Sandy said...

What a fun update and loved seeing the girls standing there watching the others play on the branch.

I so wish I could have chicks here but I know they wouldn't survive with the coyotes and hawks.

We know from experience how a good chain saw can zip through the cutting and trimming chores. We had to get one last year and we use it all the time. The Santa Ana winds are always bringing down limbs.

I always LOVE the photos of the chicks!!


laura said...

Such a pleasure, as always, to see what's going on there! Love the jungle gym--what a clever idea. And I'm surprised your olive tomatoes are farther along than mine! I better get some plant food!

Sharon said...

I LOVE your jungle gym and especially the Pilates shot and the one of Kuifje.......hard not to be able to relate her finding that once you've found the courage to join in it's too late!

Ruth said...

I think I've stopped laughing now, that was painful, in a good way. After 30 years you have the same humor, but it still cracks me up. It is soooo fun taking the pics, and then seeing what you'll put together for a post!

Ahh, that was a fun day.

Carole said...

Love the perch! What a great idea. Also great comments for the photos you took. I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog.

Astrid said...

Don, this is hilarious, BTW, I love the pictures but I love your sens of humor, I asked Ruth about Kuifje, it is me who named her that way, I love her hairdoo, kind of jealous here, but well I cannot have it all.
It is good to see all the chicks are trying to keep in shape, I know, they will never know when Mr.Rooster from across the street will make his aquaintence....
Have fun with the farm day when you have the family meeting.
I know there will be a lot of pictures taken.
Hartelijke groeten.

Don said...

sandy: I can imagine the coyotes hanging around for a nice meal. They kinda spook me anyway. We have them around here, but they don't come very close. I'm sure they would if they thought they had a chance to get one.

laura: want some fresh, natural plant food? I can send you some! It might not smell very nice, but I do have a lot of it!

sharon: Poor Kuifje! She tries so hard, but she is just a little slow on the uptake. I stayed out there with her, but she knew I was getting paid to do that.

Ruth: What are you talking about?

carole: I stole the idea from chickengirl. She has a great chicken blog and has lots of good ideas. BTW, your story about the injured chick is excellent! (go read carole's blog if you haven't!!)

astrid: Hi! Thanks for naming Kuifje (I absolutely cannot pronounce this name, so I just yell obscenities at her and she listens just the same) and visiting today. Ruth keeps telling me how to say it and I mess up. I think it's the kui part. or maybe the fke part. Does it have a translatable meaning?

J & J Acres said...

The chicken pictures on the wood are so cute! Sometimes you can get a picture of a chicken and it does look like they're pondering something intelligent!!

Bob Johnson said...

Don, love that wood with the beaver tooth marks, your kids will love it too.

I helped a friend of mine cut down one of my large trees , actually he did most of the work I held a saftey rope, which didn't work, when the tree fell a way we didn't want it to it dragged me along kicking and screaming,especially screaming, he had a chainsaw, I thought it was the coolest thing, so the next day I went out and purchased one, mostly for the sound, they work slick.

Great Jungle Gym, what a super idea. Another great post, love your style.

Farm Chick Paula said...

Wonderful pictures, Don! LOVE the jungle gym... I need to do something like that for my hens so they'll quit picking each others feathers! *Humphh* Boredom.
I just love Floozy... she's my favorite! I think I'll start a "Floozy Fanclub"!! tee hee

Anonymous said...

Hi Don,

Thanks for visiting Henbogle! I'll be reporting soon on my groundhog eradication efforts.

I noticed that you are a teacher --my husband Dan is also a teacher who changed careers to become a teacher, and he's never looked back, he loves it and has now been teaching for 20 years. I too work in education, and our summer break just began, isn't it wonderful!

Thanks for visiting, your blog is great and I'll be back again soon.

Ali in Maine

Anonymous said...

ps Don,

I've been tagged for a meme, so now I'm tagging you! Details here:

The Unusually Unusual Farmchick said...

I love seeing your chickens at play. \Nice chicken gym and beaver log! Both very interesting and cool!

Gwen Buchanan said...

I love your "beaver-chewed stick". max has a favourite one he uses as a walking stick or as a battle weapon in his play fights.... A lady i know gathered enough of them to use as curtain rods for her tab curtains in her sun room.. the smoothed off shape and little teeth marks make them quite the conversation piece.

I was surprised to have little tomatoes on my plants too... Summer is moving along too fast!!!

And I always love your chickens.. I haven't given up completely on having some chickens..just don't know when... I have john almost convinced now.. Fresh eggs!!!

Astrid said...

About Kuifje asked for another translation, well Kuifje is small for KUIF which gives the translation is what the guys would have in the roaring 60's the big hairdoo on top of their head with a lot of grease....BUT I think she does not mind you 'swearing' at her and trying to pronounce it right, Wilma will know and she will say the proper pronouncation, she will laugh at it.
TinTin we say Kuifje, look at his hairdoo.
Have a great weekend,
I love the pictures of the wod cutting.

Don said...

j & j: I agree that sometimes the chickens look like they are really thinking about something. One of my cuckoo maran roosters follows me everywhere and seems to want to talk about something. I keep encouraging him to speak his mind, but he has trouble with eliding!

bob: chainsaws are the best power tool. I can picture you hanging on to that tree and screaming. I am glad you didn't get hurt, but would sure like to hear a recording of the screaming!

paula: even with the jungle gym, the chickens are picking on two of my crested hens. They both look like medieval monks or friars with the circle of hair and the dome top. I thinkI am going to separate them until they are healed.

Floozey is really cute. She comes running when I go to the chicken yard because she knows I know how to find bugs.

henbogle: I am interested in what you will do with your groundhog problem. THey can really mess up a garden and building foundations! Thanks for the meme, I think. I am thinking about that for my next post.

unusual: Chickens need their play time, just like all of us! I can't believe you made that outfit so fast. Are there really orcs? Who wants to be an orc? (go read her blog for more info)

Gwen: what a life max has! I can picture him using that beaver stick and all the great adventures he has. Does he have days like the max in "Where the wild things are?"

I think you will get chickens some day. I can see you painting their feathers, or their feet, or their beaks...

summer is flying! I need to savor the moments

astrid: cowlick! I like that a lot. I will ask my sister-in-law-dutch girl about the word and see if she knows it. I like the audi in your blog.

chickengirl said...

Aaaaw! You're chicks are groing like ours! It's funny, we have a buff Polish, white-crested black Polish, and a chicken named Honey... Great minds think alike!

Chickens sure are funny. Especially with sticks and logs. Ours practically live on their little stick roosts!

Don said...

Hey, great minds do think alike! I am going to put some stick roosts in my coop just like yours! They make it look so rustic.

Country Girl said...

That log with the beaver work will be great to bring in the class room, the kids will love it!
John wears little protective wear when running his chainsaw. He truly scares me as I have seen my share of chainsaw injuries in the ER. When I am outback with him when he is cutting I always have my cell phone with me and think "apply direct pressure!"
I just learned how to run one too and I am probably at a way higher risk of injury than he.
Great post as always!

Don said...

Kim: Thanks for the ER, "apply direct pressure" reminder! I am definitely going to be careful to "gear up" when I hack. I have a lot of wood to cut and certainly don't want to go to the ER!

I will find some place in the classroom to display the beaver log. It's not everyday you get to see one of those!

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