Photo Friday: he hates it

From time to time it becomes self-evident that the dogs need a bath.  Not hard if it’s the little dog, Tucker.  I put him in the sink and the job goes quickly!

He hates it.

But even more humiliating than getting the bath is Buddy’s reaction.

“Hey man, wha’d she do?  You smell funny!”

That’s OK Tucker, you took it like a champ and Buddy’s turn is coming this weekend…  😉

Photo Friday: garden promises

I apologize up front for using my flash on most of these photos.  It had just stopped raining and it was very overcast and dark outside.  I still don’t have a tripod, and I need one, to allow me a slower shutter speed and clarity.

But hey!  The excitement of watching all my hard work showing signs of paying off was too much to resist…

Why two poultry fences?  One to keep the geese in…

and one to keep them OUT!  😉

It’s small you say? It’s a zucchini just give it a day!

Color me RED!

Furry cantaloupe vines thriving in the heat and rain.

This is going to take a long time!  Can you guess what it is?

My little fig tree was frozen to the ground and left for dead… Then it suddenly sprouted and grew up like a weed!  It is now over five foot tall and full of (soon to be) luscious fruits!  Hearty tree!

This one has a role to play in tonight’s stir fry!

A prolific and hearty seedless variety of cucumber will provide salad fare and pickles this winter.

Hope you enjoyed this little tour of all the things growing here on the Farmlet.  But before I leave you…

My handsome kitty Claus would like you to know that he has been on patrol day and night ridding the garden of voles and moles!

Geese: my ‘epic fail’ and a happy ending!

I am a neophyte when it comes to chickens and geese.  I have only been at raising poultry for three years, and while I can feel pretty successful at raising chickens (just keep those dogs at bay thank you!) well, I’ve got to admit I certainly stink at goose husbandry.  What is more regrettable is the fact that I love the geese so much more than I do the chickens…

Shhhh!   Now don’t you dare breathe a word of this to them, because it would certainly hurt their feelings!

Without going into heartbreaking detail I have lost, one way and another, all of Polly’s baby goslings.  Yup, I lost the last one.  I had just come to naming little Helena and POOF!  She was out of the picture.  However as heartbreaking it was for me you have to know that it was a crushing blow to Polly!  She spent her whole day calling and looking for that little gosling girl to no avail and that was killing me…

I have learned that geese need companionship.  They will die without it.  I had to act fast for both our sakes!  I quickly contacted my favorite goose lady Connie of Sassafras Valley Farm, and asked if she had a spare goose/gosling I could buy.  She wrote back saying that she did!  Awesome!  Then I found that she lived all the way up in Missouri.  That surely was not going to work (You may recall the distress that driving that far caused me when I went up to visit Jayme.).  This meant I had to look local and what a surprise!  Seems raising geese is on the rise here in Alabama!

And so it is I found Kim in Moulton  via Craig’s List, and she had three Embden goslings for sale!  Moulton was only an hour away.  Hmm… Moulton vs. Missouri?  No contest there!  😉  Though I am certain I would have very much enjoyed visiting with Connie on her goose farm, and who knows?  I may have the opportunity someday.

And so it is that I drove to Moulton and OH-MY-GOODNESS!  These goslings are positively of Baby Huey fame and proportions, and although I was told they were just over a month old, they are already half the size of Polly!

We caught the triplets, I put them into the dog crate, Kim field dressed the scratches on my arm, I paid her, and I was off.  Unfortunately for me I had the dog crate in the back of the cab and not in the truck’s bed.    With the temperatures in the mid to high nineties the truck bed was simply not an option, so crate and all, into the cab they went.   Hopping into the cab I suddenly realized, that by the time I got home, I would certainly be suffering from the deleterious effects of the off gassing from that much goose poop!  I rolled down the windows and turned the air conditioner down to arctic blast!

Do I spoil my critters?

Now I wondered what would happen when I got home… Would Polly reject the three Hueys?  Would there be honking and pinching all around?  I, being a world class worry wart, began to worry in earnest.

Turns out I needn’t have.  Bob helped me to set the crate down and Polly came running over to see what was going on.  Right away she was interested in the goslings, and they, though hot and frightened from the ride home, were definitely interested in her too.  I opened the crate door.  No one came out.  Then Polly stuck her head inside and started a low soothing honking, almost like a whisper, and slowly the Hueys came out of the crate.

Polly was amazing!  She began honking loudly and walked over to get a drink.  They followed!  Later at dusk I heard her honking in earnest and, worried (did I mention I am a worrier?)  I ran to the window to see what was happening…

Surprisingly, she was honking ‘command’ and the three Hueys were walking in file right behind her into the barn and to bed!

Crisis averted!

And to think I was worried.

~*~

OK, this one begs for a caption!  Feeling witty?  Post one in the comments section and then we’ll take a vote.  Now don’t be shy!

~*~

A long awaited event

Saturday, the day before Easter, an event I had long been waiting for finally took place!  Polly’s eggs began hatching!

I had noticed her standing over her nest when I went to close the barn door on Friday.  I thought it odd, but didn’t understand what was going on…  Later I would realize that her eggs were talking to her and she was listening!  Little minute piping sounds were coming from inside and just audible to only her!

Next morning I came out to open the barn door and there she was standing over the nest again.  Reaching down with her bill, she kept adjusting the eggs vigorously.  So vigorously, in fact, that I thought she would shatter each and every one!  I needn’t have worried as it turns out.

Here with few words are Saturday and Sunday’s main event on the Farmlet… NOTE:  All pictures are clickable for a closer look if you like.  🙂

It began as a small hole

A tiny bill is just visible through the top of the opening… It’s a GIRL!   (I will explain how I know this at the end of the post.)

I would visit many times throughout the day.  The process was painstakingly slow!

It’s a BOY!

Aww…  It’s a Boy, a Boy, a Boy, and a Girl!

“Here, drink this, this is good!”

When you are only less than 24 hours old then everything must be taught.  What to drink and what to eat are important lessons!

Polly’s bath made puddles for the goslings to explore.

Hatching and learning all about your world is hard work!  Time for a nap.

Polly brings the babies out about once an hour to eat and drink.  While out of the nest she calls to them constantly.  Interesting to watch, and when they get too far away (for her comfort) she calls more loudly and the flaps her wings quite hard!  The gust of wind she creates sends all four hustling back to be right underneath her.

As Promised

I mentioned that there was a way to distinguish between the boys and girls, and with the Pilgrim Goose it is quite easily done!  This heritage breed is sex-linked meaning that the males and females are different colors from birth.  Pilgrim goslings with dark bills and darker gray down are the girls, while the goslings with lighter coloring on their bills, and more yellow in their down are the boys.  EASY!

I chose the Pilgrim Goose breed for this as well as the following reasons:

  1. They are smaller in stature
  2. More docile (with people, though apparently not chickens!!!)
  3. They are on the critical list for domestic breeds.

I love how Polly will follow me about, though not at the moment, and talk to me.  Perhaps with the babies this will change?  We’ll see.

To find out a bit more on this wonderful goose bread please go here:  http://albc-usa.org/cpl/waterfowl/pilgrim.html