14 June 2017 – Sunny and high of 70°F (Currently 47 at 6AM!)
I can’t believe it is already the 14th of June. The months, weeks, days, and hours are going by at the speed of light. Actually, the days are getting really long as the sun came up today at 5:12AM and won’t set until 8:38PM. That is about 16 hours of daylight which is really nice compared to less than half that in December. I have been waking up about 4:45 and I always think,”Rats! I slept in and missed the best part of the day, it’s so light it must be 8 o’clock!” But then I realize how early it is and Dave and I go about morning chores (feeding chickens, checking bees, etc.) and we are done with breakfast and are more than ready to get to the day’s work by 7AM.
The weather has been really nice, windy, and cool. That means we have had several good days to cut wood. We had two really large bug-trees that needed to come down. The bug trees have been infested with pine-beetle and are easily identifiable by their brown needles compared to all the green-needle trees next to them. We needed to remove them so the beetles won’t proliferate and take out neighboring trees.
Dave cut them down, and while he bucked them up I dragged slash into large piles. We will use a grapple on the tractor to pick the piles up and move them to a good burn spot away from other trees. Next winter, we will burn the piles when we have enough snow on the ground. It’s quite a process.
Because we are in the habit of naming things, we are calling these trees January and February. We think we already have enough firewood stored for November and December so once these two get split and stacked we hope we will be set through February next year for heating the house.
We are dog-sitting Vito again. He is a very good dog, but not so much help at dragging slash. Every time I would grab a branch and drag it to the slash pile, he would grab the other end of it and try to play tug-o-war with me. If I picked up sticks and threw them into the pile, he would fetch them and bring them back. When he got tired of these games, he tried to eat every stick in the forest. I think he had fun and he slept for a LONG time last night. Tired dog.
My Mom and Dad came up from Iowa for a short visit for my Mom’s birthday. We drove to Deadwood to do some gambling. It was a beautiful drive through the Black Hills. I made her a cake and Dave made homemade pizzas. The next day we did a ranch tour, they got to meet Cowboy and Linda’s friendly herd, and then we had a picnic in the National Forrest. It was great to see them and I think they had fun too!
Finally, the latest addition to the ranch is three new chickens. We found pullets on Craig’s List that were about the same age as Lovey, Ginger, and Mary-Ann and we drove to Rapid to pick them up. Going with the 70’s TV theme, we are naming them Charlie’s Angels: Sabrina, Jill, and Kelly. Casually we are referring to them as Sabrina, Farrah Faucet, and Smithy which is short for Jacklyn Smith. Those names just seem to fit them better.
Sabrina is a Golden Wyandotte and will lay brown eggs. Farrah Faucet and Smithy are both Faverolles that will lay light tan eggs. The Faverolles are really feathery, they even have feathers on their feet and they have beards. They have 5 toes on each foot as compared to 4 toes for most other breeds. They are all cold-hardy and easy-going chickens.
We were nervous about bringing home new chickens since the Islanders (Lovey, Ginger, Mary-Ann) were just getting used to the coop and the run. We heard adding new hens to the flock can be quite violent as the pecking order gets established. Usually the larger chickens will pick on the docile ones and sometimes even draw blood. Fortunately, all of our girls are about the same size. There was some pecking from the Islanders on the littlest new hens, and the Islanders would not allow Charlie’s Angels into the coop so Dave had to shove them in there at night. We have a lot of coyotes around so they definitely need to be cooped up at night. We were happy in the morning to find that the Islanders were all sleeping comfortably up in the roost and the Angels were in a pile sleeping on the floor. Several days later, they all seem to be getting along and the whole flock is going into the coop at dusk, which is the norm for chickens. They are so fun to watch and we are looking forward to some fresh eggs when they get old enough.
Tune in next week, we expect to complete more fencing, get a mower and baler operational for cutting oats and alfalfa, and we would like to complete the walkway with stone in the front of the house. What will actually happen depends on the weather, the wildlife, and the functionality of equipment. Every day is a surprise.