Tuesday, April 9, 2013

snow, raccoons, hay bales and maple syrup

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Sweet little Jenny Blue Slate turkey hen

I almost titled this "the things we do to avoid doing our taxes," but  my mother-in-law might read this and then we'd be in trouble.  Because she's our accountant.

In fact, if you're my mother-in-law, you might want to skip this post and just imagine us diligently working on our taxes.

I also want to warn you that if you're following my blog by RSS or e-mail, this is a post from April that I never posted.  I'm posting it now and back-dating it, mostly because I want my on-line journal to reflect what I was doing back when I was actually doing it, so when next year I scratch my head and think, "When did we order those heritage turkeys?" I don't have to check my June posts for something that happened in April.

I know I've not been posting very much so far this year. There is a good reason. And it's not that I've been too busy preparing my taxes.  I've been neck-deep in a 5-month certification testing process for my job. It has quite frankly sucked all the free-time and creative-writing-energy right out of me.  Not to mention, all my time - day and evening.

But I'm almost done certifying now. Light at the end of the tunnel and all that.

Rah-rah!

I don't study on the weekends, since that is sacred time to spend with Papa Bear and all the farm chores that get put off during the week. So here's a snippet of some of the stuff that's been happening around here lately {and by "lately" I mean last April} when I'm not studying {and we're not doing our taxes}.

Playing with the turkeys. My original batch of turkeys are still alive and well. All four of them. They escaped Christmas dinner. They escaped Easter dinner. My females have been laying fertilized eggs since January, and there are a dozen turkey eggs in our incubator about a week away from hatching.

{EEP!} 

Blue Slate turkey eggs in an incubator

Or rather, {CHEEP!}

We keep meaning to eat some of them (the adults, not the incubating eggs), but my females keep jumping in my lap to snooze and cuddle, and my boys are so tame and sweet that unless they suddenly turn nasty on us, it looks like they may stick around for awhile. 

I also ordered about 15 heritage turkey poults from Porter's Rare Heritage Turkeys last week, and I have a local source for some Midget Whites that also might be showing up some time in May.

Yes, I know this puts me at risk for being labeled "the turkey lady." I'm OK with that. 

Have you seen a baby turkey before?  Have you heard their little peep peeps and trills?  It is nothing like a chicken, and I think baby chickens are freakishly cute, too. It's like a little flock of tree frogs.

But much much quieter and sweeter. 

{mostly quieter}

Blue Slate turkey poult from Cackle Hatchery

It snowed up through the first week of April and is still threatening to snow again.  My friends at The Big Farm nearly got their tractor stuck in our pasture trying to move some large round bales out of Molly's Haymow.  In April.  Which was a darn good excuse for PB to put off doing taxes for the entire day, "helping them out." 

And then we found a dead racoon in the machine shed.  Just lyin' there frozen stiff, back leg all busted up. Kind of creepy, I'm glad PB found it instead of me, and I'm glad he found it before it thawed.

The coon's buddy however is alive and well - we discovered him (her?) hanging off the gutter of the house one night reaching for our bird feeder and later snoozing in the haymow with a dead opossum lying next to him.  I am guessing the opossum was there first and the 'coon didn't want to share.

Or the opossum is just really good at playing dead. He joined the dead raccoon out in the hay field.

You can barter hay for just about anything after a bad year for rain.  We bartered some of ours for pigs and lambs this year.  We're hoping for more rain this summer so nobody has to send their herds to auction just because they don't have enough hay to feed them.

Kali on a bale last fall

The local auctioneer drove down my driveway last week to personally tell me he had some sheep in the auction the next day that I should come and take a look at. And bid on.

We sat in the back row, behind the young Amish farmers bidding on cows. I almost bid on a Brown Swiss steer yearling. 

{Almost}

I didn't bid on the lambs. They were vaccinated and conventionally grown {read: GMO grain-fed} and me and my customers want GMO-free, grass-fed.
We boiled down about 8 gallons of Maple sap into nearly 2 pints of maple syrup. It took 1.5 days on the stove in the kitchen.  Which means we have 7.75 gallons of maple water in the air in our house now.  And it gave us 1.5 days not to work on our taxes.

Only a little maple syrup went into our mouths...

Zoey decided she can climb the big white pine by the house.  Kali is extremely jealous of Zoey's front claws.

Zoey the amazing tree climbing cat

Mojo followed us all the way out to the back pasture.  He's never done that before.  He did spend the entire jaunt complaining.  I think he was saying, "You're going too far!  Come back to the safety of the house! 

{Come baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaccckkkk!!!!"}
Mojo aka Mountain Lion

Big News - we've renamed our farm.  But I haven't had the time or energy to fix the website I'm creating for it. So you'll have to stay tuned for the grand opening celebration.

There will be door prizes and lots of clapping.

Cheers - 

Gypsy Farmgirl

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