Friday, November 6, 2009

finally fall

its finally fall... meaning the high is generally under 80. the ac is officially off. farmer boy #1 gives his approval of the weather by playing outside rather than whining at the door w/ sweat dripping down his face.

i'm on snake alert again though. this morning, Wednesday didn't come to eat w/ the other goats. i found her in the shed standing as stiff as a statue, empty glazed over eyes. took 5 min. for her to even look at me. given our prior history w/ snakes, i opted to not go in the shed lest i find it too. she eventually came out, very wobbly on her feet. i felt over her completely- no swelling, no blood, no sensitive spots. she came over to me and laid her head right on my shoulder. she's generally a sweetie, but that's not typical- she must not be feeling well. over the morning, i kept a close watch. she's not scouring or drinking like cocoa was after her snake bite so i really don't know what it is. she's more stable walking than cocoa was too. and wednesday hasn't been normal for the last couple weeks. she hasn't been running at all and lays down most of the time. i figured she got pregnant too soon and she's especially tired from growing her baby and herself. i know i was tired! anyway, she's hanging in there, but i'm keep vigilent watch on her too.

in chicken news, 85 chicks arrived yesterday morning. we ordered 80, but most hatcheries will send extras to cover losses. and sure enough 4 arrived dead (3 appeared to be crushed... i think the box was set at an angle for a bit) and a fifth went spraddle legged (where the tendons in a leg tear and they are unable to stand). I bound her legs with a ribbon, and she could stand, but she still wasn't eating and drinking. She died last night. The rest are doing well. However, the meat birds, as a breed, must be stupider than your average chicken. Generally you get a couple flakes in the box who must climb into the waterer. This happened and I treated it as normal... grab those couple, hold them close to the heat lamp, get them dried off and put them back in with the others... but while I was dealing with the first ones, the rest of that breed, one after another, all climbed into the waterer! And it was a windy day so we were getting gusts coming straight into the garage! I was getting scared... finally I found a neighbor who was on his way home and had a hair drier I could use. He brought it by just in time. I stood their fluffing their feathers for about 20 minutes. They don't climb into the waterer anymore!

We're brooding this batch differently than we have before. Previously we've layed down newspaper, set the pen on top of that (in the garage) and then laid down a piece of burlap over the pen's chicken wire bottom. It works well, but is awfully messy and stinky to change. With this many birds (we're brooding for 2 other families), we'd be changing twice a day by the end- yuck! So instead we have an old kiddie pool filled with sawdust and paper shreddings. A bottomless pen is over that. We'll add more sawdust and paper as we go and then add the whole works to the compost pile when we're done. We'll let you know how it works.

On the garden front, we continue to be loaded with peppers. And now tomatoes are really coming- only purple cherokees right now, but boy those are good! Farmer Hubby raved over a sandwich he made the other day- egg salad (from our eggs) with pepper slices, tomato and dill all from the garden. We're almost ready to harvest some radishes. Ate the last of the big bok choy last night (nothing coming in behind it due to a pregnancy induce hiatus and screwy weather). Planted seedlings of cabbage, bok choy, peas, brussels sprouts, and chard yesterday and they are doing fine. While Central Florida Gardener is harvesting lettuce, I've managed to finally get a whole THREE seeds to sprout. They aren't getting transplanted until they're good and strong! Got some broccoli that's almost ready to be transplanted, but again, with how they've done thus far, I'm waiting a while longer until the weather is likely to STAY cool.

As for our citrus problem... thank you, commenter, who alerted me to the fact that I was killing swallowtail butterflies! And don't tell my daughter this- she'll cry for a week! The only thing that I can figure is that I have several things attacking my trees... and what I was the most concerned with isn't the most severe. I think citrus greening is what killed them... which is why my 3 tangerine trees is all that's left. Tangerines are supposedly more resistant. We also seem to be losing our avocado tree. Someone said we're having the problem with tree-attacking viruses and such because of clearing our back yard. Since the yard has been cleared for a year and a half now, I'm not sure that's likely, but I'm not ruling it out either. I'm open to suggestions and opinions!

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