Saturday, December 18, 2010

Haying the chickens

For those who are wondering, we give the chickens hay in the winter. Chickens don't like to walk in the snow so they need to have boards, or hay or something to walk on if you want them to go outside in the winter.

Here's the inside of the coop. As you can see the turkey gets the highest perch, in this case, the door. This picture was taken during the daytime so not all the chickens were on the roosts. They just like to perch when they're not doing anything. (Chickens who are hurt or sick often perch to avoid being picked on.)

In the winter, I let the chickens in the brooder room. I have the saw horses there for perches so they can perch in here if they want.

Danny spotted and photographed this hawk perching on his beehives. I think it's a female goshawk, which worried me a little since I've had trouble with goshawks and Cooper's hawks getting my younger chickens. Luckily, I think she was just passing through.

Mom and Danny spotted this hawk. I'm not sure what it is. Any guesses? I'm guessing it's in the Buteo family, meaning it's related to red-tails and rough-legged hawks.
In the background, you can see some of our calves grazing.

Here's an older picture of a rough-legged hawk.(note the feathers on the hawk's legs)

When it comes to chicken eating varmints, I generally consider hawks one of the least dangerous predators. Unlike most mammals, hawks and owls aren't the type of animal who gets into a chicken coop and slaughters every last chicken. Around here, we mainly have long-eared owls, great horned owls, kestrels, red-tailed hawks, and rough-legged hawks. None of these species have ever killed any chickens. (Though I have no doubt the great horned owls would eat a chicken if one was sleeping outside.) The best way to protect your chickens from hawks is to have lots of cover (like trees and brush) for the chickens to hide in. Owls shouldn't be a problem since chickens should be in their coops at night where they are safe.
The only chickens I've lost to hawks have been young ones who were lost when the goshawks and Cooper's hawks migrate through in the fall. Luckily, we've never had one of those take up permanent residence here.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Hot Springs Fly-in

Earlier in September(10-12) we went to a fly-in at Hot Springs, SD. The fly-in was for the type of airplane I am building. About 120 people and 54 airplanes showed up. I had a lot of fun just looking at the airplanes and talking to the builders. The highlight of the trip was getting to ride in, and fly the same model airplane I am working on (an RV-9).

We flew over Mount Rushmore on the way to Hot Springs,

The Bearhawk,

Here is the RV-9 that I got to fly,

Some of the RV's

An RV-8 (Borrowed Horse)

A nice RV-10,

Dad admiring another nice RV-10,

A row of airplanes waiting for fuel,

A nice RV-6,

A funny shirt,

A map of where everyone came from,

The Bearhawk sticking out like a sore thumb,

On our way back we flew over Crazy Horse,

And Devils Tower,

We also flew over the Medicine Rocks,


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Snow and watermelon

I'm still playing catch up. Here are a couple of recent things that have happened.

We got a couple inches of snow on the eighteenth of September. It melted off pretty fast though.

A shot looking towards Blue Mountain,

It also got cold enough to freeze the watermelon vines so we were forced to pick all of them. Fortunately we have a meat cooler to put them in.

Here is a picture of me with the biggest melon we harvested this year. It weight in at twenty-two pounds.

And a picture of it being cut up.

Recently it warmed up and has been really nice. We are in the process of hauling hay. I might make a blog post for that too.

I'm also hoping to get a blog post written about our trip to Hot Springs SD sometime.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Spring and summer recap

Now for the yearly post. Well, not quite that bad...

Early in June we got hit by a freak thunder storm. I would say it passed over in half an hour, but our rain gauge still showed eight tenths, but I have to wonder about its accuracy. One of our neighbors who lives a couple of miles up the creek got two inches and Buck got one and a quarter inches. The creek really ran. A few days later dad was riding in a draw and there was debris in the trees about eight feet high. The rain wasn't very widespread though because it was dusty about five miles away.

Here is a picture I took once the rain started letting up.

The trees got watered.

And so did the garden.

The water tank by the shop was overflowing.

Here is a picture I took of our field east of the house showing how tall the grass is.

Here are some pictures of some cows and calves.

Another interesting thing was when someone Dad and I know buzzed our place in a P-51 Mustang.

We went to several brandings this spring. Here are some pictures taken at the brandings.

DJ and Danny,

Dad, Jessi and DJ,

DJ on Comet,

Danny and Dad,

Dad and Jessi,


Friday, July 30, 2010

No, we didn't drop off the face of the earth...

We've just been busy and the blog got abused. We have put up a lot of hay this year(probably around 850 acres). I think we have put over 1,500 bales on the baler this year, all on dry-land hay! We put up a bunch of hay and our neighbor hired us to do his as well. Most of the time Dad would cut out a field and then Mom and I would take turns cutting. Danny and Jessi would usually rake although Mom got her fair share of it. Dad and I were the the balers. It took us about two weeks to get everything finished. The rain kind of tapered off starting late in June so we hardly had any hay get wet. However, we could use the rain now.

Now for the pictures!

This picture was taken from the tractor in "thinner" hay,

Here is a blurry picture of some windrows,

Good hay,

Here is a pasture we decided to hay. We worked it up about five years ago and planted alfalfa in it. The hay wasn't too bad considering it used to be almost bare here. We still got about a bale and a half an acre, but compared to the field in the above pictures, which we got about three bales an acre, it didn't look so good. Although what it lacked in quantity it made up for in quality.

Here I am baling.

An aerial shot of our best field.

I still have an extremely late post I started in the middle of June that I still plan on posting.