Sunday, June 27, 2010

Poppies and "Turkey Walks"

I think my poppies are at their peak now. They are so beautiful, even if they are not quite what I expected out of my wildflower seed mix.

Here, my baby turkey's forage in my garden. When I let them out of their box, I call it going on a "turkey walk", because I walk, and the turkeys follow!

To illustrate, a visiting friend and I took them out. Here, they are all flocked up and walking with my friend!

My cats come along for the walk too. The turkeys used to be afraid of them, but they are getting very used to them and are almost close to ignoring them. The cats are not interested in the birds. They just want to follow me around.

Monday, June 21, 2010


A beautiful summer is full in swing here! We are getting tons of rain (too much for right now - can't get any hay cut and the dairy folk are losing good hay because it is too mature for dairy cattle now). Even though we've had a lot of rain, the temps have been nice (in the 70's), and we actually had a sunny weekend.

I had some friends come up to visit and we went strawberry picking. It was a lot of fun, but waiting a day to process my strawberries was not a good choice because they mold very quickly when they've ripened in such wet conditions! I think I probably salvaged only 2/3 of the box of berries. I may try to pick more today. I'm going to freeze them so we have a nice stockpile of berries for the winter months when we'll really want fruit.

I took Cody to a horse trainer for a month to get someone riding her and to have someone more experienced with me advance her training a bit. The trainer works with show horses and also trains trail horses. She has a really nice facility and a number of younger people working with her that ride with her as well. Our goal with Cody is to get to neck reining consistently and just get her more exposure and time with a person other than me. The trainer is going to help me graduate her to a more advanced bit that will work well with neck reining - a snaffle with a shank. I'm just not very experienced with the advanced world of horsemanship...I like to primarily trail ride, so what I've been able to do with my horses so far is perfectly good for me. But I think that it will be good for Cody to advance, especially since she is the horse that I put most visitors on when they ride with me. And I'd like her to become Todd's riding horse when I can finally get back in the saddle later this fall. I think he'd enjoy riding her regardless, but would be much more likely to come along more often if Cody was more responsive. The trainer offers lessons on the horse that she's training to teach the rider what the horse knows as well, and Todd plans to take those lessons, so it will be a good experience for all involved.

Poor Chico is so lonely without Cody. He is pining for her. It's been almost a week now, but I'll still look out in the pasture, see Griffin, Kachina and Catlow grazing, but not Chico. I get worries, so I go out to find him, and he's standing by the gate or in the barn all by himself. He isn't whinnying for her anymore, but he still goes off searching for her. When the 5 were together, they NEVER went off by themselves (with the exception of Catlow, who would graze away from the others, but never completely be in another part of the pasture).

And my flower beds really are starting to explode with color now! Right now it is mostly poppies and bachelor's buttons blooming, but soon, the blazing star, black-eyed susans, and coreopsis should start!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Latest ultrasound pics

Our baby is almost 28 weeks along in gestation now! I just had my latest doctor appointment and ultrasound this week. She's growing well and all seems normal thus far! The 3-D ultrasound pictures we go are absolutely precious. The detail and shape is amazing! I think I can see that she may even have my nose! I'm getting excited to be able to see her in person (in less than 3 months already!). But I have so much to prepare for that! We will be painting her room soon (brown is my color of choice, so that I can fill it with many brightly colored objects like yellow curtains and wall hangings).

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I know my mustang blog has not been about mustangs very much lately. But I think this happens to all of us who get into blogging. We start off because this is a great outlet for one of our passions, horses, but at some point, we make blogging friends, and then want to also share other things going on in our lives. I think it's a natural progression. I'll get back to the mustangs when I get time and the ability to work with them, but for now, my horses are perfectly happy getting the summer off, getting fat, while I am also getting fat (pregnant). Life is good.

My big news this weekend is that Todd and I were married last Friday! We had a very small, intimate, special ceremony. It was wonderful. Because we are busy getting ready for baby, we are postponing our marriage celebration for next year, exactly one year from the date we were married. That will be when we invite our friends and family to celebrate with us. At that time, we will be more settled into our baby life and have time to plan it! We are definitely looking forward to it!

In other news...I finally got my garden weeded. It was terrible before. We'd had lots of rain, and the weeds just shot up, and I hadn't been keeping on top of it, but I made it a priority this week and I'm finally done! I will post new pictures soon, because my garden has really grown so much! I'm so proud of it!

I ended up losing one more baby turkey, so now I'm down to 11 (from 15). The rest are doing great though (cross fingers) so I don't think I'll lose any more. I think that two days of shipping was just a bit too much for them to recover from. Turkeys are different than chickens and I think they just don't handle it as well. I haven't lost a single chicken (yet), and they had even sent two extra (for 32 total!). Both the chicks and the turkeys are growing like my weedy garden. I had the turkeys out following me around the yard a bit today. It was so fun. I love turkeys. I will get pictures of that soon, too. I keep forgetting to take pictures.

Life is really good right now. :)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Flowers and new chicks!

The last catch-up post is about my flower beds and new baby chicks. First off, if you want to see cool growth, check out teh first post I did on my flower bed on May 13th. I had seeded some beds in with wildflower seeds, and then spot planted a few annuals and perennials to add flowers until they would come in thick. On May 13th, there were little green sprouts, but they were still tiny little things then.

Check them out as of last week!

And this week, they are even taller and starting to flower - just a few poppies and the perennials I'd planted right now, but I expect that in a few weeks, the bed will be vividly bright with color! Almost every tall plant now has flower buds on it and they are totally overshadowing the annuals that I had planted. I will have to take another picture of them now...I'm waiting for a sunny day to show them off now.

The bed in the back of the house is even more grown up than the front bed.

I had also put together some planters with various annuals, and now, a couple weeks later, they have just filled in with flowers and really look beautiful.

I have the best time checking on my flowers daily.

And my other project has been the arrival of our baby turkeys and chicks that we'd ordered in the mail!

The turkeys arrived last Thursday.

I ordered 3 each of 5 varieties: Bourbon Red, Royal Palm, Naragansett, Black Spanish, and Broad-breasted White. All 15 of them looked perky and healthy when they arrived, and I made sure that each one had found the water and drank. But the next morning found one turkey dead, a broad-breasted white., I looked them over, and the rest looked okay that morning, but I had to leave to ride with the vet. When I returned home that afternoon, I found two more that looked very weak: one of which was actually losing his balance and falling over onto his back. The other just looked really lethargic. I immediately started feeding them both electolyte solution from an eyedropper. By evening, the royal palm that had been falling over was actually looking better (he wasn't falling over anymore, but he was still looking lethargic). The bourbon red that was very weak, seemed the same. I was able to get a lot of electrolyte into him, but I could tell by the wrinkled skin on his feet that he was just too dehydrated. I couldn't get enough water into him. Then I noticed that one of the black chicks was looking lethargic too, so I immediately started giving him electrolyte. I thought I might be able to save him because it seemed I was catching him early enough before he got to dehydrated and he started out actively taking the solution from the eyedropper. In the end, the bourbon red and the black chick succumbed and died. The royal palm with the balance issue miraculously made a recovery and he is doing much better, although still not quite as active as the other chicks. But he's now eating and drinking on his own. So I lost three and I'm now down to 12. I think the rest are going to make it. The healthy chicks are extremely fiesty and think that I'm their mom. They come running over when they seem my head peer into their box and they voraciously peck at my fingers looking for insect treats (I feed them caterpillars and horseflies that I find).

The chicks arrived a day after the turkeys on Friday. My mom picked them up from the post office, since I was with the vet. All 30 chicks were perky and healthy and as of today (5 days later), they are still going strong and healthy and growing like weeds! We ordered 5 each of 6 breeds: two meat breeds that are the slower growing cornish crosses (5 are white and 5 are red), Welsummer (a dark brown egg layer), Cuckoo Marans (another dark brown egg layer), Gold Campine (an attractive white egg layer), and Blue-laced Red Wyandotte (a beautifully feathered light brown egg layer).

The chicks are not quite as tame as the turkeys, but then, I've never had chickens become as tame as turkeys do. Turkeys really imprint on their handlers, while chickens don't seem to do that. To tame chickens, you have to actively hold them and get them really accustomed to you. Turkeys seem to imprint on you by default. Because of that, they are so fun to play with. They respond to your voice and when you let them out to forage as chicks, they'll follow you everywhere and inspect everything you get your hands on. They are so fun.

The chickens really seem to have more of a fear instinct with strange noises and people...strange, since I think chickens have been domesticated longer than turkeys.

The chickens that we end up keeping from this batch will make a really nice egglaying mix with our current flock of mixed brown and green egg layers. It is so fun to get eggs that are all colors of the rainbow in your egg carton. And there is really nothing like home raised eggs in comparison to store eggs. Once you've actually had farm fresh eggs from chickens that are fed a varied diet (not just strictly formulated chicken feed), you will never go back. Their eggs have such great flavor. In comparison, store eggs have no flavor at all, and store yolks are usually pale yellow, where as our chickens have rich yellow-orange yolks that are not at all artificially enhanced.

We love our chickens and their eggs.

A weekend in Florida

At the end of May, Todd and I flew to Florida to attend the wedding of a very good friend of mine. We flew down on Saturday, and flew back on Monday. It was a short trip, but we went to the beach and did some sight-seeing. We had a great time. It was our first official vacation together outside of WI. I'll post a few pictures from our trip.

We went to the beach between Jacksonville and St. Augustine. It was just littered with seashells, and very fun to stroll down.

The beach was very empty, so we felt quite at home and were able to explore in a world of our own.

Todd carried my sandals for me. What a great guy. :)

My pregnant belly on the beach.

Some really cool clouds against the backdrop of the beach.

Todd checks out a really cool tree we saw on a walk through the coastal dunes and forest.

The wedding was held at the TPC Sawgrass golf course clubhouse. It's a course where they host the PGA tour. Now, I don't know much about golf, but I know that it was a pretty fancy place.

The bride and groom were very happy and I am so pleased that they found eachother. The wedding was very interesting to me, having never before experienced a traditional Jewish wedding.

Our last day there, we went to a different beach and had a very different experience. The beach was PACKED with people!

But we did see a cool jellyfish washed up on shore. I felt bad for it. It was still alive. I could see his edges quivering and trying to undulate and push himself back out into the water.

It makes me so sad to think about how this oil spill will impact the animals in the sea and these gorgeous beaches. Even though the oil hasn't yet reached this area, it undoubtedly will impact it for many years to come, if not permanently change it.

Garden is growing!

I have been terrible about posting lately. I would post more often, but the internet connection at our house is very weak and lately I haven't been able to get internet there at all. We share with my sister who lives next door, but I think the distance is just a little too great sometimes, especially when it's rainy outside it seems.

It is summer, and there are so many things going on that I'd like to post about, but I feel very behind, so I might do a few posts to break it up by topic and make catching up not so overwhelming!

First of all, my garden is growing! I don't have any super recent pictures, and the ones from even a week ago seem so outdated already!

These pictures are from a couple of weeks ago now.

The last couple of nights, we've had fresh lettuce, radishes and young onions from our garden, along with hamburgers from beef that Todd raised. A real home grown meal!

My horses are so fat and happy. I wish I had more time (and wasn't pregnant so I could ride and really work them). They don't mind that they only have to be pasture pets for now. You can tell that Griffin and Kachina are both still growing a bit. They are the only horses of mine that are not overweight on the lush spring grass!

I'm really pleased with both Griffin and Kachina's progress. I recieved their BLM title applications in the mail. The vet that I'm riding with will stop out next week to sign off on the forms, so then I will officially own them! Even though I hardly do anything with them, except go out to visit them in the pasture, they have both calmed down so much. Being with a stable herd of tame horses has especially done wonders for Kachina. She would always follow me around, but her hyperreactivity to things is slowly fading. She used to get snorty when she would try to follow me, but I was carrying something through the pasture (like a big bowl full of scraps for the chickens). Now, she is still leary about sniffing the bowl, but she will at least let me scratch her when I'm carrying it! And this is all without doing anything with her expect showing up and petting her whenever I happen through the pasture. I know it is not ideal. I wish I could work with them more often, but I also think that this calm slow approach is working with both of them. Even skeptical Griffin really lets me approach him and will even approach me out in the pasture to get a good chest rub. Griffin is quite full of himself usually. He's very polite with me, but he will try to chase and stomp my dogs (they know, and they stick super close to me, or stand outside the fence to watch when I am with the horses). And he's always roughhousing with Chico and Kachina. It cracks me up that Kachina likes to roughhouse with the boys. For such a petite little mare, she has some spunk and sass!