Sunday Homestead Update

The weather has been awesome this week (besides the hail!) and we have all really enjoyed being outside working in the gardens and spending time with the animals.  Here’s an update of some of what has been going on, and just a warning, there is a picture of a nasty wound on a chicken.

Garden

We had a terrible hail storm this week, followed by a few less major but still damaging hail storms.  We are going to leave everything in the garden, even the severely damaged plants, and see what revives itself.  Hopefully we will be wonderfully surprised at how everything produces despite the damage.

Ewe Lambs

The twin ewe lambs were sold this week and went to their new home.  They were Fiona’s babies and were 8 weeks old this week. It was hard saying good-bye to these cuties, but they got a great home where they will be treasured for their exceptional wool.

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Hawk Attack

Last year we had quite the struggle with aerial predators.  We had an owl kill one chicken, and then a hawk maimed two others to the point that we had to kill them so they didn’t suffer.  We have never had an aerial predator get away with a chicken though, thanks to the dogs.  We think that they wait until the dogs are resting in the sun or the stall and then drop down on the chickens.  The dogs, hearing the ruckus, then go after the attacker and it flies away without its prize.  Unfortunately, the damage is then done and we haven’t been able to save any birds from their wounds.  We put up a web of fishing line above the barnyard, which seemed to cut back on the attacks, but hasn’t completely stopped them.  Also, over the winter the web couldn’t handle the weight of the snow that gathered on it and started breaking.  So we took it all down and re-hung it with spider wire.  We will see if that can hold up through the winter.  But even with the web we still have the occasional attack.  I guess it is just something you have to accept if you want to free-range your chickens where there are aerial predators.

So last week we heard a ruckus and when we went out the dogs were going crazy, there was a red-tailed hawk circling and then landing in a tree right by the barnyard, and the chickens had all run for cover into the coop.  As I approached the barnyard I saw the sight that chicken owners dread – a big mess of feathers in about a 3 foot circle that look like a chicken exploded.  I went into the chicken pen and no one was acting wounded, all were moving freely.  But then I saw it – blood on Lacy’s side.  I picked her up and looked under her wing.  There was a huge gash with about a half-dollar size piece of skin hanging off.  It was only attached by about 1/2 inch of skin.  It was hard to see how deep the wound was.  All the previous hawk wounds have been through into the body cavity – thus the reason we ended up having to kill the chickens.  But those hens were both acting very wounded, Lacy, on the other hand, was acting normal.  Since she didn’t seem to be suffering, I decided to put her in isolation in the Mama Hen Pen until husband could come home at lunch and help me examine more closely.

Upon closer examination we could see that while the wound was deep and did include muscle tissue, it did not puncture all the way in to the cavity.  Since she was still acting normal, and had even laid an egg in the corner of the pen we decided to give her a chance to heal.  We kept her in the MHP alone so no other chickens could bother her, waited a day for the skin flap to dry up and then cut off the part that was clearly dead and useless, put my herbal salve on the wound twice a day, and we watched and waited to see what she would do.

I am happy to report that after a week she is still going strong.  The wound is healing up very well and she is acting completely fine.  She even laid 5 out of 6 days (and she is a 3-year-old too!).  Here is a picture, it is pretty nasty, but it is SO much smaller and better than it started out.

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We will continue to keep her in isolation for at least another week or until the wound is healed enough that we feel she can handle being back with the other girls.

Knitting

I haven’t posted pics yet of the projects I finished over the winter after Christmas.  So here they are:

Basic socks for my son using the Spacious OMG heel.  He really likes the feel of the SOMG heel, though I find it too bulky and like the OMG heel better.  This is Patons Kroy sock yarn in Cadet Colors.

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This is based on the Irish Mesh Cowl pattern and I used the Marigoldjen Yarns High Twist MCN yarn in the Celebrate Love Knit colorway.  Loved the yarn but found the fact that the pattern needed heavy blocking but yet was an infinity scarf made it very hard to block evenly.

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This is the second time I have made Suzie Roger’s Reading Mitts.  The first pair I made for myself, these I made smaller for my 9-year-old daughter.  She loves them.  The yarn is Patons Kroy Ragg Shades in Brown Rose Marl colorway.

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I made these socks with what was leftover from the scarf above – the MarigoldJen Yarns.  It was a basic sock with the OMG heel and the Simple Skyp cable pattern.

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So those are my finished projects.  I don’t do as much handiwork in the summer since I am outdoors a lot more.  But I do have a couple of projects on the needles right now that I will share with you next week.

Sewing

I have always wanted to have a different set of placemats and cloth napkins for each season.  I feel like it makes it easy to have fun, seasonal decorations right on our table for each meal.  So I decided that it was time to go for it and make it happen.  I am starting with summer and will make a new set each season.  The placemats will be reversible with a seasonal fabric on one side, and a holiday fabric for that season on the other.  Then there will be a set of coordinating napkins that match each side separately.  So one set will be summer/4th of July, another fall/Thanksgiving, then winter/Christmas, and spring/Easter.

Here is the summer/4th of July set.  The placemats are reversible with summer on one side and the 4th on the other side.  The napkins have the same fabric on both sides.  We use mason jars and glasses and have a very old-fashioned farmhouse feel to our decor, so the bandana fabric felt just perfect!

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I am really happy with them and we are enjoying eating off of them.  Come fall I will make the next set.

Homemade placemats and cloth napkins are very easy to make if you have the right tools.  A how-to post on making them will be coming soon.

 

We are hoping for less hail this week as we continue to enjoy the growing gardens and summer farm life!

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