Monday, October 13, 2014

A weekend of skunks, pumpkins and friends






 This week has been an interesting one. Midweek we awoke at 4am to screaming chickens. Brandon wandered down (in a rainstorm!) and checking in on the chicken coop and found himself faced with a skunk coming out of the coop with the second of his chicken prizes. We'd forgotten to close up the chicken shed that night - to be honest, we'd got complacent, because we'd never seen any evidence anything had been getting past the larger fenced in area. Lesson learned. We lost the two frizzles, which were Brandon't favorites, so he's been a little sad. More than that though we ended up with a skunk living under the compost pile...

The skunk....tucked way under there.....
After 2 days of not letting the dogs out, we called a pest control guy. He came and set two traps, which I thought odd, but okay. The next morning two traps were shut, not one, but two skunks! 

The rest of the week went well, busy at work, but a great weekend to look forward to. Our friend Kathy and her daughter Laura came to visit from Cape Cod! 

Fall has brought the beautiful colors! 

On saturday we decided to go to Camden, had lunch in town, wandered and then came to the top of Mt Batty to see the colors, so pretty and peaceful. 

Kathy discovered her new passion....photo bombing....

Kathy and Laura with Camden in the distance. 

Laura is quite the animal whisperer, so the animals were in heaven, and way too spoiled for the weekend....

Sunday we went to my favorite festival of the year....Pumpkinfest at Damariscotta! The pumpkins are enormous, and beautifully decorated. This year the largest pumpkin was 1695lbs! The Darling Marine Center students also made a great pumpkin! 

The DMC pumpkin! 

Creepy spider! 

Hedgehog, possibly my favorite of the festival

Medusa

Anglerfish!

Laura and Kathy for scale! 

Fishing net. 




Monday, October 6, 2014

Tardy

I've been a little tardy in updating the blog, but finally tonight downloaded photos. Things have been busy with the semester, and a short trip to Connecticut for work (which I was lucky enough to have Brandon come with me!). We finally hit fall about a week ago - the temperature dropped (though it's still pretty warm) and the leaves have started to fall. Amazingly we still haven't turned on the heating, last year I think we had to turn it on by the end of September - not bad!

The critters are all well, Miss Barkley has perked up with the cooler weather, showing her puppy side more often. We went apple picking a few weekends ago, which led to about 40 lbs of apples! I've been dehydrating and canning apple sauce and apple pie mix since - yum!

Brandon also finished his firepit! 

So we shared sausages and smores with friends! 

One wind storm and suddenly it is fall! This time of year is treacherous with two dogs....it's hard to tell where the poop is around all the leaves.....

Brandon's new toy! Cleaned up the yard in a few hours, rather than a few days like usual! 

Barkley getting to the last of the long grass at the back of the Blueberry patch. 

Tomatoes still going strong. Despite some neglect, the garden has been great this year. So far we've frozen a ton of zucchini, canned 8 jars of chopped tomatoes, frozen 6 jars of pesto and frozen 3 meals of squash soup. Not bad! 

The last of the squash. These are two small to eat! 


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Our first egg!

A teeny tiny bantam egg! The regular chickens are about a month or so behind the bantams, so not long before we have full size omelets! 

Bantams - an unknown kind on the left, and Frizzle, the frizzle cochin on the right. 
A Barred Rock (left) and a weirdly colored Easter Egger on the right.

Little Red Hen amongst the other bantams. She's so small! 

Barred Rock and Easter Eggers 
The Easter Eggers showing off their fantastic moustaches...

Smooth Cochin, by far one of the friendliest chickens around....except to other chickens. This lady rules the roost! 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Happy 14 Miss Barkley Bear!

Happy Birthday Miss Barkley Bear! 14 years young, and still sometimes a puppy. Today she was so excited to go on a car ride, she bounded down the hill from the kitchen to the car and even nipped at Brandon's hands to try and extract the waiting cookie. At 14 though, this was followed by a good 4 hour nap.....:)
Mr Brody gets into the party spirit! He's not quite as comfortable being dressed up as Barkley is...


Silly Barkley! 

Zoe kinda got into the action too! Or she could be saying f**k you, we're not quite sure....:)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Screen doors!

It's been a beautiful few days here in Maine! We had about 4 quarts of strawberries from the plants we planted last year, and the raspberries and blueberries are just starting to come in. The rhubarb has taken off again, so we're still storing in the freezer, and suddenly the tomatoes and peas are starting to bloom. We've also had several salads so far from our patio lettuce. 

And with 4th of July, came 4th of July sales, so we branched out and bought two new screen doors! This is so exciting, because neither of our current screen doors closed properly - one of them the handle rotated 360 degrees! So it's something we've wanted to replace from day 1. With the new screens it's already super nice to have them open and get some breeze in, and this winter they should be SO much better insulators for the main doors. 


Barkley lends her help to Brandon unpacking the new screen door fro the kitchen. 

It look a bit more prep work than realized to get the doors up......originally we'd thought it'd just be some paint and attach the door.....

But most of the boards were rotten, so we ended up replacing pretty much the whole frame on both doors. 

The before! 

The after! It'll look SO much better once we actually power wash the outside of the house.....it's been green since we've bought it.....:)

The before for the front door - all glass (with gold accents!) and a handle that turns all the way around....

To a all glass, with a top portion that turns to screen in the summer. So much fresher and cleaner! 
The chickens are doing well! Brandon finished off the roof on their "safe area" using some leftover plastic panels and wood some friends had (so it's green.....but since it's behind the shed, you can't really see it!).  
He also ran a 6ft fence into the woods for them to have a larger area to roam in the day. 

The easter eggers and barred rocks enjoying the new run. Within an hour they managed to get out under the fence....all 7 of them. So we dug in the bottom and added some hardware cloth pins...

The bantams enjoying the run too. And a very hot Brandon. It's been in the 80's here with 90% humidity....blech! 

Someone else loves the new screen doors! Now she can just glare at us rather than have to paw at the door...:)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Midsummer Weekend!

Midsummer is here! Wow time flies, feels like the summer has only just begun. This week the chicken shed was finally delivered and installed - so cute! So this weekend we (and that'll be the royal 'we', as Brandon did pretty much everything!) painted, adjusted and moved in the older chicks. The younger chicks are still inside, but we hope to move them into the outside brooder hutch this week, then integrate the whole flock next weekend! 



Inside before. 

Starting to paint! 

Our little red chicken shed! 


Partition wall goes up - back will be chickens, front is storage. 

The older chicks are ready to get into their larger home! 

The garden is growing nicely, lots of rhubarb and peas! 

Not as many blueberries as last year, but we'll still have some! 

First of a large looking strawberry crop! 

Adding the chicken door to an outer chain link fenced area. This will be super secure (dug in fence) with a roof, and then there will be another door to an outer large area which will just have a 6ft fence around it. This outer secure fence will allow us to leave them for a few days if we go away and still let them have an outside run to wander in that's secure from predators. It also gives a little covered outdoor area for winter, so they can still wander a little if they want to. 

Putting the 'brooder' hutch into the outer fence area. We'll move the younger chicks in there this week so they can all interact through the fence for a few days. Hopefully next weekend we can have everyone together in one flock finally! Then this hutch will go into storage until we have another set of chicks in a few years! 

Roosting pole made from some of the tree limbs that came down this winter. 

First night in the new shed, and of course they decide to sleep in the nesting boxes! Soon they'll hopefully be big enough to roost and we'll have some eggs!