New Batch of Guineas

Ordered 36 guinea eggs of varying colors and hatched them in the incubator. Unfortunately only 16 hatched, but that is still plenty for us.

Guinea eggs in the incubator

Guinea eggs in the incubator

As part of this new batch I moved the guinea ‘house’ across the hall in the barn so that they can eventually free range from the lower part of the barn instead of through the area we keep the tractor, avoiding a huge mess.  Below are a few shots of the build-out process and end result.

Before

Before

During

During

Move-in day

Move-in day

Very secure!

Very secure!

Great Weekend

Spent the weekend at the farm.  Taught Patty how to use the zero-turn mower, which she had a blast with.  I set her up with a small rectangle to mow and she ended up mowing the whole place, about 7 acres of grass in all.  She had the noise canceling headphones on and was evidently singing out loud the whole time.

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That night we had one heck of a bonfire!

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Pond and Dam Repair Underway

Finally have the contractor engaged and onsite to dredge the pond, install a proper overflow pipe, and repair the dam.  It is still slow going as he’s trying to get the pond drained as much as possible so he can get his equipment into the pond without getting stuck.  So far he has installed the pipe and riser but has left the ‘tee’ at the bottom open so that water will drain through the pipe instead of continuing to erode the dam.  Once he gets a little further we’re going to have a dock installed where the overflow pipe is right off of the dam.   Should be a pretty darn nice pond once its all done.

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Dam cut before pipe installation

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Overflow riser pipe from the side

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Overflow riser from the current top of the dam

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Trench dug from the stream feeding the pond around the island

Local Wildlife

Below are pictures from my game camera of the local wildlife.

Mama, Papa and baby geese

Mama, Papa and baby geese

Bear

Bear

Young bear?

Young bear?

Mr Fox

Mr Fox

The Pack on the hunt

The Pack on the hunt

Deer on a cold morning

Deer on a cold morning

Coyote on the prowl

Coyote on the prowl

Bobcat

Bobcat

Bobcat returning with its dinner

Bobcat returning with its dinner

Troupe of Turkeys

Troupe of Turkeys

Turkey

Turkey

Tom Turkey giving a show

Tom Turkey giving a show

Bullfrog in the barn pond

Bullfrog in the barn pond

Buck with antlers just starting to grow

Buck with antlers just starting to grow

Fawn

Fawn

Doe and Fawn

Doe and Fawn

Egret poking its head in front of the camera

Egret poking its head in front of the camera

Two river otters (right side of pic)

Two river otters (right side of pic)

Turkey vulture 'recycling' groundhog

Turkey vulture ‘recycling’ groundhog

Springtime is Gorgeous Here

The winter wheat is coming up strong giving the whole place a very green look.  We’ve received plenty of rain this spring and the grass has responded accordingly, needing to be mowed at least every four days.

 

Winter wheat

Winter wheat

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Buttercups on the hill behind the house

Buttercups on the hill behind the house

Spring Cleaning

Spent a good part of spring break cleaning up the place and also opening the pool.  Me and Patty worked pretty well as a team pulling out bushes, trimming hedges and generally getting the place squared away.

Wife pulling out the bushes decimated by the deer

Wife pulling out the bushes decimated by the deer

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Trimmed the top of the Leyland Cyprus'

Trimmed the top of the Leyland Cyprus’

2014 Pool Opening Day

2014 Pool Opening Day

Annual Brush Pile Burning

Had two huge piles of brush to burn and it ended up getting a little more interesting then I ever expected. It took two days and nights to completely burn it all and boy were the coyotes howling it up at night. Evidently that time of year is coyote mating season.

Fully ablaze

Fully ablaze

Went til 2-3am each night

Went til 2-3am each night

Afterwards

Afterwards

Planting Apple Trees

Took stock of the orchard and found that 27 trees had died or were otherwise missing.  Decided to replenish, a much bigger job than I anticipated.  Dug the holes with an auger on a bobcat loader, that ended up being the easy part.

Bought the trees from Stark Bros. nursery online, a mixture of various apple types in a semi-dwarf size.  Planting them ended up being back-breaking work over about 3 weekends.  Then I put up a 5′ diameter fence around all 27 trees to keep the deer out until they grow large enough.  Way more then I had bargained for, but it should be plentiful in a few years.   We now have an orchard that has 55 trees, mostly apple, some peach, pears, and cherry though.

Digging the holes, the easy part

Digging the holes, the easy part

Last tree in, note the rock pile

Last tree in, note the rock pile

Uncle Sonny, my Mom, and brother Mark help put up the final cages

Uncle Sonny, my Mom, and brother Mark help put up the final cages

The place is saturated

The melting snow has really saturated the ground.  In the three years that I’ve owned it I’ve never seen the ground so saturated.  The ponds are all handling it ok, even though none of them were constructed with proper drain pipes and even more problematic overflows.  The picture below is the pond over by the barn.  The overflow is the only way for the water to escape, and it isn’t really low enough because you can see that there is water topping part of the dam…not good.

Water topping the dam

Water topping the dam