April 30, 2012
The maple syrup jugs are tagged and stored on the shelf, waiting to be purchased. So if anyone out there is interested let us know. We only have pint sized jugs left, going for $9.00 a pint plus shipping.
This pure maple syrup comes from our local maple trees and has had nothing added to it. Its amber brown sweetness is delicious slathered over pancakes or waffles, or added to any recipe you can come up with. I like to drizzle a little over fresh cooked carrots. Mmmm.
Whether you are a maple syrup lover or have never experienced its flavor before, try some Pot Hole Farm maple syrup. Its DELICIOUS! If you are interested you can leave a comment on the blog or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sweet maple syrup
April 26, 2012
It was already dark last night when Sonny went out to close up the chicken coop. After about ten minutes he came back into the house and informed me that we only had eighteen chickens sitting up on the roosts. One was missing. The three guineas were back under the eves of the pole barn.
“I counted heads more than once and still only came up with eighteen,” he said.
We always make sure our chickens are accounted for every night. Once in a while we will get one that decides its better to stay out all night, and in the morning we find her waltzing around the yard.
We searched all the usual places they like to hide, and checked to make sure she didn’t get locked in the garage (thats happened before). All we could do was hope that she would turn up in the morning. Unfortunately that was not the case.
There was no sign of her. Not even a feather. The odd thing about it all is that this afternoon when we came back from town we went to the pole barn to check things out. There laying on the dirt floor was a chicken skeleton. It had been picked clean and only two tuffs of feathers were laying beside her. I’m not entirely sure but I don’t think her cannibal sisters would eat the feathers too.
That hen was not in the pole barn this morning. So where did she come from? There weren’t enough feathers for it too have been the murder site. Her head and feet were still attached, but she was missing everything else.
I guess the cats could have dragged the body into the barn, but that is unlikely. They don’t really spend anytime down there. They would have just carried it further out into the field. The dog has been in the house all day. I guess its possible she was killed close to the barn and the chickens had a game of chase with the carcass, but that still does not explain the absence of feathers.
Any ideas? Maybe Miss Scarlet killed her in the library, plucked her and then was interrupted before she could put her in the roasting pan. Or maybe it was Mrs. White who clubbed her over the head with a lead pipe. Or Professor Plum. He always has been a bit shifty. Any clues to what might have happened to our dear Henny Penny?
The catch cage was empty this morning and the marshmallows were still in place. I guess that could rule out Mr. Raccoon….or maybe he was too full from a chicken dinner.
April 24, 2012
Last night as we closed the chicken coop up for the night we left five guineas resting comfortably in a tree just behind the pole barn. This morning we had three milling around the yard and two were MIA. The raccoons had attacked us with yet another midnight raid, but we were ready.
The night before last we put out a catch cage filled with savory delights to lure in a hungry raccoon, consisting of a can of sardines and a bowl of dog kibble drizzled with fish oil. That should make any raccoons mouth water. Unfortunately he was smart enough to figure out how to get the scrumptious delicacies out without tripping the cage door. I think he just stuck his paws in and pulled out what he wanted through the bars. It must have filled him up and probably his family members too cause they left the guineas alone that night.
Last night we reset the traps, putting out a marshmallow trail to entice the greedy little bugger inside. We also covered the back of the cage with a feed bag and pushed it against the wall. We only have the one cage right now.
This morning we found a prisoner locked inside. That was great, but we still lost two guinea casualties and the raccoons are up on us by seven. This guy had to have had a troop of raccoons with him to be able to kill two more guineas. There is absolutely no sign of the two. So tonight we will set the cage up again and try to place it in a little different location. We really need to get a few more cages. If things keep going this way we will have no guineas left.
April 22, 2012
I stood by the window this morning and watched as five guineas made their way around the front of the porch and passed by the bird feeder. There should have been ten. It was a solemn march, their usual high pitched squeaks were hushed. Something was wrong.
My investigation took me outside. No sign of the other five. No loud honks between groups of bug grazing guineas in the meadow. I followed a trail of guinea feathers down the driveway, across the road and up into the creek bed.
My heart sunk knowing that at least one of my prized guineas was gone. I made my way back to the pole barn where they all like to roost at night. This had to be the sight of the murder, or was it a massacre.
There was no sign of animal prints, no claw marks on the support beams of the barn. The chickens like to lay eggs in an old dog food bin filled with straw. There smeared across the side was a red streak of blood. A small guinea head laid there beside it, its half closed eyes beseeching me to avenge its death.
It is a mournful time here at PHF. An event such as this is traumatic to say the least. One day my guineas are happily squawking, eating bugs in the tall grasses of the pastures and the next minute we are marauded by a wild animal. I suspect it is a raccoon or a family of raccoons. Either way we have to do something to stop it. We are not a drive through restaurant.
All chickens have been accounted for and I am still hoping that there may be another small group of guineas hiding out in the woods somewhere. This is war Mr. or Ms. Raccoon. Don’t mess with me and mine.
April 16, 2012
Yes! A new fleet of guineas has arrived at PHF. Thats right I said a fleet instead of a flock, because they move around in groups like battleships. Their purple gray bodies float across the tall grass pastures as if there were no feet attached.
We picked up eight guineas yesterday from TwoLynn’s Farm. Three females and five males. When we arrived home we kept them inside the dog box and placed it into the fenced chicken pen with the door open. We thought they might need a day or two to get used to their new surroundings.
They coward inside the dog box, squeaking softly to one another, until our two existing males rushed up to the fence. All eight guineas ran out of the dog box in a group, feathers ruffled, and trilling in high pitched squeaks and honks. Our two males were excited beyond belief to see others of their own kind and some pretty females to boot.
We decided that since we already had two guineas to show the new ones the ropes we would just let everybody out. Sonny swung the fence gate open and our two boys ran inside. There was jumping and squawking and greetings like the hugs and kisses given between long unseen family members.
Our boys led the group out into the open where they immediately ran up the hillside. Some of the males jumped in the air, wings spread and bumped chests in an attempt to gain dominance over the other. There will always be small squabbles, but I think our two boys are happy to be part of a guinea family again even though the chickens had adopted them.
Today the group roams around the farm pecking at bugs, (I hope eliminating ticks) and enjoying the amenities that PHF affords. I attempted to get a few pics of the birds, but they were too fast for me. Every time I would get close to them the guard on duty would spy me. Sounding the alarm the fleet would quickly go to general quarters,and would kick up to full steam ahead disappearing in a sea of tall grass.
I didn’t think I would be this happy to have more guineas, because they constantly make the nerve grating sound of off key wind and brass instruments, but I find I have missed them. Now if we only keep our females from being eaten by predators.
April 14, 2012
Bill Guinazzo has proven himself to be an expert in the art of road grading. We noticed the nice job he did on making an access road on his own property and asked if he would do the same for us. We didn’t have access to one of the pastures that connects up to the neighbors hay field other than crossing the creek and its too difficult to get the tractor across it. Of course no one lives there and the only time you see anyone there is during the hay season.
We have permission to cross the field only after the hay has been cut so that we don’t pack it down or destroy the grass. Lost bales of hay equals lost money. That limits our use of our adjoining pasture, so Bill cut in a road that leads off the main gravel road directly onto our property.
Nice job Bill.
Back up the hill.
Now Sonny will be able to keep the pasture bush hogged and we have the potential to fence it in for goats.
The nice thing about living out here is that each one of us has skills that can help another, whether its construction, planting gardens, canning or making roads. There is all kinds of knowledge floating around these hills and all you have to do is ask for help. Its a code of neighborliness that was here long before any of us recent transplants showed up. Its a nice feeling to know you can count on one another.
Speaking of that, John and Sonny are planning another project here at PHF. We are going to build a lean too addition onto the right side of the pole barn. Now that we have more farm equipment than will fit in the pole barn we had to expand. We can use the extra space to park the tractor or the Kobota RTV and the four wheeler.
Sonny and I ran to town this morning to pick up the building supplies. Now, this afternoon John is going to taking us to see a guy who is selling his bee keeping equipment. It doesn’t hurt to go see what he has to offer. Right now our bees seems to be doing just fine, but we want to have another hive available for them to expand into.
April 9, 2012
When you mention the word “party” to most people, they envision a group of people interacting with another, eating finger foods from a poo poo platter and holding an alcoholic beverage in their hand. Here at PHF the word “party” can hold a whole different meaning and usually includes such props as gloves, shovels and hoes. I think they call them working parties.
Saturday was a potato planting party. While Duke took his morning nap, Sonny, Clarissa and I carted a half bushel basket of seed potatoes, the tiller, and an array of hoes out to the garden. We planted about seven and a half rows of potatoes and believe me it was a lot less difficult and much quicker than when I planted five rows by myself last year. I think I like the idea of planting parties.
Our tractor driving daughter-in-law
After we finished planting our rows we loaded the tiller, the hoes, and a large bag of seed potatoes onto the back of our old red farm truck. Then the four of us stuffed ourselves into the front seat. I couldn’t help thinking that we must have resembled one of Norman Rockwell’s paintings, with our straw hats perched on our heads, work gloves on the dash and a dust cloud billowing out behind us as our old truck rumbled down the gravel road. Well a Norman Rockwell painting may be stretching it a bit, maybe more like the Beverly Hillbillies before they moved to Beverly Hills. We thought we would be neighborly and help Bill and Paula Guinazzo of Creekside Cabin Farm to start their garden. Having recently moved here they are still settling in and haven’t had much time to do it. So we got their onions and potatoes put to bed and hopefully they will have a good crop.
We took another big step on Sunday and bought a hive of bees. Once again our farm truck was called into service. We bought a hive of bees from a family that may have to move out of the area in the near future. The man selling us the bees (Chris) was decked out in his bee suit. Sonny had on a pith helmet with netting all round and used duct tape to close off his pant legs and sleeves. It could be painful if a few angry bees were to fly up them. Bees are not too happy when you move their house. Sonny and Chris strapped the bee box down in the bed of the truck and we transported them forty miles back to our house. Chris was nice enough to come back with us and help Sonny set the bee box in place under our ancient apple trees.
I never saw Sonny as a bee keeper, but then again who would have thought I could talk an old crusty Navy Warrant Officer into being a farmer?
Getting ready to move the bee hive.
April 4, 2012
Sonny and Bill set out on an adventure yesterday to pick up four piglets. They purchased them from a farm located a few hours from here near the town of Farmington. I’m not sure why it took all day but I believe the directions may have been a bit difficult to follow. Out here in the country roads are not always labeled and landmarks are often used instead. If you are not familiar with the area it can be quite a tail chaser to find your destination.
But despite that Sonny and Bill came home with four piglets. Two are blue butts and two are Hampshires. We will be raising the three females and Sonny delivered the hampshire male to Twolynns Farm where he will be treated like king.
Our three girls have already made themselves at home and are quite the princess piggies. I went down to the pig palace this morning and they were still asleep in their house, stretched out on a thick mattress of soft hay. I poured their morning rations into the feed trough and sweetly called out for them to come to breakfast. One of the girls raised her head slightly and gave me a look of royal disdain. How dare I wake them? I left them to their beauty sleep and figured they would eat when they were ready. So young and already full of attitude.
Who are those two guys? Are they our new footmen?
Checking out the new digs.
What...no truffles hidden under this hay?
April 2, 2012
The piglet excursion has been moved to Tuesday evening. Thats just as well since the pig palace needed some major renovations. You can just imagine what a frat house looks like after its rabble rousing occupants have moved on, especially when they were four piggy brothers. PHEW!
Yesterday, as the sun crept over the hillside, Sonny and I donned our wellies and threw a couple of shovels in the back of the RTV. The shovels rattled against the metal of the RTV bed as we bounced along the path that leads to the now vacant Pig Palace. Until now I have pretty much avoided that area of the farm. There was no need for me to go there.
We stepped out of the RTV onto soft mud. The sun has not been strong enough to dry up the overly saturated ground in that part of the back pasture. I crinkled up my nose as I caught a slight whiff of “ode de pig” lingering in the air. It oozed up from the black mud of the hog pen and although it looked solid enough, it was deceiving. The moment we set foot into the pen our feet sank down into the mud with a squish, covering our boots to above our ankles. A year has passed and its still a quagmire. The wet winter did us no favors and we cannot put new piglets into this mess. They would sink up to their bellies. We were in a dilemma as to how to fix the situation. Well, we had two shovels at our disposal.
We started by shoveling out some of the mud. It was an impossible and exhausting job. The mud weighed a ton and when we tried to fling it off the end of the shovel it clung like glue. There was a big puddle of stagnate water in the middle of the pig hooch. I made a rivulet to drain it out while Sonny went to go get the Kobota tractor. We needed to bring out the big guns.
He used the bucket of the tractor to scoop out the top layer of mud. It made a big improvement but we needed to put down some kind of foundation to keep it from getting that deep again. There is still a whole back section of the pen for the new pigs to make into a mud bath.
Sonny thought that we could make a good foundation by using rocks from the creek bed and then covering them with dirt and small stone to fill in the cracks. So that is what we did. We hand pick some of the larger stones from the creek bed and threw them into the bed of the RTV. We placed them into the muddiest areas then Sonny brought loads of dirt and small stone in the bucket of the Kobota which we shoveled out. I think that is going to make a big difference.
Next we went around the fence line and made repairs where the frat boys had rooted it up. With the clean feed trough and water bucket in place we only have a few finishing touches to accomplish. I got a bale of last years hay from John to put into the pig hooch and Bill is going to stop by tonight to help Sonny finish up with the fence. Soon the Pig Palace will be home sweet home to three new piglets.
I’m not sure what we will call these guys. I don’t believe frat boys will be their title. We have to come up with something new. Sorry there are no pics. We were just too busy and I was afraid I would lose my iPhone in the mud. I will try to get a few shots this evening and post tomorrow.