Saturday, July 31, 2010


EGGS! eggseggseggseggseggs!!! Our ducks have made EGGS. Our ducks. eggs. They are about the size of a key lime (which are also coming in nicely) and the smaller of the two has a soft shell, but we are going to enjoy them. FREE EGGS! ducks + eight bags feed + 10,000 hours mucking poo = two FREE EGGS at $113 a piece.

This puts a fire under me to get the ducks and goats separated. Usually I let the ducks out of the pen while feeding everyone. The problem according to "Raising the Home Duck Flock" by Dave Holderread is that ducks lay most eggs in the late morning, so we've likely lost our first egg to the pond. This weekend: 1) goat pen 2) duck house window (light is very important). Done deal. EGGS!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

geese heart boat

Craigslist strikes again! We have some new birds on the farm, two brown buff geese and two female rouen ducks. They still have their baby fluff, but are holding their own with the rest of the flock (the geese even get in on the goat feed, tough stuff!).

Thank you Hollis! We promise to take good care of your girls!!

It's been hot, unless it's raining, which makes it hard to shorten the MUST GET DONE YESTERDAY list. Includes: goat fence, duck house window, raised garden beds, worm box, well pump (trying! the jerks won't call back!!!), sell house in Boise so all mankind can celebrate a benevolent universe, build milk stand and catch up on netflix. uhg.

Tim came home with Randy's Pizza and beer the other night. We spent a lovely evening watching "The One Percent" (a documentary made by the heir of Johnson & Johnson about the gap between america's rich and everyone else... TWO THUMBS UP!!) and then went to bed. Imagine my surprise when I found a BOAT on top of the car the next morning!?! Bewilderment. Did someone come put a boat up there in the middle of the night? Why? After a second it dawned on me that Tim had gotten a boat and managed to keep it a secret for ten million hours.


Boat is amazing! We were hoping to make it to Falls Lake, but contented ourselves with paddling around the pond instead. Maybe next weekend. The geese like to follow us... maybe they have a bit of a crush? Makes sense, we're the only thing out there bigger than they are.

i have poison ivy again. look like a leper. no offence to lepers.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

hutch resurrected

Tim played all the kings horses and all the kings men and did a fine job putting hutchdy dumbty together again. Kind of. There were a few inexplicable extra pieces, but hey! The motto of the day soon became "it just has to keep her IN". Of course, it was a very hot day and we couldn't get to it before the afternoon blaze, Tim isn't normally quite so sweaty (carol's right! he does look like a ninja turtle! an urban ninja turtle?) We tried it out on Mongo George who thought it was a fine game for all of five seconds. Bunny moved in and we spent the evening counting chewed electrical cords (tv antenna, phone charger, computer mouse, etc..).

The hutch is not the end of our rabbit revolution. It will eventually become the home to two bucks, while our does and their various litters will live in a rabbit yard. This is a very old way of raising rabbits, still popular in much of the world and I find it surprising that more american backyard rabbiters aren't open to the idea. Especially if their goal is to undercut the meat industry. From what I've seen it takes a uniquely big heart (yet to be seen if mine is up to it) to raise and process meat for your family in an age when "nobody" has to. If willing to disregard the animal, the environment and the human toll of the INDUSTRY(!?!?!) all the meat you want is killed, cut, wrapped and heavily subsidized for the taking. But I still see rabbits in hutches as very unnatural. Rabbits are prolific poopers so it makes sense to lift them off the ground onto a wire platform allowing waste to freely fall away, but at a price. This leaves them with far less ability to excercise: less play = less muscle = less meat, up to thirty percent! You also have bored bunnies that surcome to heat and are more prone to cannibalism while you get to go around cleaning individual cages. With a yard you just rake everything up, hose down the toys, deposit new straw and you're done. Happy rabbits, happy you. Ours will be about 100 sq ft made from a hoop greenhouse frame and chicken wire. It's only number 264 on the project list. Mother Earth News has a great article online, "A Better Way to Raise Rabbits" by Luilla P. Thompson that I found inspiring.

Tim's mom has broken her arm. :(
Love you Jeri, get better and come play!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

homeless rabbit

We live in a neighborhood. We know this because when we had to pick up our new rabbit hutch, Frank (from across the street) lent us his truck. Have I mentioned that we only moved in a few months ago? Way cool. The truck, unfortunately, has been the only good thing about this **** *** ******* *** hutch.

I first saw it at Southern States while buying feed. They had gotten a great deal, the clerk told me, and were passing it on to the customer. I'd been looking for a hutch and $90 for a double is a pretty great deal. Even the homemade (nothing against it, LOVE homemade), well used ones on craigslist are rarely under $150. So taking this as a sign that my future rabbitry was already being showered with cosmic gifts, I said, SOLD. Then my debit card was denied. Bank error of course. But, being the kind, down home store that they are, SS took my name and number promising to hold it for me. Perfect. I even had enough cash for the other stuff, no problem, I'd just straighten everything out and come back the next day.

Three days later, now actually rabbit owners, Tim and I make it back and ask for the hutch that's been held for us. And they say, SOLD. As in sold out. Though they did have a different, smaller model for $120. Funny, because the one that I wanted was just sitting there, already assembled, but had been sold to an employee. I must have looked a little desperate, because they all went into a huddle and then said they worked it out and I could have it. Feeling like a jerk, I said, SOLD and bought it. Now, a ford focus hatchback is a wonderful thing. We have put 200 feet of fence, four goats and a greenhouse in our hatchback, not simultaneously, but still. Alas, it finally met it's match with this ****** **** rabbit hutch. To disassemble it would take forever. uhg. They promise to hold it again.

Okay, no big thing. Frank, I know, goes to Southern States all the time for feed. He's nice enough, surely he wouldn't mind hauling it home for us. He was even nicer still. Two days later we're back and fifteen minutes after that we have four bails of hay ('cause, yeah.. TRUCK!) and the beautiful wonderful hutch and we're finally heading home.

We were six blocks from the store when Tim gasped... I knew, I didn't turn around, but I knew.

He says it could have been a scene from Twister, if only it had done a crazy flip or two. Instead it shattered like a soft shelled egg when hit the pavement. LUCKILY!!! there were no cars behind us. SS had loaded the **** ***** **** **** hutch for us and neither of us realized how light it was until we were picking up the pieces (all of which could easily have fit in a hatchback). Still, we know better and should have tied it down...

So, the bunny we can't eat and her umbilicle hernia are still living in a pet taxi and I'm wondering if I believe in signs. Stupid cosmos.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

no worms for you!

I got my first comment! Hi Rachel of Dog Island Farm, your garden is gorgeous and good luck with those rabbits (I wish Tim would spontaneously build a kick ass hutch:). To answer your questions: Our girls are supposed to be nigerian dwarfs (but there is a fair share of pigmy in there) and I want to make the world's ooeyest, gooeyest stinky blue cheese.

We are rigging up some kind of rube goldberg milking stand for Daisy tomorrow. I caught her off gaurd yesterday, reached down and squeezed just like Carla Emery told me to. IT WORKED. Daisy was not amused, but to my surprised surprise, there it was... fresh, hot, beautiful goat milk. I am in love.

So, as for the worms... This morning, we drove past our usual Saturday happy happy joy joy, the Durham Farmer's Market, and on to Chapel Hill. Our reason for this was, of course, worms. I had been promised worms last Christmas and we finally found a guy that will sell worms sans bin. Off we go to the Chapel Hill FM and while MUCH smaller and in the mall parking lot, it wasn't half bad. They made an exeption to their "70 mile" rule and have a stand selling fresh NC seafood (get on that Durham!!!). Anyway, we are so powerful! that just by driving all the way out there, we made the worm guy disappear. According to the other proprietors he had never missed a market day before, but yeah, no worms for us! It wasn't a total bust though, we did get some beautiful shrimp. I'm thinking of doing some kind of Thai soup since I still have galangal root in the fridge... yum.

I'm trying my hand at wine making. I have all these stunning mullberries taking up room in my tiny freezer that need to go to a better place, like in my face! It's actually more of a mead, since mullberries alone aren't sweet enough to ferment the way I want them to (read: alcohol content). Finding those trees in the sideyard was the best surprise of spring. Even the ducks loved them, as evidenced by their bright purple poops! I'm using a recipe out of Ken Schrams book "The Compleat Meadmaker". A really fun read for anyone interested in home brewing or beekeeping!

Friday, July 9, 2010

goat love

Here are our new goats. While I can't say they are all one happy family, they are all still alive. So we've got that goin' for us, which is nice. Work on the new goat pen has been halted until we find more free fence... come on craigslist! don't fail me now!

In other news: We saw bats tonight for the fist time since early spring! Tim spotted them fluttering over the pond looking for a tasty treat. We were really afraid that the white nose plague that swept through had gotten them all. DEATH TO MOSQUITOS!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

dog days

The duckweed on the pond SO thick! Our ducks come out with leis and the turtles look like plates of dinner salad. From a distance it looks like scum, but its actually one of the worlds smallest flowering plants and apparently pretty usefull stuff. People make biodiesel out of it, use it for animal feed and of course appreciate its water purifying abilities. Me? I scoop it out with my spaghetti strainer and throw it in the compost then stomp on it... repeatedly. I can see why its popularity is cyclical, it goes something like this "Oh my god! This stuff is amazing! why isn't it EVERYWHERE!" to "Oh, my hell! We got to get rid of this shit! It's EVERYWHERE!" and back again. we hope to interrupt its growth long enough for something else to have a chance (read: lotus), while not eradicating it. though I do need to rig a skimmer soon, I miss spaghetti.

These are the days when you wonder why you didn't get more projects done in spring. You know? Back when it was fun to be outside? That's right, we were sick of winter and it was TOO nice out to work, time to play!! Oh well. Random useless information: dog days are called such because the Greeks and later the Romans believed it was Sirius, the dog star, that made summer so freaking miserable. They would even sacrifice a brown dog to him in the hope he would just back the hell off. Huh. Here puppy, puppy, puppy.... I kid. Swiped from wiki: Dog Days were popularly believed to be an evil time "when the seas boiled, wine turned sour, dogs grew mad, and all creatures became languid, causing to man burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies" according to Brady’s Clavis Calendarium, 1813. True that.

We drove an hour to Henderson last evening to get Daisy and her baby and only got lost twice. We were met by Joan and swept around back to meet the worlds BIGGEST nigerian dwarf. Or was she? At first I thought she was, but maybe that was just because she was on a platform? She's not as big as say.. a nubian, maybe it's just me. So we load her into the focus hatchback and hit i85 south back home (to all those who pointed, honked and especially the lady in the silver convertable who gave us a thumbs up.. HI!). They were very good goats, only pissed on the shower curtain once. So, the big moment finally arrives and... she IS huge! Or Gyp and Jun are very small. They are the exact same size of three month old Avril (was Carley, but it's an A year). But in truth, I can't tell a nigerian dwarf from your great aunt milly... something about the beard. I only know what craigslist tells me. Oh well, I wanted a mutt herd and it looks like I've got it.

I'll post some pics as soon as a find the camera battery...

Watch out for those phrensies!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

getting started

Greetings from HOT!! sunny North Carolina. This is just to keep those interested up to date on the happenings of our little ghetto farm. We [me (TeAnna), Tim (super hunky boyfriend), four cats, ten ducks, two goats, one beehive, and a rabbit] live on 3.79 acres, five minutes east of downtown Durham. It sounds like a lot of land, but given that one acre is a pond and the rest woods, eh... we're working with it. We moved in last November, back when we were Tim, me, three cats and a philodendron, so to say this project is in the early stages is being kind. Zygotic.

We loved the place through the winter: planning, ordering seeds, reading Gaia's Garden, ordering ducks, planning some more. Then spring came and I think we both got a little soft in the head. Suddenly there were turltes and geese laying eggs by OUR POND! There were wildflowers and mullberries everywhere, honestly though, it was the fawn that did it. Tim's walking around, already lovin' life when WHAM! fricken bambi was stashed on the path in front of him. BAMBI. have you ever seen a fawn up close? If you have, then you KNOW. If not, I'm sorry, there is nothing I can tell you. BAMBI. Suddenly it didn't feel so much like OUR pond or property, it felt like a forest. Here, surrounded by strip malls, tortillarias and used car dealerships is a forest. The place was nearly developed into townhouses and the thought of eveything being razed...uhg.

Summer is now upon us and our love affair with this place has matured with the plants and animals around us. I'm still making new discoveries like: poison ivy is not fun, fluffy little goslings become great pooping, hissing, duck food stealing jerks, and there are ticks on my cats and ants in my kitchen and the hogna carolinensis is the largest spider in North America.
But, then again.. love is love.

We (try very hard) to grow heirloom fruit and vegitables, yes organically, but I'm just saddened by that concept. Why does doing things the way countless generations have give you bragging rights? And why does frankendeath agraculture get the word "conventional"? What is conventional about tomatoes with fish genes!?! Really people, we need to take conventional back and find Monsanto another word. Oohhh, I have a good one and a place for them to put it too! But, how about "stupid"? Then there would be ads like "Kroger has organic onions and stupid apples on sale now!" Ahhh... When we rule the world (and plans are being made) there will be sanity.

Oddly enough, with all these beautiful trees comes A LOT of shade, so we're taking our time with the garden and observing things before we do anything drastic. Tim did get a chainsaw (thanks mom!) for his birthday, we're taking out just a few trees and for a reason. The standard for development here makes me crazy. It goes: rip out mature trees, level, build (wood shipped in), plant tiny anemic trees. So lazy. We're going to use the wood for some of our remodeling projects, it will be interesting to see the shelf and remember the tree.

In animal news:
NEW GOATS! We are picking up Daisy and her baby Carley tonight. I'm telling you, this can't happen a moment too soon. Two goats does not a herd make! Gypsy and Juno need new blood, another personality (not me) to balance daily life.... Daisy is "in milk" but she's never actually been milked, which is funny because I've never actually milked. We already have something in common! Does anyone else hear that? Oh, I think it's just me swearing so loudly I can be heard through space and time... funny how the really nasty expletives do that.

Also, I have a rabbit. She was to be the main momma of our meat rabbitry, then we found an umbilical hernia, a hereditary condition meaning no babbies for this bunny. Now, of course the only logical thing to do is turn her into meat, right? Yeah, uh huh. That night, a few glasses of wine later, Tim, being the genius that he is, brought up the point that this could be seen as an OPPORTUNITY to observe an umbilical hernia in rabbits. If in the .03% chance we come across said condition again we'll know what to expect, this may be our only hope of expertise! How this absolute truth wasn't obvious from the beginning, I'll never know. Thank jebus Tim was there to help me see the light. So, while she thinks she is just feasting on lambsquarters or tormenting Mongo kitty, really.... she's being OBSERVED...

We're still waiting for our first duck egg... anytime now would be fine.

I can't get spell check to work on the mac, so just remember that standardized spelling is a passing trend anyway.

Stay cool!