Friday, July 29, 2016

House Update 7.29.16

I don't have very many pictures, or even much progress to report on, but I figured I'd write quick update.

We finally have the new duct work in place. We also went ahead and had the registers moved to the outside walls (a lot of them were out in the middle of the floors and other annoying places) and closed off the old holes.

The old register is to the left. This was before it was removed and closed off.
Now that that is finally finished, we are ready to focus on the floors.

We had decided on vinyl plank from Lowe's, but were concerned with some of the reviews we were reading online. Many people were complaining about receiving large numbers of boxes where the planks were cracked or had broken tabs. We were also going to have to purchase the underlayment seperately.

Cavender's had vinyl plank that was much thicker and came with the underlayment attached, as well as a lifetime warrantee (Lowes was only good for 10-15 years). They didn't have the same color we had picked out, so ended up getting something a couple of shades darker. It will still look really nice, though. We feel confident it will be worth the higher price tag in the long run, and they can have it in within a couple of days.

So we can start laying flooring next week!

Cavender's also had the same cabinets and counter tops we were looking at from another store, so we went ahead and got a quote on them too.

Our tentative goal is to be in by the end of summer, and if things go smoothly (for once), maybe that will actually happen.

In the meantime we are enjoying a much needed break from the intense heat, with some cool, rainy days. The waterfowl are loving it!

Everybody having a nice preen between rain showers.

Why is it that geese always gravitate to concrete?

.....and......... just for pretty.................

Last year we transplanted some Helianthus mollis (Ashy Sunflower) plants we had thinned from the park butterfly garden to my mom's flower beds.

They have done incredibly well, and just started opening up last weekend.

They get more sun at this location, so are doing even better than they were in the butterfly garden.

The butterflies are loving them too!

I may have to transplant some next door to our homestead after we move in.

................................ whenever that will be............................

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Duck, duck, duck........... GOOSE!

The final tally for this season's duck hatch was a whopping 22 (a lot for a small homestead like ours).

I was thrilled to discover that the oldest group of 9 were 7 hens and 2 drakes!

The remaining 13 are all over the place in regards to age (these were hatched from the big shared nest at the farm).

The latest group of 6 that just joined the flock.

The white Appleyard is also a hen
I have yet to introduce the youngest group of 6, which are still with their foster "mama" at a friend's farm. They will be joining the flock at a later date.

About a week ago I dreamed about getting geese.

I was saddened when my last Pilgrim goose died of old age a couple of months ago (her mate got killed by a predator last winter).  I liked the Pilgrims and was kicking myself for not hatching eggs while I still could.

My Pilgrim flock back in the winter of '07
So I found myself browsing the livestock section on LSN. I had been casually looking for geese all year, but now I was really hoping to find some.

I came across an ad for Tufted Buff goslings, located an hour away in Woodbury. We really couldn't afford to pay cash for them, so luckily she was interested in arranging a trade for ducklings.

So we swapped 2 trios of Silver Appleyards for 1 trio of goslings.

This worked out well, considering I had plenty of hens to spare, and I was able to throw in two of the excess drakes from the farm.

So we took a beautiful evening drive through the lake country back roads, and returned with these adorable guys.

There's nothing like a wading pool to generate instant happiness! (Although the only wading pools I could find in town were these tiny pink ones. They don't mind!)

I had them partitioned off in the duck pen so everybody could get used to one another in safety, but they pushed it away overnight and ended up joining the ducklings anyhow.

The ducklings are dwarfed by these giant babies, and quite terrified of them, even though they mean  no harm.

A preening party.

I was immediately impressed by their gentleness. Pilgrims are considered a gentle breed, but even they would have a nip at you every now and then. These guys are like puppy dogs. Buffs are renowned for being among the gentlest of goose breeds.

While that isn't necessarily good if you are wanting them to hold their own against predators, it's great if you have small children around, or don't want to be watching your back during the breeding season.

It will be nice to not be feeding 22 ducks as well. Geese are so much more economical to feed. A little crumble and a lot of grass, and they're happy campers!

Oh, and I have to say, those little topknots are adorable!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Naming Rabbits (and a quick house update)

We are still months away from setting up the rabbitry at our new homestead, and even further away from the next breeding season, but I decided to finally name our retained does, today.

They are maturing nicely, and I need to work on getting some posed shots of them.

Sticking with a botanical theme.... Sylvia, 3/4 Creme, 1/4 NZR, out of Sumac and the late Colbert. She has the nicest Creme color & silvering out of the two doelings.

Liriodendron, also 3/4 Creme, 1/4 NZR. Hopefully I can find a Creme buck this fall, otherwise they will get bred to my NZR buck this breeding season.

Lobelia, out of Big Boy and the late Acer.

Coralberry. Both are nice, compact little girls.

While I love the excitement of breeding time, it is nice to take a vacation from it during the summer months. 

I know I promised a house update, and I haven't fulfilled that promise lately, but we are really at bit of a frustrating impasse. It's almost difficult to talk about.

We basically decided we need to replace the entire duct work, which we didn't plan on originally.

It's a long story, but just like everything else involved in a mobile home renovation, there are no straightforward options, it seems. Unless you purchase everything from a mobile home supplier, it can be like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole (literally). 

Even then, we have a mid-90's model, and many sizes standard then can no longer be found.

Many heating/cooling companies really didn't want to fool with it, or wanted to put in a conventional system, replacing the unit we already have installed. Long story short, we finally found somebody willing to do what we wanted for a reasonable price.

It'll be another couple of weeks before he can start, but once he is finished, we can start laying the floor (barring any other likely problems that arise).

We are disheartened that it has taken as long as it has, but we are hopeful that we can catch a break.

Heck, we don't even have an estimated moving time at this point, because we're so tired of pushing it back. Anytime somebody asks, our our only reply is a heavy sigh.

It will be.................................................................................................... whenever it will be.

It makes me tired just talking about it, but we have accomplished so much, and are still moving (mostly) forward.

Let's end on a happy note. :)

I've not shared many pictures lately, so how about some nice summer nature shots?

Juvenile Wheel Bug hiding in the corn.


Potter's Wasp, building her nest.

A daddy Summer Tanager standing watch by the nest.

Silver-Spotted-Skipper on Echinacea.

A young copperhead basking in my rosemary (safely relocated shortly thereafter)

Squash Lady Beetle (a garden pest, but you know)

A Wheel Bug fishing for butterflies

Snowberry Clearwing moth caterpillar on my honeysuckle

The hubs in his natural habitat.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Duckies, Duckies Everywhere!

The babies that I hatched out are now two weeks old, and doing great.

I finally got the pen covered, and was able to move them OUT of the house. Two ducklings are a little smelly, but 9 are horrendous, even if I change out the bedding every day.

Just for the record, plastic deer netting isn't exactly an impenetrable barrier against predators, but rather a deterrent (hawks, mainly). If you live in an area with a major predator problem, you should go with something much sturdier. We are lucky that we have never had issues, here.

Having dogs around is also a good deterrent.

The two older ducklings ended up both being drakes, naturally. But somebody who works in the park office took them home to her pond to live happily, so that helped free up some space around here.

This past week, the clutch that the broody Silver Appleyard hen was sitting on at the farm began to hatch, but we noticed something a bit strange...

A couple of days prior to the first baby hatching, I candled one just to see where they were in development. I was surprised to see the embryo only looked to be a bout 2 weeks along. So I was especially perplexed when they began hatching shortly thereafter.

Dad mentioned that her clutch had been steadily growing over the course of the month, and then we realized that the other duck hen had been coming in and laying an egg in the nest whenever broody mama left for water.

So now we have eggs at multiple stages of development!

I wasn't sure whether she would continue to set or abandon them to care for her hatched babies, but they were safely moved to a secure pen where everyone has access to food and water.

In the end, she really wanted to care for the 4 little ones, so I took the rest of the clutch back home and put them in the incubator.

Two were already pipping. I candled the rest and saw that 5 would be hatching any day, and 4 looked to be between days 20-22. I'm hoping the age difference isn't too great for them to be raised together.

Yesterday we let mama out with her babies for the first time, which was a very entertaining event for the whole family.

Mama was literally jumping for joy as she rejoined the flock, her young ones racing behind her as fast as their little legs would go.

Taking their first swim in the creek!
They all took a tour of the farm yard before getting closed up safe and sound again.

By the time we got home yesterday evening, two of the eggs were hatching, and we all got to witness the moment they entered into the world.

So our cup runneth over. :)

The 2-week-olds got their "big" pool the other day (of course it will only be big to them for a short while).

I hope you are enjoying your holiday weekend as much as they are!