Posts Tagged ‘photos’

Mystery Chicks Contest Update – 8 Weeks


Pictures of our mystery chicks at 8 weeks.  Any new guesses?  If so, see the original contest page!

Chick A – View 1

Chick A – View 2

Chick B – View 1

Chick B – View 2

Chick C – View 1

 

Chick C – View 2

 

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First Snow 2012


They weren’t the first snowflakes we’ve seen this year, but the first real snow arrived today.  It’s been falling gently since this morning and we’re at about 3/4″ so far.  I know it won’t last through the week, but it’s peaceful and beautiful right now.  Here are a few pics from around the farm.

IMG_4503Not quite enough to cover the ground yet.

IMG_4504Boer goats aren’t especially fond of snow.

IMG_4505The ducks don’t seem to mind, however.

IMG_4506Zip is warm in his blanket – he’s hard to keep weight on.

IMG_4508Jasper, on the other hand, has a thick fleece of his own.

Yes, we’re alive!


It’s been a long time since we posted, simply because this Fall has been pretty overwhelmingly busy!  To give you an idea of some of the things going on these past couple months at the Flying T…

Fall was spectacular this year, and though we got a light dusting, we didn’t have a repeat of the Halloween snowstorm of 2011.  Here’s a pic of the Flying T in late fall from the air.

The beginning of Fall also brought some new additions to the Flying T.  One is “Rocky,” our new black labrador puppy.

He’s growing fast, and has made friends with just about everybody except the house cat.

Fall is a wonderful time of year in New Hampshire – the temperatures are perfect for us, and get us out and moving even more than in summer.  Here’s our son showing off some moves on his bike and a makeshift ramp he put together.

Our younger daughter had a “coming of age” milestone – reaching the age we have determined is the minimum to be allowed to operate the tractor solo.  She’s been very proud of her newfound freedom and ability to pitch in to some of the heavier-duty chores.

The ducks hatched their last clutches of the season.  They were much smaller than earlier in the year.  We believe this is due of the loss of our prime drake to a predator a bit before they started setting.

With the new arrivals, we also had a few departures.  Another duck to a predator, and a hen to a mishap.  And then another departure due to sheer meanness.  One of the roosters, “Big Daddy Rooster,” attacked the kids one too many times, so he is now at freezer camp.

Of course, the big news for the region was Hurricane Sandy.  We escaped most of its wrath, though we did lose power for long enough for us to get the PTO-driven generator running.  Our biggest need for power is to run the well – the horses alone go through about 30-40 gallons a day.

We found by running it only a few hours a day, we could replenish water supplies, get the family through the showers, and run a load of laundry.  Thanks to all the linesmen and emergency workers who got power back up and running so quickly!

The power company also did us a huge favor this summer by cutting down some of the trees that had been threatening the lines (and thus our road and driveway also), so we had little cleanup to do post-Hurricane.  However, since I was told to stay home from work, the chainsaw still got some work as we got back to clearing more of the back pasture.

I also ended up flying a few Hurricane response missions for FEMA with Civil Air Patrol.  You can take a look at some of the 175,000 damage assessment photos we took at this link:

http://fema.apps.esri.com/checkyourhome/ (Zoom in about 3 clicks until you start seeing green dots around the NYC area.  Each of those is a photo).

And so, as the fall winds up and the winter starts to move our way, we’re finishing up our preparations… just like this snapping turtle who two of our ducks escorted off the premises on her way to hibernation.

Hopefully it won’t be too long before we can post again!  Blessings to all of you as we approach this season of Thanksgiving (though every day ought to be a time to be thankful)!

Clearing the Land


When we bought the Flying T, we knew that one of our two pastures was “rough.”

OK, it’s really rough.  Half-forested, largely with poisonous [to livestock] pin cherry trees.  Not much growing in it but rocks and  goldenrod.  Fence falling down.  Steep slopes on a good portion of it.  Rutted with holes to the point that it was unsafe to let the horses loose.  Rough.

The book answer for a pasture that had been let go for that long would be to call in the bulldozer, then truckloads of loam, but that went against two principles we’re trying to follow on the Flying T: 1) go as natural as possible and 2) don’t go broke.

One of the principles I’ve learned from flying is that there are three competing characteristics in designing airplanes (or other machines, for that matter): light, cheap, and strong.  You can build something that has two of those characteristics, but it’s pretty much impossible to get all three.  So, you can make a wing that’s light and cheap, but it won’t be strong.  Light and strong? It won’t be cheap.  Cheap and strong? It won’t be light.

We’re finding similar principles at work in farming, one of which is the “natural, cheap, and fast” law.  So, when it comes to our pasture, while we’ve been doing OK with staying natural and cheap (relatively), it sure hasn’t been fast.  I’d been hoping to have the pasture cleared of trees by winter’s end – we got halfway there.

Burning slash from trees we cut in the back pasture.

We’ve moved a good passel of rocks from that half to the growing rock wall, but there’s still quite a bit to go.  The holes we filled with a mixture of dirt and composted manure.  Our attempt at strangling the weeds with a cover crop of Winter Rye has been partly successful (and partly not).

It’s all taken a lot longer than we’d hoped, and we still haven’t gotten around to the fence.

So now, we’re well-into the summer, and the weeds are starting to come back, competing against the Rye and other forage species we’ve planted here and there.  It’s time to release the goats on the pasture to get it eaten down, but goats without fence go feral almost as quickly as hogs.  The pasture is still too uneven to accept our portable electric net fence.

Then my wife says, “Well, when we lived in Greece, Dimitri [our local shepherd] just walked through the fields with them and didn’t have a problem.”  Well, that’s right.  He did.  And what’s more, we even have an official Greek shepherd’s cane in the house that we bought as a souvenir.

So, this evening after dinner, we played shepherd.  It was a bit of work getting them out to the pasture – goats don’t like new things – but once they were there, they seemed pretty happy!

Since they’ve been on a pretty well-grazed area for a while, we couldn’t leave them out too long the first day.  That’s an easy way to get into a bad case of bloat.  But, in the short time we did have them out, they got a pretty good start.

We even brought the horses out to graze with them for a while.  Zip and Jasper are pickier than goats and weren’t nearly as impressed with the available eats, but they found the largest stand of Rye acceptable.

What surprised us was how easy it was to get them back.  My oldest daughter just started back to the barn while I carried up the rear with the shepherd’s crook, and they followed her home.  I wish I’d gotten a clearer pic, but this is the best I could do as I jogged along.

Is this going to be a quick process?  Nope.  But it looks like it might be relatively natural and cheap!

Summer Approaches


Summer is arriving at the Flying T.  Here are some recent pics that tell a story about what that means on the farm.

It’s been really rainy lately, but today we have a good bit of sun… just in time for our son’s baseball game!

The ducklings are now a month old.  Just before the three week point, one of the other ducks (Mocha) adopted them as her own. Unfortunately, this meant that she stepped off her own nest a week early, so we lost a clutch of 20.

However, she has been a great mother, and guards over them dutifully so that they can eat, drink, and swim… and take naps in the sunlight outside the barn.

For the past week, Mocha has been bringing the brood on a field trip each morning down to the beaver pond.  They spend most of the day there, swimming and eating bugs and weeds, then waddle back to the barn in the afternoon.

Try to find her if you can… this pic was taken with my phone, so the resolution isn’t the best.  Once you think you’ve found her, look below.  You should be able to imagine Mocha’s blurry brown and white form with a mass of ducklings swimming in front.  There also is a brood of wild Mallards sharing the pond, and we’re hoping that another of our Muscovy hens, Sunset, is sitting on a clutch hidden nearby.

Katy was the next to start her nest in the barn.  She’s been on for about a week, so about 27 days left in her vigil before the peeps start happening.

Summer means that the grass is growing quickly, especially with all of our rain.  This gets the horses frisky.

The grass has been too wet to mow around the house, but with a bit of help from the temporary electric fence we use when trailering, we found a greener solution to the lawnmower.

Still, there’s plenty of work to be found.  I’m a bit behind in putting away wood.  The good thing is that we have a good bit left over from last year.  Here’s the current pile I need to split, and I’ve got another cord lying in the woods right now waiting for me to cut into logs and drag out.

After an hour or so of work, I’ve got a good pile of cut wood waiting for the kids to start stacking (and still a whole lot more to split)!

More to come!

Ducklings at 1 Week


The ducklings hatched one week ago, and their rate of growth is impressive.  Here are photos from yesterday, when Midnight took them for their first field trip to the dandelion patch just outside the barn.

Midnight leads her brood of 17. She seemed to be quite happy to get out as well, snapping at insects and sampling vegetation.

The grass looks a lot taller when little ducklings are in the middle of it!

The ducklings enjoyed their first nibbles of grass and dandelions.

Duckling fuzz proves to be effective camouflage among dandelions.

All this sight-seeing is tiring. Ducklings stop for a rest.

With the field trip over, the ducklings were a bit slow to follow, so momma duck did a little chastising.

Does this spark any early memories of your own field trips or vacations?  If so, please leave a comment – we’d love to hear about your adventures.

Thanks for visiting, and please stop by again soon.  We’ll keep you updated as God continues to bless us!

P.S. The kids discovered this morning that Midnight is already starting her next clutch!

In Like a Lion…


It’s been pretty crazy-busy here at the Flying T (and at our other activities, including the professions that support them), and looking back I can see it’s been nearly three weeks since our last post.  It’s not that we didn’t have anything about which to write – we actually have a ton of material, especially after the superb New Hampshire Grazing Conference last weekend!  We simply haven’t had time to write.

Today, God gave us some time, in the form of a snowstorm that so far has dumped about 9″ on us and is still going strong!

The snow kept me from going to work, and meant that even though the snow provided some additional chores (plowing and shoveling), it also provided lots of time to do other things: Chores we’ve been putting off, completing our 2011 taxes, and of course… writing!  So, I thought about which of the multitude of topics I might write about, and then I saw this out my window:

I said to myself, “Self, this is not a day to spend writing about serious things.”  So, my wife and I put our winter chore clothes back on and headed out to play with the kids.  We even got some sledding runs in.

So, no “important” writing in the post today.  Instead, I’ll finish with some pics of the snowmen the girls put together for the goats and horses to snack on.

Early in the day, a small snowman for the Goats - hay hair, carrot face, alfalfa pellets in the ears.

Jasper's Snowman

Zip's Snowman

Jasper was VERY curious about what was going on in the pasture, and was eager to run out to see.

Zip was next down the chute

Wherever you are, I hope you also have some time to play with your kids!