Friday, April 28, 2006

The New Secret Weapon

We have a new secret weapon!
It isn't merely a rat trap, but a rat trap baited with...ALMOND BUTTER!!!

Well, you see, we ran out of peanut butter and I have switched over to almond butter because it is supposed to be better for you. So, when frustrated by the new rat tunnels in the chicken compound, I decided to set all of the traps I could find. I loaded them all up with lumps of almond butter and set them all around the little nursery house we have outside for the mama's raising their chicks. I wanted to make sure that Mama Elba, and babies Mimi and Tyner would be safe from the rats.

I also put the traps out in sets of two, putting them about 1-2 inches apart. I figured if they got out of one maybe the next trap would catch them. IT WORKED!!!
We nailed FOUR rats!!! The most we have ever gotten at one time We have, since October, trapped and killed 3 rats and 3 birds, and Farmer Jeff has shot 3 rats. This is just amazing for us!!!

Farmer Jeff wanted to buy a case of almond butter, but I know that the rats will realize that death comes when the smell of almond butter is in the air. I have heard that next we will need to switch to something else. We have heard they can't resist Jarlsburg cheese. We live in Sonoma county and I guess gone are the days we could catch them with scraps of white bread!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

India's Little Secret

About two months ago India had a series of severe seizures. After first going to the closest vet in town, having her stomach pumped, being fully anesthitized and THEN transported via the vet's car to the emergency hospital where she spent the night, we spent$1600 and came away with the diagnosis that she ate a toxic walnut.

Well, in the middle of the night last Friday, dear India had another seizure. She went totally stiff, legs out stretched and even her ears were erect and unbending. We called emergency, let them know we were on our way and zoomed her to emergency. At first they said that she was showing signs of toxicity...but then as the night drew on, they surmised, after watching another seizure, that our sweet girl has Epilepsy.

We will have to give her medication for the rest of her life, lovely PhenoBarbitol. We are letting it build up in her system now, but for this past weekend she was totally knocked out! She would try to run but would slide, she would try to pick up a toy and then would drop it out of lack of control and she had a few accidents in the house due to not being able to gauge that she had to go.

Luckily, after the 3 days, she is pretty well adjusted to the meds. She will need to have her liver values checked once a year and her medication may require adjustments. Heavens! Our sweet girl is taking it in stride. Maybe I can learn this from her!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Spring's Bursting Energy

Whenever it is time for daylight's savings time to begin (Spring) or end (Fall), Farmer Jeff and I are so ready for it that it is anticlimactic. I don't have a problem going to bed earlier or getting up. What I do have trouble with is when I fly long distances and then come back after a short time away...and my internal clock is totally turned upside down, like now.

That being said, there is so much energy just bursting out around us. The trees are blooming, the flowers are blooming, the wasps are looking for new places to nest, the weeds are growing like, well, weeds and my allergies are driving me crazy! The cold I thought I picked up traveling I now think is hayfever. GREAT!!! A cold will end...with all the rains we have had, I don't think the allergy season will end any time soon!(this is a picture of pollen...prettier than it feels!)

My former accupuncturist used to say that Spring was a tricky season. Why? Because we would all be waking up from our long winter nap to ...bursting energy! She cautioned me that I would not have the energy reserves to pursue all that I wanted ...that I should be sure that rested enough.

Maybe that and the jet lag are why I just can't keep up with this dang bursting energy! I am ready to take a nap at the drop of a hat!

On the other hand, I came home to a lovely Chinese Langshan hen, now named Ling Ling that lays beautiful eggs, and Laverne and Shirley, our pair of Plymouth Barred Rocks, have just started laying eggs! We actually got 14 eggs today...a record!!! Our stud of a rooster, Napoleon Dynamite, continues to thrill our girls and takes the most beautiful pictures.

We have received over 60 inches of rain in the last year...yes, a record of sorts. We have had rain something like 40 out of 50 days...or something close. Thankfully, we have had 3 days of beautiful weather and the grass dried out enough for Farmer Jeff to mow it! Hooray!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Enjoying the Sunshine

We are blessed with some sunshine FINALLY. How lovely that it has appeared in the first week of daylight savings time. We are all thrilled to have sun. Everyone is happy, especially Farmer Jeff, to finally have a break in the rain. We have received close to 55 inches of rain since July, and the majority of that falling in the last 4 months. We really have had more rain than most of us can sanely tolerate.

The animals are sure happy to have some sunshine. The dogs are happy as can be, with Tasso leading the in happiness. He is getting to be a dog, for the first time in his life. The vet estimates he was 2 months old at most when Hurricane Katrina hit. We are guessing that he has spent the majority of his life in cages and crates until he arrived here.

The dogs all were doing their part today to catch gophers. They didn't actually catch one, but I am sure the little vermin were mighty scared of all of those digging paws!

The chickens are also very happy to be out and about. Laverne and Shirley, our Plymouth Barred Rocks, are almost to the age of laying eggs. I keep giving them pep talks, but no eggs so far.

But without a doubt, Farmer Jeff is the happiest. He is tending to and planting his beloved tomatoes. It is one of his great joys in life.

Here, at Eastside Farm, we are learning what heaven on earth really means!

The Nursery

I keep imagining I'll have friends drop by to visit, excuse themselves to use the restroom and be shocked to discover it is being used as a nursery for baby chicks!!!

One of Napoleon Dynamite's girls, Josephine, started sitting on a clutch of eggs over 3 weeks ago and one of them popped open on Friday morning, then we had another one pop open this morning!!! Now Josephine has 2 little peepers! She is still sitting on 3 of her own eggs and one of the red girls eggs that we slipped under her!

We were so excited to have the new babies that we went to our favorite chicken supply place and bought 4 Americauna chicks! This is the variety that lays pale green eggs and the hens grow to enormous and regal sizes!