It feels so good to finally be back out walking on our woods trails consistently! Luke has exchanged his winter coat for getting sprayed with insect repellent. The ticks are out there, though we’ve only seen one so far. I’m sure there will be more, though things are dry so that could reduce their populations. That would be the only good part of heading into another drought!
We choose to only use all-natural flea and tick preventatives on Luke, and I plan to write a post on our favorites in the near future.
We had a few early spring walks but then the weather turned nasty again, so we weren’t getting out much. This last week has been beautiful, so we hope it has finally broken to spring so for the most part so we can walk as many days as possible. I plan to make it a priority this year, for both Luke’s health and mine, even if it means having to set my alarm for earlier in the morning!
What’s going on at the farm:
We are ahead of last year with the first crop (snap peas) ready to be planted in the garden and more early veggies going in soon. We are focusing on our most-used and loved crops this year, like potatoes and corn for us, carrots and cabbage for Luke’s meals, and pumpkins to sell at my shop in the fall.
Our 8 chicks of different ages (10 weeks and 6 weeks) are ready to move out to the coop any day now. We’re just waiting for two of them to get a bit more feathered out (you can probably tell which two in the photos below!). We were also waiting out what was hopefully our last long spell of more winter-like weather. If the temperatures can stay consistently above freezing most nights, we’ll feel better moving them out there. They’ll get their heater too just in case, but they are already snuggling together on their roosts when the sun sets, so they know what to do when it’s chillier.
They’ve been kind of like a little family, fun to watch. The two older ones, who we can no longer call “chicks”, have turned out to be a couple of sorts – cockerel (young rooster) Antony and pullet (young hen) Cleopatra. We suspected all along that Toni was going to turn out to be a rooster, and an odd noise emanating from their room one morning finally confirmed it. Odd indeed – when we first heard it, we thought something was wrong with one of the birds! Poor Luke knows their sounds as well, and this one even had him shaking, afraid of that strange new sound!
I’ve tried to get it on video, it’s like an odd two syllable call, not much like a crow at all at this point! He definitely needs to work on it. After a few days he has not improved much, but Luke is at least getting more used to it, and is not freaking out every time!
The older birds and guinea fowl are happily free-ranging and cleaning up the yard. It’s that time of year where we must be on high alert for predators, so finally being able to have some windows open a bit will help with that. It’s also that time when the guineas start playing their “spring games” which sometimes aren’t always nice! With only one female left, things are challenging. While she is already paired up with our male “Pumpkin” (they mate for life) the others still seem to fight over her, though we can never figure out why! Usually they settle down in time. Their last little squabble only lasted one day thankfully.
We plan to buy guinea keets this summer, with the hopes of getting more females this time. Last year, we were only able to hatch two in the incubator, so we feel that her eggs just aren’t as fertile as they should be, possibly because Pumpkin is older now. So, we likely won’t try hatching again, but will try to find a local farm to buy some from. We hope to get some different colors this time too.
We’ve had some of the enjoyable wildlife around, though Luke is not happy when these deer dare to come so close to his yard, but we won’t let him out to “play” with them. 😊 I made a short video of his whining at the door to be let out to see the deer!
We’re happy to see the deer and wild turkeys. A porcupine goes through, mostly at night, so we do have to watch out for him when we’re out walking. The fox, coyotes, bears, and hawks can stay away! There are some owls around too, who are said to take chickens, but we have not had an issue with them yet (knock wood). The guinea hens will usually notice the owls flying from tree to tree at the edge of the woods, they’ll put up a fuss, so we can go chase them away.
Spring brings plenty to do on the farm, it’s the busiest time, but we’re all just happy to be back out in the fresh air! I’m sure the weather will be up and down for a bit, we’ll certainly be happy if we don’t see any more of that white stuff though!