As I headed out the door late yesterday afternoon, uttering the words “I’m going to do my ‘farm chores‘”, I knew exactly what I’d be writing about this Thankful Thursday. I’ve always dreamed of living on a farm, and even though ours is small, I’m thankful that dreams really do come true, especially when I thought this one never would.
Only sometimes those dreams can turn out to be a little more challenging than what you expected (be careful what you wish for?). Before we get to the whys of that statement, say hello to our latest farm additions: guinea hens!
I wish I had better photos, but these little cuties are even more timid than the chickens. When they hear us coming, they run and hide behind their brooder heater. The heater is only for the overnights which have still been cool at times here, so once we get into hot weather, we’ll be taking that out, and they’ll have to go back to just hiding in the corner (where I can photograph them like I did in the first shot before we put it in)!
We decided to get the guineas for two main reasons: they are supposed to be even better at eating bugs than chickens (especially ticks), and they are also “watchdogs” of a sort, for the chickens. They will sound a warning if predators come in the area. So, when the dogs are in the house, watching TV on the couch, or sleeping on the dog beds, the guineas will still be on guard outside (they will free range just like the chickens). ????
Add a third reason: most of what I read about them made them sound really cool. The chickens are already entertaining to watch, apparently the guineas are even more so. They will sound an alarm when anything strange comes into their territory. They might even put Luke to shame.
Which brings me back to my original story: While I find it hard to imagine these timid little birds defending our yard, I find it very easy to believe that they will make a fuss if anything different comes along. Right now the Dadz and I are included in the “something different” category.
First on my list of chores was giving them fresh food, water, and bedding. They are currently in a dog crate inside the chicken coop. When I go in to do this, they completely freak out (truthfully, they freak out when we just go in the coop…they completely freak out when we actually reach into the cage).
Now, the “keets” as the baby guineas are called, were almost two weeks old when we brought them home last Saturday. They are still very tiny, but they can jump, and they try to fly. So one jumped up onto the edge of the cardboard lining the crate, and went right through the bars.
On top of this, the chickens had decided they needed to help me with my chores. They were milling around, and the keets are a bit afraid of them still too. They were no help; and the Dadz had just left for his run, so I had to handle this on my own. Keep in mind, the little escapee had no desire to be caught. I quickly chased all the chickens out of the coop, and closed both doors. I blocked the little one from hiding behind the cage, so he (or she) was forced to go into the open coop. Only he immediately went behind the chicken’s roosting board, difficult for me to crouch under, or behind their food and water dishes.
A chase ensued and I finally won! I think I even managed to hold my patience in and not raise my voice or curse (knowing any additional noise on my part would not help was probably the motivator for that). This probably would have made a very entertaining video, watching me try to chase down one tiny little bird. In retrospect it was funny, even though a bit frustrating!
Mission accomplished. From that chore, I went down to water a few things in the vegetable garden. Even though we got almost 3 inches of rain last Saturday, the ground has already been drying up quickly. We haven’t had time to set up any kind of watering system for the garden yet (probably because we keep getting distracted bringing home cute little birds), so this meant hauling full watering cans down. As a side note….I am proud that I take this homesteading/organic farming stuff seriously. I sometimes fill my watering cans from the dog pool before we dump it, and other times from the chickens’ water when we’re changing it. I am all about conserving water, even though we actually have three wells on this property!
As I poured water on my carrot crop, I heard a rustling close by. I turned to see “our” large doe retreating into the woods. I hadn’t even seen her, and she probably hadn’t even seen me at first either. The challenges of my dream receded as the peace of life on the farm filled my soul. I am thankful indeed.
(I’ll have a future post where I’ll tell you a bit more about the guineas, our plans for them, and what they will look like when they grow up!)
Thank you to Brian’s Home for hosting the Thankful Thursday blog hop. Please visit other blogs through the links below.