Sunday, September 21, 2014

Cold Front Moved Through

NOT!  Unless you consider high temperatures of 89 degrees a cold front.  But for us at The Compound, although hot, not anywhere near the heat we've seen this past summer.  And of course, it had to rain, and rain and rain some more..

We didn't let it get in the way of accomplishing a much needed project;

Scraping out the bottom 24 inches of composted material from inside the chicken coop/run.  Actually, we only got to a 8' x 20' section.  Heavy, stinky and wet, but this will become awesome dirt for the garden.  It just takes so much time to dig it all up and haul it away.  It actually took four of us, nearly all day (minus our lunch break).

Then we put down a layer of sand about 6" deep.  This will become the base for next years black gold.  My friends that's a lot of sand to be hauled, dumped and raked into place. It's not light stuff, and add in the rain, it was no small task.  But this section of the run is completed and the new turkeys have been moved in.  We placed a thin layer of straw on top of the sand, and will add more as it gets wet and needs additional coverage.

We found it so interesting that the turkeys were so easy to herd from one area over to the next.  Unlike chickens that will run willy nilly and act like they are being attacked, turkeys will calmly walk where you need them to go if you move them slowly.

They were very happy with their new digs.  Each of them taking the time to walk around and check everything out.  Best part, they were really talking to each other and stretching and flapping their wings.  Originally we didn't have them in a large enough area (I was only supposed to get 4 poults and ended up getting 8 nearly full grown turkeys), and they could barely turn around.  This new area, now dedicated to them gives them more than enough space.

These turkeys love bananas!   I mean love bananas!  Who would have thought?  I'm working to get them to trust me, and at this point they are no longer really skittish, but they'd rather be on the other side of their enclosure than near me.  I did get a couple of the girls to come over about 2' away to partake of some cracked corn.  I'll win them over..

**FYI, when bringing in new turkeys, they need to be confined for at least a month. Unlike chickens which is a week, they need at least a month.   It's how they learn where home is.

So far thumbs up on turkeys!

The little piglets (aka the Village People) are growing well.  Looks like the mosquitos took their toll on the poor little buggers.  They have some bites around their eyes, backs of their ears and backs.  But they all seem to be doing well.  I had some left over eggs and scrambled them up.  We wanted to feed them to the runts of the group, figuring the protein will help.  I was only able to keep the others out for a short period of time until they broke through.    Needless to say, they were all laying around with fat bellies sticking out, totally content.

Along the way a friend caught two wild piglets, and they've now found a home at The Compound.  They are fitting in really well with the other piglets.  The final pregnant female delivered 3 more piglets last week.  So now we have 17 piglets, and 13 mature pigs.  2 will be making a one way trip to town as soon as we can find a local butcher.

I think that's it for now.  Have a great week!

 "the only honest way, wherein man receives a real increase of the seed thrown into the ground in the kind of continual miracle, wrought by the hand of God in his favor, as a reward for his innocent life and his virtuous industry." - Ben Franklin

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

She's Simply One of the Best

I've been blogging now for a bit over 4 years, and in that time I've run across way more like minded people in the blogosphere than I can frankly find in my own neighborhood.  Even though many of us will never have the opportunity to actually meet face to face, it seems we've known each other for years.  It's become a family in and of itself.

There's one in particular, that I always seem drawn to;  Oklahoma Transient.  If you've never stopped over by Sandy, then you are missing out.  She's always uplifting and supportive.  I look forward to stopping by her blog doorstep each week and learning something new.  Even on occasion entering her give away contests.

I was the lucky recipient of her recent drawing for a salad spinner.  Awesome!

Will you please take a couple of moments and visit her blog?  You won't be disappointed.

We also share a Florida connection. 

Thanks Sandy for all that you do!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Back At It!

As predicted, we were busier than one armed paper hangers at  The Compound this weekend. 

We ended up building a "hospital"/staging area for the little boy piglets that ended up being cut.  Now they are affectionately called the Village People.  They were not happy, boy are they noisy, and it was a long time coming to get them taken care of.  And as with everything, it takes 10 additional steps to get to the one thing you really need to do.

In order for us to take care of the little boys, they needed an a dry clean area to heal up before being put back with the rest of the group.  That ended up being the remaining section of garden, we have neither the time or inclination at this point to use.  The Moose decided to add a section just off of the garden, utilizing the fencing and posts on two sides.

The only expense were the galvanized roof panels and the garden fence (which cost around $8.00 on the clearance rack at HD).  Everything else came from the free pallet materials picked up a few weeks back.  Nothing fancy, but definitely functional.

A hole was cut in the fence on Sunday to allow the boys access to the garden and their sisters. 

Since we were going to upset 5 boys to begin with, we removed all of the piglets that were 5-6 weeks old from their moms.  No one was happy!  Especially the Moms.  Our spotted sow actually made herself sick and vomited.  But it had to be done.  She was starting to look emaciated, and we actually did her a huge favor in the long run.  It'll take a few days and then they'll all get it figured out.

Since the sows were put back into general population;  let the fighting begin!  Everyone was trying to figure out their spot again.  We also had to move the last of our pregnant girls to the "nursery".  That was an effort for sure.  All the girls in general population tried to come to her rescue.  It was a sight to behold.  5 pigs 150 - 200 lb  all barking, snorting and even trying to bite Donnie (he drew the short straw) when he tried to get ahold of the girl.

By the end of the day, they were all more calmed down.  Except for the little boys.  They were not happy campers.

We have two runty piglets that we left with the other sow. We're hoping she'll let them latch on once and a while. 
Not to be outdone, we also upset the chickens.  We brought home 8 turkeys.  They were not pleased with the new residents.

We were supposed to only get 4 poults.  He ended up giving us 8 nearly full grown turkeys, because they were all raised together and prefer their family unit.  2 Toms and 6 hens.  All hand raised, and very healthy looking.  We set them up in a section of the coop that is too small for their numbers, and we just didn't have the time to clear out the larger area, so for now they'll have to make due.  They were eating (bananas, their favorite) and drinking water, so for now they seemed to be doing fine.   Now I'm learning as much as possible about turkeys. Did you know a group of domesticated turkeys is actually called a gang, or a rafter?  Not a flock or gaggle.

Question;  I've read that turkeys and chickens should not be housed together.  Any thoughts or experience you can offer?

They make some interesting little noises, and have huge eyes.  You just know they are taking in everything.  They seemed to have fun watching the piglets run around the garden.

The only thing we didn't upset this weekend were the rabbits and fish!  Just give us time, I'm sure we'll come up with something to set them off too!

Oh, and that wiggly thing that hangs off a Toms head/bill is called a snood.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Back to the Grind

We're back to the usual Compound grind this coming weekend.  We've taken a "leave of absence" the past two weekends.  We took care of the usual chores, and that was it!

We spent Labor Day and the following weekends at KARS Park on Merritt Island.  It sits directly across from the Kennedy Space Center and the cruise ship port on the Banana River.  It's a park for military personnel and/or their friends.  Our dear friend, a retired Marine Corps Lt. Colonel, one of a select few that flew the Harrier jet, got us a pass.   So, we get access to this very quiet, serene, on the water with a boat launch campground, RV park.

So with full hook ups, we parked the RV at a site for a little over a week.  Enjoying these views;

We ate too much, and laughed even more with great family and friends.  We even got to celebrate Ms. Brenda's 67th 29th Birthday!

The Moose even got out on his boat for the first time in a very long time. 

There were huge groups of manatees in the water, along the shorelines and a couple right at the boat launch.  They are huge!  I used to feel really sorry for them, after seeing them being rehabilitated from propeller injuries.  Not so much anymore.  They are not very bright!  They will swim directly underneath your boat,  and they will not move.  So even if you are in a "no wake" manatee zone, which means just above idling, you could still injure them at no fault of your own. 

We've lived in FL for almost 20 years and actually have been able to watch a space shuttle launch.  However, this launch was over on the mainland, Cocoa, FL side.  Well, let me tell you;  I'm sure it was nothing like it would have been from KARS Park!  We were woken out of a deep sleep at 1 a.m. to a rocket launch!  I mean, if it wasn't tied down it came down.  The RV was shaking and rattling and the noise was incredible!  It only had one rocket booster, can you imagine the noise and power the shuttle would have had with the 2 solid rocket boosters!  Incredible amount of power.

Now we are getting back into the groove, and planning our weekend workload at The Compound.  Have a safe and productive weekend!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

One Way Trip to Town

I've been reading Storey's book on Raising Pigs.  In it, he makes a repeated statement;  take them on a "one way trip to town".

We have one of those, our most recent sow who delivered 7 babies, has actually killed them all.  Sat on them and ate some of them!  What a shame!  Poor little guys and gals.  Although she delivered a healthy litter, a mother that isn't careful when laying down is according to the book, on a one way trip to town.

She also was acting up, and created way too much chaos in the nursery.  Just like the human world, some women just don't make good mothers.

But good news, we have another ready to deliver any day, and the first two moms have done a spectacular job.

We are learning as we go, and even though we have to crawl over a bump or two in the road, we're continually learning.