Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July Flew By

We are FINALLY moving into the old farmhouse.  REALLY!!!

I had taken a week off from work so that we could do the majority of our move-in the first week or so of July.  As luck would have it, I broke my wrist on the 28th of June and have been pretty useless on the whole helping-move-in department.

Judy Show's Hattie her Cast
Still, we are getting there.  Joe has been laying out rugs, moving in furniture, hanging pictures, etc. etc. etc.  No complete move-in will occur, though, until the TV's have been relocated from the garage apartment, and there are still cable runs to complete before that can happen. However, I am now cooking in my kitchen (finally) on a regular basis and we have been able to entertain family and friends in the house that is now becoming our home.

Boxes Staged for Unpacking
Tractor Helps with Moving Furniture from Storage
Moving Heavy Furniture Up the Stairs
Living Room Couches and Chairs in Place
Judy can wash one-handed!
Joe moves furniture into place
Judy's Sewing Room/Office
Judy's Sewing Room/Office
Joe pressure washing furniture
Judy staining furniture
Joe hanging pictures

Dining Room

Around the farm the animals are multiplying and, despite my infirm wrist, continue to demand a fair amount of work on a daily basis.  Our rabbit experiment has been hugely successful.  Starting with the unplanned mating that resulted in our first litter of 6 kits, and adding the successful mating of our three other does, we have had four litters of kits born, for a current live count of baby rabbits at the 8 adults, for a total of 39 rabbits.
Bonnie's Babies
Dolly's Babies

Elsie's Babies
Annie's babies -- all grown up!

Our pair of broody hens managed to hatch 12 chicks between them, and, hard as it is for me to believe, the first four chicks, born on 6/16 are now over six weeks old!  One of the hens has gone back to laying eggs, while the other has taken charge of the dozen chicks, teaching them how to be top-notch free rangers.  They are quite a sight to see as she leads them around the yard.  My gardens are suffering from their attention, but I don't really mind this year.  It's fun to watch them as they learn from mama.  With these new chicks, we are now maintaining a total of 42 chickens.

Lacy and her chicks
Lacy and her last hatched chick
Thankfully, our four goats, though they make enough noise for a dozen goats, are NOT increasing in numbers.  Nevertheless, they require a LOT of food every day and have really cleared the brush in the pen we erected only a short while ago.  So Joe and I have spent this week erecting another pen for their eating pleasure.  We finished this afternoon, and they happily started their brushing.
Sally and her babies

Whitey smiling for the camera
Joe working on the new goat pen

The dogs would like to eat the chickens.  We are TRYING to train them to NOT want to eat the chickens, but I don't think we can trust them yet. Of course, it doesn't help that a few of the chickens are silly enough to fly into the dogs' pen to "share" the dogs' food.... But we are making headway and will continue in our endeavor.  They are looking like adult dogs now, though they are not yet eight months old.
Dogs at play in the pond after heavy rain
They love the water
And the poor little cat, Miah, once the queen of her palace, has been relegated to last in line at feeding time (it's for her own good, as the chickens make a beeline for her food if they are not busy eating their own).  So she follows me around to every feeding stop -- dogs, rabbits, chickens and goats, and FINALLY all the way back to her feeding spot.  She may be almost 15 years old, but she keeps her trim figure by following me everywhere I go, and then some!

July also brought us an abundance of ripe peaches and plums.  Sadly, the majority of them had some worm activity and, with my gimpy arm, I was unable to pare and keep the good portions of the fruit for canning.  However, the chickens were VERY happy to process somewhere in the vicinity of 300 pounds of fresh, ripe, wormy fruit!  Blackberries are in full swing right now, and I have been successful in canning some jars of blackberry syrup.

Many, Many Peaches
Many, Many Plums
Blackberries coming in right now
Grapes coming in soon
Despite the farm chores, I was able to make a couple of short trips to Maryland, one for work and to help my Mom for a day, and the other to enjoy a family get together with my brothers, sister, our kids, my granddaughter, my cousin, and my Dad and stepmom.  As always, the visits were too short!

My son and daughter-in-law came over to the farm to celebrate my birthday with us.  We had a nice time, eating pizza, playing guitar, accordion, drum and singing.  I look forward to more family get togethers here, now that we are more or less finished with the construction phase of the house itself.
Joe and Steve
Joe, Steve and Kristen
Tonight, after helping Joe complete the goat pen, I cleaned up and headed over to Newport News to watch Stephen perform in Les Miserables with the Peninsula Community Theatre.  The show was AWESOME!  It was "invited guests night," and I was thrilled to be invited.  I have seen this show at least twice before, on Broadway and off Broadway professional, and can honestly say this community theater group did a top notch job!  My favorite parts are the male chorus singing.... Red and Black literally brought tears to my eyes.  All of the roles were well cast and the voices were all good and strong.  BRAVO!!

And with July wrapped up, I am curious to see what August has in store for us. I know I am looking forward to a few visitors this month, and I am VERY much looking forward to getting my cast (cast number two) off on Wednesday!

Bee on Flower
Blackberries with Black Eyed Susans
Butterfly on Peach