Saturday, March 26, 2011

bugs and birds

Rusty said he signed me up for a Benthics training on April 1st. How can you do any training on All Fools Day? I think I might bring the remote fart machine. We own one. *proud moment*  Anyway, half the day is inside learning about collection and testing of benthic macroinvertebrates for water quality purposes. The other half of the day we will be in the field at Kanawha State Park. I will only use the remote inside. ;-). I think he wants me to go in the field with him as the Spring collection time is coming and it will be a busy time for him. It involves trudging through streams and hiking in a very mountainous area. I should shed the Winter pounds and get some great photography in the process or I will fall over and croak.

I am going to have to take some photos of the President Day chicks. They are getting so pretty. Their feathers are growing over night. They seem ravenous. They are drinking and eating machines, which means they are pooping machines. I have had chicks before, but I think I am more in tune with these guys. If you have heard of crazy cat ladies, I have turned into a crazy chicken lady. I am not alone either! Check out   there are thousands of us.

Tomorrow brings another day of planting. I am running out of room. I planted 72 basil , 72 parsley and 72 thyme, added to the broccoli, cabbage, and romaine plants and there is not much room left around here. My dining room has turned into my work area. I need a greenhouse. I want a greenhouse. I am not sure which it is. I would love to have a little pond inside and a rain barrel watering system.  I could grow plants all year and have a major jump on Spring.

Oh what I could do...

here in W.W.WV


My cool truck. For local use only.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Little Chick Hatching

Pots, feathers and a fix

Today I am seeding my herbs and two different tomatoes. My other seedlings are re-potted and seem to love the room and new nutrients. I don't think I need to bring the plants in and out to harden as I originally planned. We are having a cold spell here this week and this should help them be ready for planting in the ground. My neighbor Shirl said if there is Thunder in February, there will be a freeze in March. He said he didn't read it anywhere, he just knows it. I am inclined to believe him. He is an old man and has lived on these mountains for his whole life. He is talking from his experience and perhaps a tad bit of intuition.I will share more plants with him as they sprout.

My daughter Brittany brought Blueberry home from the vet last night. She got spayed and her rabies vaccination. Brittany payed for it with her hard earned money. Rusty does the vaccinations himself, except for the rabies. Blueberry seems to be fine today. She just wants to chew on everything! One pillow, the button of a shirt and the edge of a throw. That was just this morning. I guess she is bored. I will have to go up to Brittany's room and get some of her toys. :-)

My chicks are showing feathers now. I think I need two brooding boxes to give them some room.  It is probably good timing, because I can lower the temp for them 10 degrees every week. One light should be enough to warm both boxes.

I have more eggs incubating now and a Facebook friend, has offered to send me duck eggs! Oo0 I still haven't started my hatch series of photos yet, but maybe tonight I can get busy.

Off I go into the wild!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Today was very long. Not long in a bad way either.

The couple who live on up the road from us let their dog out this morning and she got in a tangle with a coyote. My neighbor saw it, and shot at it, but missed. Their dog, Dixie (a boxer) got hurt and is on antibiotics, but she is ok. Poor baby, she is so sweet.

It makes me think of yesterday when my dogs were going crazy barking in that direction. There is an animal corridor that follows the hollow and runs along the side of our property and on to the river. I went out there and looked around hoping to spot deer or the fox who comes by. But I saw nothing. I know there was more than a squirrel or wild rabbit because the dogs were so freaked out. It could have been the coyote.

A couple years back one came and got a neighbor's goats. That time the coyote was shot and killed. I shuddered a little when they told me the story. Now I am thinking about the same scenario but if it was my  sweet nanny goat Deer. I have the rifle ready. If it was between her and a coyote... well you know who I would pick.

I did some research on coyotes. It was thought that the ridges of these mountains kept them at bay, but now WV is a wild and wonderful place for coyotes as well. Something interesting I read about spotting them: a coyote will run with his tail down, a wolf runs with his tail straight and a dog will run with his tail up. So if you catch a glance of one, you will know by the tail. Coyotes eat small mammals, like squirrels mice and rats, and they have been known to take down a deer. But they like farm animals. I guess they are easy targets. I am closing everybody in tonight. Sling Blade the pig came down from the garden all on his own It was like he knew he needed to be closed up. Otherwise, it would have taken a whole lot of toast with maple syrup to get him to come. He seemed really happy to be with the goats. Happy to have a place to scratch his back. He kept knocking the water buckets over so Rusty gave him a kiddie pool. Cute. They are a happy little family, the goats, pig and chickens. They make me feel happy.

I gave my neighbor Shirl some plants. I remember last Spring, I was giving his wife (may she rest in peace) some potted herbs. He said: "I will take those" and promptly took them from her! He wanted to plant them in his garden. I remembered that, and thought I would give him some good starts this year. He seemed happy to get them. He shared some red rhubarb starts with us. He talked about dogs and gardening and coyotes. He was impressed with my eggs hatch ratio. In some way that was a real compliment to me. I really like him. I like his stories. He was good friends with Mr. Belcher, who lived here in our farmhouse. I absorb as much as possible from him. He is an old time-y WV farmer for sure.

So after 5 attempts I got my sweet Blue Topaz bred. Well, the buck Yoda did, but I did bring her to his cage. She was happy to see him today. Making little bunny noises. She lifted with no problem, seconds later Yoda dropped over. Now both of my new does from Appalachian Rain should have litters. I can't wait to see the babies.

I am going to harvest Blue Topaz in a few days. Her prime wool is just on the cusp of being ready. She is so pretty. I will have to take a photo of her just before she gets her hair cut. I think I want to keep all the mamas trimmed up.

 Evening came and even though supper was not made, it was still light out. Sophia was treasure hunting and asked me if I would like to join her. She found some cool medicine bottles. She knows I love old bottles and was pleased with my response. Then she told me to wait, she had to get some supplies. She came back with some orange flagging tape and a marker. She began to tag where she had found "amazing finds". A small tree branch got tagged because it had nearly poked her eye. She wanted to go further, so we went down into the hollow and I found some more old bottles. Rusty joined us. Sophia asked  if she could have this land. She wants to own her own piece of land and name it, put some signs up and flag it off. There is now a big plan in effect, she wants to take pictures of her plant findings, bones and the like and keep it all in a book of amazing finds. She is a natural born scientist. I am amazed of her drive for knowledge.

After we all came out of the woods we sat on the ground watching the goats and pig. Odin (foxhound) and Bella (beagle) sat with us too. It was a nice moment. After a while Sophia asked us if she was going to inherit the house. I wonder what was going on in her head? I would have asked, but I didn't want to make the conversation go anywhere it wasn't already in her head. She loves it here.

I love it here.

In Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.


Odin the foxhound.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Straight As The Crow Flies

 My neighbor Alice told me about this song. I love it and how wonderful it is that she thought of me.

Against a blue sky
A black shadow flies by
I guess he's got some place to go
Some mission's callin'
No high ground can slow him
The miles flash by down below

You know you can always count on me
I'm like the river to the see
As sure as day follows night
But I won't run a crooked mile
And I won't wait for morning light
I'll come straight as the crow flies
Each night the north star
Reminds me of so far away
From the one light that's true
But my love's a strong tie
That binds you to my life
And will go the distance for you


If there's ever anything you need
You only have to whisper in your dreams


Sunday, March 20, 2011


I was so busy today that I had forgotten that today is the Spring Equinox and because I follow the Wheel of the Year it is a holiday for me, called Ostara. The reason I forgot is because I was planting my cold crop starts in larger containers. I have so much more planting to do! But it occurs to me now that planting was my celebration. It is a celebration of new life. Resurrection comes in Spring, in many forms, and people celebrate this religiously or not. People who are often pessimists find themselves becoming more optimistic. The first pops of plant bulbs that have been sleeping all winter deep beneath the earth, suddenly are born again. Fertile animals begin their reproduction. It is everywhere. What we name it all is personal. But there is a collective energy simmering. It is no wonder that many religious paths have days of significance to their followers. Easter is celebrated the first Sunday after the full moon (the Paschal full moon) following the Equinox. Passover is also celebrated according to the first full moon after the spring equinox. There are other celebrations in the Near East and in Asia. It is all very interesting to me. Interesting in a good way too. I like noting how similar we are contrary to out beliefs and traditions. We all get the fever, Spring fever that is. Whether it is plant life, animals, people, or our planet Earth, we all are beating to the same drum. We are all ruled by the sun. Today without knowing it I too worshiped... 

in the most wild and wonderful way here in West Virginia. 
Happy Spring!