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Thursday, June 20, 2013

State of the Homestead

Notice the horizontal pupils
I'm embarrassed to report the state of my garden. It's terrible. Part of it was my fault. I timed it badly, afraid we'd have a snap freeze. (We had a few but they were mild.) It was also my fault for letting the weeds grow faster than I could pull them.

The grasshoppers have returned in force. Nothing we've tried has deterred them. (I refuse to use poison.) If God sent them as a plague, it succeeded. 

The hoppers have decimated many of my plants. I planted the corn late this year. I'm hoping those bugs will be dead before the stalks look tasty to them.

The scorpions have been pretty active too. Makes me wish I lived in Alaska.

Chickens: Mean rooster is still with us, but I'm hoping to send him to the guillotine in the fall when his replacements get big enough. He is the meanest bird we've ever had. I bought him as an adult so that's probably part of the problem.

His chicks are doing well, but we had one fatality the other day. I found her dead in her pen. The only injury I found on her were a couple of red blotchy marks on one foot. The screen is too small for anything to get in. My guess is that it was a scorpion.

I did find a dead snake near the chick pen. He had been tangled in some tree netting lying nearby, but that's not what got him. He had been mauled. I don't know if my dogs did it or someone else. All I know is Nana found its stinking, rotting carcass and she immediately rolled on it with gleeful abandon.

She was so happy with her discovery, she ran up to me and plastered some of that stench on me too. Yuck! We both went straight for a shower after that.

Goats: They've become quite the social butterflies. They're very interested in Nana but run like they were on fire when they see Tank or Iko. Come to think of it, the boys seem to have that effect on strangers too. :grin:

The doeling is eating out of my hand now, but the mama goat prefers a feed bucket. I don't feed them a lot of grain. I use it as a treat at the end of the day. When the doeling sees me coming, she starts bleating like crazy and jumping like a clown.

Greg comes home tomorrow. I'll hand him all the names we've collected so far and he can pick the ones he likes best. I'll probably announce the winner next Thursday, so if you have any other suggestions, go ahead and add them to last week's post.

The dogs: Tank seems improved or maybe that's just wishful thinking. He still has those lumpy tumors, but they seemed to have stopped growing and spreading. For that, I'm grateful.

Iko seems depressed. Nana is always stealing the time I spend with him. I've resorted to taking him on walks by himself. I think he appreciates it. Little sisters can be so annoying.

Maggie, I sense, is starting to have geriatric issues. It's nothing significant, just a gradual slowdown. I'm glad we were able to give her a home in her old age.

Nana knows no limits. She adores being around the goats and chickens. This Sunday, she graduates from puppy school. We have a final exam too. I'll let you know next week how she did. She's pretty good with everything, but she's not interested in shaking hands. They might take points off from us for that one.

Puppy Panic: I mentioned this on Facebook, but in case you missed it, we had a near crisis the last time we went to puppy school. We were teaching the command to come when called. Only this time we had to be hidden and two aisles away (we train at Petsmart) before we called our dogs.

It was crowded that day and the music overhead was deafening so I waited a few seconds before calling her. Nothing. I called again and still nothing. I couldn't believe it.

All of a sudden, she comes up behind me and jumps into my arms. No collar. No leash. She had slipped her collar and bolted from the trainer (who had been holding her leash). The trainer said she raced all the way around the front of the store (it's immense) and circled back to where she heard my voice. 

Scared me to death, but I'm so happy she came when I called her.

Obviously, I was lost and it was her duty to find me. Good Nana.

Good things and bad things on this report. I plan a fall garden, so maybe I can get a decent harvest before the year is out.

How's the growing season by you? Better than mine, I hope.


Darke Conteur said...

I love your goats! Husband was thinking about goats one year. He's pretty sure it would cut back on the lawn having to be mowed. BTW, I'm thinking about making you an honorary member of the #goatposse. Since you have goats. :D

Our veggie garden is doing well, not that the rain has let up. Radishes are small, but the leaves on them are HUGE. Has to be from all the rain.

Maria Zannini said...

Darke: You know I saw that hashtag on your FB page, but I didn't understand it. You'll have to email me and tell me more. :)

Goat prefer brush, but most of them seem to be on grass. People call them nature's lawnmower.

If you get goats, always get more than one. They need the company.

Angela Brown said...

I never thought I would type these words, but your goats are so adorable!

And Nana is just too cute and full of energy.

Tank gets a big hug (okay, all of them get a big hug but Tank gets an extra snuggle)

Even Iko :-)

Mark K said...

Growing-wise it's all over the place due to bizarre weather; one day sun, next day cold and rain, then overcast and humid. Even the garden birds are confused - not to mention the weather forecasters.

Glad to see your puppy tale of woe ended safely and without harm. Our dog, Darcy is like my wife's shadow, and when we are all out walking, Darcy is prone to doing stupid things, don't ask why? But when it is just Darcy and I out, she's great, listens to all commands and is level-headed. As to who Darcy thinks of as being 'top dog' in the household is still a mystery to me, but then, I am the only male.

Stacy McKitrick said...

You don't need such an extreme as Alaska to get away from Scorpions. I think you just have to leave Texas! Ha ha! I swear, I never saw a scorpion when I lived in Arizona, but then I was at Ft. Huachuca. Maybe they're afraid of the Army. :)

Rula Sinara said...

Your goats are so cute!!! Too funny about your puppy training story :)

Mike Keyton said...

I don't have goats, just two giant damson trees (as you know) But now they have children - all over the place. I call them the brutes. No scorpions as yet

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I love that she assumed YOU were lost. Silly human, don't wander away like that!

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: If you and Chipmunk are ever close to Dallas, call me so she can see them up close.

PS You're starting to give Iko a complex. LOL!

Maria Zannini said...

Mark: How is Darcy? I hope she's recovered.

Dogs are such funny creatures. They know when to listen and when they can get away with mischief.

Maria Zannini said...

Stacy: Scorpions are afraid of nothing. They probably sprayed heavily, which is good because the scorpions in Arizona are actually lethal.

Maria Zannini said...

Rula: The goats have a lot more personality than I expected. I'm really enjoying them.

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: I'll battle brutes over scorpions any day.

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: I know! Careless of me. I won't get lost again.

Carole Remy said...

Okay, Maria, I officially love your blog! I'll put a sign on the roof for the helicopters!

Hugs to all the humans and other animals! Watch out for the scorpions. We have them here too. Don't mind spiders and snakes. Scorpions terrify me!


Gwen Gardner said...

Awww, the goats are so cute. So is Nana and Tank and Iko and Maggie (had to get everyone in there). All except for the mean ol' rooster and scorpions.

Can't wait for the names to be revealed!

Jackie Burris said...

Maria mama and baby doeling are just what you need to take your mind and put it in a positive place since you feel that your garden is dismal, let us just say that I wish we had even a dismal showing at this point since we have officially given up after putting in the thing twice!

Weather has been our bugaboo, too cool at night and way too scorching in daytime too early in year. At least did get to stir fry up some wonderful messes of beans and squash before the beastly unpalatable crop production started which meant we got rid of tomato plants/squash and cucumber plants and have lost the beans and peas to heat but not mowed them over or pulled them out yet.

Doggy school sounds like it went so well and Mama Maria has a good student who also happens to be a good "herder" from the sound of it, after all you are part of her "pack or flock" you know.

Hug the boys, Maggie is still in good hands and grateful she landed in "high clover" for her final years, Nana is just exactly what she should be a bundle of joy that knows no boundaries!

Jenny Schwartz said...

How kind of Nana to share eau de dead snake with you. Ew.

Sounds like lots is happening on the homestead and that the goats are settling brilliantly. Enjoy!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Having trouble keeping up with the weeds too. Too much rain and great growing weather. I'm trying vinegar on some of the areas I want to remain weed free. Saw the idea on Pinterest.

Maria Zannini said...

Carole: Scorpions are the bane of my existence. I've only been stung once but once was enough.

When I was little, we'd visit my cousins in Mexico. They would terrify me with stories about giant killer scorpions. Old phobias run deep.

Maria Zannini said...

Gwen: I'll be interested in what he chooses too. I'm not too particular as long as the names are easy to pronounce. I want to get them used to their names if I can.

Maria Zannini said...

Jackie: Maybe next month, I can show more pictures of the garden.

Maggie is such a sweet soul. I don't know who could've dumped her and the puppy like that, but I hope there's a special hell for them. Meanwhile, she's safe with us.

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: Why do dogs have to roll around in that muck? I've heard experts talk about it, but I still find it hard to believe. The stench was awful! And she was soooo happy.

Maria Zannini said...

Susan: Vinegar would be impractical with gardens the size of entire residential lots. Next year, I'm going to use cardboard and old hay to keep the paths weed-free. Greg doesn't like it (thinks it's ugly) but I've got to stay on top of it somehow.

LD Masterson said...

Nana got all happily scented in dead snake and you made her shower? What a killjoy.

Love all the pictures. Especially the look on Tank's face in that picture with Nana. I still can't get over how big she's gotten.

If you want to get away from the scorpions, come to Ohio. Goats, chickens, and dogs all do fine here.

Cate Masters said...

A mean rooster sounds awful to deal with. Too many weeds here, and overnight cold is lasting too long (though it's nice for sleeping!)
Glad the goats are settling in, and that Tank's resting easy too.

Maria Zannini said...

Linda: I wonder if I can do the summer homestead in Ohio and the winter homestead in Texas. I'm not fond of your winters. :)

At last check, Nana was 37 pounds. When last you saw her, she was about 10-12 pounds.

Maria Zannini said...

Cate: I've given mean rooster the benefit of the doubt and lots of time to fit in, but he just hates people.

His hens are very sweet though. He's the only sociopath.

Shelley Munro said...

Ugh, on the snake rolling. Been there, done that, and they just bout always want to share.

Loved the goat photo. They always look so curious.

Maria Zannini said...

Shelley: I wish they wouldn't derive such pleasure from stinking.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's an update :)

I bungled it for a spring/summer garden but I'm aiming for a fall/winter one. I'm working on the soil this month so everything will be ready for a late August planting. On the other hand, we may actually have edible grapes this year! We have a dozen nice clusters and the birds seem to be leaving them alone. Crossing fingers that continues.