Chicks are Still Growing

Its the little things in life that I get the most enjoyment out of. The past few weeks, I have really enjoyed spending time with my chicks. It is neat to watch them grow and change. I opened the door to see the Guineas and Americanas getting along, sharing feeder and waterer as well as the warm spots under the lights.

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The Guineas are harder to see in this picture as the Americanas have grown so much. I know most people consider Guineas to be noisy, but I enjoy just listening to them. They remind me of the sound of wild turkeys, which I have enjoyed listening to for years.

This picture also shows how the Americanas have feathered out, almost fully! There are several different colors in my flock and I can not wait to see what the final result is! I have one or two hens that I think are absolutely gorgeous! Redish brown with black tips on some of their feathers. Not sure yet if I have any roosters, but time will tell.

I would like to hatch a few chicks out in the future, just to see how it goes. Some of the most exciting moments on the farm are welcoming new little ones into the world! Springtime brings a lot of that and I am already looking forward to trying my hand with the chickens.

Farming is not for everyone, but I would not trade my little farm with my animals for anything! It is extra work, but I do not mind much, the rewards of healthy happy animals that greet you in the morning and evening are totally worth it! The horse are on a feed schedule and they quickly tell you if you are late. The chickens are not far behind, I expect them to be chirping and clucking if I decide to sleep in soon. Everything on my farm enjoys me and my care, they trust me and rely on me, that is the best part about what I do!

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Productive Rainy Day

With spring, comes the wonderful spring showers, and in Ohio also storms. Rainy days limit outdoor progress, but gives me a chance to catch up on indoor work, which I always have a bunch of! Today was the perfect catch up day.

Livestock always comes first for me, so since the horses were out enjoying the spring grass, that left the chicks to check on. I can’t believe how much and how fast they are still growing! The Americanas are borderline fully feathered, and the Guineas are just over a week old now. I still enjoy just listening to them! The little Guineas sound so much like turkeys it is unreal. The Americanas are starting to roost and it is exciting to open the coop in the morning to see how many are roosting.

Once the chicks were taken care of, I turned my attention to sewing. Sewing proved to be a rather relaxing way to spend the wet, muddy evening. I have been working on a new pattern that I have not made before. Always a learning curve, but it has gone fairly easily. The outfit I decided on is for a 3 year old little girl. She has a 15 inch doll baby that she loves, and she only has about 2 outfits.

The little dress and matching jacket are a pattern from pixie fairy. It has a gathered, elastic neckline and a band along the bottom to accent the color of the sundress. I cant wait to get it finished so I can post pictures. It is turning out really cute!

Took the day off riding, with the rainy weather the ground was slick, so that leaves preparation for race day to tomorrow. I am looking forward to another full weekend. I can not wait to see how the race goes! Changed Bart’s bit, he seems to like this one better, so hopefully he is not fighting it like he did the other one. It will also be abother chance to try and work out my timing with Jim and master the second turn.  This season is full of hope, new season, new page and new goals! Now to just take it one day at a time and see where we end up!

Busy weekend,but wonderful way to spend it

This past weekend has been full and full of memories. Even though it is only technically spring, this weekend felt so much more like summer. Several noteworthy things happened on the farm and it made the weekend that much more exciting!

Saturday I had to work, so my weekend really got underway Sunday, but I enjoyed as much of it as I could just the same! I loaded up the boys and went to the race early.

I was pleasantly surprised how the boys did. Jim felt better than he has in years, even though we put a can on the ground in both races. He ran with more heart than he has had in several years. He ran, because he wanted to and because he felt good. His tuens were solid, and balanced. Knocking the barrel was my fault both times, and I plan to work on that this week in preparation for the next race.

The youngster, Bart, did not go to win a race, but to experience the sights and sounds and learn about patiently waiting tied to the trailer etc. He did very well, and even focused and listened during his exhibition runs. I was proud of him!

The chicks are still growing, as I anticipate them continuing to do. The Guineas are a week old tomorrow, and I plan on turning them loose in the coop. The bigger birds go in and out of their box as they please, and so far everyone is getting along well. It will be easier to care for them properly when they are all together also. The Americanas are almot fully feathered! Their colors are beautiful in my opinion and I was enjoying just watching them in the coop this evening, enjoying them walk around with each other and watch me a little curiously.

We are entering into the final count down for the mare, closing in on about 5 weeks until delivery. I am honestly hoping for a filly, but as long as I have a healthy foal with a safe delivery and a healthy mom I will be pleased. The little one coming will be a full sibling to Bart and I am excited about its arrival.

Springtime on the farm is unlike any other time of year, grass comes on turning the field green, baby animals, chicks, foals and kittens in my case, arrive, and everything is in bloom. The fields are beautiful to look at, and the animals are fun to watch as they explore and learn about their surroundings. It helps the excitement grow for summer!

A Glimpse into my Passion

Up to now I have focused primarily on the chickens because they are new and babues are always exciting! However, there is a lot more to my small farm than a few chicks. Spring has sprung which brings all kinds of projects!

The horses have always been the primary focus for me. When you are able to follow your dream, that’s more of a blessing than I can even explain. This weekend kicks off the barrel racing season for me, starting with a fairly small show to get my feet wet and see how the boys are going to do. The past few years, I have only been competing with one horse, a tall sorrel Quarter Horse named Jim. I have learned so much about racing and training, and even starting colts y working with Jim the past 5-6 years. Last season was rough going, but now the soundness issues have been cleared up and I am excited to see how this season begins for him.

I am excited to start racing Bart this year also. He is also tall, like Jim, but built thicker and stockier. Bart is a black bay Quarter Horse, out of my buckskin mare. I started Bart myself, from the ground up. We have come along slow and learned things the right way. He is still learning everyday as he improves with each workout.

This weekend will be exciting. In a way it marks the season opening for me. I have been riding, conditioning and training for about a month in preparation, but you never know what is going to happen that first show when they see the sights and hear the sounds that you can not recreate at home.

Working with these boys has been my happy place, my stress relief, my therapy and brought me so much happiness the past few weeks. There is always that one horse that is special and you can never replace. For me this is an old ‘scrub’ paint, with no papers, no bloodlines etc, but he has all the heart in the world. When I had to retire him in 2010 due to an injury that recurred after healing and reconditioning I was at a loss. It was hard to look for another horse while my best friend and partner, of 10 years, had to stay at home.

I have been looking for a horse that I had the same type of connection with, the same relationship and trust for. I bought several, 2 mares, one including the afore mentioned buckskin, and also a gelding. I think I finally found that same connection with Bart and I am so excited and eager to see how this season goes for us. He has so much heart, and I believe he has a genuine love for me, much as my beloved paint does. This season is sure to be sure of hope and new beginnings, for me, Bart and Jim.

Guineas are here!

Since I brought my chicks home a few weeks ago, I have been thinking about Guinea Hens and researching them etc. I learned a lot! They are more like turkeys than chickens. My mom says they are ugly, but I have already enjoyed listening to their chirps. The four of them are louder than I think the 14 Americanas ever were combined.

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My four little Guineas! They are happy under the heat lamp 🙂 however, it is warm enough in the coop, I moved them out there inside their box.

I can’t wait for them to grow! I really enjoy watching things change as they mature. It won’t be long and they will be out in the yard scratching and pecking, keeping the bugs and insects at bay.

Anyone interested in possibly getting this type of chicken, they do not play well with others. I had thought about getting a few more Americanas, but when I asked about putting them in the same box to bring home, the salesman said Guineas don’t get along with others. I’m hoping they will at least be friendly enough to leave each other alone when they go outside together.

Guineas are also known for their protective qualities as well as wandering a little bit. It will be interesting to see if they really do prefer to roost in trees, although I hope to have them in before they go to roost, as I would not want predators to be able to get them in trees over night.

I am very much looking forward to the next couple of weeks as the birds change and grown, the Guineas and the Americanas and to see which of them are hens and roosters. The next couple weeks I am going to focus on taming them and handling hem often so that I can catch them if and when needed.

It has been enjoyable going to the coop each morning and several times through out the day to see the chicks and watch their feathers come in as well as their colors change. My little farm is growing and I am enjoying every step of the way!

Spanish Style Doll Clothes Part II

I was sewing the other day and made several adjustments to the pattern I was working on. This is another outfit from a pattern made by Butterick for the Pleasant Company. I am working on Josefina’s clothing, and next on my list was the night shift. I made one of these a while back, and decided I wanted to try a few things differently.

This garment goes together pretty quickly. I found it easiest to put the elastic in the sleeves by pinning the elastic only where you started and finished and then stretching it between the two points. I had too much trouble when I tried more pins than that.04061618190406161846

The pattern calls for beaded lace, which I used the first time I made this. However the neckline was very sloppy and I did not care for the fit at all. So I made an elastic casing at the neck edge and ran 1/4 inch elastic through it. This simple change gave the garment a much neater appearance as well as fit. The neckline was no longer sloppy, but still had the similar lines and fell in much the same manner as the ribbon strung through the lace as the pattern directs.

The red bow that the ribbon at the neckline ties into, is a focal point for this outfit, so I tied a bow and hand tacked it onto the center of the front at the neckline to give the same appearance and have the same detail.

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There was a lot of room in finished garment, so I didn’t worry about adding any extra to the neckline to allow for the casing. I am very pleased with how this came out, and I don’t miss the lace one bit at the neckling of this particular garment.

Again, I like the way that snaps look as opposed to hook and loop, so that is what this will get also, is a set of snaps. The entire back of this is open also, with a narrow hem finishing the raw edge. I’ve discovered it is easier both in construction and on younger children to finish garments his way.

There are several more posts in the works!

Feathers are coming!

It definitely feels as though spring is here in Ohio today! The sunshine is warm and bright, things are green and blooming, and young animals are growing! The next few weeks will be exciting on the farm!

I went out this afternoon to check on the chicks as the sun was overhead and warm to make sure their new house wasn’t getting too warm. Not only were they a comfortable temperature, they were enjoying the day running and playing with each other while others napped.

First duty of checking on chicks after determining they are not too hot or cold is naturally the feeder and waterer. Filled the feeder and cleaned the dirty water out of the base of the waterer. When I looked up I noticed the largest chick has started to get their feathers! I was so excited I brought them in for a visit!

The chick got to say hello to my grandma, mom, as well as our little foster girl while he got his picture taken. They weren’t too sure of the dog, but that is not a bad thing. I can not believe how much they have grown just in the past couple of days. I am so excited that I have one that is getting their feathers in and I know the others will be soon following!

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One of the biggest reasons I chose this breed is the colors in their feathers. I think they are gorgeous birds with their black tipped feathers. They have a simple head, without a large comb and plain looking. I can not wait to see how their colors change as they develop and their feathers finish coming in!

I’m hoping that as their feathers come in, they get easier to tell apart. I have already had people asking me what their names are. I don’t plan on naming them, but I’m hoping to be able to tell them apart. A couple of them already are differentiating themselves with a stronger personality than others.

We are talking about getting a few Guinea Hens in addition to a few more Ameraconas. That will make the flock more interesting! The Guineas would not be used for much egg production of course, but more for insect control on the farm.

Continue to check back for updates!

The Chickens Finally Made it Outside!

Last week I made the first attempt at moving my little chicks outside to their newly built hen house. When I checked on them a couple hours later, it was clear they were too cold to spend the night outside. So, back into the bathtub until it warmed up. The weather in Ohio has been very cold for this time of year the past week. I was hoping to leave them inside until yesterday, but Thursday it was clear that wasn’t going to happen. I had 2-3 birds standing on the feeder, jumping and trying to fly out of the tub. I sat and watched for a moment and they were within about 2 inches of being free of their box.

It was surprising as well as entertaiing to watch these barely week old chicks try to escape. And I quickly realized they were going outside, that night. If I left them in there all night there was a good chance I would open the door the next morning and find chicks loose in the bathroom, if they staryed warm enough.

So I set to work. My hen house sits off the ground about 2 feet, for ventilation, but it was allowing too much heat to escape, I couldn’t keep it warm enough for the chicks. I went on a hay run and stacked square bales around the bottom to insulate it and block the cold air, and I added a second heat lamp to heat the whole house instead of just one end of it. I let it warm up for about two hours before I tok the chicks outside.

They absolutely LOVED it! I checked on them several timest through the evening and they were definately warm enough. Running around and playing as they thoroughly enjoyed the freedom of the extra room. It has been several days and they are warm and dry and happy lil guys! It has been so much easier to care for them outside as well. Their waterer stays cleaner as they are not playing in it all day and night, and their feed stays in the feeder where again they are playing in the open space with each other.

They are growing like weeds and I am throughly enjoying having them and watching them seemingly grow overnight!

We are still talking about getting a few Guinea hens to join the flock, and I can’t wait!

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Spanish Style Doll Clothes Part I

I have many hobbies, one of which is sewing. These days I priarily make doll clothes, for 15 and 18 inch dolls. I had some extra fabric and decided to make a Spanish style outfit and night shift. Special care for these dolls was instilled in me from the time I was young and sewing with my Grammy. She purchased Pleasant Company’s Josefina doll for me when I was about 9. The pattern that I have used to create this outfit set is from the Pleasant Company and made by Butterick.

When I was younger, I rememer drooling over Josefina’s Birthday dress. I was lucky enough to be asked to make one for a special Christmas gift this past year for a special young lady and I had some extra fabric! So what better to do than make another set? The first time I make a pattern, I always follow the directions to the letter, after the initial trial run, I make adjustments to pieces and construction to improve the fit or look of the overall garment or outfit.

I have thought about investing in a gathering foot to fit my machine, which woudld make these 6 piece sleeves go faster, but I haven’t yet.

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On the ruffle pieces, instead of stitching and folding and pressing and then the final stitching, I simply put a narrow hem in. I have gotten better at that the past few years, and I like the nice, neat appearance it gives my garment.

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I chose to do the neck ruffe the same way, by narrow hemming the raw edge. I like to keep things simple. The sleeves and neck ruffles are the most time consuming part of constructing this garment. It took me about 2 hours to get that far and then the rest of it came together quickly.

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In this pic the garment is completely together except the bottom hem and the snao=p closures. The pattern calls for hook and loop, but there are some things that I prefer snaps on. This is one of them. I like the neater look of snaps. They are less bulky and for this outfit I prefer them.

0407161325.jpgThis is the final product being modeled by my childhood friend Josefina! She has had lots of love over the years and is still willing to pose for pictures!

Coming up will be the oher garments to comlpete this outfit, including a skirt and shawl, as well as a night shift! Make sure to like my blog before you go and check back in for my next project!

The chicks are growing!

I have been I have been thinking about chicks for quite awhile, so I decided to take the first step! I am so excited for these lil guys to grow!

A week ago tomorrow, I brought home day old Amerucana  chicks! They spent the first night in a cardboard box with feed and water under a heat lamp.

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The next day I upgraded them to a storage tote. It was easier to maintain and they had more room. 

0404161052.jpgThis pic was taken yesterday! I didn’t think hey had grown much until I compared the first pic and the second pic! My lil birds are growing!!

I put them out in the chicken coop for the first time this afternoon. They are quickly outgrowing their plastic bin and I can’t wait until they have adjusted. The coop is something my dad designed and we built. A friend was an extra pair of hands, and I enjoy saying we did it!

0405161331I have had chickens in the past and that experience led me think this project through a little more. Before keeping the pen clean was a problem, so we floored the coop with Chicken wire over the supports. This will keep the coop easy to clean and hopefully well ventilated. I also like using things I already have, so the largest part of the frame was constructed from materials we already had on the farm. We started with 4 landscape timbers and an oak 2×6. I purchased plywood and 2x4s as well as hardware and paint to finish the project in time to welcome the chicks home.

0405161336.jpgI bed down the coop with some straw for insulation and to keep little feet off the wire floor. I want my chicks to be as warm and cozy as possible.And here are the chicks trying out the new coop! I hope they like it!

Stay tuned for more updates on these lil guys!