Sunday, July 24, 2016

"Living like tourists..."

Chris likes to say that we try to live like tourists.  Here we are in Maine... arguably one of the most beautiful places in the country. It would be a shame not to explore the place!  Today we drove New Harbor, and took a Seal Watch tour.

The weather was nothing short of stunning.  There was one large family on board the boat, and us, along with the captain and two naturalist/crew members.  Surrounded by salt air and sea, it was a joyful ride to the ledge where seals are known to hang out.


This little guy was on board, and told us all, "I've been waiting to see seals for YEARS!  Since I was in my mommies tummy!"

 As luck would have it, the tide was high and the seals were out hunting.  Not a single seal was there to be seen on the ledge.


But their sleek heads could be seen bobbing in the water...

And this pup came close to the boat...
Living like tourists. It's a good idea, and makes for special days and happy memories.  I like the way my husband thinks.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Wild and free...

We used to have a rabbit which was allowed to roam free.  That wasn't our original intention, of course, because there are many dangers for a small bunny that is not kept safe in a hutch or coop or cage. However,this rabbit was so miserably unhappy when confined we let her live by her own devices.  She would greet me each morning for food and treats, and the rest of the time hung out with the chickens or lounged in the sun or hid in places only she knew about.  She lived a long and happy life and we missed her when she died of old age.

Last winter we added two more pet rabbits to the place, and I thought I might let them have some free time once the weather was fine. But their hutch is so nice and big and roomy, and I worried so much about rabbits being eaten by a fox or a hawk, I kept them in.  A few days ago, when I opened their door to feed them, one hopped out.  He looked so happy in the tall grass, I shrugged and left the door ajar. All day the bunnies hopped around, nibbling on grass and weeds and looked altogether charming.  In the evening I went out with food, water and treats, and it was no trouble at all to round them up and put them safely in their hutch.  So all week that has been our routine.

It is fun to see them racing about, exploring the pasture.




They stay together for the most part, and the black and white one only has three legs so he does not go very far or very fast.  I hope they can stay safe and enjoy some freedom.  Carpe Diem, little ones. Hop wild and free!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Old and new...

We had a fun outing last weekend which involved traveling to Rockport, Massachusetts and visiting with many family members, (including my incredibly fabulous 18 month old great niece, with whom I am hopelessly in love!)  I got home and tried to blog about it, and my computer decided to add random letters where they were not invited.  For instance, I wanted to title my post, "Away we go..." and the computer did this:  "Atwtayt wtet gtot."  Other letters besides "t" would be rudely inserted where they didn't belong as well.  My wonderful computer geek husband was unable to fix it.  A new computer had been on my wish list for Christmas anyway, as mine was elderly by computer standards had some other troubling issues. Throwing caution and Yankee frugality to the wind, I  decided to live large and ordered a lovely brand new laptop. Due to the wonders of modern time, it arrived in less than 48 hours.  

But now there is that awkward time where I am learning how to use different, updated technology, and load the things I wish to keep from my sweet, old computer, onto my spiffy sleek new one.  I am sure we will soon get to know each other and things will be smooth sailing, but for now I am struggling along trying to adapt to marvelous updates.

The computer is not the only new thing here, either.  The first of July one of my Light Brahma laying hens went broody for the first time.  Last night I took a peek under her to see if any other chickens had added their eggs to hers (I marked her eggs so I would know which was which,) and there was a flurry of movement under her feathers.  I left her alone while the remainder of her eggs hatched, and by this afternoon there were 5 or 6 wee chicks tucked warmly under her feathers.

This is what a freshly hatched chick looks like.  After just a little while they fluff up and look like this...
I put special food and water containers near the nest so the babies can eat and drink.  Mama hen is NOT amused by my messing about with her new babies.

She gives me a frightening looking stink-eye.  She does allow my efforts, but woe to anyone  else who dares to reach in- they are rewarded with a vicious peck from that cruel beak.

New chicks and new computers.  Plenty to keep me busy on these fine summer days.






Sunday, July 10, 2016

Growing...

The spring was marked with many new baby animals at FairWinds, and summer has them growing, growing...


The diminutive Silky hen will not be able to let the Light Brahma chicks huddle under her warm skirts for much longer.  But for now, those little faces are enchanting peeking out from under her fluff.
The broiler chicks are huge. It is hard to believe that just 7 or so weeks ago they were hatchlings. Their diet of grass,clover, bugs, goat milk and pound after pound of food is serving them well.  I think they weigh at least 5 pounds each, maybe more.

To my dismay, the youngest goats have learned to dance on the roof of the rabbit house.  I wonder what the bunnies think when they hear the thunder of hooves above them?  Note Barley on the right, caught in mid-leap by my trusty camera.  Hops and Jane are on the roof.  When we brought Barley and Hops home in early May, they were tiny... under 10 pounds each.  Now they are close to 50 pounds, I think.

And the ducklings!  My goodness, it is getting difficult to tell the babies from the adults these days. I wish I could find homes for more of them.  8 went off to new farms last week, but I still have 10 that I would like to place. Or, maybe 9.  There is one very small duckling that may stay right here.

And then there is the wonderfulness of baby Bravo.  He loves toys, and plays riotous games by himself. He tosses the toys and races after them, catching and tossing again. He is becoming more nimble and agile as he gains muscle.




 A smart and happy puppy, he brings me much joy and laughter as he grows.






Friday, July 1, 2016

Chaos and mayhem...

The final batch of ducklings has hatched.  Eight wee, perfect, downy creatures. Now all three hen ducks have their clutches of healthy, pretty babies. You might think the drake would be proud. You might think the mama's would be pleased. You would be wrong.

The pasture is rife with strife.  Each hen duck wants to molest and torment the other mothers brood.
One duck will race up to the other. The second duck will quack and protest, and her babies will scatter in alarm.  Then the first duck will peck at the frantic ducklings, sometimes even picking one up to toss it about with reckless abandon. The air is filled with the angry voices of the mother ducks, and the upset peeping of the poor ducklings. The drake is terribly confused.  He goes from  hen to hen, unsure of his roll in all of this pandemonium.  I have decided that there will be no future ducklings!  This is not fun in the slightest.

Fortunately, once in a while one of the hens will find a moment of quietude, away from the others.
Then the scene radiates maternal bliss and loveliness.


The babies dabble in the low water containers I put around the place, and eat vast quantities of food.


They grow at an astonishing rate. The first ducklings hatched June 6th, and are more than half grown already. I need to find them new homes, and fast, so that calm can once again reign at FairWinds.



Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A happy sight...

Years ago my friend Liz told me that woodpeckers would often bring their young to her feeder and teach them how to eat seeds and suet. The idea of that enchanted me.  Last summer I was fortunate enough to have several families of woodpeckers bring their newly-fledged babies here to my feeders, and show them the ropes.  The young look almost exactly like the adults by the time they are old enough to leave the nest and go flitting about looking for snacks.  However, they behave very differently from the grown up birds.  They flap their wings and squawk and flutter about in a very clumsy and comical manner.  Today a lot of activity at the feeder caught my eye, and I looked out to see this mama Hairy woodpecker with a chick in tow.  I was very excited to get a couple of shots of her feeding her big baby.

First at the feeder.  Mom is on the right, stuffing some seed down juniors greedy bill.

Then they moved to the deck rail and she helped her chick sample some suet. After that they headed for the trees, no doubt in search of a bug or two for dessert.

As much as I enjoy watching the birds, it makes me laugh to have the tables turned.  See this guy?
He is a male Rose breasted grossbeak.  One of several that frequent my feeders.  But this one does not just come to eat.  He spends a fair amount of time staring in the window at my daughter and me while we work.  He looks quite fascinated to see us there, and stays long stretches without eating. Just peering in.  We call him Tom. Peeping Tom. 




Monday, June 27, 2016

Magical day...

I got lucky in the in-law department.  And today my sister-in-law Brenda and her daughter Lisa were to visit in Bar Harbor, Maine while on a New England cruise.  We all took the day off so we could see them.  It wasn't enough time, really, but it was some time, and that was a gift.

The drive from here to Bar Harbor is lovely, and chatting and catching up was a delight.  There were Whoopie Pies and Blueberry pie involved.  And a few laughs.  Then they were off on a tour and we were headed home to feed baby goats and have a peaceful afternoon.

The weather? PERFECT. I took my camera out to the back yard along with a good book and a cold drink.  Caught a few images to illustrate the afternoon...




Bravo turned an empty sour cream container into a fun toy, then posed for a handsome new close up shot of his little face.

In the pasture, the ducks chased bugs and gobbled up the seed heads on the grass.


The ducklings are growing at astonishing speed.

Luna whispered a joke into Ella's ear. Ella laughed and laughed.


As the sun got lower in the sky, Chris grilled up a marvelous supper. 

Meanwhile, the fat, round, broiler chicks ate their fill, while the adult layer birds strutted about.

I caught movement out of the corner of my eye.  Something red and fast in the meadow.  

A beautiful fox. It arched and bounded and hunted there, just beyond our fence.  I would have enjoyed it's wild beauty more if I didn't have pasture full of chickens and ducks that I knew he would love to hunt.  We stayed out, watching him, until he vanished into the pines. Then we hustled the birds into their safe coops, and came in to enjoy a delicious meal.

It truly was a magical day.