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Sunday, April 17, 2016

New Life All Over the Mountain

With summer-like temperatures, this spring weekend brought an abundance of new life everywhere we looked, beginning with the arrival of new chicks on Friday.  It still amazes me that day-old chicks can be shipped in a little box and travel via the US Postal Service and arrive alive at our farm two days later.  

All but one got here safe and sound Friday afternoon, and they have taken up residence in our dining---I mean, multi-purpose room for the time being.  Hearing them peep all day long just breathes spring into our farmhouse.  They need to stay warm under the heat lamp for quite awhile, which is why the color looks so strange in the above photo.  It won't be long until they outgrow their current plastic bin, and we'll probably move them into a trough in the garage in a few weeks.

We tried to take a few of them outside for a photo shoot yesterday afternoon, but they were not happy out in a wide open space, and they kept turning their backs to me.  No scratching up bugs for them yet except for the occasional ladybug that lands in their bin.  When that happens, they all dive for it and chase after the lucky chick who runs with it in its beak.

This warm weather has been calling us outside daily, and we've been hiking all over the mountain and down to the pond.

Our teen son swears there are fish in the pond, but all I saw was one lone wild goose and lots of these salamanders.

Our red haired son loves, loves, loves salamanders and has kept a few as pets.  He even wrote a story about the one he named Emmit, who lived with us for a few days until he met an unfortunate end.  Emmit has become a legend in our family, and no other salamander can ever replace him.

In our swimming pool cover, hundreds of tadpoles have hatched out of their green jelly-like eggs and are keeping the cats entertained daily.  They won't complete their metamorphosis into toads by the time we open up our pool, though.  They'll end up as fertilizer for our gardens instead.

And speaking of the gardens, new carrots and spinach have sprung up from seeds planted last fall.  Hubby also planted some green onions a few weeks ago, and they have poked their way through the soil and mulch too.  I can't wait for fresh produce from our farm.

Dandelions have sprung up everywhere as well.  I really don't mind them in the yard; they're better than the thistles that try to inhabit every bit of bare space.  We've even used the dandelion leaves in salads from time to time, plus the goats and sheep absolutely love them.

Our goats are loving this warm weather and come up to me for a good neck scratching when they see me trying to take pictures.  This is our buck Jarlsburg heading towards me.  If you've ever been around a billy goat, you know scratching their heads requires a good pair of gloves.  Otherwise, you smell like them for the rest of the day.

Our does love to sunbathe, especially Palila, our oldest goat in the herd.  Lying under the blooming Bradford Pear tree each afternoon is her routine.  Three of our girls are looking very pregnant, but they still have at least a couple more weeks to go.

Squirrels' nests are everywhere in the woods and clearly visible right now while the trees are just budding.  We haven't come upon any baby squirrels or birds fallen out of their nests this spring yet.  I have done my share of trying to feed abandoned baby squirrels with a medicine dropper, and the experience has never ended on a positive note.

The local creek was stocked with trout a few weeks ago, and this weekend marked the official beginning of trout season here.  Our orange haired son was the only one interested in fishing the creek, but the trout weren't interested in anything hanging from the end of his line.

All of the children seem to have spring fever.  I noticed when substituting this week that everyone was more energetic, chatty, and excitable than usual.  Even our teenagers are goofy and wound up which is better than the surly, sedentary, sleepy beings that they often are during the winter.  Except at 10:00 at night when I just really want all of them to be sound asleep in their beds, not wanting to jump around and talk to me about the latest cool thing they saw on Pinterest.

Our youngest requested a picnic this weekend, so along with hiking, fishing, and playing on the playground Sunday afternoon, I also packed us a lunch in our picnic basket.  Nothing fancy this time: PB & J, apples, and pretzel sticks because Mom needs to go to the grocery store yet again.  That is becoming my second home.

The warm weather, new life, and longer hours of daylight keeps us outside much of the day until I look at the clock and realize we need to get younger ones ready for bed since tomorrow is another school day.  I don't know about you all, but we are counting down the days now until the last day of school.  It just can't come soon enough.

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