Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Chickens & Cows

I weaned the calf late last week by putting her mother in a separate pen and leaving her in the pen with her father. So far it's been relatively painless. There's been just a bit of mooing from mom two pens over but for the most part all is calm and good.

Here's father and daughter. She's growing nicely.
With one exception the chicks I got from the hatchery are doing well. About six of them developed a case of "pasty butt", where their vents (number 3 definition of the noun) get caked up for some unknown reason. I washed them carefully with warm water. Only one had a recurrence and sadly, it was just too much for the little chick. So now there are 11 cuckoo marans and five speckled sussex. Oddly enough none of the sussex chicks were affected.
Here are the two wheaton marans chicks that hatched from the eggs. Notice the feathers on their legs have started developing. This one is a little darker.
This is the lighter one.
Since I'm no expert I still can't tell if they are girls or boys. I have noticed that the darker one has more of a comb and less of a tail at this point. I don't know if that means anything. If I had to guess I'd say the lighter one is a hen and the darker one will be a rooster. We'll just have to wait and see.
This will be my last post for at least a week and a half. We are leaving on vacation tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it because first of all it's VACATION, and secondly and most important we'll be meeting up with all my husband's family and their families. Sadly, we have to leave Carli and her little family behind because she has to work.

Til then!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Nigerian Wild Life

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, our neighbor Dean is currently working in Nigeria. While there he's been taking a few photos of the strange and wonderful wildlife there. In some ways the same, but in some ways the animals are very different.

Check out this colorful lizard.
And here's a big frog.

My husband has always been pretty adept at identifying different birds so he helped me find the names of the following birds. You can go to Google Images and type in the name and you can see the names are correct!

A very exotic looking Pin-Tailed Whydah (vidua macroura) in his breeding plummage. Note the long tail!
This is the African Harrier Hawk (polyboroides typus).
A Pied Crow (corvus albus).
And finally some White Faced Whistling Ducks (dendrocygna viduata).
Click on any picture to enlarge.

Thanks to Dean for sending the photos!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Neighbor Dean is currently working in Nigeria. This is his second trip there, working for an oil company repairing engines and the like. The first time he went was for about three months, then he had about a two month break. Now he's back probably for about a month and a half.

While there he's been taking a few photos and he's given me permission to post them here on my blog.

He's in an area that is surrounded by very dense jungle.
One of his coworkers took this picture of Dean.
Wild pineapple.
Jungle hut.
Dean and his Nigerian coworkers often eat at the "Bush Bar". This is outside of the compound where they work and live. This is the "kitchen".
Dean's favorite meal there. Goat soup!
A lady on the road.
This guy was picking the wild pineapples in the jungle to sell in the city.

Tomorrow... some of the colorful wildlife.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Orchard Production

I knew I'd be too late! When I found the nectarine about two weeks ago in my "orchard" I thought I still had a little time before it was ready to be picked. Well, I waited too long. When I finally thought about getting it and trying it out, it had already fallen off and was starting to get eaten by the ants. Darn!

But I still had the Gala apple. It probably could have gone a little longer but I didn't want to miss this one too so I picked it.

Let me tell you, it was very good. It could have stayed on the tree maybe another week but it was still nice and sweet and crunchy. It made me feel better about having lost the nectarine!


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Home Grown Breakfast

For this Sunday morning breakfast we had all things we grew ourselves! The eggs were from our hens, the pork sausage was from our pig, and the cantaloupe was from our garden. And you know what? It was all delicious!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dried Figs

Our Italian honey fig is doing very well this year. For some reason the birds have not attacked it like they usually do. Maybe it's the Italian Pointer, aka Bracco Italiano, guarding the tree!

Since the birds weren't getting the fruit and we were I decided to try and preserve at least some of it. I started with gathering the ripest fruit I could find, then giving it a good rinse.
Some sources suggest picking up the fruit that's fallen to the ground as those fruits will be the ripest and sweetest. That doesn't work in our household because all three dogs have been known to pick the fruit right off the tree! In other words there is no fruit on the ground!

Then I sliced the figs length wise and placed them around the dehydrater trays. I stacked the trays and turned the machine on (again, outside since it's been in the upper 90's!). I check on the progress from time to time to make sure they don't turn into fig "chips".
Now they are done. They are not so dried out that they are crispy, and not too juicy still that they will rot easily, but dried out and still pliable.
I store them in a plastic baggie. These particular type of figs aren't like the figs you can buy in the store. They are a little on the bland side with just a hint of sweetness. That may be because I picked them off the tree, and not off the ground as suggested. But they still make a nice snack, especially for homemade!

Beware the Bracco Italiano guarding his Italian honey figs!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sunday Drive

One of the things I've always wanted to do but haven't yet done is go camping with horses. Of course I'm not counting the times we've been to a horse show and camped out then. I mean take the horses to a remote area and spend the day fooling around and camp out. No 7-11s down the road or the bathroom in the barn at the stable. I mean real camping in a tent with the horses tied out and all of us loaded up with fly spray.

I've kind of been getting a hankering to go camping again, since it's been a couple of years, and this time I really do want to take the horse. Actually now, I have to say, pony.

I'm not sure how this all came about but we decided to go check out Manter Meadow, a spot where you have to hike about 2 1/2 miles to get in. It's way past Lake Isabella and Kernville. It takes a few hours to get there from Bakersfield, but once you are there it is so worth the trip. Here is a picture of Big Meadow, which is near the one of the trail heads to get to Manter Meadow.
Along the way we were surprised to see quite a few wildflowers were still blooming. Here's an Anderson's Thistle.
Even though most of the flowers were past their prime, from a distance they still made splashes of color here and there.

And every once in a while there would be these tall red flowers, off in the woods. Most were alone or with just a few like flowers.
They are called sacrodes sanguinea, or snow plant!
Finally we got to the trail head. There was a gentleman there with his horse and two mules. He was about to go on the trail himself, after he had his lunch. He said it wasn't too bad of a trail, with two or three rocky areas, and the majority of the trail quite nice.

We walked about a half mile in, but since it was already later in the afternoon we turned around and headed back. These pictures are coming back from where we turned around. You can see most of the trail is very nice.
This was at the top of a hill right after the first few yards of the trail. From this point on towards Manter Meadow it's down hill.
But first we had to climb up hill. (Remember this is going back to the trail head.)
This is the rocky area. It really wasn't too bad and I totally think Flora could handle it. We just want to use her saddle as a pack thing or maybe buy a saddle pannier and lead her. Once we get to the camp area I could then ride her around and explore.
Here's the guy we met on his horse and leading his mules in.
I'm really jealous.

Friday, July 10, 2009

One Man's Trash Is Our Treasure

Or perhaps this post should be entitled: "Their Loss Is Our Gain". However that didn't sound very "nice" so I used the other title.

What happened was my hay supplier, who is the husband of my mosaicing partner Vicki, heard from his junk man that a tile company that manufactured their own tiles had gone out of business. They were looking to sell their equipment. Vicki and her husband went out and talked to one of the owners. They ended up buying a bunch of those big commercial sized fans (we always called them livestock fans), and a few other things. They asked the owner about the tile. The man said the other owner wanted to sell the tile inventory as one big lot (I think he said for around 3 million $!), but they could help themselves to the sample tiles.

As they went through the cabinets they were pleasantly surprised to find boxes and boxes of different colored samples. This picture shows what they brought over.

So this week we've been slowly trying to separate the tiles according to colors. I love these super bright colors.

There are a few of the same colors but most are different by one shade. They were samples, after all, where they were experimenting with different textures and mixtures to create the tiles.

We've only got about half of the tiles sorted by color. It's a little daunting because there are just so many.
The hardest thing about it is figuring out which color goes where. It sounds simple enough until you actually start sorting. Should this reddish brown go to the red pile or the brown pile? Is this blue or gray? Teal, aqua, yellow-green, greenish-yellow, blue-green. Purple, pink, plum, rose, etc.

As far as we're concerned, it's Christmas in July! I only wish we had known about this place before they went out of business, because they had all the beautiful colors we like to use, including that nearly impossible to find bright orange.

In today's mail I received my Kern County Fair entry catalogue. I just finished my mosaic bowl today also and I think I might enter it. I don't recall seeing anything similar in the previous fairs, and what the heck, I figured why not!

Here is the finished bowl. It's really prettier in person and I don't know why the photographs don't translate the true look very well. The first picture was taken with a flash.

This second picture was taken without a flash.

Well, you'll just have to come to the 2009 Kern County Fair to see it!