Summer is on our doorstep but the rain continues to fall as if it were April showers. The rain hasn’t stopped long enough for the mud to dry up, so outside chores are dirty and wet. Perhaps it was a bad choice to begin a hobby farm this spring, but here we are, knee deep in manure. Construction has slowed to a crawl and the garden is only partially planted. Still, we plough on, hoping for more than 24 hours of sun in a two-week span.
Of course, the weather this past Sunday did nothing to convince us fair weather is on the horizon. Showers, short bursts of sunshine, dark clouds, thunder and
lightening, heavy rain and hail kept us running inside and back out again as we worked to get the posts for the new pasture levelled and pounded deeper into the ground. By the end of the day, we were tired, wet and very muddy, but happy all the poles were secured. Now we just need a few hours of dry weather to get the wire attached.
Our first addition to the farm – Mayzie, our miniature donkey – has settled into a routine. When she sees the kids heading for the fields, she knows she will get a bundle of fresh grass to eat. She cries out for it, the kids giggle and cut faster. My daughter has been training her with handfuls of grass, running or walking along the fence, getting Mayzie to trot and walk. During and after the lesson, Mayzie gets the handfuls of grass used to motivate her.
It seems Mayzie doesn’t care about a clean coat. After the kids groom her, she retreats into the barn and rolls several times in the fresh shavings. She reappears with so many shavings stuck to her hair that it appears she has been ‘snowed’ on.
More details will be posted later about the number and breeds of chickens, ducks and turkeys gathered this spring to enrich our lives with eggs and meat. At this time, I’ll just say that we will have plenty of eggs this fall and hopefully several breeding pairs to increase our flock next spring. I am focussing on heritage breeds. I’m stilling looking for a few breeds to round out the flock: Houdan chicken, Dorking chicken, Ancona and Sussex light. I may have to wait until next year to get them.
Fluffy, the black kitten, was born March 25, 2011 and joined the croft when he was seven weeks old. He tackles the fake mouse the kids drag across the kitchen floor and then goes a couple rounds with it before leaving it for dead. We all think he’s going to be a great mouser and an awesome barn cat.
On June 18th, a very popular fellow was added to our croft family. Taz, a Toggenburg buckling, was born March 20th at Moser River on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia. He is a gorgeous fellow who should have just as handsome kids when he’s ready to breed in the fall of 2012. He has a great personality and is well behaved. My kids learned quickly that the little fella loves clover flowers and will follow them anywhere when they dangle one in front of him. More on Taz in an upcoming blog.
Although the rain tries to dampen the mood, the sound of the croft animals singing lifts the spirits and makes me smile. This is where I want to be this summer . . . rain or shine.