Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Animals with antlers-you should have seen this one coming.

I know, I do this every year and I am sorry about that, but somehow this just never gets old.....for me anyway....I think my animals may disagree.

" Oh. My. Gosh. Here she goes again. Somebody call the Humane Society pleeeeease!"

"Don't worry, Jolly Ball, I know where she sleeps!"

"Really? Do we have to do this every year? Really? Really?"

"Why can't we just go to the dog park like normal families?"

"Seriously mom, this is asking a lot, even for an  easy-going Golden Retriever."

"Don't be so grouchy, you guys, I think this is kind of fun!"

" FUN? You WOULD think this is fun, you big dorky llama! This is NOT fun! Look at me! I am a chicken with antlers for sheep's sake! A chicken with antlers!"

Happy Holidays from the critters at Crosswinds Farm.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I'm seeing things. Why doesn't that surprise you?

I thought I wouldn't, but I'm gonna say it again- the snow is still kind of pretty, and the past few mornings I have awakened to see the added sparkle of Hoar Frost that, with a bit of imagination, transforms every surface that it touches into something else.
Many of the tree branches look as though they are adorned with soft feathers.
Or tiny white butterflies.
Sometimes the branches appear to be covered with sharp thorns.
The dormant apple tree almost looks like it is covered in spring blossoms......OK, maybe it's easier to imagine if you don't look at the snow-covered ground.
The old tomato plants are skeletal soldiers standing guard over the deserted garden-that I never cleaned out in the fall-thanks for noticing.
A wooden fence post becomes a strangely-decorated cupcake. Work with me people, it's winter in Iowa, you start seeing things.

And Jasmine becomes....

Lady GaGa.

Then, as the sun starts to warm the air....well, warm is a relative term, when I say warm I mean it gets up to about 20 degrees....I digress. When it gets warm-er, the frost comes tumbling down and the show is over.
Then it's just back to regularly scheduled winter in Iowa again, and I am still just a little off-center. OK, a lot off-center. Thanks for noticing.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Five Fabulous Farmers...a Bizarre Bazaar

If you are brave, and happen to be on the East coast of Iowa this weekend, you might want to check out 'The Five Fabulous Farmers...A Bizarre Bazaar' at my friend Miss Effie's flower farm, featuring a crazy group of creative farm women selling their handy work. Come and see the Summer Kitchen with the swoopy roof (try and say that one fast!), and the 'Tea cup tree'........yeah, only Miss Eff would have a Tea cup tree.......
..that also serves as a snow gauge.
Here is a peek inside at the goodies that will be available.

 Who doesn't love hand-knit fuzzy slippers?

And, of course, you may see some of my Salted Nut Rolls there too ; ).

Maybe even a clay Santa, or two!

Oh, yeah, if you do come and visit us there, remember that heat is a bit limited in the Summer Kitchen...'cause it's intended for Summer, so wear your Carhartts...and maybe your ear-plugs, 'cause Miss Eff and I laugh kinda loud sometimes.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Good-bye Blue-ster Rooster : (

 Tuesday morning when I went out to feed the crew, I noticed that my best Blue-Laced Red Wyandotte roo was missing. He is...errr...he of the three marauding roosters that I was keeping for breeding next spring. I don't know for sure what got him, the only clues that I found were a few of his beautiful, iridescent tail feathers on the ground in the horse's winter paddock. Very sad. I haven't had predator problems for quite some time and I have always been able to allow the three boys to free range, so this was very disheartening. Generally a fox or coyote will leave tell-tale signs of a struggle, but there was nothing. I have to assume that perhaps a very large bird of prey may have been at work here. I guess it doesn't matter now. I moved the remaining boys into one of the barns for their safety, but it will take some getting used to for Rooster Cogburn who has never been confined in the almost 5 years that I have had him. The irony of this situation is that I have several roos that I am trying to get rid of.....OK, so not necessarily in this way, but my point is that it's always the good ones that turn up missing  : (.
Good-bye handsome Blue-ster.

In happier chicken news, I was out collecting eggs and discovered that my French Black Copper Maran pullet has just start laying! You may remember the Maran chicks from an earlier post. Unfortunately, out of the four original chicks, only ONE turned out to be a pullet.
Look how pretty her dark eggs are compared to my other hens' eggs.

The rest of the hens have really been slacking on the job. We are down to about a dozen, or a dozen and a half eggs a day. You may think that sounds like a lot, but remember, I have 60 (ish) hens...I think...somewhere in that ballpark (ish)..Chicken Math, you know. That is OK though, they deserve a rest, they supplied plenty of eggs all season long for Farmers' Market.
For those of you that are wondering if there is a difference between farm eggs and store eggs-beside the pretty colored shells and lack of salmonella recalls- they are pretty on the inside too. 
 "Hey, Factory Farm Egg, you left your whites behind! How embarrassing."

Monday, December 6, 2010

And now for something completely irrelevant!

 I was going though my blog and found a few drafts of posts that I never got around to publishing, so here is some randomness just for you.

A few months ago, back before the snow was flying and when there was daylight past the hour of 4 PM, we had just finished eating supper when something outside caught Gary's eye. He excitedly exclaimed, "Look, it's a balloon!" I glanced out the window with considerably less enthusiasm than my dear spouse and flatly answered, "Yup, it's a balloon." And there it was, a large hot-air balloon drifting along the summer sky. For a moment I wondered why my dear husband gets so excited about all things aviation...and then I remembered how many times I have nearly made him drive off the road when I became overly exuberant pointing out a beautifully fenced pasture or some unusual livestock as we pass a farm along a country road, and realized that this is his "pretty fence". I decided to let him have his moment. I knew what the next words out of his mouth would be, " Get your camera, let's follow it!"  To which I halfheartedly protested, " I don't even have my shoes on." He assured me that we wouldn't even get out of the car, "You don't need your shoes, hurry before we miss it!" Well, I am game to take pictures of just about anything, so, camera in hand, I jumped in the car-in my stocking feet-and off we went, following the balloon as it sunk lower and lower into the evening sky.
After traveling down several roads in hot pursuit, we caught up with our colorful friend and noticed yet another balloon making it's way toward us. The second balloon was getting very low as it approached. Soon we saw the ground crew vehicle pass us by, looking for a place for the craft to safely 'put down'. Of course, Gary got very excited about the prospect of watching the balloon land, and seeing the crew at work. I just was glad to get some pretty pictures.

The balloon dipped toward the ground several times and then ascended again briefly while searching for the perfect landing spot- with us following along the entire way.
We caught up to the balloon just as it settled along the edge of an empty parking lot, the ground crew immediately sprang into action, grabbing tethers and pulling the balloon down to the ground as it deflated.

Then, with the precision of an Army drill team, the crew gathered the "Envelope", or as I like to call it, the balloon carcass, wrapped it......

....packaged it.....
....and, within literally 10 minutes, the entire thing-minus the basket-was reduced to a small duffel bag on the ground.
Of course, Gary had a lot of questions for the crew once they finished their work. He asked them where they had launched the balloon. I kind of chuckled at the answer, "Eisenhower Elementary School." The reason this amused me was that the school is a mere 10 miles from where they landed-that is-10 miles by car, not as the crow...errrr...balloon flies. I thought that seemed like a ridiculous amount of work for such a short joy ride, until I considered the number of times that I have hitched up a horse trailer, loaded horses, tack, buckets and supplies and driven for two hours to take a short trail ride with friends. To each his own, I suppose. The balloonists would more than likely find it strange that I sit in my pasture and pet sheep.

I will have to concede that, in spite of my initial protests, I did find the process to be fascinating even though it did not involve anything of a farmy nature. I guess there is a lesson in there somewhere about supporting and appreciating each other's interests and passions.
I probably should have put my shoes on though.

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