TURKEYS – WHO KNEW?

I just love when I stumble across something that I did not know before.  Anyone after the age of fifty can relate to this.  I love learning, so it is a pleasant surprise when something like this happens:

MMN.COM – Turkey Facts You Didn’t Know.

They actually have things that I had never even thought to think about before…

  • Where and how the turkey got its name.
  • Ben Franklin did not suggest the turkey as our national bird (this one threw me!).
  • And this one just is not right – You can tell male from female by its poop?!? (No, we had/have turkeys, and I NEVER checked this out. I can tell male from female just by looking at the bird.) What I want to know is who discovered this and why?
  • I never knew it was called a “snood” – the thinking on the top of their beak. I have seen the males get quite long when they are excited.  Hint, dead give-away it’s a male.

They listed other little factoids, but I knew all the rest.  You may find them interesting if you have never been around a domestic turkey.  Oh, and a been there-done that word or caution: YES, THEY CAN BE VERY MEAN!  Then again so can a rooster.  We had a rooster that would purposely hide behind anything the minute he heard my daughter’s voice.  When she got close enough he would come charging out at her, head down, wings flailing, and ready to throw spurs first into her legs.  Scary, but I burst out laughing every time because he never bothered me.  Could be because he came at me once, I kicked him and told him he would be freezer meat if he didn’t knock it off.  He never tried to attack me again.

We had one turkey, Whiskey was his name, and he would follow me around everywhere outside.  The first time I sat up in the garden after weeding away and found him squatting behind me, it freaked me out a bit.  Then it dawned on me that we raised almost all of our birds from babies.  He was one, and so I was kind of his mom.

My daughter was afraid of him too.  Not because he would try to attack her, but because he was big and scary when he would “fluff” (as we called it).  Males get all poofy, the tail feathers go up and spread out, the snood gets huge, long and droopy, and their whole body seems to swell up with pride in themselves.  Then they make this weird puffing noise (This site: http://www.wideopenspaces.com/sounds-turkeys-make-and-what-they-all-mean/ provides all the different sounds.  The cluck is the closest to what it sounds like.) while they follow you.  I just wrote it off as having too much air from being all puffed up like a balloon.

This lovely Thanksgiving Day, make sure you give thanks to this wonderful bird.  They are a real wonder of nature – like how can something that fat get all the way up in a tree?

(These two are wild ones.)

Whiskey with guinea

(This was our prize – Whiskey.  Oh, and if you read the full article, it mentions Guinea Birds in Turkey.  That is what the white bird is behind him.  Close up they have the head of a dinosaur.)

PLOWSHARE THURSDAY 9-28-17 – extra eyes.

There are several things I wanted to share today, but my best bet became “an extra pair of eyes.”

This is not really something you can buy through Amazon, but some days I wish I could.  There are a number of times, during any given year on a farm, where some extra set of eyes would come in handy.

We do a large amount of bartering with a variety of friends and family.  We were lucky in the fact that our in-ground planting in the greenhouse provided us with a ton of food.  This year it was needed more than ever as it is the first time since we bought the farm that we are without fresh farm eggs.  Fricken coyotes and foxes picked them all off (even my beloved turkey) in one afternoon.  Brazen jerks did it in broad daylight too.

Whiskey 4-20-16Some days you just cannot make sense of something that happens, this was one of those occasions. We took major precautions over the last several years to upgrade our poultry pens.  We taught them all to go into the barns at night where they were closed up tight.  We added a 360-chicken wire, attached enclosure for them to wander in and out of at will.  The only thing we did not consider was human intervention.

Xcel Energy and W.A.P.A have access through our property to get to their overhead power lines.  Both have been down in the lower neighbor’s field making all kinds of racket changing out poles and lines.  The best part of this is that they had managed to scare off all the wild critters that were hanging out in the swamps – including foxes and coyotes.

Roughly three years now we have not heard a yip or howl from either of the two groups to our joy.  This turned out to be a curse.  Yes, it was great we did not have to worry about them attacking our critters, but we became complacent.  I would open the doors up and let the critters roam all over the farm because I believed their predators to be gone.  Oh stupid me!

Once nice summer day with none of the worker crews around, and our whole flock (except the two chickens that hung in the cat barn) was taken out by the monsters.  It took no more than an hour for the chickens.  The turkey was nabbed by a coyote later that same afternoon. (He was carried off, and he was huge!)

So my share today is to get more eyes on your property.  Friends or neighbors driving by.  Neighbors close enough to notice strange movement.  We are even thinking about installing motion sensors with cameras in all of our hard-to-see areas. 

We have been able to exchange fresh fruits and veggies, canned goods, and homemade goodies for eggs and the like.  The pantry is not looking too bad, but I still feel totally bummed about our loss, and missing the wobbly birds that would come running when I called them.

 

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Please also check me out on: https://wordpress.com/post/lifelessonslived.com  for things I have lived through in my life.

WHERE WAS I AGAIN?

Ok woman – get your hands back in that dirt!  Ahhh, warm, living, comforting soil!  Breathe deep, life goes on (hopefully), pull up your big girl panties and move along.  Seventy plus degrees – November 2016 – Colorado – WHHAAATTT??

If things were not going freaky enough, we are going to have 70 ° today and the next couple of days?  Now Colorado weather is strange, major part of why I love it here.  But seventy in November is just abby-normal!

I do not have, nor do I want spring fever right now.  I have been sucking in the Hallmark channel trying to bring back my happy-happy, joy-joy of the holidays…p.s. it’s not working – grrr!

I have been working on all kinds of crafts for family and friends for Christmas.  We purchased a ½ a grass-fed beef to present a great meal for the family Christmas Party.  I have been pricing turkeys and checking out recipes for all kinds of side dishes.  I WANT MY FALL WEATHER!

A lot of leaves have fallen, but a bunch are still hanging on.  My honeysuckle, and winecup still have flowers on them?  The California Poppies were over eight inches tall (until my grandson thought they were weeds and helped me by pulling them out – eeek, boo hoo, hahaha).

The Robins, Blackbirds, and ladybugs are all still here?  My Blue Jay’s and Chickadee’s have not shown up yet?  There has not been a single fluke drop of snow yet (by now we should have had at least one fluke flurry)?

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We put the heater in our pond for the fish, but now it’s just a waste of electricity.  The trees can’t make up their mind either:

So now I must trudge on!  Keep creating.   Keep cookie planning and prepping going.  Keep the mood heading toward holiday happiness. 

Maybe I will take this picture, blow it up and hang it on my bedroom ceiling.  This way I can wake up each day thinking it will be the holidays soon:

fall

Or maybe this one would be better:

frozen pond 2-3-16

Then I can remember what winter feels like. (Ok, I am sick – Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer – my likes in that order!)

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IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN, ARE YOU LOSING IT?

I find it funny how sometimes I don’t even have to look at a calendar to know what time of the year it is.  It’s not the flowers or the trees; it’s our peacock.  I know, peacock?  Time of year?  This farm gal has gone off the deep end of a shallow pool – ha ha, not!

When it is very warm or very cold the peacock looks like this:

DSC_0022  DSC_0020

Full, beautiful bunch of tail feathers – definitely something to be proud of (and he is).  F.Y.I., they are very vain birds.  We catch him constantly sitting, staring at his reflection in our windows.  So wrong!

They also make great guard dogs.  Nothing gets close to or in our yards without this monster spouting out (if you have never heard one, go to the Denver Zoo -it’s loaded with them, and they are noisy).  The downside to that is we live next to an interstate highway, and on/off ramp for it, and a railroad track.  If any one of those makes an unusual sound (huge bang from train starting up, jake-brake from a semi trying to slow down, etc.), he squawks off.  During the day I don’t mind, but one a.m., I’m looking for a shoe to throw at him (he perches up in the tree outside my window at night – jerk!)!

Well, all I have to do is look for the tell-tale signs in the yard:

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And I will know EXACTLY what time of year it is…

It’s peacock humiliation time – WOOO HOOO!!

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Notice how even he does not want to show his face when his tail looks like this – LMAO!  All of the feathers will drop off before the temps get much lower.  Then he will start to put on new ones before winter.  In the spring we go through the same process – PEACOCK FEATHERS EVERYWHERE!

We had hundreds of them before the fire (boo hoo, all gone), and I was worried.  Silly me!

p feathers 1-yr 8-16-16

This is what we have collected just this year.  The last two years we just let them fly.  This is the feathers of two molting’s sitting there.  Going to have to get a bigger pot to put them in soon – eeek!

 

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THEY’RE BACK (No, it’s not poltergeist)!

I was checking out the storm Thursday morning, and that’s when I spotted it. Hanging low in our woods, almost aiming for the pond, then back up again. I’m sure it was trying to stay out of the wind gusts, but it moved like it was not affected by them at all.

Turkey Vultures!

vulture at library 4-1-16

Yep, we officially know it is spring when they show back up. They fly over heading north-northeast every spring. Then we get to see them going back in the fall. Have no clue where they are going to or from, but love to see them.

They are not as big as a Condor, but much larger than our area hawks. Guess I am just too much of a bird watching nut, so I naturally get excited when I see them. They are such smooth operators, even in our gust storms!

The first one I spotted was Thursday (3/31/16). It was all by itself which is very odd. Normally we see them like this:

vultures are back 3 31 16This group I spotted at our local small town library about an hour ago. They were dipping in between the trees there – odd? I have seen them in groups of about 5 to around 10, and I know they do not fly straight. They do this huge loop-de-loop in the air, gradually floating off in the direction they want to go. Ducks and geese fly over all year long. They are in a “V” formation, but they still move like an arrow in a straight direction. The loop-de-loop is usually how I spot the vultures. Dead give away (ha ha – yes, pun intended!)

The way they were bobbing in and out of the trees, they seemed to be playing at the library. Shame on them! They were just far enough away and moved fast enough that I could not get a clean shot of one with my cell phone – Boo Hoo! Oh well, at least, I have a couple of pics. Would love to have one close up in the wild. I think they are a bit camera shy! Too bad, I have a business proposition for them…I will set out some of my chicken feed as a treat if they pick off some of our huge ugly gophers? Think they will bite?

plains pocket gopher 2                         prarie dog

Pocket Gopher:                                                                                Prarie Dog

  1. Can’t tell here, but they have very long sharp teeth and claws.
  2. Are almost as big as a Prarie Dog.
  3. Take out the roots of EVERYTHING!
  4. Neither is cute or cuddly
  5. Both are dangerous (I actually saw some in a pet shop in WI – oooh nooo Mr. Bill! Now I hear they are having a prairie dog problem – duh!) and do not make good pets!
  6. Both will dig holes large enough for a goat, cow, or horse to break a leg in!
  7. Cattlemen and/or a good hunter can pick off a prairie dog on the plains – they are bold and brazen.
  8. Gophers are sneaky! If a cat or dog is patient, they may get one. Our guineas would rip it off if it ever had the guts to show its face to them – but nooo – they have too much fun tearing up all of our good fruit tree roots – jerks.

Well, I have news for them…soon it will be warm enough for our Bull snake momma to come out – wooo hooo – love her!!!

 

 

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IT’S NOT SMART TO MESS WITH MOTHER NATURE-MAYBE?

This morning was a wakeup call for me and my attempts at taking pictures.  There had to be a couple of thousand Snow Geese flying north over out little farm and these are my shots:

3-3-16 snow geese 2

snow geese 1

3-3-16 snow geese 3

Pretty pitiful – but there are 2 major things wrong pertaining to these pictures:

1)      Winning a great Nikon D3200 Camera with extra DX lens does not make one an instant expert photographer

2)      All the Snow Geese flying north on March 3, 2016 is way abby-normal!

The first one I can fix by actually taking classes (I think they even have some online under Nikon?) to learn how to take better pics.  I could also splurge on a neat little video camera (Walmart has several to choose from, at pretty reasonable prices), then I could have also shared the cool sounds they were making with you.

The second one is the thought that worries me a bit.  This winter has been way to different, and I don’t think it’s just here in Colorado.  It’s normal to get 70 degrees one day and 30 the next from October through January, but to get 60+ and stay there IN FEBRUARY – and no Freeze at all –  now that’s just not normal.  We prep all year for the one to two week period of below freezing day and night, not this year.

Have I also told you that I am an amateur Nature Enthusiast?  I say amateur because I have never taken formal classes on the subject; however, I have lived on a working farm most of my life (My folks purchased the family farm when I was about 2, and my sister was born after we moved there so she has been at it since birth).

I am fascinated with all things nature and natural.  The critters that show up unexpectedly in our yard (can you say opossum!).  The deer that come out of the woods almost every sunset to frolic in the lower pasture (especially love watching in spring as they chase each other all around till dark).  The increasing numbers of good bugs that are showing up here every year (Praying Mantis, Ladybugs, Monarch Butterflies – and some are endangered species).  We do not use chemicals of any kind on our property, so maybe we have become the Favorite Bug Restaurant for the good guys (I can only hope!)?  Who knows why they come, I’m just glad the come.

The numbers of sightings have increase about 10-fold since we purchased our little property in 2000.  Then again we cannot take all the credit, the first 3 years we were here were the worst drought years Colorado had seen in 100+ years.  That may have been a contributing factor (oh sure, blame the drought).  However, all I know is that they are here now and in growing numbers.

So the geese flying north in masses makes me wonder what old (yes she is “old”) Mother Nature is up to now?

Mother Nature 1

Is she in a playful mood and deciding to bring a nice early spring?  Is she in a vengeful mood and going to trick us into thinking it is nice, then zap us with a wicked deep freeze in April (after everything is in bloom of course – happened before and not long ago.)?  I cannot blame her for wanting revenge, we the people have abused her for too long.  Some of us (wish there were more- boo hoo) have actually been trying to help her all our lives. 

I guess there’s no way to predict what she’s up too, so we will just keep doing what we do – garden naturally, and hope for the best! 

Maybe I will put a totem up for her in the gardens to try to appease her – how’s this?

totem 1

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DO YOU WANNA BUILD A SNOWMAN – QUICK?

If you live in the northeastern plains of Colorado, you better do it quick! This is the time of year I really get a kick out of Colorado weather. We have feet of snow (not as bad as the east coast – show offs!), but ours is in drifts. Seems the wind just doesn’t want to quit out here, unless it is 100+degrees. So we received a wicked, wet, and wild snow storm, perfect for building a snowman. Unfortunately, the wind was so wild; you couldn’t stand to be out in it – boo hoo!

buffalo in snow

You know it’s a blizzard when:

  • It sticks to your greenhouse

 

greenhouse during 2-2-16 storm

  • When you can’t find your sister by the gray, shed

front of cat shed during 2-2-16 storm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BUT – HAVE NO FEAR – IT’S COLORADO!

In about a week, we will have just remnants of this – so sad! (ok – NOT!) The best part is that this one was heavy and wet. This means it will soak in – wooo hoooo! Nice start to a spring planting season.

Yes, I am rather freaky in the fact that I love snow but hate the cold. Snow means fun, moisture, a snuggly feeling. Cold means my arthritis is gonna be screaming at me, my nose sticks together outside, and the water pumps (we have our own well) will freeze up. (Was stupid the first bad winter here and tried to force one open – LOL – had to replace that the following spring – idiot me!).

I think this is a big reason why I fell in love with Colorado. I must have my change of seasons, but the Colorado plains seem to know when I have had enough snow. Oh, did I mention that before this latest blizzard, I found green grass popping up beside the greenhouse. I took the time to yell at it for being too early, guess the snow showed it who’s boss right now!

 
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WHEN DO YOU REST?

If you are anything like me, right after Christmas and New Year celebrations you immediately start thinking about spring planting. Well, a fellow blogger, Flowery Prose, just helped me to remember what winter is for – a time of resting.

There is a time for everything, including resting, this is what winter is to me.

bluejay

(even this Blue Jay appears to be resting)

Don’t get me wrong – I love my gardens and can’t wait to get into them every year. I love all parts of gardening from starting the seeds:

starting seeds

To moving those first starts into the gardens:

 

transplanting

Even weeding:

pulling weeds

Then there is that wonderful harvest:

 

fall harvest veggies

Which always involves canning:

 

canned veggies

(this includes vacuum freezing and dehydrating)

So we should be like all of the other living things around our gardens (even the bad critters – grr!) and use winter as our time of rest!

sleeping baby goat

sleeping fox

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sleeping mountain lion

sleeping bear

Because once it finally starts to warm up outside – the work begins again!

 

good pic our veggie garden

Now, don’t-cha just love the time of rest – wooo hooo!

 

BECAUSE THE BIRDS WERE GOING NUTS!

(Before you read this, think of the old Dick Tracy or Dragnet style of storytelling – it will help-lol.)

THE CITY: Just outside of Brush, Colorado

THE TIME: 4:00 P.M. ish

THE DATE: January 18, 2016

It was a Monday just like all the others, or so I thought. Most of the day went off without a hitch. Get up, get ready for the day, feed the critters and start business. Every weekday afternoon (except holidays and teacher only work days) at 3:30 ish go wait for the bus to drop off my grandson Nathan.

I waited, he was delivered, and then I decided that there was storm front coming in so I went to do up chores early. That was when the game changed. The guineas were screaming of something wrong. They were all on top of the chicken coop instead of their normal racing on the ground – something was definitely amiss.

I couldn’t tell where the trouble was, as guineas do not stand still when they are scared. They will gather in a bunch and then mingle and scream at each other. Like that will fix the problem? I began trying to gather all the fowl into their barn and that’s when I saw it – DUN DUN DAAAA:

opossum 1

It was on the north end of the coop, in the path that I created around the greenhouse. It was just as scared of me as I was of it! We stood for just a moment locked in each other’s gaze. Then it turned and headed for the greenhouse and feed shed – oh oh! They move faster in the snow than I had expected.

I quickly reached for my cell phone to try to nab the critter (ok, just a picture of the critter), but I was too slow (story of my life). It was now hiding behind an old wheelbarrow that was leaning against the feed shed – score one for the opossum!

We have a gap in the base boards of that area, so I snuck around to the inside of the shed, still hoping to get a shot at it (oops, I mean of it -LOL). It was a crafty critter, all I had a clear shot of was its butt.

I decided that this beastie had won this round – but I will be ready for it in the morning!

opossum 2

(FYI – it is morning 1/19 and it is gone – boo hoo. First time I/we have every had one up at the farm. I wonder if it is a shemale looking for a baby maker house? Hmm – will have to keep an eye out for it – and maybe babies?)

JUST BECAUSE YOU MADE ME LAUGH.

JUST BECAUSE YOU MADE ME LAUGH.

In keeping with my New Year Resolution, this one is for Arlene (https://arlenedavidsully.wordpress.com) because she was the first to make me laugh today.

First we have – find the Praying Mantis:

PRAYING MANTIS 9-11-15

She found a great place to blend in with our Virginia Creeper.  They are popping up all over the place the last couple of years.  The one that is on this wheel against the house is the biggest:

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Yes, this most recent pic is during winter so it is crushed a bit, but you get the idea.  When it is mid-summer it completely covers the old metal wagon wheel, then starts traveling up the porch rails.

Then there is this:

my precious-cat pic

Which happens to be the exact same thing that our 2 Christmas newbies are doing.  The problem is that EVERYTHING is their precious – including my hair, my yarn and my pencils (one of the idiots loves to swipe them and then chew off the erasers?  Doesn’t eat them, just pulls them off and leaves them laying around the house?)

 

 

Last, but not least, in keeping with this years’ theme; one of the guineas has managed to get through the fence between our hens and the roosters – he is now dubbed Houdini!  I have no clue how he did it?  We never let all the girls and boys out together, and I have combed both sides of the coups only to find nothing – no visible means of escape.  Now the stupid bird can just stay with the boys – ha ha ha (it is funny cuz all he does is run up and down alongside the pen squawking at all the others to let him back in.)!   They look cool, are great critter hunters, but it is obvious they have a brain smaller than a pea.

So there are these:

guinea face 1                guinea face 2

How can you not laugh at something that looks like this?  They have a flat nob on their head like a dino would have had.  They run super-fast but never seem to know where they are going.  Their sound is like a bad squeaky wheel or door (really bad and really loud).  They do let you know if there is anything different in your yard, on the road, in the barn wherever.  They are also the best thing for catching grasshoppers, snakes, mice and other fast pesties in the gardens.  But when they do their circle dance it is hysterical (will try to catch a video of it this spring).

I hope this starts your Monday on a happier note!?

Happy Gardening!    guinea face 3