Little Wolf Nature Preserve

Preserving Beautiful Kentucky

Archive for the ‘Farm Life’ Category

Nov
20

Cleared the Butterfly Meadow

Posted by Timm

Cleared the Butterfly Meadow

It took me three days of bush hogging, but I cleared the Butterfly Meadow.

Oct
07

Stung!

Posted by Theresa

I was cutting some brush yesterday and ran over a yellow jacket nest buried in the ground. I got stung pretty bad, maybe 20 times, but it’s hard to say. Yellow Jackets are a type of wasp that have a tendency to sting repeatedly.  My body did not like all that venom: bad hives all over my skin, crazy itching feeling, puffy lips and face, swollen hands and feet, agitated feeling. I called Poison Control and the lady there was really helpful. She even called me back the next day to check on me. She told me exactly what to expect and what to do. I was miserable for about 24 hours, but now I’m fine. The body is amazing in how it can fight off something like that.

Yellow Jacket Wasp. Copyright © flagstaffotos.com.au. Used under GNU Free Documentation License.

Oct
02

Even Our Rooster Knows I Can’t Sing!

Posted by Theresa

Anyone who knows me knows I sing poorly, but I sing often anyway. So, today, I was singing while doing chores at the barn. Our rooster, Roadrunner, hears my terrible singing and comes racing around the side of the barn ready to take on what he thought was another rooster challenging his authority. He stopped, looked at me sideways and started to crow to prove I was not the top rooster, he was. A little while later, I sang some more. Again, he comes tearing around a corner to assert his dominance as master of the flock. Four times, I sang, 4 times, he responds by crowing me down. It’s official. I can’t hold a tune well enough to not sound like a rooster crowing.

Roadrunner wonders why my singing sounds like a rooster crowing.

Sep
09

Dogs and Chickens: Harmony and Predator Protection

Posted by Theresa

I got to test my dog training skills when I trained my 2 dogs, Darby and Shadow, to not hurt my chickens.  Darby is a beagle mutt and Shadow is a blind Shepard mutt.  Shadow is a killer and has strong predator instincts.  It’s in his nature to kill all manner of little rodents, rabbits or wild turkeys.  Shadow went blind in January 2013, caused by a degenerative disease of the rods and cones in his eyes.  He went blind about 3 months before we got the chicks so I expected he would be the bigger challenge to train of the 2 dogs.

 

Introducing the dogs to the chicks as I exited the car with them in a box.

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Aug
12

Transforming Fallen Tower into Compost Bins

Posted by Theresa

Anyone who knows me knows I get a kick out of taking something discarded, broken or unusable and turning it into something useful.  This joy is partly driven by my sustainability ethic.  Living a sustainable lifestyle includes not buying things you don’t need and repurposing what you have in a new way.  Sustainability from a farm perspective often includes having an integrated approach to managing the farm.  Integrated means taking a bi-product produced on one part of your farm and putting it to use elsewhere.

So, building a compost bin out of reclaimed wood is just the project for me!  Then, I can put the copious amounts of chicken poo, yard waste and table scraps into the bins and a few months later… Voila!  Gorgeous, nutrient-rich, loamy, black soil.  Nature at its best, taking a waste product and transforming it into something perfect.

 

Completed compost bins, made from lumber from a fallen down tower.

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Jul
11

Tractor Stuck in the Mud

Posted by Timm

Timm standing by the tractor he got stuck in the mud

Unfortunately I got the Kubota tractor stuck today.  The ground was quite soft from weeks of drenching rain.  I was coming around a tight corner and slid into a new muddy ditch, which immediately swallowed my left-side wheels, front and back.  We tried pulling it out with our 4WD SUV, but the ground was too soft to get any traction by the SUV either.  If it stops raining, then I’ll likely just drive the tractor out in a couple days, as this Kubota can climb out of much worse if it has traction.  If the rain persists, however, we’ll need help from our friend who is storing a big skidder on our property.  We could also try a come-along.

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Jul
01

Snakes Are A Part of Country Life

Posted by Theresa

Some people are afraid of snakes, but If you live in the country, you quickly become desensitized to them.  Seeing a snake is a regular occurrence.  They are as much a part of country life as the smell of dew at sunrise and honeysuckle in the evening, and the peaceful sound of water rushing over the dam and the splash of the frogs in the pond.  Snakes, in fact, make the beauty complete as they are as much a part of the landscape as any of the other, more “accepted” creatures.

A black racer near the apple orchard.

 

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May
28

The Scoop on Building a Coop

Posted by Theresa

Timm and I completed a coop for the chickens and it turned out great!  Here’s a step by step of our construction project.  We built it together over several days and we think it turned out pretty well!

 

1) Research and plan the project.

Before starting, I did a lot of research on chicken coop design. A good chicken coop needs to be dry with good ventilation yet without being drafty.  It should have nesting boxes, 1 for every 3 or 4 hens.  It needs a roost so the chickens can perch up off the ground to sleep.  It also needs a place for food and water, preferably hung from the ceiling so the chickens don’t knock them over.  Finally, it needs a dust box filled with dirt, because surprisingly, wallowing around in dirt is how chickens keep themselves clean and free of parasites.

Prior to starting, I also researched basic construction as we’ve never constructed a wall or hung a door before.  I found several books at the library to guide us.  I found one that was really helpful which has detailed pictures of how to do the things we needed called The Complete Guide to Carpentry for Homeowners.

 

2) Select a site for the coop.

New chicken coop will be built on the left.

We had a few options of where to put the coop.  Of the 3 or 4 possible places and ways to build the coop, we chose to put the coop inside the barn.  We have an unused space on the left hand side of the barn that already has electricity and water. This space has other advantages as well. It’s has a nice dirt floor, is near the pond and has sturdy front and back doors.  However, at 14  feet wide by about 40 feet long, the space is way too large for a chicken coop that would house less than 10 chickens.  So, we are going to have to build a wall.

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Apr
30

Chick Whisperer

Posted by Timm

Chick standing on Timm's arm

Call me the “Chick Whisperer.”  I had just finished eating dessert, when this chick flew up from the floor onto my arm to say hi.  So I gave him a little neck rub.

Apr
23

My How You’ve Grown!

Posted by Theresa

The first thing I do every morning when I wake up is look in on my chickens.  And every morning, I am astounded to see that they have noticeably grown overnight.  Here they are, at 3 weeks old and an update on each.  I’ve also included what I GUESS is their sex but it’s still a complete and total guess.  It’s very hard to sex chickens at this age because they all grow combs on the tops of their heads.  They also all work out their pecking order at this age so who’s sparring with who means very little.  Boys and girls mix it up and depending on the age and breed, sometimes, a girl chicken will end up the top chicken!

Here they are at 3 weeks of age.  Feel free to go back and reference their 1 week old pictures.  Quite a difference!

 

Dark Night (Black Australorp)

Dark Night (named by Joel Hoctor) is a calm little sweetie.  She’s shy and never tussles with the other chicks.  She waits her turn at the feeder and never pushes other chicks out of the way.  She’s one of the smaller chicks but is growing well and feathering in nicely.

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    Little Wolf Nature Preserve is a private preserve located in the Daniel Boone National Forest in Southern Kentucky, USA.

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