Monday, April 21, 2014

New Additions

Mr. Telephone Man, there's something wrong with my line
When I dial my baby's number, I get a click every time

Oh, wait...that's New Edition, not new addition...

Over the last few weeks, there hasn’t been much work going on at the farmhouse. Sure, Ghon’s cut and split quite a bit of wood for the next winter, but otherwise, not much. The only work on the inside of the house was the addition of the final surround on the fireplace.

I suppose you can count chicken work. The youngest were moved outside in a mini enclosure within the coop. They have fresh air and a heat lamp for night, and have gotten quite big.

The biggest challenge to work in the house in spring is well, spring. It’s nice out. The need for the clean, crisp air after months of captivity wins out. The yard calls for attention. Jonathan’s activities hit overdrive. And on top of it all, just when I think we can’t possibly handle more, we do.

Here’s a little bit of what we’ve been up to:

Cheered on the Indian Hollow ES Hawks at a PTO benefit basketball game.

Rode bikes at the first "warm" day. Her first time really riding a bigger bike! She did great!

First ride on his new bike.

Bike riding!

Digging for fun...

Helping Dad do some measuring.

Back when Ghon and I took a week off of work to finish the living room floor, we were going to bring down the cats, Cowgirl and Telzon. The plan didn’t go so well. Instead, I was bit and Ghon was scratched. We scrapped the feral cat adoption program after that. At the same time, our friend and daycare provider’s cat had a litter of 4 kittens. The kids played with them on a regular basis. We decided to give one of them a home rather than chase the ferals. I picked one, then Ghon picked a different one.

1+1=2 cats

Ghon desperately wanted to name the cats. He decided the cats should be called “Poncho” and “Lefty.” Did I mention they were both females?

Poncho has a little more tan to her fur and both paws are a lighter gray, mostly on her right. Lefty’s left paw is lighter gray. Genevieve had other plans for the kittens though. Since she would see them generally 5 days per week, and always held Poncho while Jonathan held Lefty, she gave her a new name: Cupcake.

The original plan was to move Cupcake and Lefty in at the farmhouse. We could visit every day or two to keep them socialized. At our house, we have two dogs that are far from cat friendly. Seriously, Sable has killed a feral cat in our back yard. I started to feel bad though, worried that the cats would be locked up in a room and wouldn’t have constant, or at least regular attention. So with Pop’s approval we decided to bring one home to see how well they could acclimate.


Lefty came home first, and met two curious and irate dogs. Lefty is restricted to our room. Neither Ghon or I have ever had cats, so we really didn’t have much of an idea what to expect. Lefty was playful, used her litter box, and slept most of the night either on our windowsill behind the bed or on the bed. Cupcake came home a few days later.


Things aren’t going too well with the dogs. Ghon and I have been bringing Sable in for 30 minutes or so in the evening to try to get them used to each other. There is generally much hissing and hair raising by the cats and starting and whimpering by Sable. The kids get their playtime in as well. For Genevieve, it’s mainly squeezing the stuffing out of Cupcake.

The cats are pretty darn cute, but honestly, I’m not so sure about cat life. They attack feet, follow me into the bathroom, walk everywhere, jump on everything, and can be little pains. At some point, perhaps when they are a little bigger, we may still move them to the farm before us. As long as they keep mice, and perhaps snakes, out of the house, we’ll be OK. Well, that and no allergy flare-ups.

Cupcake and Lefty

Since the cats moved in, Jonathan has also had his opening day for the 2014 T-Ball Season and attended his first Taekwondo Tournament. Both took place on Saturdays, but during the first, Ghon and I were at a chili cookoff.

Posing for his formal picture - it's baseball season!

The 2014 Mud Dogs!

This weekend, Genevieve spent the day with Aunt Cindy while Jonathan and I went to the tournament and Ghon stayed at the farm for final preparations for another new addition – and part of the kids' Easter present.

Stretching with other members of his dojang.

He was so proud of earning his participation medal! He showed this thing to EVERYONE.

Sunday, Easter morning, the kids slept in a little then were too excited about playtime with the cats to remember they may have Easter baskets waiting. Then again, we talk about it, but don't make a huge deal over the bunny and basket thing. They do enjoy a good egg hunt though. I had taken them to see the bunny at the mall a few days ago and while Jonathan sat down and posed for this picture, Genevieve completely freaked out and wouldn't take a picture.

Checking out the Easter goods!

Listening to Despicable Me songs with her new Princess Sophia headphones.

In the lunch boxes that came as part of the Easter presents, each kid received a collar. They both thought they were for Cupcake and Lefty, so I had to point out that they were too big. Surprisingly, neither were too inquistitive. Genevieve was just into her music.

After breakfast, baskets and candy, we dressed up and headed out to Sunday school, but made a quick stop at the farm first so the kids could find out what the collars went to.

Checking them out from afar...

Dwarf myotonic goats.

In addition to being called Myotonic goats, they are also known as "fainting goats."

Neither kid seemed too excited about the goats. Ghon was really hoping for a big reaction - but got nothing. Genevieve was scared to go near them and Jonathan was cautious. On Saturday, Ghon and worked into the late evening making a huge run for them. Their shelter is an old horse barn. Saturday evening, Ghon went to a farm between here and his work to pick them up. The fence wasn't complete, so Ghon and Tim set up a mini fence/divider within their pen for the evening.

After the quick meet and greet with the goats, that were still nameless, the kids and I headed out for church.

Don't they clean up nice?
Ghon joined us for worship service, something he is usually unable to do. After service, we headed back  home to change out of our nice clothes and have lunch before heading back to the farm. Eric came down for the day too, and had been waiting at the farm for us.

The only tulip that has bloomed. Ha, might be the only one there!
After some suggestive name dropping from Ghon, Genevieve had a name for her goat: Dora. Come to find out, Ghon intended to say Dory, the fish from Finding Nemo, but misspoke and said Dora. So now our goat is an explorer.

Ghon, Eric and I did some name dropping for Jonathan, and in the end, he named his goat Dave, after a minion in Despicable Me.

Meet Dave, (left) and Dora (right).

Although the fence wasn't finished, we let Dave and Dora free in their enclosure. They are pretty timid and we didn't think they would run too far off - and they will have a lot of space to run.  Ghon and Eric set out to start finishing the fence, and I set the goats free.

Exploring their new home.

Tim came back down to help for a bit before heading out to be with his family for the evening.

Ghon, Tim and Eric securing the fence

Jonathan can be such a good helper. He desperately wanted to help with the fence, so Ghon found a job he could help with - handing over the fence clips.

While the men worked on the fence, Genevieve wandered here and there and played in the dirt. Anytime the goats would bleat, she'd come running, and yelling, "I'm coming little lamb!" I had to remind her several times that Dora was a goat. Meanwhile, I set off on some clean-up tasks.  Sometimes I feel like that's all I get to do at the farm - clean up after other people, creatures and the weather!

Genevieve looking in at her "lambs."

Last year, Cindy and I uncovered an old refrigerator from the trash pile behind the house. We are going to try re-purposing it for feed storage. Ghon wrestled it down the hill last week, so I carried several cinder blocks across the yard to create a base. At the end of the day, Ghon and I positioned the fridge on it's back on top of the blocks. The chicken feed should be water and critter proof and hold a considerable amount of food.

Next, I started in the chicken run. There is still some work left to do in there, but I made a good start. There is an apple tree in the run that was growing crooked. I banged a t-post into place and used bungee to secure the tree to the pole to help it grow straighter. The run was doubled in size last fall and an old cinder block enclosure was contained. I re-purposed some of the blocks and an old screen to create a shady spot for the hens for later this summer. Once Ghon was done with the fence, he used the chainsaw to cup up some downed tree limbs and a weed trees that needed to be removed.

I tossed all the larger limbs out of the run and over the fence so we could take them to the fire ring to burn another day. Jonathan started helping by throwing some of the smaller sticks. Then both kids helped me on the other side, carrying branches and sticks to the burn pile.

So strong! And so proud of himself!

Trying to out-do her brother, Genevieve carries two sticks.

Another good load! The rest of the day, Genevieve kept collecting sticks for the pile.

Throughout the day, I picked up random trash that was through the yard. Some of our things that that blew around the yard and other items from the road, and stuff that had been left behind. Bagged up over one bag of trash and started on a second before the end of the day.

Play break with big brother Eric before heading home.

Carrot treat for the goat - that they didn't eat. Jonathan is such a ham.

After a few hours of work and play, Genevieve and I headed home to start making dinner. The boys stayed behind to tend to the chickens then headed home.

It was a great day - the weather was nice, work was done, no one was hurt, and we've added more farm animals to Hummingbird Farm. It will take a little time, but I hope the goats start warming up to the kids. Supposedly they can become quite playful, and even follow us around the yard like dogs, but we are far from that now. This was also the first day this year that all four (plus Eric!) could spend the day working at the farm for more than 30-60 minutes. It was good to work together.

Now we have roughly 50 chickens and two goats at the farm, 2 cats, 1 dog and 1 parrot at the house. I think we should turn Hummingbird Farm into a petting zoo....

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