The Water Hogs


Raising ducklings with chicks is challenging because ducks are such pigs about water.
Ducks love, adore, cherish, crave water.
And they’re like that right from the start, the day you take them home from the feedstore. I had little chicks and little ducklings at the same time, so they had to shack up together. While the little baby chicks are saying, But I just wanted a drink,, the ducklings are smacking their big rubbery feet right in the water pan and sucking the chick waterer dry, too.
I moved the ducklings to the chicken house/yard a few weeks ago, but they were making the big chickens suffer just as much as the little ones. They’re just starting to feather out, so yesterday evening I let them out into the big wide world of the barnyard. They found a deep puddle and went nuts. I’ve also got water pans out there for them in case they wear their puddle out before it rains again. I’m scattering feed on the ground for them, and they’re learning to dig for bugs.
Some of the little chickens joined them because they’re still small enough to escape the chicken yard, but as soon as they grow a bit more, they’ll be cornered and returned to their people. Right now, they’re a little confused and think the ducklings are their people.

I’m so excited to have ducks again. At Stringtown Rising, ducks kept running away to the river. There’s no river nearby here, and plenty of creeks all around the barnyard. I’m planning to let the ducks free range. If they come up to the house and glance at my tomatoes, I’ll say boo and run them back to the barnyard.
Meanwhile, it’s spring….. And the farm is quacking!

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A Word from the Wise


Hard to believe, but the Giant Puppy will be seven this year. While the standard conversion of dog years to human years is to multiply by seven, apparently this isn’t entirely accurate because the equation depends on breed. As a Great Pyrenees, according to the dog age calculator, Coco is 54 years old in human terms and is considered a “senior” dog. She definitely has seniority, just ask Chloe and Casper. While Chloe guards the goats and Casper guards….his tail or something….Coco operates mostly in retirement, guarding the house like the wise old working dog she is. Or, to be more accurate, she’s currently been guarding the tomato boxes in the garden.
All the boxes are planted now except for two boxes that are being held in reserve for the tomato plants I’m growing in pots on the front porch. If I’m to have any hope of those tomato plants surviving, I’m going to have to get Coco out of her “bed” at some point. Coco? COCO!

Coco: “Who needs tomatoes anyway? Even cats won’t eat tomatoes, and cats will eat anything.”
“I’ll get out of this box when you plant cheese sticks in them.”
“Why can’t you plant cheese sticks?”
“Or pepperoni rolls?”
“I know, I know, I see it now, Woman…. A vision from my great wisdom!”
“Plant deer bones.”
“Yeah, that’s it, let’s have a crop of deer bones.”
“Pretty please.”
“Or ignore my senior wisdom and I’ll just keep….”

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  1. IMG_5244

    May 4, 2015 - Chicken House Show-Off

    I heard my neighbor Jim built a new chicken house, so I had to go for a four-wheeler ride to take a look-see this weekend.

    Here it is on the backside, from afar. Zoom in, and even from the back, you can tell it’s some kind of awesome.

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  1. IMG_5160

    April 23, 2015 - Let There Be Ducks!

    Look what I picked up at the little store in town yesterday! Ducklings! I got six white Pekins and six Khaki Campbells.

    It’s been a long time since I tried ducks. I love ducks, but at Stringtown Rising Farm, they kept running off to the river. Over and over. Here, there’s no river nearby for them to run off to, but plenty of … Continued…

  1. IMG_5121

    April 21, 2015 - Back in the Saddle

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    (It was actually starting to rain at this point, so not such a great photo, and it was taken with a cell phone, too. But.)

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  1. IMG_5091

    April 16, 2015 - Straight Run Chicks

    I picked up a box of 15 straight run chicks at the feedstore yesterday.

    Originally, I had been planning to get sexed chicks, hens only, but after putting some thought into it, I decided to go ahead and get straight run. I haven’t gotten any new chickens in a few years, so I need to pump up my hen numbers with some younger hens. My older … Continued…

  1. IMG_5011

    April 2, 2015 - New Friends!

    Precious, studying her new friend!

    What IS IT?

    She got up to check!

    Sniffed it from behind.

    Asked it to play!

    Here’s a little video showing what happened next!

  1. IMG_4980

    March 30, 2015 - Mama Maia!

    Look what I found in the goat yard this weekend!

    See it? Here’s a better look!

    It’s a baby girl! But who’s the mama? Is it…you?

    Or you?

    Or you?

    WHO?… Continued…

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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....

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