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When Life Gives You Sh*t…

When life gives you sh*t, you make compost. Farm life isn’t always about the cute animals, they have a lot of crap. We compost all our garbage, and even the poo. Nothing, really goes to waste. LOL!

Not only do we compost, but we also have a vermicompost. What is vermicompost? So, we have been utilizing this system since our eldest child was 18months old. We wanted our children to understand the cycle of life, as well as start them young with finding an alternative to the landfill. This is such a great way to incorporate your shredded paper, coffee grounds, apple cores, banana peels, etc. I don’t mix the two systems. The animal waste products and the vermicompost.

The bigger pile has to be rotated, and it takes about a year to use in the garden. So, it may not be pretty, but it is a part of farm life. Sustainable practices like our grandparents and great grandparents used as they farmed. Caring for the land, and not striping the land. Every living thing is important, including the worms.

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Aflac at the Winery

The other day, a lady comes to the winey and ask me to allow her to release her duck. The name of the duck Aflac. She even brought a giant bag of food to feed her duck, and ask me if it was ok to bring some apples to feed Aflac. We took the very large cage over to the pond to allow Aflac to see the water. Here are some of the photos of his release…

The other duck with the red bill is Matilda, and she is the other loner that I believed might be a friend or buddy to Aflac. The two mallards are the bullies of the pond. Once Aflac got into the pond the two mallards went after Aflac. I have found myself looking for Aflac in the afternoon, and making sure he has food. It is a little heartbreaking that he hasn’t made any pond friends. Maybe, he just needs time to fit into the pond with the other ducks.

Terreni D' Oro Tuesday

Skipping Through Daisies

This post includes graphic images that may not be suitable for younger people….

People believe that country life is so romantic, but there are times that it is pretty horrible. Don’t get me wrong, 98% of the time, I love living out in the country. The part I don’t like is the death of our animals. These last past weeks we have had so many animals killed by coyotes. UGH!

We started off with 95 chickens, and 12 ducks, 2 geese, and 25 guinea hens. I will not have any more guinea hens. We started with 5, for the first round. Four of them died before they made it out of the nursery. A couple of them broke their necks trying to fly up through the screen, Two of them got out of their habitat, and got into the poison. 🙁 We had one left, that got to go out with all the chickens.   In the meantime we got 20 more guinea hens. We had them in their own big house. Fed them, watered them, cleaned their house regularly. It was time to let them out of their house. The first night it was time to go back into their homes, we had to round them all up. There were two that took off, and just as one was going back to the house…an owl swooped down and took off with it. It was so close I could feel the wings flap in from of me. Then another owl come out of no where and snatches up the other one.

A couple of days later the kids had a football game they wanted to attend. I took them to the city, and my husband was on chicken patrol. He locked up all the chickens, and he was getting ready to lock up the guinea hens when an owl rips the face right off one of the guinea hens. The rest of the guinea hens take off, and there were only two left. One of the two had his eyeball hanging out of his head. The next day around 3PM the other two were gone, no where to be found.

We are not sure what happened to the goose that is no longer around. It is hard to believe he would just up and leave. We saved his life when he was very young, and he was the protector of the ducks. The two geese and the ducks hung out together all the time. We know that one of the ducks was gone when we got home from a football game one warm evening. Then recently three of the ducks were missing. Here is what I found one day…

duck head Some of my favorite chickens are the silkies, and at one time we had 9, and now we are down to three. Our last white silkie was killed just the other day.

silkie deathThese two deaths have been some of the last ones. I have started patrolling the area where the chickens free range, and make sure that one of us are outside when it is dusk so we can lock everyone in their house. We also do a count.

As much as I would love to skip through the daisies, real life also has some sad times.

Saturday Special

Farm Views

Gucci cuddles up with her favorite blanket.                                  Gucci

Vermicomposting, worms eat apple cores, shredded paper, coffee, banana peels, and green waste.IMG_5001  Heating up the compost.IMG_5003

Just as the dew has set in the morning on a feather.

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Our donkeys, Ellie and Hannah.IMG_7313

Misty, is one of our female goats.IMG_7315

Fresh oranges and lemons from our trees.IMG_5005

Pine needle tea from our Stone Pine Tree. IMG_5013

The bees are still happy in the field. IMG_5090

The ducks are a little in shock. They just lost three buddies in one day to the coyotes. Although, it is beautiful on the farm, sometimes some sights are not so beautiful. I did have a photo of the duck head. The coyotes left the head behind the pond. I found it later, and took a photo of it. The circle of life is truly lived out here…you see life and death. Death is sad, but it happens on the farm more often. IMG_5097

Happiness Project, Terreni D' Oro Tuesday

The Duck… Buttercup

One evening when we came home really late the geese were honking loudly as we pulled to a stop. We rushed out of the car to see what all the commotion was about, alas all we saw was the ducks quacking loudly in their pond. They were swimming around in circles like they were upset. We went around to each of the chicken coops to lock up the chickens, and the ducks and geese finally starting waddling over to their house. The geese are the last ones in each night, and this night was no different. We closed their door, but they were still quacking and honking. Usually, as soon as everybody is in their house, all is quiet.

The next day we noticed there were only 11 ducks. Buttercup was the one that was missing. We searched all of the 40 acres. We looked in each stall, and even in the dry creek, but there was no sign of her. We are not sure what got her, but there are plenty of wild animals out here to be the culprits. There are coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, foxes, and feral cats.

Here is Buttercup, missing from our farm and our hearts…Buttercup

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Terreni D’ Oro

We have been working hard to add a couple of fences. We are getting two miniature donkeys, and three goats. Two of the Mini Nubians are females, and the Sire is named Willie Nelson. One of the female Mini donkeys is in season, so we will see if a Sire will be able to get her pregnant. The gestation for a donkey is one year. WOW!

I have someone coming out to help me get the bees out of their nuc, and into two hives. We still have plenty of flowers for the bees to forage on before winter.  We will probably have honey in the spring. Hopefully, we will have plenty of water for the flowers to bloom for the bees.

I have two worm bins going strong. One of the bins is for personal kitchen waste. The other is for the chicken poo, and pine shavings. It takes two or three generations of worms to get used to the poo, so I am sure that we are entering generation two. Soon, I will take some of the worms and introduce them to a different environment. I am going to start a mixture of pine shavings, chicken poo, and donkey and goat poo. One experiment will be allowing the donkey and goat poo to heat, as this will kill the pathogens. Then we can determine which method is better for the worms. I have read that adding donkey poo as fertilizer is great, but I prefer to wait and see for myself. I would rather not burn my expensive trees.

We are getting two dozen eggs a day. Here is a photo of the size range we get from our chickens.

Grande e piccolo

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Happy Ducks

Along with our multitude of chickens. I think we are up to 50+ now, and we have some on order. We also have 12 ducks. We had to limit ourselves to the 12 since we have not finished the pond. We have a surogant pond, that is a galvanized steel tub. We also refer to it as our hillbilly pond.

The last couple of times that it has started to look strange I have filled a three gallon bucket, bucket by bucket to water other plants. It is a very time consuming and labor intensive job to say the least. One of the times my mom helped me. When she came to visit from Indianapolis. She was exhausted the next day.

This last time I cleaned out the “hillbilly pond” the ducks would not go back in the water. In fact the next day they were so mad that they wouldn’t even come out of their house. I was a little fearful they would pass away from the heat. I took they some lettuce, and some water so maybe they would come back out of their house. Finally, they came out of their house. Now, since I had to clean twice I am anxiously awaiting to see the ducks happy again….like this…

Ducks/Contessa
Ducks/Contessa
Fountain of Youth, Happiness Project

Dream Big

What is the one piece of advice I would give? Dream BIG! Believe in your dreams. When I was young, I dreamed of having my own town. I wrote down what it would look like, how we would utilize sun, wind, horse manure.

I dreamed of a place where people could try different careers so they could pursue what they really wanted to do. An internship, is really what the people would do. It would be an agreed upon amount of time for each internship that a person would want to try. If they loved that subject matter they would be asked to sign a contract to give their time before they became specialized in said field. One other possibility would be that the town would become a partner in the business with said person. The person would be able to buy their own business back, and the town would make a profit for investing in said person.

An organic orchard is a must, and that is exactly what we have right now. Olives, apples, plums, pears, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pomegranates, nectarines, oranges, lemons, and limes. A place where food could be plucked from the trees, and sold to some select restaurants. Later we will have our own restaurant.

A museum where people can come to visit. Not just the farm, and the railroad, but the fine art, vehicles, and scooters.  Later there will be fashion, pottery, and Murano glass. A gift shop connected to the museum, and gifts that have an influence that yells Italian.

The animals on the farm would be chickens, ducks, goats, sheep, and horses. We would have bees, and worms. The visitors of the farm can pet all the animals except the bees, and worms. Maybe even adopt a couple of barn cats, and a few outdoor dogs. We most defiantly would have to have some owl boxes.

Many of the dreams I had a little girl have come true. We do have serval hundred of acres. We have income property, an orchid, chicks, ducks, and worms. Our bees are on order. We will also have our worms for composting.

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Estate Farm

We are at 40 chickens, and six ducks. We have olive, apple, pears, plums, peaches, and more that we are growing. We will be a farm that people can visit, and take rides on our trains. We will also have a museum that people can visit. Paths are going in and around the ranch so our visitors can walk around to destinations. The chickens are growing like crazy. Their little coops are all ready for them to be happy and start laying eggs.

I have our order in for our bees, and I have one bee box in the garage. Got my bee veil, and gloves. I am super excited about everything that is growing. I want to make sure we have lots of flowers throughout the year for the bees. I will get to meet them late March or April.  Terreni D’ Oro Estate Farm is here…

Ducks and chicks
Ducks and chicks
Fountain of Youth, Happiness Project, Terreni D' Oro Tuesday

African Geese at Terreni D’ Oro Estate Ranch

If you follow my blog you know that we lost our duck “Buttercup” to some kind of predator. We are still not sure what animal took our beloved Buttercup. In addition to our 11 ducks, we also have two African Geese. We purchased them when they were small, and one of them was very sick. It couldn’t even lift up its head, or make any noise. Her feet were curled up, and very pale. We called vets to see if there was a way we could get an appointment, but we were told they did not help “water fowl”. My husband remembered that when our dog was stung by a Tarantula Hawk, I gave her some Benadryl. He cut the Benadryl into a very small segment, and gave it to her. Several hours later she was starting to improve.

Her feet were no longer so pale. She couldn’t hold her head up yet, but one of her feet was starting to improve too. By the next day, she looked better, and she could stand again on her feet. She was resting a little more that usual, but she was improving. We tried to just focus on her achievement to get better! By the third day, one could never tell that she had an issue at all. She was honking, and walking.

Today, the two of them wait until all the chickens and the ducks are in their homes before they go into their duck house. They honk loudly to alert the dogs that something is not right. Just this mooring the geese were honking, ducks were quacking, and the chickens were clucking to tell us that there was a coyote outside the coops. I am pretty impressed how smart they are. Here is a recent photo of them with the ducks.

African Goose