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Llamas

We got two adult female llamas yesterday.  It was strange to transport them both in our van.  Chevy Express vans are surprisingly multipurpose. 🙂

Driving through some towns on the way home we got quite a few strange stares.  At one traffic light I was sitting watching for the light to change.  Then the kids all said “Look he’s taking pictures!”  A gentleman in the car next to us had his cell phone aimed at us taking pictures.  Glad I could share some humor with others along the way.  We probably would have done the same if we’d have had a camera with us and seen llamas in a van.

After driving for 2 1/2 hours we arrived here with no difficulties.  Most of the time the llamas were cushed down in the van.  Cush is lying in a sternal position.  A couple of times they stood and shifted positions.  I drove up into the barn yard and opened the back van doors.  Prissy soon hopped right out of the van after checking everything out.  Honey though preferred the comfort of the van.  She didn’t want to jump out.  She even laid back down a couple of times.  Finally we just went ahead and urged her on out.  They did not soil the car at all.  Just had some hay tracked in from the barn.  Prissy hopped right out of the van and soon went to do her business just like a traveling dog would do.

They have since had to meet goats, chickens and two goat-sized Great Pyrenees dogs.  Thankfully they have been very well-behaved, much better than I expected.  No person has been spit at.  They’ve put up with the kids petting and brushing them.  They both lead pretty well.  Honey is lower in the pecking order of llamas here and for some reason she has been spit at twice by Prissy.  We don’t know what she did wrong nor does it seem Honey really knows either.  Thankfully the spit was just a slight spewing of a mouthful of hay.  Nothing major.  It could always be worse.  There are levels of spitting in llamas.  Prissy’s was just like a sneeze with some hay in her mouth.  Other spits can include stomach contents, not just mouth contents. Normally llamas do not spit at people, just other animals, unless very upset or spoiled.  {I know too much information,  but now you know.  🙂 }

Honey is more timid.  She has hummed a lot.  She hummed in the van most of the way.  Lying down in the car her hum sounded like gentle quiet snoring with the same consistent tone and timing.  Walking around, her hum has been very soft and has such a sad sound to it; very similar to a cat purring.  She is probably humming because of being in a different place with a bunch of strangers.  While her hum is so soft and sweet sounding, it probably means she is stressed and unsettled.  Of course, we don’t know if she is only humming when we are around or if it is most of the time.

They are sharing a stall in the barn.  They move easily between the barn stall and the small paddock beside the barn.  We haven’t turned them out into the large pasture yet.  Wanted to get them used to the routine of coming to the barn for the night and get them used to us before we turned them loose in several acres.  Needless to say we didn’t get much school done the last two days.

Pictures coming when the computer and website cooperate. 😉



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Farm Visitors

We brought home some visitors to the farm today.

They rode in the van just fine, two and a half hours, but they liked the van so much they wanted to stay in it.

Thankfully they are “potty trained”.

However one spit at the other because of being too close.

You know the “You’re touching me syndrome.”

We didn’t have any more bedrooms so they are in the barn.

Any guesses?



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Strange, Strange

We had an earthquake today in Alabama.  Not much, just 2.2, but really odd for us.

And, Now An Earthquake..

A magnitude 2.2 earthquake was just reported by the USGS… it happened just south of Gadsden last night at 9:06 p.m….

We also have snow again!  Probably several inches by now.  I haven’t been out to measure because honestly even I am getting tired of it.  I mean this is Alabama, the Deep South.  I actually pity the poor parents who work and yet their children will be missing school tomorrow. 🙁  I know how hard it can be to arrange last minute childcare when you work in a field that requires you to at work despite the weather, like nursing, EMT’s, etc.   Students have missed so many days in Alabama that they are going to have to go to school on Saturday’s or extend the school year.

I seemed to have maxed out my website with too many visits and too much data usage lately.  Mr. IT guy has had to work on it a few times, he says it now loads faster since he has been upgrading servers.  It wasn’t designed to have over 3,000 page views in one day or to use the maximum allowed {what ever unit}.  So since it has complained lately and doesn’t want me to add another picture I’ll spare you the picture of snow – for now. 🙂



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Snow and Ice, Again!

It is strange that we’ve gotten snow and ice again this winter. Nothing important compared to half the country with feet of snow. But this is Alabama, snows are supposed to be rare here. Funny thing is I failed to take a good picture during the most snow. Shows how we have been overwhelmed with snow lately. The kids even complained about today’s snow.

Just like typical everything fell apart traffic wise – schools letting out early, businesses closing, and hundreds of wrecks, even several fatalities. 🙁 We are gonna have to learn to deal with snow better if this keeps up around here.

They’ve even warned us that there is a chance of snow again next week!



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Silkie Chicks

Candled Egg


Silkie Chick

Four Silkie Chicks

Still waiting on a slow poke with another pipped and due to hatch tomorrow.

{Of course, # 6 hatched right after I went to bed. 🙂 Another funny thing is they hatched in order # 1 – # 6 even though they were set at the same time.}


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Snow Day 8



Sorry the picture is blurry, I was standing outside and the temperature had dropped again down to 33 degrees.  So I was shivering.

We still have an amazing amount of snow left considering this is day 8 for the snow!  By this time last week we already had several inches of snow on the ground.  Obviously the layer of ice below and the ice on top of the snow decreased the solar heating.  We sure haven’t really been above freezing much this week.   I don’t know when we’ve had snow on the ground for this long.  The Blizzard of  ’93 was intense, much more snow and damage, but it didn’t last this long, except the power outages.  🙁  However, in some ways The Blizzard seemed much longer because most people lost power.  It is amazing how slow time drags when cold, in the dark and crowded together trying to stay warm.  We’ve been above freezing for several hours today so lots of snow has melted.  In the areas that the kids have played the most much of the snow has melted or at least there are giant melted footprints.  So far our only damage is our mailbox was wiped out due to someone slipping on the ice in the road, Alabamians are notorious for not being able to drive in ice or snow.   Personally I prefer not to!  Thankfully we didn’t have wide spread power outages this time.  But even the kids are getting tired of the snow.  They are ready for some warmer weather even fifties would be nice.  🙂



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So Far So Good

We have had at least 5 1/2 inches of snow here.  There is a layer of ice, then 5 1/2 inches of snow, and then another layer of ice.  There are drifts of close to a foot because it was very windy last night.  Makes for crunchy walking!  It isn’t too hard to walk on, but the top layer of ice hurts when it stabs you on the ankle.  We still have power and plenty of heat.  Haven’t broken out the milk and bread for “milk sandwiches” yet.  🙂 The road is a slushy icy mess which is due to refreeze over night.  Probably will be worse tomorrow morning than this morning – more ice, less snow.  Thankfully we don’t have anywhere we have to be.




There is a freezing misty fog that has been going on since around noon.  It is starting to accumulate as ice on the pine needles and the tree limbs.  Hopefully though it will not accumulate enough to cause limbs to break and the power to go out.  I feel sorry for those who work in the hospitals and emergency crews.  They have been on weather alert since yesterday and most haven’t been allowed to go home from work.


The adult chickens haven’t left the barn.  The goats finally ventured out a few minutes ago but they decided it was as bad as they thought and headed back to the barn.  The dogs are the only animals enjoying the snow.  The cats are sitting forlornly looking in the window asking to come in.  The large goldfish are hidden under the frozen ice of the pond. Even a few of the human kids haven’t been out to play much.  The baby and the oldest say it is too cold and messy.  At least the baby chicks and the incubating eggs are clueless about the weather, they just have their heat as usual.


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Yep, Lots of Snow & Sleet

This afternoon we started out with sleet.  Heavy sleet!  The yard was beginning to turn white with sleet.  Then after dark it turned into snow.  It has been snowing for hours now and we probably have four plus inches and it is still snowing heavily.  Maybe even more now we can’t see the rocks at the pond, or the edge of the patio or anything but level flat snow.  Problem is this snow has a layer of ice underneath from the sleet.  Very dangerous to walk on.  🙁  The roads and interstates are closed.  We’ve even have had thunder-snow: thunder, lightening and heavy snow showers.  Snow is nice in how quiet it is, other than the thunder-snow.  Quiet and peaceful and clean.

Psalms 51:6-9 (ESV)
6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;  wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;  let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
9  Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

Everything has been washed, there is food to eat, animals tended to as best as possible, electric heat turned up high in case of power going out, and gas heat as an alternative. Now time to relax and watch the snow, praying the power doesn’t go out.

Yet?  Would it be bad to pray an imprecatory (to invoke evil upon) prayer upon those who have made a particular football game tomorrow night an idol?  We can’t seem to get the weather without having to hear about the “poor suffering” souls who spent thousands for tickets and flights to the game.  Seems our airport is closed and all flights are canceled.   Or might the Lord Himself have something to do with this snow and ice storm?  Of course, He did.  The Lord will not take lightly the worshiping of idols.  So maybe I don’t need to pray an imprecatory prayer after all.  Maybe just qualify it to people losing their cable and not their power.  But if losing their power is what it will take to turn the hearts toward the Lord, then so be it.  Maybe ours can stay on since we don’t have cable nor does the game matter to us. 🙂



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Another Major Snow Storm in Alabama?

For the second time in two weeks we in Alabama are expected to have another snow storm.  We had snow on Christmas Day, just two weeks ago, which broke all kinds of records for us.  Now Sunday we are due another major snow storm.  Alabama major snow storms, according to the weather man, is anything over two inches.  So compared to many places in the world that is a laughable amount.  However, since we get so few snow storms around here they tend to shut everything down and the power tends to go out.

Some places in Alabama may get up to 10 inches of snow this weekend.  That is a tremendous amount for us.  The bad thing is, like in many of our bigger snow storms, icing is expected to be involved.  Ice storms are no laughing matter. 🙁  So we are trying to prepare for several days of no power.  This includes as usual the run on milk and bread at the grocery stores.  According to my husband for those infamous “milk sandwiches” which people only eat during snow storms.  ???

So we are prepared to cram seven people, 10 baby chicks, 1 kitten and a dozen incubating eggs around the gas logs for the next few days while we eat our “milk sandwiches”.   Should be interesting!



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Chicks

It all started with the chickens laying eggs. Our larger breed chickens never go broody and want to hatch their eggs out. So we decided to incubate.

Good science project especially when it is so interesting.

We built our own incubator from an ice chest. It required lots of temperature watching because it fluctuated with the room temperature too much.

 

But low and behold the fertile eggs developed into little chicks.

We candled the eggs at night and you could see them develop. They went from dots, to a network of veins with a large prominent black dot for the eye, to bouncing around little chicks then to huge dark blobs with little visibility. We don’t have a real candler so we just used a flashlight. By the end we had four eggs that had developed and were ready to hatch.

They went into the real incubator that my son got for his birthday.

 

 

 

Then after a day or two we had pipping.

 

Hatching!

 

Little chicks. Three out of four chicks hatched. Which is good even for a broody moma chicken.

 

Since we had so few chicks we bought a few more babies to add to the brooder. We had wanted some bantam types like Silkies or Frizzles but none were available. So we ended up with six blue and black Cochins, not the little Cochins, but the huge Cochins. Sorta like Silkies on steroids with large feathered legs.

We have one egg still due to hatch in the next few days because it was started late. It was a lone egg because the chickens stopped laying when we got some really cold days.

But we attempted to incubate some eggs that had been in the refrigerator for over two weeks. Some people have had good success with incubating fertile eggs from the grocery store. Several of our older eggs weren’t fertile and I was about ready to dispose of most of them as not having developed but last night I candled one of the refrigerator eggs. There was a bouncing around little chick! If you’ve watched many ultrasound pictures that is exactly what candling eggs is like. This chick had a rhythmic up and down bounce going on. I could have watched it for hours but we can’t leave them out of the incubator for that long.

 

Who knows my son may actually be able to make some money off of his chicken business after all.

 

Need some chicks?

 


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