Tuesday, March 24, 2009

New Chick Coop!

Well, due to an "incident" with our dog (argh!), we built a new chick coop for our six week old chicks on Sunday. We took a little less than half of one of our existing chicken coops and made it into a chick coop. We used existing panels we had on the property, added mesh (to make the holes smaller), mounted them to the walls, and added more mesh that drops from the ceiling to enclose the entire area. It is complete with a little gate for going in and out of. Since it incorporates the entire height of the stall, it is tall enough to stand up in and walk around. We left the roost from the chicken area so the chicks even have an area to roost on. The chicks have an area that is approximately 10' x 3' in size. Pretty slick! The pictures are horrible, but you get the idea.

Our next adventure for the day on Sunday was to swap the female alpacas with the male alpacas. To date, the male alpacas have had the prime grazing spot with the horses. The females, on the other hand, have been "stuck" in the front two paddocks. Please note, there are four males and ten females. The females really needed the bigger pasture to graze on. In order to do that, more panels had to be moved and things picked up more (what, you say? The females are more important than the males? You betcha!). Anyway, that all got done, too, and here is the result. Happy females grazing in the big pasture with the horses!

Here is a picture of the male alpacas all pushed up against the fenceline of one of the two paddocks they are now located in for grazing. You can almost see the looks on their faces like, "Hey! How 'cum they get the good stuff now??? NO FAIR!" :oP

Here is just a picture that I like to call, "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." In this case, it literally IS greener on the other side! Our chickens have been eating all of the grass in their paddock. We are going to have to try some more 'options' for getting more grass in their area and/or relocating or getting them more area to 'peck'. Oh, life on the ranch! Believe it or not, I love this kind of stuff and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Oh, the farm life

Well, it's been a fantastic week and a half! Last weekend, I attended a fiber retreat in Tyler, TX on my birthday. What a blast! I sold enough alpaca products to even pay for my trip, plus a little. Sweet...

This week was spring break for the kids. We spent the week making day trips, starting out Monday by going to the Dr Pepper museum. Tuesday was spent at Fossil Rim...total blast. We got to feed giraffes and zebras (among other things) from our hands. Uber cool. Wednesday was spent at the Ft. Worth Zoo. Fun, but a downer after going to Fossil Rim. We spent Wednesday evening at a drive in theater out just past Ennis. Total blast for the family (putt putt golf, dinner and a movie out of the back of our truck). Thursday, we went on a historic train ride from Grapevine to the Fort Worth Stockyards, hung out for a couple of hours shopping, and then rode the train back home again. Today, Tim took two of our kids fishing out in Tyler. We finished up this evening at church...or so we thought.

Then, our luck changed. Upon our arrival home, we headed out to feed our animals. We found four of our chicks dead in our backyard. We located seven others and returned them to our chick pen. We still can't find the other two chicks. Apparently, our own dog broke in to our chick pen and began his "hay day" chasing down chicks and killing them. Yep, this is part of the farm life. Sometimes it's great and other times it just stinks.

We learned tonight at church from the book of Nehemiah to praise God in the good times and the bad. Regardless of how bad your life is going, you need to depend on God, to be obedient, to focus on God. We are to celebrate regardless of our situation, because God IS GOOD ALL THE TIME. So, I thank God that only four chicks were killed and not more. I thank God that my children are learning to deal with the pain of loss with pets rather than friends, and that with every death on the farm, there is also new life. Yes, God is good. I am so thankful that I am a child of God and that God is sovereign. Thank you, Lord, for your goodness to me. I choose to celebrate life, even in the midst of death...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Love the Parker lifestyle!

Wow! I just spent the morning talking with my neighbor, Marynell. She is a master gardener and herbalist. We just sat and chatted about all of the things going on in our "little" town. This truly is a wonderful place to live! We've been out here for 17 years now. I love it! It reminds me of Mayberry. The neighbors all know one another, the police, fire fighters, city personnel, etc. It has that small town feel. What a way to live! Do you know your neighbors? If not, I encourage you to take the initiative to invite them over for coffee, tea, or dinner. It's wonderful to know everyone on a first name basis in our neighborhood. Most of us have animals (most people own horses, goats, chickens, dogs, ALPACAS, etc.). It feels like family. I love it here! Go out and extend your family to your neighbors! You won't regret it!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Eggs! Eggs! and more Eggs!!!

Well, we are officially collecting between 24 and 28 eggs per day now! It's GREAT! I really love having chickens. They are so much fun to watch in the pasture and yum, how I love those free range eggs! We've got plenty of these yummies now, so if you are interested in tasting some yourself, give us a holler!