What a busy summer it's been! I can't believe that school has already started up for our bunch. I also can't believe that I have a junior in high school. Every time we get a piece of mail from a college trying to recruit her (which is about once a week), I die a little bit more inside. I'm not sure if the slow, painful death is because my oldest is fixing to go off to college or because I'm thinking of how much money college is going to cost. Oy. We haven't been swimming but maybe 3 times all summer. We usually go to the little lake down the road from the house, but last year we got covered in leeches so the kids didn't beg to go there like usual. We also usually go swim at Mr. Turley's house. He's the owner of the ranch, and he normally lives in Dallas but has a home here in Oklahoma on the Turley Ranch. He was here for most of the summer, so we weren't able to swim there either. Then, there's the public pool in town and the kids would always ask to go...but they would wait until we were driving by it on our way to somewhere else and we wouldn't have time. The fact that it was 115* most of the summer also played a factor, but it's cooling down (I say cooling down, but that really just means its 95*) so it's more bearable to be outside.
Then animals have grown a lot this summer and have all done surprisingly well despite the heat. I know they have really enjoyed the rain we've been getting the last month. We have been in a horrible drought the last few years and everything has been so dead, brown, and crispy. All of a sudden, it started raining out here and it's green again. I started letting the goats and birds out all the time, not even shutting them up at night. That way if I didn't get down to the barn early in the morning to let them out, they wouldn't get too hot from being cooped up inside with no breeze. The rain has brought relief, and all the animals are pretty much foraging for food. Apparently, Oklahoma stays in a grasshopper plague in the summers, because there are millions of them EVERYWHERE. When I would leave the house and then come home, as soon as I parked the car in the driveway, the chickens were eating the bugs in the grill of the car. I know of many people nearby who have had a tick infestation, but thanks to my guinea pea fowl named Burnie, I have not seen one tick all summer. We also haven't had any mosquito's either. He/She is noisy but comes in handy. The goats are getting fat on the grass, I've only had to mow twice all summer long even though the rain has made the grass come up fast. Everyone seems to be fat and happy. Including me. Here are some pictures I took around the yard today. It was perfect outside. I'm not sure what the temp was, but it was so beautiful. The sage is blooming, the breeze so still, but it was cool outside anyway. As I was walking around outside, I kept wishing I could just bring a bunch of people that I love and let them come over right then and experience that moment of country tranquility with me, because I knew they would love it as much as I did.
We have some swallows that have made a nest in the chicken coop side of the barn. There have already been one nest of eggs hatch this summer and they have grown up and moved on, and now there are some more in there. You can't see them because their parents are very crafty and lined the nest with duck down and chicken feathers.
About a month ago, the same week we started getting all the rain, the chickens stopped laying eggs. I was so distraught, because disease can cause them to stop and they can suddenly die even though they show no other symptoms. I love my chickens so much and I love eating their delicious eggs for breakfast. I was almost in tears when I had to go buy store bought eggs. Nasty. Store bought eggs don't even deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as fresh eggs laid by chickens who add an extra dose of love to every egg. Yeah..I'm weird...I know. But love makes the eggs better. Well, I have great news. I'm getting eggs again. Most of them have been laid in the flower box instead of in their nesting boxes in the coop, but as long as I can find them, I'm good. I also have 6 Red Star pullets (not old enough to lay yet) and at least one of them has started to lay the most beautiful dark red/brown eggs~ just the last two days!
I love this stupid bird. Every time I go get in the car, she runs/waddles to the car and literally tries to get in with me. I have threatened my teenager and my husband that I am going to buy chicken diapers and she was going to start going to town with me. Other women have a lap dog. I want to have a lap chicken. I don't know who is more mortified at the thought: the 16 yr old daughter or the husband. The other 3 little kids think it's a grand idea. So do I.
If you look closely in the middle of the hill is a large white tail doe. She stood there for a long time and watched me as I watched her. She didn't care too much that she was practically in my yard.
Oh, Burnie. Such a weird looking creature with vivid colors. I think Burnie is a he instead of a she. I also think he is what is called a lavender guinea because of the purple tint to his feathers around his neck. His face is like a bluish-white and he has royal purple under his chin. His waddle hanging down on either side of his beak is a bright and deep red. You are supposed to be able to tell males and females apart by their call and their helmet, which is the weird thing on the top of his head. His call is an ear drum piercing CHIT CHIT CHIT CHIT CHIT CHIT but the girls are also supposed to make a two-syllable sound that sounds like "buckwheat". I don't know what that sounds like. He also makes a very low and gentle tweeting noise that sounds sweet. But Burnie isn't very sweet. He's the bully of the barn yard. He is in everyone's business, and if you are not in the spot he thinks you ought to be in at the time he thinks you ought to be there, he will run at you and basically roll you up in a ball and roll you across the yard. Well...he does this to the other birds. Not to people. He is obnoxious and loud but he went after the UPS man the other day and made him haul tail back to his truck. You don't need a guard dog with a guinea around.
We saw a huge spider web with a huge hole in the middle. We looked inside the hole, and sure enough...there was a huge spider. *shudder*
I love this picture. The lighting is not the best, but I love that chicken and I love that wooden fence. You put the two of them together and..yep...love....
I also love this scene
....and I love this smell.....
.....and I love this boy......
Just one more picture of the sunset and the tree....
The crazy baby goats must be part mountain goat...the climb up on everything. So far, our car has been spared....the riding lawn mower? Not so much.