This weekend was a busy one at the homestead! Despite the cool temperatures, the sun was finally shining so we tried to get some things accomplished. The list of things to do seems like it is always growing. As we mark things off of the top of the list, even more tasks are added at the bottom!
Saturday morning Natalie got her first real lesson to what farm life can be like...the lesson on animal loss. I noticed that Scar, one of our roosters, was not in the barnyard or the backyard, his two favorite early morning places. Nathaniel looked and didn't see him either, so we assumed he had flown the fence and was exploring out back...not completely uncommon. Natalie went searching, and returned out of breath and terrified for what she 'thought' she found. Nathaniel went with her, and sure enough, she had found Scar's body. Sadly, he had been attacked and killed by a wild predator. Needless to say, Natalie was devastated. She had become fast friends with the roosters, and now, so quickly, one of her dear pets was gone. She helped Nathaniel take care of Scar's body, quietly sobbing yet trying to hold it together the entire time. She was grief-stricken, and was afraid that Ruffy, the remaining rooster, would fall into a depression without his lifelong friend. A valid concern, and a rough start to the weekend.
With the reality of predators hitting home, Nathaniel and I decided we would take the plunge and get a dog. A good guard dog for the homestead, and more specifically the chickens, has always been in the plan, but we hadn't made any moves on it yet. With an animal gone, we knew we needed to look at getting a dog sooner rather than later...especially since we wanted a puppy so we could train it with the chicks.
We spent a little time searching online, and discovered an animal shelter that had the breed we were hoping for. They had puppies that were a mix of Australian Cattle Dogs (Blue Heeler) and Black Labrador Retriever. Perfect! Off we went to check it out, and it was love at first sight. The puppies were precious, and so we came home with TWO! Yes, sisters. Yikes! Did we bite off more than we could chew? Maybe. Are we enjoying this crazy ride? Mostly! :)
Let me introduce to you the newest additions to Hen Hollow Homestead.
Giddy-Up with Natalie and Levi
Cow 'Patti' with Natalie
My dad with both of the girls
Needless to say, the puppies have been welcomed with open arms. They are still working through the transition to new food and new surroundings, but seem to LOVE it here. The hard work of housetraining them has begun, and boy is it NOT fun! Eventually these sweeties will be outside dogs, but now, while they are so young, we must keep them inside most of the time. That means I am potty-training TWO toddlers at once. We've gone through what seems like gallons of cleaner (though not really) and millions of paper towels, as we clean up after them. The first day was a nightmare because they were nervous and making messes every five minutes. Now that we have them on a schedule and are kennel training them, they are doing great! Only one accident yesterday, and so far today, no accidents! Hooray for little successes!
Once we got the puppies home Saturday afternoon, we weren't able to accomplish much else, but Sunday was a different story. With the warm sunshine, the girls were loving being out in the yard, so we let them play while we worked. I cleaned, laundered, meal planned and stopped by the local dairy for farm eggs (not for long though, we should have our own in the spring!). Nathaniel worked some more on his chicken tractor, adding the door on the front and the door to the nesting box, as well as weather treating the wood. All that is left is for him to add the tin and chicken wire to the frame, pop the wheels on it, and it will be ready for the chicks!
Speaking of chicks, our 15 are all still alive and well. They are eating like pigs and growing like weeds. They are almost fully feathered now, so it won't be long until we put them out to pasture in their newly built chicken tractor! I will take pictures of that for sure.
I guess that just about covers the big events of the weekend. If you add in the mundane, everyday chores like feeding and watering the animals, cooking, dishes, and laundry, we are certainly keeping busy around the homestead. But really, I wouldn't have it any other way. We are loving almost every minute of this farm life, and cannot wait to continue adding animals to our crew, and also start living off of the land. Ahhh, living simply (I didn't say easy, and there is a difference) and sustainably! Yes, please!
Blessings to you all!