Welcome to Antler Valley Farm

Spring Chickens and Snow??

Well, March is kinda like my house, always unpredictable!!  This year March was no exception.  One day it was a bright, sunny, 70 degrees and the next day it was 35 degrees and snowing.  That’s crazy, y’all!  And I know crazy well.  Very well actually!  Crazy, crazy March weather.  March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb and everything in between is fair game, I guess?  So, hold on, this March is no exception!

Now that we have moved, the kids are constantly asking for more animals.  Ok, Ok, I’ll be honest.  I am too!  But the difference is that I realize that we aren’t quite ready yet.  We have to put up more fencing and build sheds and shelters.  The kids just want to cuddle the babies (and so do I!) but I am trying to figure out the logistics of when and how we are going to prepare, get and take care of the animals.  I am always planning…and I don’t know why!  My plans rarely work and always change but I still feel the need to plan.  And then replan again… and again.  I am a slow learner apparently.

When you are trying to get more animals I really do feel it’s important to have a working plan and not fly by the seat of your pants.   I’ve done that a few times and it didn’t work so well….I don’t want to get little piglets here and not have a fence for them.  Goodness gracious, my kids and I would have them in the house.  That might push Jim over the edge!  Or if I brought home a bottle calf and kept it in a crate in the house.  I kinda tried that before…..(Minnie was just sooo tiny!!!!)  Jim would leave me this time for sure!  I certainly don’t want to get day old chicks here and realize our heat lamps don’t work.  I think I’m a wee bit too large to sit on a chick to keep it warm, don’t ya think???  So, yeah, plans are necessary for us on the farm right now.  So plan I must!

Well, the first animals we ordered were more chickens.  We already had the incubator so we would have almost 3 weeks until they hatch to plan the logistics of caring for the chicks.  Okay, technically we ordered more eggs, not chickens.  According to the “Rules of Maylin” you must always be precise!  So, we ordered eggs.  Six lovely brown egg layers to produce us some yummy breakfast!

Little eggs to hatch….We hope…

 When we ordered the fertile, hatching eggs we didn’t get to choose a breed.  They guaranteed good egg layers from their stock but didn’t allow us to choose the breeds.  It looks like we have at least 2 different breeds here.  That should keep us guessing for a while!

 Maleah received an incubator for Christmas and was determined to hatch some chickies!  Please, Dear Lord, let some of them hatch!!!  All would be awesome, but I will settle for a few at this point!  

So, we read and reread the directions.  Who writes these directions and why can’t they make more sense?!?!?  Goodness gracious people!  How hard is it to say keep the temperature at this and the humidity at this level for x amount of days??  It really isn’t that hard, but I think you need a PhD in abstract language decoding to understand these directions.  So, we tried the best we could to determine the correct temps and the correct humidity and then we looked it up online to be sure.   Oh. My. Goodness. Y’all.  It turns out the temperature and humidity inside the incubator is affected by your altitude and the inside AND outside temperature where you live.  Nah, that doesn’t complicate things at all!  HA!!

We looked up online and found a small humidity and temperature thermometer that would fit into the incubator, but of course it wouldn’t arrive for almost 2 weeks.  So, we were back to trying to decode the temperature settings on the foreign model we had.  It only took a few hours, more than a few unkind words, and a few temper tantrums to figure out what we thought the temperature and humidity needed to be set at for us and how to do it.  Oh, yeah, that was all me, not the kids!  The kids mostly got bored and walked away.  Except Maleah who was desperately trying to figure it out before I threw the incubator out the window!

Anyway, the eggs haven’t exploded yet, so hopefully we will see or hear signs of life in about 21 days.  Please cross your fingers and say a prayer that at least a few of these eggs hatch!  I have more than one set of curious hands in this house, so I think a 100% hatch rate is out, but maybe 50%??  Please pray diligently people!!!  This might take a miracle!!!

Maylin also ordered 33 catepillars to hatch into butterflies.  Yes, I did say 33!

Now that is a lot of caterpillars.  Thank goodness Camden can’t open the lids!  (At least I don’t think he can!)  Otherwise we would be playing a NOT so funny game of “Find the Catepillars”.

 Yes, these caterpillars are really that tiny!

Tiny, tiny, tiny caterpillars!

Why so many?  I have no idea other than I can’t stand to pay double for something when you can get a larger quanity for much cheaper.  Plus, Maylin, and Camden love butterflies.  Maleah does too really.  Over the years we have ordered and hatched out butterflies multiple times and it never gets old.  We all love it!  So, why not double or triple the fun?   Yes, I am a glutton for punishment obviously.  And I am spacially challenged-meaning I didn’t realize that 33 caterpillars would take up that much room on my counter!  Anyway, this year we will be releasing a gigantic number of butterflies on the farm-if I can keep little hands off of them.  It will be beautiful!  I hope!  Chicks, caterpillars, kids….PLEASE let me keep everyone alive…..PLEASE!!

The day before the hatching eggs arrived it snowed!!  Our first snow in the new house!  It didn’t stick but it sure was pretty!  Then we had gorgeous weather for a few days.  Well, it was a little windy, but not too terrible for March.  We took advantage of the dry weather and did a little fencing work and then took the afternoon off for playtime!

Some of us worked…

and some of us worked at playing.  And some of us took pictures! 

We interrupt this blog to tell you a story of a boy and his dog.  Just because….

Hey, Rocko, do you want to play?” asked the little boy.  

“Hey, Rocko, Can you do this??? asked the little boy.

Hey, Rocko, how about this?  Can you do this?”

Hey, Camden, can you “Sit”?  Good boy.” said Rocko.  

Camden pouted, “Geez, Rocko, you’re no fun today, dog.”

This is another story of a boy and his sisters.  Rocko had already had enough “fun” for one day and had retired to the front porch for his “quiet time”.

Hey, Maylin, do you want to jump?” asked Camden.  “Why yes I do.  Thank you!” replied Maylin.

And just like that the jumping fun began.

Fun, fun, fun til the sun goes down!  (Or until someone gets hurt-which is likely when you bounce this high.) 

“Hey Maleah, do you want to jump???”….

To be continued……indefinitely…..

Okay, back to the regularly scheduled programming.  Just a few days later we woke up to snow again!  That crazy March weather.

Huge, gorgeous snowflakes!

It was too pretty to leave but we had places to go that morning. 


 We even had enough snow for a snowball fight! 

Just a little more snow and we could break out the sleds!  

 I had to make sure to get one last picture of snow on the Old Homestead.  It’s soo beautiful!!  

Just 2 days later it was 72 degrees outside.  It was crazy March weather!   The kids kept asking to wear shorts everyday.  I finally said sure, just make sure to bring a coat, hat and gloves to the car just in case.  Maybe even bring your snow boots.  Who knows???   I certainly never know anymore!  Not that I knew much to begin with actually….


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