Welcome to Antler Valley Farm

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May the Force be with You

In May, we ALL needed the force to be with us.  Seriously, I wish I had paid more attention to Jim’s Star Wars movies!  Is it too late in my life to learn to use the force?  Can I still become a Jedi and change things with my mind?  Well, a girl can dream, right?  Seriously, that would be way cool!!

For now, I will have to make due with magical sunrises like this.

Or like this.

Or maybe this one.

Or this one.

Or maybe this foggy sunrise showcasing the cow’s behinds.  Ha!

Regardless of how you felt about the virus or the economy….you would meet someone who had the opposite opinion and would shove it down your throat.  I am all for voicing your opinion, but come on people.  Show some common decency and BE KIND!!  I truly believe that everyone can have their own opinion and still find a way to get along.  If everyone would stop being selfish and just be kind all of this would be so much easier.  I can’t imagine that this has been swimmingly easy for anyone and for some it’s been down right devastating.  If we could all just show a little kindness and understanding, maybe a smile and a kind word even?  That’s not too much to ask, is it?  No.  No, it’s not.  In fact, it should be expected to be kind.  That should be the normal.  Kindness should be a common everyday occurrence and not an unexpected treat.

Now, that’s my opinion and it’s probably not worth much but there it is.  Hey, if cats and dogs can co-exist in a household then anything is possible, right?  Okay, that was a joke, but you know what I’m getting at.  I mean, Jim and I are pretty much polar opposites in everything except our love for each other.  So that speaks volumes to me.  There is almost always a way to respectfully disagree and still show kindness and respect.  So, I will step off my soap box now and tell you all about what happened and didn’t happen in May.  And sorry for the kindness lecture.  Haha!!

Okay, so in May we had turkeys.

And more turkeys.

And more turkeys.

We had new turkey babies every week.  EVERY single week. Crazy doesn’t even begin to describe it.

At one point we had turkeys hatching left and right.  The eggs we had collected were all at different stages and they were hatching every few days.  Whew!  That kept us on our toes! The turkey babies were so sweet though!  They loved to be snuggled.  So, of course, we HAD to snuggle them and love on them.  Like ALL the time!

We had 1 baby born that had trouble with her hip joint.  At first, we thought it was splay leg which is not terribly uncommon in turkeys but it was soon obvious that this was something a little more serious.  Her hip felt out of socket but I wasn’t completely sure if it was that or a birth defect.  We named her Slider.  Slider could hobble to the food and water quite well and didn’t seem to be in any pain.  We tried to find a vet to see her but no one would see a turkey.  Not even a precious, tiny, baby turkey.  So, we watched her closely to make sure she was growing and hoped for the best.

Then, the worst happened.

Sweet Slider.  She was the sweetest little fluff ball of them all!  She stole all our hearts.

We woke up one morning and the joint in Slider’s lower leg (her knee joint) was bent backward.  It appeared to be hyper-extended and she would cry in pain when it wouldn’t hold her weight.  We tried to stabilize her leg with a splint but then her hip joint looked like it would pop off her body at any second.  We researched online and called every vet we could find.  The entire time she would cry if we weren’t holding her and it broke my heart.   She kept trying to drag herself toward the food and water and her leg looked like a twisted pretzel.  We had to make the difficult decision to ease her pain and suffering.  We were all a blubbering mess for the rest of the weekend.  Sometimes farm life stinks.

Just after Slider crossed the Rainbow Bridge for turkeys we had another batch of turkey babies born that we were able to love on to distract ourselves thankfully.  Shortly after that we started noticing that the hens weren’t laying their eggs in the coop anymore.  Nope.  They just couldn’t make it easy for us.  We had to search high and low in the pasture for those turkey eggs.  Every day was like an Easter egg hunt!  The kids would take their basket and I would give imaginary points for whoever found the eggs first.  It was the best game EVER to get them to do their chores!  Mom win!

And while they were searching for eggs I got to take pictures of sunflowers.  Definitely a Mom win.

These 2 helped me plant all the sunflowers.  I’m so thankful my kids still get excited about things I enjoy like pretty flowers.

 

Maylin took a particular interest in the sunflowers this year.  She is my 0wn personal little sunflower.

Since we had decided to build a new chicken barn, aka the chicken mansion, we decided we would kill 2 birds with 1 stone and build a cattle shed at the same time.  Whoo-hoo!   The cows will finally have an actual shelter and not just trees in bad weather!

The cows weren’t completely sure about the new “thing” being built in their pasture.  Just wait for it, ladies!

Once the concrete was dry, the cattle shed was done in a day.  I was so excited for my ladies!  And they avoided it like the plague.  I am so not kidding.  Jim was not amused that we had just built a barn for the cows and they wouldn’t use it.  I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the bovines either.

 

It was a lovely shelter.  What is wrong with my cows?  Never mind.  Don’t answer that.  They are my cows.  That is the problem in a nutshell.  Ha!

All it took was a hot afternoon in the 80s and Daisy discovered that the breeze flowed through here better than the trees.  She was hooked!  Her and Clarabelle love the cattle shed and wait patiently under it chewing their cud while waiting for me to come feed them every afternoon.

It took Rosie a little longer to come around, but she eventually did.  Good girls!  I’m not sure if they are practicing social distancing or if that is more of a teenage rebellion coming out in Rosie.  Haha!

Maleah’s chicken mansion was being built next.  Well, maybe if the rain ever quits….

The poles were concreted the day before the cattle shed was built.  It seemed like they were going to have both barns built in just a few days.  Of course it couldn’t be that simple!  Nope.  We always have to have a little Carter Crazy thrown in there.

Notice the wet ground?  And the water?  All the water in the ditch?  Yeah, that’s a problem.

Before they could pour the concrete they had to dig a French drain to find the underground spring that we had hit doing the grading work.  Yep, nothing is ever simple for us.  I am trying to look at it as a constant learning environment. Ha!  I am always learning how to handle something new.

The French drain filled up with water from 2 underground springs in a matter of minutes.  Well, that might be another problem because that’s a lot of water!  However, both the builder and the concrete guy assured us (Okay, they assured Me) that the drain would work.  I kept envisioning a massive pipe to take all the water.  They both agreed that a 16″ pipe was more than sufficient so I crossed my fingers and said a prayer that they understood the full impact of our Carter Crazy adventures and the problems that arise for us.  They chuckled for a bit and then continued to install the French drain.  Okay, then.  Good talk guys.  I’ll just go back to my day then.

Maleah’s chicken barn was put on hold until the concrete could be poured which meant we would need a break in the rain.  While we waited for that to happen we were able to have Mr. Joe come out and finish up the lights inside my barn and install motion sensored flood lights!  That makes me so happy!!

Just as the end of May rolled around these free loaders decided to stop laying.  Uh, excuse me, ladies.  We do not have a Union contract with y’all so you need to get your fluffy little butts in gear and start laying some eggs!  (This conversation was pretty one sided as they pretty much ignored me and continued to search for bugs.) I even rescinded the invitation for them to move into the Layer Mansion when construction was finished.  Hello???? I am talking to you ladies!  Thankfully, they started laying well again a few weeks later and then Maleah’s new layers started producing some little butt nuggets as well.  Whoo-hoo!

We finally had extra eggs again.  I told the hens that they were welcome to move to the Layer Mansion again when it was ready.  I did warn them I expected no more funny business from the older hens.  Their time off is not expected, approved and will not be tolerated until at least the fall.  At that point, they are allowed to go into molt mode and take a much needed rest.  Until then, everyone has a job and they need to do it.  And do it well, please!

Well, since the hens were cooperating again, I found some online classes through Penn State that were free for the month of May.  Free!  As in F-R-E-E!!!  You know, I jumped on that offer!  I signed up for several dairy classes and a bee keeping class.  One day I going to convince Jim to let me have some bee hives.  One day.

With the whole family taking classes online and doing schoolwork and Zoom meetings we discovered really quickly that our internet service is a joke.  We have a great signal but apparently, we don’t have great broadband width.  I have no earthly idea what that means other than they kept telling us that the plan we upgraded to was already out of data because of poor broadband width.  Uhhhh, okay.  The next week they told us the same thing and charged us to switch again.  It was crazy expensive. It was just plain crazy.  Well, yes, we should have expected the crazy part.

Speaking of Carter Crazy.  Camden is definitely in the right family.  He managed to slam his hand BACKWARDS in the car door one afternoon at the barn.  BACKWARDS!  When I opened the door his hand popped out and the first thing I noticed was the pinkie finger bent in a U shape.  UHHH, that’s not normal.  So, off to the urgent care we went.  After x-rays they determined the joints weren’t broken, but 2 of his joints were dislocated.  How fun!

Camden was a very brave boy.  He had taken Jim’s old racing collectable car with him for courage at the Urgent Care and he held so tight to that car the entire time we were there. They reset his finger and put the splint on and he never even whimpered because he was too busy talking about this model car with the Dr.  I love, love, LOVE people who take the time to make sure little kids are comfortable and engage with them.  Especially during times like this!

Just another Carter Crazy animal enjoying her neck scratches.

Daisy is quite fond of Maleah.

Okay, I think all the cows are quite fond of Maleah really.  Can you blame them?  She’s a pretty cool person to hang with.

Since the outside world was full of craziness in May, I made an extra effort to see the beautiful sunrises and sunsets everyday.  Just makes everything all better.  Even if it’s just for a few minutes, it’s still completely worth it.

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