Stemming the Flow: Building a Small Dam

Following the earlier flooding, we decided to try to build a small dam to try to block the water, rocks, leaves and other debris from flooding out into the pastures.

Here is a reminder of what it looked like during the flooding with water and debris flowing out from the woods.

The creek flooding out into the pastures.

We stacked up the logs again in the water channel where it floods out of the woods.  This time, instead of just stacks of logs, we put a metal post behind the logs and covered them with a couple feet of dirt and rocks.  Hopefully the post and earthen dam will help keep the logs in place and divert the water and debris.

Close-up of the “dam” with metal post holding the logs in place.

Click through for more pictures and details.

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Snow Melt + Heavy Rains = Flood

Earlier this spring, we had a period of heavy rain combined with melting snow. This led to the increased volume of water over our waterfall.

However, it was too much water for the small creek bed to handle within its banks. The creek burst over its banks at the bottom of the mountain and flooded out into the pastures.

There was some minor flooding the prior year in the same location so I had attempted to block the channel that flooded with piles of logs from downed trees to divert the water away from the pastures. It didn’t work.

There was so much water that it simply pushed all of the logs out of the channel into the path behind the pastures.  It even pushed some of the logs several hundred feet away.

The creek flooding out into the pastures.

The water also carried a lot of sticks, leaves, rocks and mud (also several golf balls!?).  A lot of this debris was caught in the pasture fence. The debris blocked the bottom portion of the fence for at 3/4 of the way along the entire back fence line. In some places,the mud and leaves was more than 6 inches deep. Even with assistance from visitors, we haven’t been able to clear the entire fence line yet.

Water flooding out of the creek.

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Snow Melt and the Waterfall (Spring 2017)

With a large snow storm late in the winter, there was a lot of snow that melted at once when the weather turned warmer.  A large snow melt means that our waterfall would have a lot more water flowing over it than normal.

Here is the shot of the final approach to the waterfall.

Waterfall in the spring.

Here is a shot of the waterfall from the base of the falls.

Waterfall close-up.

Here is a video of the falls showing the increased water volume.

 

A New Goat Feeder (Part 2)

You may recall that last year we built a movable goat hay feeder. However, the goats were eating the wood at the corners of the hay feeder so we had to pull the hay feeder out of service temporarily to make improvements.

Using some spare metal flashing, I covered the corners where the goats were most interested in chewing during the first attempt.

Here is a close-up of the repaired corner of the hay feeder.

The second try was more successful. The goats focused more on eating the hay and less on eating the hay feeder.

We used the hay feeder throughout the entire winter of 2016/2017 so far. It is still working well. The goats have chewed and rubbed against a few small areas of the feeder but overall there is very little damage.

The hay feeder in place for the winter.

The new issue that has arisen is the tray underneath the feeder collects a lot of hay dust that needs to periodically be cleaned out. After the winter, we might try drilling holes in the tray to help the hay dust fall out on its own.

More Snow!

A few weeks ago, there was another large snow storm – we got over 30 inches in a couple days.

A picture of the house and main barn a few days after the storm.

We already had over 30 inches in a single storm early in the winter. With this latest storm, it pushed us over our annual average snowfall for the winter.

A panoramic view of the snow from the woods behind the pastures.

Another picture of the pastures from the woods.

Starting a few days after the storm, the temperature warmed up and the snow has been steadily melting since then. We are now down to just a few piles of snow near the driveway. This storm may have been the last significant measurable snow of the winter.

A panoramic shot of the pasture covered in snow.

The animals usually stay inside while it is snowing. The chickens also don’t like to walk on soft snow but they will walk on harder packed snow.

The goats don’t really seem to mind the snow on the ground once the storm stops and the sun comes out – here is a shot of the goats hanging out in the snow next to the barn.

Goats hanging out near the barn.

Local Wildlife: Cooper’s Hawk

A couple weeks ago, a small hawk caught and killed a small bird just off the porch in our back yard. After a bit of research, I think it was a Cooper’s hawk.

Unfortunately, by the time, I got outside to get some closer pictures, the hawk had already flown away with its meal.

A picture of a Cooper’s hawk in the backyard.

Cooper’s hawks mainly eat small birds caught in flight and the hawks are too small to seriously bother our chickens.

The hawk on top of its kill.

Click through for a video of the hawk removing the feathers.

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The Old Stone Pillar

I think we have just solved the mystery of the single old stone pillar in our front yard.

The pillar is well away from the corner of the driveway and isn’t near the corner of the property line either. It didn’t really seem to serve a clear purpose marking any boundaries.

In addition, the stone and brick pillar was falling apart due to the many years of freezing and thawing cycles throughout the winters. It probably wouldn’t have made it more than a couple of more years before completely collapsing. We decided to repair it last fall and redo the mortar and bricks that had broken off.

You can see the multiple colors of bricks in the photo where new bricks were used to replace old bricks that had crumbled apart.

The stone and brick pillar – after repairs.

A neighbor recently provided us with a pencil sketch from the 1950s or 60s that solves the mystery pillar!

Click through to see the sketch and solve the mystery.

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Mindy the Miracle Chicken

As you may recall, we lost a hen last spring to what was likely a case of egg yolk peritonitis (EYP). EYP is when the egg does not form properly inside the hen and then the yolk can remain inside the hen and cause an internal infection. EYP is almost always fatal.

A few weeks ago, another of our hens, Mindy, was exhibiting similar symptoms. She was somewhat more lethargic than normal and she was also walking upright like a penguin. We recognized the symptoms from our prior experience.  We separated her from the flock.

After last time, we had asked around the area and had been given the names of several local vets who are willing to see chickens. We packed her up in a travel dog crate and took her to the vet at their first open slot.

Mindy in a crate ready for transport to the vet.

Not surprisingly, in the waiting room, we were the only one with a chicken instead of a dog or cat.

After meeting with the vet, the situation was not looking great. Mindy’s abdomen was enlarged and somewhat solid to the touch. The vet could not provide a specific diagnosis and there were a number of possibilities, most of them were very likely to be fatal.

Mindy’s only realistic chance was exploratory surgery. The vet could not provide any likelihood for success because there are very few chicken surgeries (the cost of a chicken is so low compared to the cost of surgery that few people ever take chickens to a vet at all, let alone for a surgery). We opted for the surgery.

Her surgery was the next morning. Click through to see how it turned out. Continue reading

Getting ready for the summer!

Aside

Even though we are still in the middle of winter, summer is not that far away!

Penny has had enough of the snow and is ready for some sun and warmth! Here she is wearing sunglasses (tinted doggles).

Penny getting ready for the summer.

Penny getting ready for the summer.

She actually needed to wear them at the vet to protect her eyes during a medical treatment, but she sure looks ready for the beach!