Duck…duck…CUTE!

Yesterday we picked up four adorable ducklings to add to our flock.  They are Ancona ducks, which are related to Runner ducks (actually they are a mix of a Runner and a Belgian duck).  They are SOOO cute!!  One is 4 weeks old, one is 3 weeks old, and two are 4 days old.  I think we got 3 females and one male (one of the youngest ones), but I’m not exactly certain yet.  The reason I think we have one boy is because male ducks have a deeper, raspier voice, and one of the little ones has a deeper crackly quack.  “He” is too young to really tell, though.  Once they are all around 7 weeks old we will be able to tell for sure.

It ended up that we got them from the same person we got our Polish Crest chicken named Cricket from.  I didn’t realize that until we pulled up to her house.  Two of the chicks we got from her died within 24 hours of bringing them home, and all of the chicks she had there this time looked terrible also, but the ducks looked healthy.  One of the small ones was pretty lethargic yesterday, but I gave him a drop of baby vitamins and put some Sav-a-chick and vitamins in their drinking water, and he is nice and perky today!

The two babies didn’t meet the older two until we put them in the carrier to bring home, and the people we got them from suggested to keep them apart for fear of them getting trampled, but they all get along wonderfully.  They groom each other, and they all cuddle up together.  The little ones follow the biggest one around like she is their mother.  It’s really cute!

They also seem to have imprinted on me already.  They get really upset if they can’t see us, whereas all of the chicks we had couldn’t care less if we were there or not.  If I sit on the floor they will all come over and climb on me and fall asleep.  ♥♥♥

Here are some pictures.  I hope you think they are as cute as we do!

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Baby it’s hot outside

It has been running in the upper 90’s to low 100’s here the past few days, as it is in most of the rest of the country.  It is easy enough for us to stay inside in the cool a/c, but it is wreaking havoc on the poor animals that are outside.

Luckily, we have quite a few trees that produce good shade, and our house is set just right so the front yard gets shade all afternoon.  The animals take advantage of that and stay in front of the house most of the day or in the woods that is completely shaded.  The grass in front of the house has stayed nice, green and moist so it is easy on their feet compared to the dry crunchy grass and weeds everywhere else.

I also put ice in their water buckets a couple of times a day to keep their water cool, and I water down the ground and grass to help keep it cool.  The chickens like that, and they burrow down in the wet soil and it helps keep their body temperatures down.

The thing they seem to like the most, though, is the box fan I put on the front porch.  The cats and the chickens will sit in front of it to help keep cool when it is really hot in the middle of the day.  It’s really funny to see the cats and the chickens sitting next to each other, with the breeze blowing their fur and feathers all around.  haha

I have a pet carrier sitting on the porch for the kittens, and they like to lay between it and the house.  I started putting frozen bottles of water inside the carrier so that they can lean against the cold carrier.  They seem to really like that.  I can’t get their mama to lay against anything cool, though.  She prefers laying in the middle of the porch, no matter what.  Yesterday we let her into my husband’s air-conditioned shop (the kittens weren’t here, she had them off hidden somewhere) and she LOVED laying on the cool concrete.

As for the dogs, they have been staying inside almost all day long.  They only really go outside long enough to go pee and then they come back inside.  They are okay with that.  haha

What do you do to keep your outside pets and animals cool?  Do you have any tips for me?  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!

Guard spider, take two.

I took some better pictures of our guard spider tonight.  I think they turned out awesome, and you can actually see the web this time!  I’m going to try to get better pictures of its belly next time.  If you click on the pictures you can see them full size.

It was getting tired of all the paparazzi so it was running to hide, but I thought this showed the web really well.

Our guard spider / 14 Days of Beauty – Day Eleven

Today is a combo post.  I know most people may not agree with me, but I think bugs are cool and most are really pretty.  I take pictures of them all the time and post them on my Facebook page.  There are a LOT of really beautiful bugs here in Missouri, ones that we didn’t have in Nebraska.

We have a spider that builds a web on our front porch every night.  By morning, he/she has taken it down, but builds it again the next night.  I have no idea what type of spider it is (if anyone has an idea, please tell me), but it is big…around an inch and a half long.  Update…it is a Neoscona crucifera Orb Weaver. It builds the most beautiful webs.  I wish I could get a good picture of its web.  So intricate and delicate.  Since it only builds at night, it is hard for me to get a picture of it.

Last night I went to pet our little visitor, and I checked to see if the spider was there again.  It was, and it had a Dobson Fly in its web.  To give you an idea, that Dobson Fly is around 3″ long.  My husband played lighting crew for me (held a flashlight on it so my camera could focus on it haha) so I could get some pictures of it.

I got a couple glimpses of the web in these next pics. 

Our new family member

A week ago today an adorable tiny cat showed up on our front porch.  At first I thought it was a boy, but the next day I realized it was a girl…and probably had a litter of kittens around here somewhere.  Since she was SOOOO thin, I didn’t think it would hurt anything to feed her.  I honestly didn’t think we would ever see her again.

Boy was I wrong.  Apparently she has now adopted us.  She lives on our front porch almost all day now.  I think the only time she leaves is to go feed her babies, which she has stashed somewhere down the road.  We had chicken stir fry yesterday, and I gave her a big piece of the chicken scraps.  She was a good mama and carried it back to them.  Otherwise, she is always there to greet us when we go outside.  She is very friendly, and loves to be petted and purrs up a storm, but doesn’t like to be picked up.  She is also not a huge fan of our dogs.

Isn’t she cute?  She has put on some weight since we’ve been feeding her regularly.  We’ve been calling her Hazel.  🙂

14 Days of Beauty – Day Seven

I’m two and a half hours late posting this.  Oops!  I promise I’ll be better today.  😉

Today my picture is of my cat Walter sleeping on the floor.  He is so comfortable here that he often sleeps flat on his back, with his belly exposed.  I think that it is a beautiful thing, when there are so many abused and homeless animals out there that don’t have that luxury.  He is a very lucky boy.

Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur....

New Chicken Coop

My chickens are getting a wonderful new permanent coop, thanks to my husband.  The work started today.  My biggest chickens are getting big (14wks) and they really need it.  My oldest hen will be laying soon, so we need to get them acclimated to their new coop before she does so she lays her eggs in the laying boxes instead of in their brooder box or in the woods or yard.

We decided to put it on the side of our house, close to where the biggest chickens are currently being kept.  It is next to an Ash tree, and gets a lot of afternoon shade from the house.

You can see the location of the coop in relation to our house. You can also see the brooder, which is the big chickens current home, on our front porch. Huge difference in size, and I think they will love it!

When the coop is finished, it will look something similar to this coop:

 I can’t wait until it is finished!  I plan to paint the trim white, like in the above picture, with the main part of the coop being a brown (instead of red) and the doors and window covers being a light sky blue.  It will also have a little chicken door in the side of the run for them to go into the yard.  We will keep the door from the coop to the run open, so they can come out when they wake up and go into the run, and then I can just open the door from the run to the yard when I get up a bit later.  They will only be confined to the run when we go out of town (so it is easier for our neighbors to take care of them) or if the weather is really bad.  Otherwise they free range all day long.

Once the coop is built, our medium chickens (9wks) will move into the coop also.  They are currently sleeping in my husband’s shop in a brooder (which they are quickly outgrowing) along with our smallest chickens.  The smallest chickens (7wks) will be moved into the brooder on the front porch until they are big enough to be put in with the biggest chickens.  At the moment, they are too small and our biggest chickens could easily kill them.  We don’t want that.  😉

We’re getting there!







Good boy!

My dogs are scared of cows.  A small section of our back yard backs up to our neighbor’s cow pasture.  Every once in a while the cows make it up there.  Every time the dogs see the cows, they get the hiccups and stop dead in their tracks.  They sit there for hours in the grass watching the cows.  It’s rather funny.

Then, Olive decided to go explore in their pasture.  We don’t like our dogs to go over there.  For one thing, it isn’t our property, and another thing is that if they were to get hurt (stepped on or kicked by a cow, bit by a snake, etc) we wouldn’t know about it if they couldn’t get back home.  Simon doesn’t like to be scolded, so he was a good boy and stayed on our property.  He just sat and watched in the direction that his sister took off.

Good boy!

Eeek!!

I’m completely fascinated by all of the creatures we have out here in the country.  When we lived in the suburbs we really didn’t find that many.  The vast varieties of spiders are the most interesting and cool to see, to me.

We have a bunch of Bold Jumping spiders around and in our house.  Yes, I said “in”.  Bold Jumping Spiders tend to leave humans alone, but they do a good job at eating other pests that tend to be food for Brown Recluse spiders.  The more the Bold Jumpers eat, the less likely we are to have Brown Recluses, so I leave them be.  I have even convinced my husband that they are good to have around.  We have one that likes to hang around in the window in our dinette, one that keeps our laundry room safe, and one that hangs outside on our front windows.  The one in the pictures below was found hanging on silk outside our side door.

The other day, the one that hangs outside our front window had just caught a moth.  The weirdo in me decided to take pictures.  lol

I don’t think he was happy with me for interrupting his meal, or he thought I was going to steal it, b/c every time I moved to take another picture he would turn the other direction to avoid me.

Tonight my husband was working in his shop.  Earlier this evening he had opened one of the overhead doors and the walkthrough door to air it out.  He had been using brake cleaner earlier and there was A LOT of fumes in the shop when I put my chicks away, who sleep in there, and it wasn’t safe for them.  He left it open while we were eating dinner.  We live in the middle of nowhere, who’s going to go in there anyway?

Well, someone did.  He was making himself right at home.  It was when he decided to take a trip across my husband’s feet is when he was kicked out.  It was a gigantic wolf spider.  I’m not sure what type exactly, I just know it was HUGE!  The body, yes…just the body…was the length of a quarter.  The legs were, well, enormous.  Take a look for yourselves.

Looks innocent enough, right??  Uh huh.

Oh my god!  Isn’t it gigantic???

My husband picked it up in a small container to put it in a bucket.  On the way, he pretended to throw it at me.  I nearly had a heart attack and about peed my pants.

I really hope we get a Golden Orb Weaver spider around our house.  I think they are so neat in pictures.

They also spin the most amazing webs!

I believe both of those spiders were Golden Orb Weavers, but I have yet to see one so I’m not sure.  I can’t wait, though!

1,200

That is the average heart rate for hummingbirds.  They also flap their wings at an average of 53 wing beats per second!  Crazy, huh??

Shortly after we moved in we noticed a couple hummingbirds flying around, so we went out the next day and bought a hummingbird feeder and some of the sugar water solution that goes in it.  I put it up, and within a few minutes it was already being used!  Those babies catch on quick.

We now have two feeders up b/c they were fighting over the first one so much.  We have one little bird, which I think is an Anna’s Hummingbird, which we call the Sentinel.  He likes to sit on the end of a flagpole that is right next to the first feeder, and if anyone else tries to feed from it he rushes over and chases them off, then goes back to sit on the end of the flagpole.  He’ll do this for hours.  Hummingbirds are very territorial, so they fight a lot.

We have around 8-10 (maybe more, they are hard to count b/c they are so small and move so fast) of them around here, and they are always fighting, especially about the use of the feeders.  The Anna’s Hummingbird is one of the few species that can make noise, and they are so cute when they yell at each other as they fly around.  haha!  Our Sentinel is always yelling at the other birds to stay away from his feeder.  lol  Since we got the second feeder, the fighting hasn’t been as bad.

I’ve tried feeding hummingbirds before at our last house, but never had success.  I’m so happy that we have them here, they are so pretty and fun to watch.  🙂

Flying in for a drink

Tasty! You can see the morning dew.