Ladder and Tractor Work on St. Patrick’s Day

owl nest box bottomToday finally our schedules, weather and health came together that I could do some ladder work and Tom could do some tractor work.

On the ladder I wanted to clean out our barn owl nest box.  I could see there was a large bee’s nest in there and wanted to get it out before the bees became active and before hopefully a barn owl would make a nest in there this spring.  When I took the nest box apart, I found the above in the bottom.  There is straw and twigs in it.  Tom thought he saw starlings bringing nesting materials into the box, but this does not look like a starling’s nest to me. So I wonder if an own started making a nest before the hornets drove her out.  Below is the photo of the hornets’ nest I found.

owl nest box hornet nestTom said it looks like a spent hornets’ nest.  It is quite a feat of architecture.  Here it is out of the nest box.

hornet nestI put the nest box back together, and hopefully a barn owl will move in now.  I then took the ladder into the old pheasant pen to take the netting down that had partially fallen down in the snow storm last month.  The netting went over the roof of the “pheasant shed”.  I removed the netting revealing significant moss growth there.  It is an Irish green color.

irish green mossAfter I removed the moss and the rest of the netting, I started stringing yarn above the pen to discourage eagles from swooping in and taking our ducks and pheasants.  I used white, blue, and pink spare yarn I had so it is colorful.

yarnMeanwhile Tom used our new tractor to clear about 6 inches of mud out of the alley way in front of the sheep’s side of the barn.  Here he is on the tractor with some of the mud he scooped up.

Tom tractor mudAnd here are the sheep checking out their cleaned up alley way for the first time.

sheep in unmuddy alleywayI did all of this while wearing green and orange.  I wear green because it is St. Patrick’s Day.  I wear orange because my Scotch-Irish grandmother asked me to on St. Patrick’s Day.  And I wear both together in hope of a lasting peace in Ireland.  When we visited Belfast a few years ago, it seemed like a city on the edge of violent confrontation.  But hopefully they will continue to co-exist peacefully there.  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Posted in Farm | Leave a comment


lily goatSo our goat Lil died today.  Tom found her acting oddly and seeming stiff.  I went to try to medicate her like I did on Super Bowl Sunday, but she rapidly went into a prolonged seizure and died.  She was fine yesterday, ate and walked well.  Today she had good condition and color.  I did not have a chance to check her temperature.

Now I am starting to worry that something is going on other than having aged animals.  But Lil and Coco did not share the same quarters, the same minerals, the same water source nor the same grain.  The only thing in common is the hay, and it seems fine.  Their symptoms are suggestive of polioencephalomalacia, and new research suggests this could be related to excessive sulfur intake.  But the only common possible source is the hay, and this seems unlikely.  So I have decided to supplement the flock with B vitamins and hope this works.

Lil was about 11 years old.  We adopted her from New Moon Farm Goat Rescue & Sanctuary in 2011 to be a pack goat.  Above is a photo of her at New Moon, and below she is walking to her new home for the first time.

zeus an dlil walking to barnShe did not succeed as a pack goat.  She was too smart.  She figured out how to turn around and head back home and to rub against trees to remove the packs.  Below is one of our attempt at pack training.

zeus lil an dbilly packingAnd she was not the most likable goat.  She did not get along with any of our other goats, and she was difficult to get to cooperate with anything.  But she was not mean or ornery, she just like things her way.  So she was a character, and she will be missed.

Ill Lil



Posted in Farm | 2 Comments

Goodbye Coco

december 2000 coco and grady or grantlambsphotoOur 13.5 year old Shetland wether Coco died today.  We was standing oddly this morning.  I went to move him into the barn, and he had a seizure.  I knew this was not a good sign so we got him into the barn.  He did not have a fever so I tried to give him some nutritional support.  He was standing but not much else and shortly thereafter was dead.  He was fine yesterday, eating well so at least it was a brief illness.  But I am still quite sad.  He was a nice sheep with beautiful moorit wool.  He will be missed.

Above is when he was 2 months old, and below he was 4 years.

CocoAnd below are both from when he was 9.





Posted in Farm | 16 Comments