Friday, May 18, 2012

I Have Guinea Keets!

I had placed 35 eggs in the incubator a month ago. Twenty-seven days later, a day early, they started hatching. After 2 days we took out 14 and placed them in a makeshift brooder on the floor of the garage. Looks like a few lavender ones, those are the silver keets and a bunch of pieds, those will be half purple with white wing feathers and bellies. A few of them have developed spraddle leg. Have bandaged 2 of the worst ones, hopefully they'll recover nicely and the others who aren't as bad will recover on their own now that they have a better surface for their claws to grip. Apparently, the paper towels on the bottom of the hatcher didn't provide enough traction.

On the chick front, my 22 chicks are almost 6 weeks old. The Golden Buffs (on the top) are a third larger than the Blue Andalusians so I am going to put them outside in the intermediary coop/run, the old rabbit coop till they are big enough to hold their own against the ducklings and adult guineas.

Ziggy getting a little too interested.
Speaking of ducklings, had one vanish while free ranging last week. No feathers, no sign of struggle. The day before he had developed a bad limp. I'm thinking something, probably an eagle (one had been circling high over head the week before) made a run at him and missed causing him to sprain his leg. Next day, idiot me let them out again and while I walked the dogs in the woods for about an hour, the eagle came back and grabbed him because he couldn't run fast enough. The other possibility is the mother fox up the driveway in her den with 4 kits. I was hoping the electric fence would slow her down, but maybe not.

So now I'm down to 8 ducklings, 4 males and 4 females, now about 12 weeks old. time to sell them or start butchering them though I have no idea where I'll freeze the carcasses unless I keep them at the farm.

In about 15 days I have another batch of chicks coming too. I think I've gone a little overboard, but we'll be eating lots of poultry later this year.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

My Car runs Great, but really, it's Dead Jim

I loved my 1999 Ford Taurus SE. Served me well for many years (bought it used about 2004), took many fun trips, the last major ones in September to Massachusetts (the trip I never did finish posting about) and then the Leelanau Peninsula here in MI in October. Little did I know I was driving about in a death trap.

At the end of March this year my fuel pump failed while driving home from Alpena. Had it towed to the nearest garage we've used before. Was told the filler neck had broken allowing crud into the tank, then into the pump which destroyed it. So $804 later it ran great again, was even told it ought to work great for me for another 2 years. Then I tried to fill the tank with gasoline. I discovered the  pump handle and filler nozzle wouldn't make a good seal, so the pump kept shutting off. I had to squeeze the handle just barely to trickle a few gallons in over a long period of time. Then when I parked it in the garage the smell of gas was so horrible it permeated the house.

So back it went to the same garage, 3 weeks after getting it fixed. There I was, with a 'good for another 2 years' vehicle with some sort of leak and was told the gas tank had to be replaced, and probably leaked from dropping it 3 weeks earlier to replace the fuel pump which sits on top. BUT, he wouldn't recommend doing it because the frame holding the engine was rotted from rust and the engine could fall out any time. Just roll right on out of the car

Hal was the one to receive this information over the phone. When he asked why they didn't tell us this 3 weeks earlier before they did the work, the reply was along the lines of "that was only 3 weeks ago?" and "we didn't notice".

Uh huh.

We are a bit put out by these comments to say the least. Had no choice but to call the insurance company who sent out an adjuster and a week later we were told it's not covered. We figured that but it was worth a shot.

Two days ago we drove it home, slowly and left it at Uncle Butch's house since we didn't want to risk driving it down our lumpy driveway. So there it sits while we try to figure out what to do with it now. In the meantime Hal has acquired a 1997 Dodge Ram 1500 from his dad's business. Been sitting at the farm unused for at least a year. He fixed the non-existent brakes and then took it into a different shop to repair the very sloppy, (to the point of not knowing if we can avoid the ditch), steering to the tune of $450. (That included a used tire to replace the undersized one it was sporting.)

Yesterday I noticed a leak. Hal determined the transmission fluid was leaking, it had practically none left. That probably explains the lousy gear shifting the last couple of times we drove it. I have my fingers crossed it's just a leaky pan gasket and filter. Hopefully, by the end of this week the truck will be operational.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Uncle Butch Died

On the night as my last post. Shocked the hell out of everyone. I saw him around 8 pm that night and less than 4 hours later he was gone. Heart attack. Totally unexpected though he'd had heart attacks previously. I think everyone was just numb for the first few days. He was my dogs' best buddy, the goodie man. It seemed Luna and Ziggy, and especially Rocket would rather be there than here at home because you never knew when goodies would magically appear. I considered Uncle Butch a good friend, he and his wife pretty much adopted me into their family. Some part of me still can't believe he won't be laying on his couch when I walk in the door and ask me "Have you come to see my dogs?" as Luna and Ziggy greeted my arrival to bring them home.

He was only 72.

This really sucks.