The Word-Nerd’s Homestead – Fall 2021: Blog Edition #2 – Goonie Birds on Parade

Welcome back to the Homestead, Happy Readers!

Here’s a bit of an update on the goings on around here.

Goonie Birb Training

The guineas are doing quite well with their Bubba Yaga setup. For the first few days, I let them out into the PVC run. They really enjoy the green grass. They had gotten used to that before I had the trailer. A few of them managed to get out around the edges (things don’t line up perfectly), but the strong flocking instinct that they have kept those close to the rest.

Each afternoon, I would feed them in the roost trailer and close them up.

I would also let them out to explore a bit while I was able to be outside with them. They have become my own personal fan club and follow me around. I’m sure it has to do with the fact that I give the fudz!

Since they were starting to stray too close to the property line fence, I decide they needed to be moved a bit farther down the drive. But, not too far so as to cause me to have to walk a long way to tend to them. I relocated the Baba Yaga to the foot of the last hill on my drive.

I left them in the run for a day to get them acclimated to the new spot.

Then we went roaming again. They followed me down to the shop and then back home again.

Here’s a video of their third outing day. It was rainy, so they are a bit drizzled. Also, this is my 1st ever YouTube video upload, so forgive me if it is crap. Doing things one-handed resulted in a lot of wobbly shots and some close-ups of the tin siding!

And while I’m at it, you might as well see the chicken & duck wrangling too.

Chicken Range Fencing – Phase 2

As I’ve said before, I want to be able to let the chickens and ducks semi-free range. Due to the Wild Duck Chase Debacle, though, I have been keeping them in the pen until I can get everything fully enclosed. It’s not an easy task because the remainder of the area is going to be in/through the woods.

I use the tractor to clear out the spot on the far corner that required some log removal. After that, I put of the next 50′ section of wire. The rest, though, required hot sweaty chopping with a bush knife. I got the path that I plan to follow with the fencing clear, but my shoulder (already unhappy with me following the Baba Yaga build) was not up for any post driving or fence pulling after that.

NE corner after clearing the line.
Cleared path into the woods. Fence will run from the leftmost tree inward to the right.
Fence will run mid picture to the left of the big pine in the distance.
Fence will run straight ahead to the left of the stump. This is before I cleared it out.
Fence will run on the left side of this pic to the oak in the background left. Then it will turn and go up the hill to the corner of the road across from the storm pit (hiding in the v of the trees on the right)
50′ of wire installed in NE corner.

I think one of my next videos may be a walking tour of the perimeter of the chicken range. You really can’t get a good understanding of the slope of this from still pictures.

Tree Trimming

Having a decent amount of acreage (30+/-) in the woods inevitably leads to the need to trim trees. I’d been putting this task off for a while in hopes of cooler weather, but as I was making my last pass at grass cutting, I decided I was tired of being smacked in the face by limbs.

I have about 3 to 4 hours of steady mowing on all of my property if I do everything at once (This includes the yard at my Spare House, the shop and my mom’s place). It gets annoying to have to duck, bub & weave all the time.

Side note: Yes, I have a spare house (mobile home, of course). It is actually paid for, unlike my own home with the mortgage. Anyway, I don’t keep it totally manicured since no one lives there. In fact, I usually let the grass get annoyingly high before I cut it because I do have so much to cut. The other things that I neglect tend to become batch projects, like bush and tree trimming. So, most of the work I did while trimming happened down there. There were lots of low limbs and overgrown flower beds to remove stuff from.

So, I broke out the chainsaw and got to work. I lost about 3 lbs. in sweat, but I got a ton of stuff cut back and cleaned up. There’s more to do, and the hauling-off part is not complete. Unfortunately, the old shoulder was still pissed about the Bubba Yaga and the fence pulling and the brush chopping, so when the chainsaw usage exacerbated that, I got sidelined. Now, the rain is about to set in for a whole week, so it is just going to have to wait longer. The good news – if you want to call it that – is that, hey, it’s not going anywhere! It will be there when I’m ready!

Spare House: Removed a cedar & a dead sweetgum from the old flower bed
Cleared out around the dogwoods
Cut the low limbs off the maple on the driveway

There was more than this, too. I cut down limbs and sapling pines and cedar around the house and on the far side. I also got some stuff on the corner of the drive. I wish I had thought to take ‘before’ pictures, but when I get to going sometimes, I just go and don’t even think about it. Mostly so that I get done before I change my mind! 🙂

Again, there’s more to do in other places. I’ll try to remember the ‘before’ pics next time. Maybe a full Homestead tour video is in the offing too. We’ll see.

Eggstra Stuff

The egg production is still on the low side. I’m getting 1 to 5 duck eggs a day (from 8 females) & 2 to 4 chicken eggs (from 16 hens!!!). I don’t know what the problem is. I feed them layer pellets and scratch grains. I’ve varied the amount of feed I give them and it doesn’t really make a difference. I’ve let them range to see if that helped. I’ve kept them penned to make sure I wasn’t having any eggs hidden in the bushes. None of it makes much difference. I doesn’t bother me too much, since I couldn’t possibly eat all those, but I was planning on hatching more, and maybe even selling some if they were productive enough.

I do have at least 4 or 5 hens laying. The most recent starter was a Maran that is giving me some really nice Chocolate eggs. They are almost copper in color at times.

I also decided to hatch out a few before it got too cold. Around the middle of September, I started off with 23 chicken eggs. 16 of those were viable. The duck eggs were 11 viable out of the 16 started. The next post will include a hatching update.

A small discovery I made was a volunteer tomato plant in the compost pile. It’s got lots of blooms and a single tomato. Maybe I’ll get few from it before first frost.

Volunteer tomato in the compost pile

The rest of the garden is trash though. The only thing left are some very persistent purple hulls and a few okra stalks I planted for mom. The pumpkin is still there also, but I’m not sure if it is even growing anymore.

That’s all I have for now. Thanks for reading!

Until next time…

Happy Reading, Prepping & Homesteading!

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  1. Those goonies may be a headache, but they’re adorable when they all come running. (Who knew your fan club would be a bunch of goofy birdbrains…)

    Ooh, I learned the other day that you can pot up pepper plants and overwinter them inside! Strangely, all the banana pepper plants are still alive over here, so I might see if I can keep them happy by a window in the garage.


    1. I’m actually starting to get some peppers back on mine. They all did terrible here this year. Maybe I’ll dig them up and put them in the hoop house before frost just for s-n-g’s


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