Wednesday, October 27, 2010

RIP, Golgi, wherever you are...

The one member of the family that I’ve never introduced you to has disappeared. He’s been gone for 60 hours, something that he’s never done. Since he was such a hedonist, and loved sleeping on the bed with the dogs during the day, I can only infer that he’s no longer around. Last night, I went out to see if I could find him, and the Golgi presence is gone from the world. In preparing for this post, I discovered that the only pictures I had of Golg were from when I lived in Reno, with his late dog, Ceili. She passed on 4 years ago, and left a huge hole, somewhat filled by Lyra, whom you’ve met.

Golgi and Ceili

I got Golgi and his brother Quark after my cat, Sigmund died. Amy (purple fuzzy mittens)was instrumental in bringing them home from the Humane Society for me, and getting them settled, as I had taken the previous day off, and then the HS said they had to re-treat them for ear mites, could I come back tomorrow? Not with my psycho boss… I had the kittens for 2 weeks, trying to think of names, and then one night, in a tequila-inspired haze, came up with them.

Golgi was an indoor cat for most of his life, until I got tired of his peeing on my stuff when he got his nose out of joint. The final straw was when he peed on some brand new roving… Out he went. He didn’t really understand, but enjoyed having the great outdoors and the accompanying rodents to play with. It wasn’t until later that I found out that he needed to be an only cat (when my munchkin, Otter died), and that solved the peeing problem.

Golgi and Otter

When I moved to Walton, Golg was the first one to figure out the dog door (before Harry, the border collie, even). He enjoyed his freedom, survived a bout with bad cat food (almost died, actually), and generally had a great life. He loved hanging out on the hay in the barn, waiting for rodents to appear. He would follow me into the back pasture while I was feeding or filling water troughs, enjoying the company. If I sat down for a minute, there he was, with Lyra wanting to be in my lap too.

When Lyra arrived, as a 7 week old puppy, he never unsheathed his considerable claws on her (he weighed 16 lbs.). He let her roll him around on the floor, and when he’d had enough, he’d bite her cheek until she let go. He put up with Harry, but he adopted Lyra as a replacement for Ceili. Sometimes, it seems as if she is Ceili reincarnated – weird.

Anyway, I’ll miss him. He was a good cat. I will have to replace him, probably with more than one, because I live on a farm, and have lots of juicy rodents to keep in check.

RIP, Bud…

Added:  Dad emailed me a picture of Golg taken when Dad was helping me recover from surgery.  I took the picture because my dad doesn't really like cats, but Golgi didn't care!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Turkey Re-cap, and " taking the scenic route"

Saturday was D-day for the Broadbreasted bronzes.  Correy's daughter, Brin, came over Friday evening for some knitting and dinner, and because it was too late to take her home, spent the night.  At O'dark thirty, we got up, had coffee and loaded turkeys in the dark and the rain.  It was actually easy to tell which was which - the Auburns were skinnier!

After hooking Brin up with her boyfriend, I headed north.  Belinda wanted a live hen for breeding some meatier, faster growing birds in her home flock, so I stopped there and her daughter, Elise, picked out the biggest hen.  Belinda came with me and off we went to Willamina.  After the birds were in process, we went into "downtown" Willamina to get ice to pack the birds in for the drive home. 

Ok, I'm weird - I have a compass in my head, and rarely get lost.  Google maps must have gotten in there and messed with it, because coming out of the grocery store, instead of going straight, I turned right.  I mentioned that I didn't think we'd come that way, and Belinda avowed that she knew where we were, so we kept going.  By the time it was too late to turn around, we were over half-way to the coast.  A 6 mile drive turned into almost 60.  It was very pretty, in a primeval, drippy sort of way (lots of fog, moss and ferns), but I'm not used to driving/sitting that long yet.  Fortunately, my knees came through it very well - I wasn't as stiff as I thought I'd be.

So weights: 16.95 lbs., 2 in the 17 lb. range, 2 around 19 lbs., 1 20 pounder, 1 at 21 lbs., a 23 lb., 2 in the 25 lb. range, 2 in the 27 lb. range, one 28 lb. and one 29.5 lb.  They were averaging 80% of live weight.  Since most everyone I talk to wants smaller birds, I am re-thinking my breeding program.  The standards will be mostly around 18 lbs. for toms, 15 for hens, and that will work, but I'm thinking about adding in some midget whites, who like their name, are smaller.  I was fortunate to find a buyer for 5 of the larger ones (I kept the "big guy"), so have only medium-big ones to find homes for, with more to come in November. 

Even with the addition of the new birds (none of whom are actually standard bronzes, but more on that later), the feed bill will be drastically reduced with the hoovers out of the picture!

I'll take some pictures for next post to show the difference in all the birds that I have...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The universe provides, even when people mess up...

Last week, when I was feeding/watering the turkeys, I suddenly realized that the bronzes were huge, and getting huger (is that a word?).  BFO (blinding flash of the obvious) - these are broadbreasted birds, not standards.  DOUBLE DANG - my breeding program will be set back for a year, and I need to get them butchered now or they will be 50 lbs. dressed out in November!  I'd like to see the oven that a turkey that big would fit in!!

I went in to the feed store where I purchased them - they checked their records, and the hatchery shipped the wrong birds.  I know they ordered the right ones because we had a long conversation about why I wanted the standards and not the BB bronzes.  They are really sorry, but really can't do much about it at this point.

Anyway, over the last couple of days, between Craigslist and phone calls, I have a) found 10 standard bronze turkeys - 2 toms and 8 hens, and b) gotten a butchering appointment this Saturday morning at 10 am. YAY!

Anybody want a turkey for thanksgiving a little early?  I don't have the freezer space to keep them all until then (unless I find one on CL), and only have 2 sold at this early date!  Special pricing is in effect...

Friday, October 1, 2010

The colors of October, sort of...

I have some new color at my house.  It's a pair, and they will be helping with the turkey project (now set back a year because the hatchery sent me the wrong birds...).  Ok, so all I wanted was Standard Bronze turkeys, and I think they thought I made a mistake, and send Broad-breasted bronze.  NO!  I need the standards because a) they can reproduce naturally (the BBT's can't), and b) crossing them with the Auburns gives me the sex-linked colors in the poults, so I can market a pretty close count of hens and toms.  Hmph.

So the new residents are (drum roll please) - a yearling pair of Peafowl.  Since the incubation period for both species is the same, 28 days, I can change out eggs and have the peahen hatch out the turkeys (turkey hens are notoriously poor mothers). 
As yearlings, they should start breeding this coming spring, which will give me a chance to try out the turkey egg swap.  It's amazing how long it takes those tail feathers to grow.  They are currently in with the turkeys, who really don't like their kind.  Bigotry in the aviary - who woulda thunk.