Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Did you know this?

Assalam alykom:

My family and I are learning so much about animals and the outdoors. Do you know what this picture is? Will it looks like the feet of a strange creature. Well, we discovered that it is wild rabbit tracks. The two in the front are the rabbits front paws. The one spot in the back is his back feet. They look like one foot because the rabbit keeps his two back feet together when he hops. Did you know that ducks have no nerves in their feet. When we see our ducks swimming in a bucket of water and it is freezing cold, we are not feeling sorry for them anymore. Allah equips them in this manner so they can endure cold water. They also have very thick feathers so they do not even feel the water touch them. We learned this when researching some of the animals we have on our farm.

Did you know that it is good that an animal is shivering when it is cold? Well, I was feeling really sorry for my sheep and goats when I saw them shivering on those below zero days. However, I discovered that if the animal does not shiver that means it is suffering from hypothermia. The shivering is a way the body reacts to the cold and keeps the animal warm.

Did you know that a rooster can get frost bite? Well, I would have never thought of this especially since my chickens and roosters do not even leave the barn because of the cold. However, my rooster does have frost bite. It does not seem to bother him because he is not lethargic. However, the kids still feel sorry for him and he has spent a few nights in my basement. We have made their roosting room as warm as possible, but he is very large and has a huge comb on his head. It was reading that the larger birds are more prone to it. Keep reading my blog and you might learn more right along with us.

Organic Eid

Assalam alykom:
I have been very excited about having more organic meat, eggs and vegetables in our diet. We slaughtered one of our sheep for the Eid. She was 100% organic. She was fed only corn, alfalfa and grass. The meat looked so different. It was very red when I was organizing it to put in my freezer. I cooked some of it with rice this week. Sometimes, sheep can have a strong smell when you cook it. This one did not and it was the best tasting meat that I have ever had. When we lived in Florida, it was a hassle to slaughter for the Eid. It was always very crowded and one sheep was over $200.00. This year was very easy. We just took her from our pasture and that was it. We have three pregnant goats pictured here. Once they deliver, I will be experimenting with getting their milk and making yogurts and cheese. It will be a learning curve I am sure, but I am looking forward to it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow on the farm

Assalam alykom:

After living in Florida for over 20 years and all of my adult life, I think even a little snow can be overwhelming. However, we have about a foot of snow and huge drifts. This is my driveway and from where I am taking the picture is my big barn and this is where my van is parked(TRAPPED). I started to shovel my way to the road, which is way passed the shed you see in the picture, but I grew tired after three hours. I decided to try again the next day. Well, the next day had shown all of my shoveling efforts to be gone. There was a great deal of wind overnight, and my driveway was once again totally buried. Our friends came with their four wheeled drive, and with a great deal of of shoveling, pushing and a chain that pulled us, we were finally able to get my van to the end of the driveway. I think it will be my parking spot for most of the winter. Later that evening, a neighbor came by with a huge plow and offered to plow the entire driveway. Al hamdolilah! The rest of the pictures, I took during the snowfall. My daughter made the comment when we went outside that she felt like she was inside a giant snow globe. The flakes were so big and she felt that someone had just shook up the globe and she was on the inside looking out. I thought that was such a neat description of what she was feeling. Well, I hope the winter is easy for us former Floridians.

The dark side of a farm

The bright side of farm life is the fact that it is full of life. There are chickens, ducks and animals. There are eggs being laid and baby animals being born. There are wild berry trees, fruit trees and nuts. There are gardens and flowers being planted. With all of this life, the dark side is death. It is inevitable that death will occur on a farm. It can be quite emotional. This emotions are very great when your attached to some of this life. When we first came to our farm, my friend gave us a chick. She was very sweet and so friendly. She was getting quite big and her cage was to messy to keep her in the house. She had a very large cage and we decided to put it outside right next to our back door. It was during Ramadan, and I was up preparing the food in the morning. I checked on the chick, and she was fine. As we were eating, I heard her cry. It was too late. There was a feral cat that had grabbed her through the cage. This was our first death. The kids were all crying, but it was soon healed with a little time and twelve new chickens. Our next story is about a young sheep. We got our first new sheep. There were four, andthey were all young sheep. Three of them were around 4 to 6 months. One was a baby who had been orphaned. His mother had died from a bug bite. He was doing great when we first got him. However, we think that he had ate more than he was used to and became sick. He was our second death. The kids were sad, but better than the chicken. The most recent death was my friends' horse. My friends had brought one of their large horses to my pasture. The horse had been nursing her baby and the baby was ready to be weaned. The mother horse had become very thin from the nursing and she was also older. While she was in my pasture she did not seem to gain weight. Last week, she must have felt ill and sat on the ground. It was very cold and she was unable to get up after that. After spending the entire day with the vet trying to get her better, she died. This is all what can happen with life on the farm. I think that I do not want to have too many animals as pets. The attachment to them is really hard when something happens to them.