-- Today we are celebrating 1,150 blog posts on Oak Hill Homestead.
-- The chicks are old enough to differentiate cockerels from pullets, so the cockerels are now living in the goat barn and will be able to free range as they get older. Yes, we have predators that pick off chickens when they sleep in the back barnyard at night, but hopefully these will return to the barn to roost (the goat barn has a door to the barnyard, and the large overhead door opens to our front yard). Plus, you noticed that I only moved the extra roos, right? They are "expendable". By free ranging in the front yard they will eat grasshoppers, ticks, fleas and other bugs. It'll cut down my feed bill a bit too.
Evidently our friends that gave us the chicks have a sex-link cross. (A sex-link chick is one that's identifiable as either male or female by their color as soon as they hatch. And yes, it's doable at home, not just at the hatcheries.) They gave me several yellow chicks, and kept two themselves. ALL have turned out to be white-and-black cockerels. The two red chicks I received are both pullets.
In 2007 we hatched several incubator-fulls of eggs, sired by a buff orpington rooster (Trey's father, Junior). Some of the eggs were from our americana hens. Many of the chicks grew to be gold with black trim, and all of those were hens that laid green eggs. I don't think any of that color turned out to be roosters, but I gave many away and sold some, so I'm not able to say for sure.
-- We lost our last lionhead rabbit. It's not surprising in this sustained over-100* heat. She hadn't eaten in two weeks and wasn't drinking much water either. I put a frozen 2-liter bottle of water in her cage each day; she'd drape herself over it to stay cool.
-- There are no wild blackberries this year, at least not on Oak Hill. The blackberry leaves are dried up, and the half-formed berries are shriveled and hard. I was hoping for a few, but the harvest is a total loss this year. I'm thankful that I froze some last summer, and canned some plain juice too. I always ration the jars of blackberry lemonade concentrate - I can never make enough of it - so there are a couple left for special occasions.
-- The only "garden" I managed to plant this year was tomato plants in pots. They are barely surviving the heat, and like everyone else's tomato plants, they aren't setting fruit in this heat. I hope to keep them alive till cooler weather and have some fall tomatoes. I rigged up some shade cloth to keep the worst of the sun off of them.
-- My fenced garden is full of weeds, so I've been putting the buck goats in there during the mornings while there is shade. Then Spots learned how to hop that fence and go browse in the woods.
-- We had the hottest June in Oklahoma history, and are headed to the hottest July ever as well. The day we took our granddaughter to the OKC Zoo it hit 108*. It wasn't quite that hot at home, but hot is hot when it gets that high. Wednesday we were blessed to receive some desperately-needed rain. It was also Day #23 of 100+ temperatures this summer.
-- Our granddaughter lost another tooth, the second since she's come to visit us. Her mother didn't even know this one was loose.
-- Wednesday evening we had a wonderful thunderstorm, and rain that lasted over 45 minutes. It was glorious! Thank You, Lord! The storm shredded the landscape fabric I'd put over the chicken run, unfortunately, but I am so thankful for the rain!