Friday, October 19, 2012

5 Things...

Today is my little Anderson's 5th birthday!  I say this every year but it's hard to believe it's been five years. From the moment he was born, almost three weeks early, he has been eager to take on life fully and with his whole heart.  Andy is such an amazing little boy and I am so proud to be his mom, he is such a blessing on our family and never fails to make me smile.  When he was only a few months old big sister Sydney started referring to him as 'Jelly Bean' because (as she said) he was so big and round. As he's grown Jelly Bean has been shortened to just 'bean' or 'beanie'.  The nickname has stuck around since he was a baby and since he does not seem to mind it at all, I imagine it will be around for a while.

Happy 5th Birthday my crazy, funny, wildman, live action bigfoot hunter!

You may remember Andy from his previous PSA's #1, 2 and 3, or maybe his photo shoot with the (St)Eveling's but because he is such a special guy and we love him so much, here are a few things about Andy that you may not know....

checking out of of his fav shows with his fav rooster, (St)Eve.

1. Andy is quite outdoorsman and is obsessed with Bigfoot!  His two favorite TV shows are Finding Bigfoot and Call of the WildMan.  We have all the episodes on the DVR and he watches them often enough he can repeat most of what is said in any given show and he will talk about the people on the show as if he is personal friends with them.  He said he wants to meet and give Bobo (from Finding Bigfoot) and Turtleman (from Call of the Wildman) a hug! <3
Tree knocking and Bigfoot calling with Big brother.
LIVE ACTION!  catching a snake.
more LIVE ACTION fishing with dad and brother.

2. Of all of our children, Andy is by far the most helpful when it comes to farm chores!  He is first to volunteer to help with most any job, from cleaning out the horse stalls to feeding/watering all the peafowl.  He loves to help collect eggs and is always eager to help with anything incubation related. 
Helping with everyone's favorite rooster (St)Eve.

3. When Sydney and Jackson each got their horses this spring Andy decided he wanted a peacock. We couldn't help but laugh (at last count we have 98 here on the farm) but did let him pick one out while at our spring exotic sale.  We've since gifted him a girl to go along with him and Andy is super excited to have his own eggs to collect next year.  We will be helping him collect them and then he can decide if he wants to sell or incubate those eggs.  
Andy's peacock, practicing showing off.

just LOOK at those gorgeous curls!
4. Andy is going to either join the military or become a barber. LOL  Over the last two years he has 'cut' his own hair four different time (twice at home, twice at school) and his brother's hair once.  It's a shame too as he has the most beautiful naturally curly red hair! I will admit though the buzz cut does suit him well. 
Easter 2011, note the full head of hair!
Day after Easter 2011, note the GIANT scalped area.
Better shot of his handiwork.
post buzz cut (the first time), how can I be angry when he looks SO HAPPY!?

5. Andy is an absolutely hilarious child!  He is almost always smiling and does so with his whole face!  At least daily a gem comes out of his mouth that genuinely makes us laugh...HARD.  Anyone that has met him comments on what a crack up he is, from the funny faces he makes to his 'observations'.  Some recent gems from Andy:
    • While riding in the van 
      • 'Mom, someday I'm going to find Bigfoot and Matt Moneymaker will be so proud!  right mom?!' for those not in the know, Matt Moneymaker is one of the folks on the Finding Bigfoot show he loves so much. 
    • While at a bird swap this fall
      • Andy (loudly):'Mom, there sure are a lot of humans here today, right? Why are there so many humans here?'  (now, he says this as if he is NOT human)
      • me, avoiding the stares from others: 'Andy, YOU are a human.' 
      • Andy: 'I know mom...but WHY are there so many humans here and where are all the aliens?'  
    • In the midst of catching a fish (but this pretty much true for any critter he catches)
      • Andy: 'EEEEE, that's LIVE ACTION right there, LIVE ACTION!'
      • brother Jack: 'Sssshhh Bean, you're scaring the fish.'
      • Andy: 'But it's LIVE ACTION!  EEEEEE!'
    • While hubby was cleaning out a clogged drain by the bird pens...
      • Andy: 'Dad, that sure is a Dirty Job.  That's a dirty Job isn't it dad?' 
      • Hubby: "Yes, Andy it IS a dirty job.'
      • Andy: 'Dad, you should be on Dirty know, the show, that would be AWESOME! (proceeding to SING the theme song). '
    • After having caught a snake with his brother
      • Andy: 'Dad, can we keep this snake and build him a pen?'
      • Hubby: 'No Andy, we can't keep him, we need to put him back where you found him.'
      • Andy: 'OK dad, are we going to let him free range? Will he be a free ranged snake?!'  
      • Hubby: 'Yes Andy, let's let the snake free range.' (and them hubby promptly came in and laughed his head off)

And now, some pictures of the birthday boy!

Waiting with daddy to go home.
First Birthday. 
Birthday #2, I still cry over having to cut those curls!
Turning 3 and already an outdoorsman!  Here he is 'fishing' in our small pond.
Four years old and cracking us up!

You always make me laugh with your expressions. 
What a cheese-ball!
I know Andy would love it if you would take a minute to give him a 'LIVE ACTION' and wish him a Happy Birthday!

This post was written as part of The Chicken Chick

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

7 things

My main man Jackson turns seven years old tomorrow.  In honor of this momentous occasion I thought I'd share seven things about him! :)

  1. Jackson considers himself a farmer and could not be happier to live where he does!  In fact, his favorite song is 'Amarillo Sky'.  It doesn't get much more farm than that!  
  2. His BFF is his pot bellied pig, named Duckie.  Duckie-pig was a present from my mother in law for Jackson's fourth birthday.
  3. Jackson has the unique ability to look at something and find a way to improve it.  For instance, he figured out to how rig up a sled on the back of his bike so he can haul various things.  More recently he found an easy way for him and brother Anderson to unload the hay wagon using pulley's and chains.  I think I am raising a future mechanical engineer.
  4. Jackson LOVES fruit...except watermelon.  If it was possible to exist on fruit alone this boy would do it!  If given the choice between a dish full of fruit and a bowl of ice cream, he will pick the fruit every time.  He even asked for a pumpkin pie as his birthday cake!
  5. Jackson loves animals.  He is fascinated and loves to learn about any animal, whether it be a farm animal, pet or one found in a zoo he wants to know everything there is to know about them.  He has astounded many a vet and zoo keeper with his questions too!
  6. With the exception of his bright, shining blue eyes, Jackson is the spitting image of his daddy....personality included!
  7. Jackson is a 'collector' he is fascinated by simple things like pine cones and rocks.  He amasses collections of these, sorts them and carefully stores them (for what I'm not exactly sure).  With the recent onset on fall, he has been busy collecting leaves and has been obsessed with making sure he rakes each and every last one up from the yard.  
And years of Jackson.
Welcome to the world little Jackson Jay!  I took this as we were waiting to be discharged from the hospital.
Enjoying some snuggle time with his Papa...

and his big sissy Sydney.

Mashed Potato Face.  LOOK at those sparkly blue eyes!

Very much enjoying his first birthday cake.  We had an Ohio State Buckeye theme party.
Birthday #2 had an impromptu cake as the beautiful Elmo cake mommy spent days on was destroyed by our dog Sam, just minutes before the party.

Jackson requested a 'fruit' cake (strawberry to be exact) for his 3rd birthday.
Birthday number 4 brought his BFF Duckie to our farm.  What a smile on that face!
The wonderful and amazing Gramma Wiggy, buyer of the pot bellied pig!  

Birthday #5 was spent working hard on Duckie's pen.  

For his 6th Birthday, Jackson lost his first tooth.

Jackson, loving on his baby sister Savannah, who he lovingly calls Savanni. <3

I know Jackson would be over the moon thrilled for you to take a minute out of your day to wish him a Happy Birthday!

This post has been linked to the Clever Chicks Blog Hop:
The Chicken Chick

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Peafowl for the Whole Family!

Raising peafowl is really a family affair around here!  With four children, ages 9, 6, 4 and 9 months, there are always eager hands willing to help and curious minds asking questions.  They especially love hatching season because it means lots of cute peachicks to hold. :)  We try to teach them lessons along the way; no matter the season there is always something fun to learn. 

A Blue Black Shoulder male, awaiting his summer home.
We keep eight different breeding pens (and one project pen) in seven colors  and various patterns so there is no shortage of topics to cover from what color is this bird to what is it's pattern and what chicks may be produced from them.  All of our older kids can tell you the color/pattern of any bird on our farm which considering we keep over 80 total is pretty impressive!

One of our combined winter pens.  This was taken just before we separated them into breeding pens.

Our Opal White Eye, just before moving. 
In the spring, we talk about the upcoming breeding season, how we are going to separate out each pen by color and/or pattern, identifying different colors and patterns and what peachicks they most hope we hatch out this year.  We let them ‘help’ move the birds into their respective breeding pens and make sure everyone is settling in well. 
Just after moving, he was displaying for Sydney taking his video. 

Purple Pied boy, trying to evade capture for moving to his pen of ladies.

In the summer, we talk about why we separated each bird into which pen.  The summer brings math lessons on counting eggs, marking them by color/pen and all kinds of information on incubation.  Because the kids are still young, we keep topics on their level, ranging from how long it takes to incubate an egg, how to tell if they are fertile, what possible chicks can hatch from specific eggs and how to take care of the chicks as they grow.  The one thing we do stress with each of them (and OFTEN) is that they are not to enter any pens or collect any eggs without at least one of us there.  Because we keep so many pens, it is imperative we mark each and every egg BEFORE we even leave the pen.  
Hubby and our eldest, looking for eggs.
The littlest Louden, Savannah, posing with a chick.

The biggest Louden, Sydney, has quite the affinity for white, pied and silver pied patterned chicks.

Jackson loves to let them perch on his fingers, careful...they fly quickly!

Anderson is always asking us to take a picture of him with the peachicks.  

In the fall, we talk about the molting process, how the males re-grow their beautiful trains, ways we can use the feathers and we work together to condense the birds down into a few pens.  Everyone helps collect and sort feathers for various projects and sales.  We also talk about any chicks we decide to keep, how they will feather out and what breeding pen they will eventually go into. 
An evening's bounty of feathers, awaiting sorting.

One of Jackson's favorite jobs is to collect and sort feathers!

An Opal White Eye feather.

In the winter, which in Northeast Ohio feels like the LONGEST part of the year, we discuss nutrition and how adaptable the birds are to our different seasons.  We watch as the trains grow back, let them try to guess how long each train is and talk about the upcoming breeding season. 
A group of peahens, enjoying a lovely winter day.

More peafowl, enjoying a NOT so lovely winter day!

This Pied boy's tail is about 5 feet in length, so he still has a lot more growth to go!
Same Pied boy, different angle of his tail, you can see it's about 2 feet long here.

A Bronze male (and silver pied hen) in December.  This boy has tail feathers well over 5 feet long during breeding season.

Here is my pride and joy, taken in late January.  When displaying, his tail is taller than my 5 foot 4 inch self, it's probably about 3 feet long in this picture.

No matter the season, our kids are always eager to help!  Each of them has their favorite bird and they have named some of them.   Andy even has his own peacock.  He loves to help take care of him and tries his hardest to keep his boy happy.  He is super excited for next spring because HIS boy will get his own breeding pen and he will get to assist with everything. :) #howtomakeafarmkidhappy!

We feel so blessed to be able to share our passion with our children and hopefully raising the next generation of peafowl enthusiasts! We have found that each of our children enjoy different aspects of raising peafowl and like to help in different ways.  Our 9 year old, Sydney, likes to help collect and label the eggs and can often be found snapping pictures of the birds too.  The boys, Jackson and Anderson, are 6 and 4 and love to help feed and water the birds as well as help care for the peachicks.  Our youngest, Savannah, at just 9 months, really only looks at this point but spends lots of time down at the pens with mom and dad. I'm sure she'll have a favorite thing soon enough.
This was Andy's peachick last year, he named her Bronzee and still can tell you exactly which one she is.  He is hoping we'll let her stay with his boy next spring...we'll see. ;)

Each year we let them pick out a peachick that they name which seems to give them move of an interest in their care and well being. We’ve noticed they each seem to have a favorite color and pattern too, sometimes not the same as mom or dad either! 

The Chicken Chick