Sunny Days at Last.

The wet weather has finally broken, and beautiful sunny days have arrived. Today was a perfect day, blue skies and white fluffy clouds, really quite picturesque.  While crowds of guest are less than 100 days away, it doesn’t mean that there is any lack of projects or work at the farm.

Hannah Ivie has been hard at work with various chores.  While during the season she is hard at work in the gift shop, its been great to give her a to-do list of small projects that need to get done.  Hannah has been hard at work touching up the paint on our train, which Wes has just gotten out of the barn.  There is one cart she won’t have to touch though, its brand new this year.  Can’t wait to debut it at Harvest Fest.

Hannah also has helped me finish our new restrooms.  Time was so short for getting them finished last year, that we were never able to stain the trim.  At the time the important part was to get the plumbing done in time for everyone to use.  Have to say, it’s still one of my proudest parts of the farm.

I am going to have Hannah paint a large bird condo that I would like mounted on top of the rest rooms.  See the Concolor fir under the restroom sign, the next picture shows  a pair of newly hatched baby Chipping Sparrows.

This picture was taken Saturday (June 12, 2011) but when I peaked at them today, I swear they have doubled in size.

I haven’t noticed too many crows in the fields this spring, something I commented on in my last blog post.  Yea!  Dad and I have taken note of at least five Chipping Sparrow nests in the Fraser fir  fields.  Dad found one nest with a large cream-colored egg, a tell-tale sign of a Cowbird.  Cowbirds are one of the few brood parasitic birds.  That means they lay their eggs in the nest of other birds, and leave them to be raised by foster birds.  The Cowbird quickly outgrows the other chicks and usually attack or push them out of the nest.

Dad made sure to remove the nasty egg from the nest.  We will check back in the next few days to make sure that the Cowbird hasn’t made a return trip, which they often do.

One of the highlights of this spring has been watching Pak our baby Yak grow and play.  He is now three weeks old and growing so fast.  He weaned himself from three to two feedings a day, a break for me!  But, is up to a four pint bottle both morning and evening.  He and Ora Mae our Angora goat have become best friends and are the cutest pair when playing in mom and dad’s side yard.  Pak continues to have no clue that he is wearing a pack and I work with him daily after playtime on his halter training.  Pak may think he is a “big boy” but the baby in him still likes to suck on dad’s finger.

We have gotten some emails asking how John and Deere, our emu chick are doing.  They certainly don’t look like chicks anymore.  I have really enjoyed watching the two of them grow up and develop very distinct and different personalities.  Deere, is a very outgoing and well-behaved little girl.  John, on the other hand, well he is a boy…They have moved out of the baby pen and moved in with the peacocks, guinea hens, chickens and rabbits.  They love their grass clippings and will share a piece of bread for a nightly treat.

When they make their public debut for Harvest Fest, they should be just about full-grown.  Hard to believe how fast they grow!

This week is promising to be busy.  Julie and I met with our web designer to make a few last tweaks on the new website.  I will let everyone know when it’s up and ready to go.  Its been another huge under taking, but its going to be so worth it in the end.  Also we are finishing up the new Harvest Barn Sweets area, the latest newsletter will have pictures of what we have constructed, something else that needs to be finished this week…

Also make sure you check out the newsletter for a fun recipe for strawberry ice cream that does not require any special machinery.  If you haven’t done so already, go to http://www.stokoefarms.com and sign up for our newsletter.

Soon it will be time to start shaping and trimming the trees, and getting all the activities ready for Harvest Fest.  Opening day is 95 days away…yikes!

The picture of the eggs that Julie posted on our Facebook page, are Killdeer eggs.  Dad found this typical Killdeer nest right  in the middle of the pumpkin patch the other day.

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