New Farm Happenings

So much has happened here that I haven’t been able to blog about. Apart from the slow internet connection, I have been busy with house chores, new animals and some writing offline.

Last month, we finally got some ducks. I have been asking Penny for a few years now to try and look for some ducks. She visited somebody’s house and saw about half a dozen ducks in their yard and she asked if they were selling any. Apparently they weren’t but they gave Penny special consideration.

Pair of muscovy ducks.

Pair of muscovy ducks.

So Penny got these ducks – male and female – for about PhP200 a pair. Ducks like these would probably cost between PhP150-300 per pair. Although lately, we’ve seen someone try selling them for PhP500 per pair.

These aren’t really duck ducks. ;) Domesticated ‘duck ducks’ are from mallards while these are Muscovy ducks which belong to the genus cairina. Actually, when I first saw these two I thought of geese and not ducks. These are quiet, giving out a hissy kind of quack, unlike mallard-descended ducks that quack aloud all day.

We’re keeping these ducks in the chicken run in the meantime until they get used to the m place. There’s a large basin of water for them there. We’ve kept the chickens away from these two because I’ve seen two hens bullying them.

In the meantime, here is the rooster that got beaten up in a cock fight when killer rooster escaped. As you can see, this rooster is now in perfect condition, fully recovered. The hens love him and we are getting lots of eggs because of him. Killer rooster is doing pretty good in the henhouse too, lots of eggs there as well.

Rooster looking so much better!

Rooster looking so much better!

Then just last week, we finally had a house built for the goats. I have been wanting to have something like this for a long time now since we’ve been keeping Buttercup and Polly in the pig pen. So that we can use the pig pen just for pigs ;) the goats should have their own house. Before, we put the goats under the house, but that resulted to lots of droppings and pee smell about the house.

We might have more goats soon too because now Buttercup is pregnant and we expect two kids by April. Last time, she had only one kid, Polly, but that was her first. Maybe this time, there will be two.

Finished goat house!

Finished goat house!

It was Bebe who built the goat house, a task he finished in just a day, then a bit of a relaxing time just weaving the nipa frond roof into place. After that, we tasked him to repair the pig pen as well.

Bebe built the goat house in one day ... Here he put the piglets in to test ... l)

Bebe built the goat house in one day … Here he put the piglets in to test … ;)

Mommy hen with chick and the piglets ...

Mommy hen with chick and the piglets …

The pig pen was built by Vic, Penny’s dad, nearly 3 years ago. With the rain and the termites, it has been falling apart. Chickens also use the pig pen – the hens like to lay their eggs in the boxes we placed just under the nipa roof. So it’s a useful little thing that should be repaired.

Newly repaired pig pen ...

Newly repaired pig pen …

The two piglets – we got them from the market just a couple of weeks ago. We got the spotted one first, Miss Piggie, and then because she was lonely, decided to get another one, Dindin, a week later. :) We plan to keep Miss Piggie as a sow, and then DinDin for … well … dinner …

You may also like:

Christmas from Holland!

Just when we thought Christmas was over, a package arrives from Holland!!

Package has arrived!!!!

Package has arrived!!!!

We were worried that it would never get here. It’s from Trevor’s family and they sent it over a month ago. The box looked beaten up, with marks of oil on one side. But it’s here!

Postal services here are quite good. If this was in Manila, I would have to go to the main post office building to collect this box – other parcel smaller than this would also need to be collected at the main post office. Then once there, I might even have to pay enormous taxes from unscrupulous customs officials.

But here in the country, postal services are more reliable. They will bring parcels and boxes like these straight to your doorstep – even if you live up in the hills! Well, they should do that especially if you live up in the hills! LOL!

Box of goodies!!

Box of goodies!!

And the party begins ... ;)

And the party begins … ;)

And the party begins ... ;)

And the party begins … ;)

And then the hangover .. ;)

And then the hangover .. ;)

So here it is finally – a surprise gift of Christmas pudding, custard, Dutch cheese, a keyring light, a pretty Christmas card, a sculpted rose and the loveliest hat with the curly pipe-cleaner made by Trevor’s grandkids.

Merry Christmas!! :)

You may also like:

Found – Flying Lizard in the Garden

Today’s surprise! Flying lizards! :)

Flying lizard! Ribs extend the membrane to form the 'wings'.

Flying lizard! Ribs extend the membrane to form the ‘wings’.

I have actually seen at least 3 of these flying lizards, gliding from one coconut tree to another. But I have never been able to take photos like these.

'Wings' folded, the lizard on the trunk of a coconut tree.

‘Wings’ folded, the lizard on the trunk of a coconut tree.

This lizard fell from the coconut tree near the house – dazed – and the chickens immediately came to peck it. But the lizard responded by puffing out its wings. That effectively scared the chickens.

With a stick, Penny managed to put the lizard onto the trunk of the coconut tree, away from chickens and cats, for safety.

'Wings' folded, the lizard on the trunk of a coconut tree.

‘Wings’ folded, the lizard on the trunk of a coconut tree.

There must be several species of these lizards here since the earlier ones I’ve seen are more grey to light grey in colour, while this one is brownish. Nonetheless, I’m sure that these would be a draco genus of flying lizards. This brown lizard would most probably be Draco volans.

It’s nice to have these lizards around. Also, we’ve been hoping a tuko, our favourite gecko, would finally come to stay in our house – in spite of the cats. Seems like we may have a young tuko here now, judging from the large dropping I occasionally see in the living room … Well, I hope so!

You may also like:

Killer Rooster

Looks like we have a killer rooster.

We have 3 roosters, and one cockerel. To keep the roosters from killing each other (or being stolen), we need to tie them up, while one stays in the chicken house with the hens. Just after Christmas, the younger rooster apparently escaped and killed the rooster nearby.

The Killer Rooster!!

The Killer Rooster!!

What a shock when I woke up in the morning, came down from the house and saw this dead rooster under the house! It must’ve happened very early in the morning. The killer rooster was just under the stairs – he had tied himself up there, after killing the poor red rooster.

This rooster is older but defeated and killed.

This rooster is older but defeated and killed.

The killer rooster had this look in his eyes, which Trevor said is like some murderous look. Trevor was worried that killer rooster might attack people or kill another rooster.

We put the dead rooster out in the garden where Terry burns dry leaves every morning and afternoon.

We put the dead rooster out in the garden where Terry burns dry leaves every morning and afternoon.

Well, true enough, just after New Year, early in the morning, killer rooster escaped and broke the fence of the chicken house and attacked the rooster inside. It was Terry who came to work in the morning who discovered what had happened!

This rooster is much older and is of fighting cock breed, but he was severely beaten up ...

This rooster is much older and is of fighting cock breed, but he was severely beaten up …

The poor beaten up black rooster survived the onslaught because he was able to hide his head under his body. Otherwise, he would’ve been killed too. Penny took the poor rooster and washed away all the blood.

When we went to the city, I got some medicine for him, plus some food and vitamins to put in the water. Today, the rooster is looking a bit better. His face is still swollen but his eyes are opening up a bit. He can walk a bit now too. It’s important that he eats and drinks so he can survive. Penny feeds him if he can’t eat. But today, he is able to see his food and eat.

Finally, after so long, we got chicks!! White Hen started with 6 chicks and now down to 3.

Finally, after so long, we got chicks!! White Hen started with 6 chicks and now down to 3.

Anyway, the good news for the year is that we have new chicks! White Hen had 6 chicks, of which 3 survived. But they are only 2 week old chicks so we cannot yet tell if they will make it. I hope they will!

Then a week shortly after White Hen hatched her eggs, Grey Hen hatched 6 chicks. Grey Hen is more careful, so a week later, she still has 6 chicks, all looking fit and healthy.

A week later, Grey Hen has got 6 chicks, all stripey!

A week later, Grey Hen has got 6 chicks, all stripey!

We want to have more chickens so this is a good start. Grey Hen is Killer Rooster’s sister. They are all quite fierce. Another sister of theirs is the Hen with the Beard. Here she is when she was a pullet. She is laying eggs now. She is also quite fierce.

This hen has a beard!

This hen has a beard!

If Michelle’s parents from Surigao come back here for a vacation, we could give her the Killer Rooster. Last time they were here we gave them one of our hybrid roosters that everyone likes to have for cockfighting. Well, that rooster is famous now, he is Manok Pacquiao. He won two fights in Surigao and is now busy breeding new champions!

You may also like:

DinDin feeds the Multitudes

Penny arrives with DinDin.

Penny arrives with DinDin.

December 31 was the fateful day. Penny arrived that morning from Manila via boat – a long difficult journey – and she went right ahead to deal with the task she promised – to slaughter the pig and sell the meat. It was around 7 in the morning when she came with DinDin, and the master butcher, Bebe, Penny’s husband. To help Bebe was their son, Jojo, who works as a security guard in Cebu. And finally, there was Alex, Bebe’s faithful friend and partner in work – from building houses to fishing to butchering pigs.

Penny measures DinDin.

Penny measures DinDin.

Penny measured DinDin first, to see if the weight-by-measure would match measuring with a scale. I calculated and got the results – 130 kilograms – which was way off the mark with the ‘espada’, an antique weighing device Penny borrowed from Weiwei’s family.

Setting up he beam for the 'espada.'

Setting up he beam for the ‘espada.’

To use the espada, the guys needed to set up a large beam to hold up the espada and the pig. Luckily, we still had several large wooden beams which served well the purpose. It set up perfectly at one side of the house and the nearby coconut tree.

The difficult task of hog-tie!

The difficult task of hog-tie!

The next task proved the most difficult – hog-tyeing the pig. DinDin didn’t want to be tied up. Alex underestimated the strength of the pig and he got scared. As a result of uncoordinated action, Bebe nearly sprained his hand and DinDin’s face thumped on Penny’s chest. They tried it again and succeeded.

 

DinDin weighs 98 kilograms ...

DinDin weighs 98 kilograms …

With the espada, DinDin weighed 98 kilograms. Maybe less a kilo or two since he had just eaten. Bebe didn’t think that he’d be slaughtering today, so he fed DinDin in the morning. Normally, one doesn’t feed the pig anymore before slaughter.

After the slaughter ...

After the slaughter …

So, from the weighing scale to the chopping block. It was a makeshift block consisting of large wood planks and coconut trunks in the garden. I am not putting photos of the slaughter here anymore since some people might find that upsetting. But I can say that it all happened very quickly – in 5 seconds, the pig is bled quietly, and it is dead in 10 seconds.

 

Blood is collected to make "Dinuguan."

Blood is collected to make “Dinuguan.”

The blood is collected to make dinuguan (pork blood stew) which is my favourite. So I bought the blood as well as all the entrails. While everyone rested a bit after the slaughter, Alex focussed on shaving off the hairs of the pig. That took quite a while. Boiling water was prepared for this purpose, plus a handful of razor blades.

Alex the barber ...

Alex the barber …

Bebe the butcher ...

Bebe the butcher …

 

Alex likes this meticulous work. He was also the one who cleaned up all the entrails.

The garden becomes a meat shop ...

The garden becomes a meat shop …

Then, until high noon, the garden became a meat shop. People arrived to pick up their order and pay, others on credit. Penny had a week earlier tasked Michelle to do the rounds of collecting orders for meat. We had a total of nearly 30 orders. Venal came first to collect her order of 3 kilos. Atoy came next to get the head, some 5.9 kilos.

Penny and Bebe used to do this for a living, and they enjoyed it a lot. The hard part is collecting money from people. But with experience, Penny already knows who are the ones least likely to pay their debts, so she doesn’t sell to them anymore.

I got a total of 5 kilos of meat, three pig feet totalling 4.5 kilos, all the blood and entrails of about 7 kilos, a quarter of kilo of the liver (two people got most of it), and the heart.

For lunch, I cooked rice, vegetables and some breaded pork, while Bebe cooked soup from the bones. Terry was around too, and we all had a wonderful meal.

 

Atoy came for the head - there wasn't more of it. ;)

Atoy came for the head – there wasn’t more of it. ;)

That's the meat shop cashier.

That’s the meat shop cashier.

Well, I just hope that Penny gets back her investment in feeding the pig. She spent nearly PhP4,000 on pig feeds. Sales amount to about PhP9,000 – if everyone pays within 2 weeks. Our investment of PhP1,5000 I already got back through meat. I might still have a share in cash (of about 1,500) if all the money is collected. Penny’s profit would be about PhP2,000. Everything is exactly as we had projected.

The thought that DinDin fed some 30 households for New Year’s Eve celebration makes me feel it was all worthwhile. Thank you, DinDin!

I think I’d like to do this pig scheme again. Alex wants a pig too. Of course Penny gets another pig. I think it would be fun. As long as one didn’t fuss so much over the money, and trusted each other, and behaved well, we should do well together. It was a nice morning.

You may also like: