Friday, May 23, 2014

May 23, 2014

Today is mine and my husband's 33rd wedding anniversary! We are going to an Italian restaurant, watching a movie, and buying ourselves some fish for our fishpond. Our chicks have been moved to the basement. They are getting larger and one got out of the tub it was in. It looks like we might have two roos out of the nine. When contemplating what to put them in, we decided on a watering trough that someone gave us because the bottom was rusted out. We cut out the rest of the bottom, and as the bottom had a dented spot that we were afraid the chicks would escape from, we made the bottom be the top. To avoid those freshly cut edges, we put some pipe insulation over the edges. We added some pine shavings to the bottom over cardboard, and the chicks had a new home! My husband finished the solar water heater and it is working like a charm. The total cost was $1384.29 and we are expecting about half of that back with a tax credit (state and federal combined), as well as a savings of $30 - $40 per month. I can't wait. We had a meeting with a representative from soil and water conservation to give us some ideas on rotational grazing paddocks. We are already impressed and our next step will be going to tour a farm in mid June that has something like this in place. We bought a dump truck load of compost this week. My main project is to heal the ground outside of the basement so grass will grow. It is our intention to rent out to weddings in the future as part of our effort to be sustainable at the farm, so I must make it look nice. It will also be nice that the red clay will quit being dragged into the house. The weather radio went off a few minutes ago to indicate a severe thunderstorm warning. I had to run out and spread grass seed on those areas that I had covered with compost. I am hoping the rain will water it in and this will keep the chickens from eating it! Only on a farm. . .LOL

Friday, May 16, 2014

May 16, 2014

The chicks are progressing nicely and are starting to get their feathers. Yay! We got rain! The ground here was so dry that we were having to drive around with a 250 gallon tank on the back of the truck to water the trees and berry bushes. We are also hoping that it added more water to the pond (I need to check that this morning.) The garden should take off, as we have only been doing minimal watering since we don't have an irrigation system in yet. This week we went to a pastured poultry workshop at the Wings of Dawn farm (thanks Jan and Mike and the cooperative extension agency for making this happen). We not only enjoyed the workshop, but always enjoy meeting the other folks there and swapping ideas. We have enjoyed a borrowed car provided by the shop that is fixing our daughter's vehicle this week. It is fun to occasionally drive around in a Mustang convertible with the top down. . . Not very practical for a permanent vehicle, though.

Friday, May 9, 2014

May 9, 2014

Hatched chicks are so much fun and they sure are cute. We had one chick that was hatched with curled toes. I researched this on the internet and found a consensus that if taken care of early, the chicks' toes can straighten out. We tried the cardboard sandal with vet wrap. It was not possible for me to do even with my daughter to hold the chick. Between how tiny the chick was and trying to wrap the vet wrap around its tiny toe while the chick of course would not hold still, didn't work. Then I looked for another solution and found the suggestion of thick sturdy tape. We always have duct tape, so I gave it a shot. Now the chick is running around sporting one duck flipper. It started out with two, but one foot wasn't so bad and it seemed to be slipping with the duct tape. Sadly, we have named it "gimpy". We will probably love this chick best of all. . .

Thursday, May 8, 2014

May 8, 2014

Our main focus right now is hatching eggs. The chicks are so cute. We have had our struggles though and have written more in-depth about this on the new Hatching Eggs page. In the food department, we have asparagus to harvest, lots of lettuce, kale, and eggs. We have potatoes, onions, kale, broccoli, carrots, corn, beans, pumpkins, tomatoes, watermelon, cabbage, canteloupe, honey dew melon, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, grapes, hops, cucumbers, and herbs all growing. Most of our fruit trees are leafing out, but we are wondering if the cherry trees died this winter. My spouse has made a trailer hitch for the golf cart out of a piece of metal he bought for $2.18 and we are able to pull the small trailer with the golf cart to spread the "chicken gold" to our fruit and nut trees and blueberries. We are continuing to add protection to our trees from the deer with rebar and bird netting. We planted the "chicken garden" with corn (saved from last year's crop) and black oil sunflower seeds. However, the chickens are scratching there so we wonder if they have found the seeds or eaten all the black oil sunflower seeds that were just coming up. We keep talking about fencing that area temporarily until the plants get to a good size, but there are not enough hours in the day, it seems. The mini egg mobile is almost completed, but we need to figure out the wheel structure, finish trimming and painting.