Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Zip.....June is gone...and July...

 It has been a crazy year so far, we have done much better in some areas and not as well in others. Turkeys have been a great joy and horrific sadness. I posted about Auntie Momma and her amazing hatching success and how everyone was doing very well. They were a joy to watch and she took great care of them. However success was not to be in the cards, Auntie Momma was killed by feral dogs. The poults were active and seemed to be fine, eating and drinking in all the places their wonderful mother had taken them too. They did sound sad though and would look around to see if their mother was near. They put themselves to bed and things were good for about 4 days. There were 10 poults and  they slept in the woodshed where they had been hatched in. Then suddenly there were  only three. There had been no ruckus from the poulty, they are awesome about warnings. It happened during the day. Just three sad poults left perched on the rake, two days later they were gone. We talked hard about fencing the birds in. This gets down to the basis of what we want for our birds. They are secure at night. They live free during the day. We have no sickness, no pecking just totally happy birds. Turkey's love to roam, they forage all over the farm. We call it turkey walkabout. They are in beautiful feather and fat. Do we build a turkey yard and pen them all the time, or do we let them live as turkeys live even if it means short lives? The fence crew is coming to evaluate our fence, we need to enclose the unfenced three acres at the back of the farm. The fence here is only 5 years old but 5 strand barb wire, fine for cattle is useless for small stock.We are going to get quotes about other types of fence. This is going to be expensive but will add value to the property so it is worth looking into. We want to let the turkey's walkabout. So wire mesh fence around larger areas of the land is the option we consider the most likely.

The other turkey disaster was both Sadness and Depression our lovely young chocolate hens from the Christmas hatch were killed. Depression got hit on the highway. Sadness was worse, she had gone broody, the chocolates biggest drawback is how completely stubborn they are. She simply would not use a nest box. She nested in the weed patch below the corral. Ralph was drum mowing the fence line and she flew out of her nest into the side of the mower. He brought her to me with a bad but  treatable cut. Then in looking for more injuries I found her leg had been broken. I have to admit I cried over that quite a bit. It was not a break I could splint. I am lucky Ralph is who he is, he can do the hard things. It was pretty gloomy here for a while. Then we watch the silly antics of the chickens or the adult turkeys who go everywhere with  us, are great watch birds and are so  much fun. It makes us realize they are worth the sadness.

We had our hay cut. Our neighbor who did it last year simply was too busy and had more than enough hay left from last year he did not want it. We found another couple who are cutting hay on shares as a business. They have invested in some very good new equipment. They did a great job of cutting it but then let it lay for a week, the quality of the hay just bleached out as it sat, it was ready to bale day two. It was frustrating to watch. We are now evaluating ways to use our extra grass.

The chicken flock is doing well, they always help Ralph if he has the Grillo out.

 The chickens continually make us laugh. The steps are a favorite  place. Ahh Fluffy butts...they are wide based chickens! Peaches, our one Red Comet is so narrow compared to Flopsy. The Dark hen is a Buff x Australorpe and they are quite wonderful crossbreds.

 Wherever we go there is someone strutting his stuff.

 Here is Mournful, he is the remaining Christmas poult. He was the tinest one of all when he was hatched but he has grown into a fine big Tom, he may be bigger than Spike his pappy. 

Donald always brings his girls to the best eating, we had mulched around the fruit trees with a mixture out of the breezeway in the tobacco barn, chicken manure and old hay. We put down old hay, Ralph throws a bit of scratch into it each morning, we let the poultry go through it for a few weeks then I rake it up and spread it around the trees that look a bit pale. It seems to work, the new fruit trees have good color and are thriving.

The corn is just staring to yield but I am going to be busy with canning it. I have been harvesting and dehydrating our onions, they are turning out very well. I ran a batch of dehydrated onion through the food processor and  it made not a powder but a very fine chopped onion mix. A table spoon in a batch of meatloaf is perfect.

Potato canning is going to be a new thing but its in the works and my fermenting crock has a batch of pickles in it.

The humming birds are going through a crazy amount of sugar, I counted 25 out there the other morning. The swallows are on their second hatching and there are NO mosquitoes!

Our experiment of managing the heat in the house without AC is going well. The temperatures outside are the same as last year but we find it doesn't seem nearly so bad. [Until we make a trip town and go into stores that have their AC cranked up]

So goes our adventure here, I would not trade it for anything in the world.

God Bless you all and keep safe.