Tuesday, April 28, 2015

around the farm week 16, 17

It's been hopping around here, and I do believe that this pace will continue, if not accelerate a bit for the rest of the season.  I love spring/summer - the days are filled with anticipation as I watch everything unfold around me.

We have lots of chicks now, probably too many but many happy momma hens, so who can complain.

Kat and her four babies

Big Momma's chicks are getting big!

Kit has eight little ones in all

I didn't get a picture of Mrs. Java with her brood, or the teenagers, but they are all doing well.  Now that the chicks are a few weeks old, I started opening the coop door so that the chickens can all free range at will.   So far, the babies won't budge from the yard (glad about this - they are safe), but with most the adults leaving, it makes a much more relaxing area for the babies.

The ducks have decided to get in on the action of being moms, and it looks like at least three of my ducks have gone broody.  Most the day, I can't find more than 2 ducks, and then about twice daily they all come charging into the yard to eat and drink, and then promptly disappear to their nests again.    I have only pinpointed two, and really need to figure out where the others are going so I can set up some protection for them - of course not a single one has decided to nest in their fenced field.

Mrs. Feathers waiting patiently for ducklings

Did I mention that I'm incubating duck eggs too?  I'm hoping for a few dozen to hatch.  Looks like we'll be in the duckling business for sure!

I'm still getting lots of eggs.  Even with giving 5 hens away and four hens being moms and taking a break from laying, I'm still averaging 30/day.

today's collection

I've also decided to spruce up my egg business with pink cartons.  They are bright and cheerful in the fridge, and my customers really enjoy them.  Also I got green cartons for the duck eggs, and now I don't have to open the cartons or label them to figure out whether they are chicken or duck eggs.

The irises have started to bloom, and I am loving their sweet scent!

The Calla Lilies are going like gangbusters now, and looking much better now that the bug problem is in check.  I couldn't resist picking a bouquet for the table.

No picture on the veggie side, but here's the status:
all tomatoes are in the ground
burned the largest brush pile from the earlier land work and this area will be used to plant more potatoes
planted second succession of peas, turnips, radishes, spinach, lettuce
planted starts of cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Tah Tsai, purple kohlrabi
got irrigation system set up in upper and lower gardens

Oh - almost forgot - I got the crazy lawn under control.  Won't have to worry about getting lost when we step outside now!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

around the farm, week 15

It's all about the chicks this week.  The teens are doing great in the flock and all the ladies seem to be kind to them, which is a relief.

Big Mama has decided it's time for her family to join the others too.  She is such a great mom, and so protective.  The babies are thriving under her care.

Mrs. Java, who stole the bantams, is also a good mother.  Too good, to the point of being dangerous. She is incredible with her chicks, but tries to attack me whenever I go into the coop to feed and water her and her family.  And forget even trying to clean the brooder out.  Yikes!  I've had to resort to bringing a stick with me every time to block her attacks. Her brooder is open and I'm anxious for her to decide to take her chicks out into the yard with the flock. I think once she does things will get more relaxed.  I'm pretty convinced I won't let her be a mother again.  I'm tired of blocking attacks multiple times a day while I go about my chores.

As predicted, all the ladies want to be moms.  Kit is on round two of attempting to hatch, joining her sister Kat.  Hopper has one chick under her, and more coming!  And Speckles should have chicks pretty quickly too.

On the farm side of things, I purchased 5 more Frost Peaches from the grange's presale of tree that I need to get planted.  The actual sale is this weekend, and I'm pretty sure I won't be able to resist a few more things.

I've been contemplating removing the cover off the tomatoes, and I am so, so very glad I didn't.  We got frost last night and I would have lost all my plants if I had done so.  This morning when I checked on them, I found them to be safe.  Whew!!

I also picked up  50 more pounds of seed potatoes, which should result in a yield of approx. 500 lbs.
Got some of my favorite tried and trues, and 2 new varieties - blue potato and Purple Viking (how could I resist?!).  I'm trying to figure out where I will put such a large potato patch....need to decide pretty quick.

Got turnips, radishes, and beets in the ground, along with more kohlrabi and celery starts.

I haven't had as much time these last few weeks to work on projects/gardening as I would like, but I'm hoping to get back to it next week - including tackling the yard.  The lawn is crazy out of control as all my outside time has been devoted to animals and the gardens.  If I don't get it mowed soon, we'll have to bush wack our way around the house!!!

Friday, April 10, 2015

hospital volunteering a go

Little J. finished his final interview today and will get to start volunteering at St. John's next week. We are all excited for him, and he couldn't be happier about getting a chance to be involved.

He's asked for the last couple of years if he could volunteer at the hospital, but between his age and our schedule it hasn't worked out.  Now, everything is a go!  They will have him start at the information desk, discharging patients, and doing general help.  He wants to eventually work in the cancer center and it looks like there will be a good possibility for this down the road once he gets a bit of experience under his belt.

I am looking forward to hearing all about his experiences and am so glad he gets this opportunity!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

around the farm, week 14

For spring break, the boys and I took off for an extended weekend at the beach, and came home to some surprises.

One of the biggest was to find Mrs. Java had left her box of eggs, flew over the divider, and adopted Little J.'s bantam chicks.  She is so proud to finally be a mother, and she is a good one, too.  The chicks also seem content to have a mom.  Little J. is happy that his chicks get a mom, but sad that he can no longer cuddle them, as Mrs. Java is fierce and won't let anyone get near her sweeties.

Another surprise was to see that Kat and Speckles have joined Hopper in the quest for motherhood. I'm beginning to wonder if all the ladies are going to end up broody this year.  

Everything is popping up, and unfortunately that means weeds, too. As I settle back down to farm life after our mini-vacation I am trying to catch up on these pesky weeds.

I've been bringing trays out to the gardens in an attempt to make room for staring more seeds indoors. Varieties of cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, nappa cabbage, celery, and more are all finding homes outside as I tuck plants here and there.

Happy gardening!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Totoro settling in

Our new kitty has overcome all shyness and joined with the family enthusiastically.  She is sweet, patient, comical, and strong willed.

She loves to play and a string from a hoodie is one of her favorite things to chase.  When she wants our attention she carries the string over to one of us and drops it at our feet - just like a dog.

Totoro is also quite the talker.  She seems to enjoy conversing with us and has quite a few opinions to share.

Most of all, she loves to know what we are doing and will follow us all around the house making it difficult not to trip on her.  The vet told us her breed is a Maine Coon, and apparently this and the talking are common traits.

As much as we are loving our new kitty, Biscuit is quite put out.  Totoro got up the courage to go outside and explore, Biscuit attacked her.  When Snow Bear saw this, he came running over growling and put an end to the fight.  Too bad Totoro doesn't realize Snow Bear is in her corner.  She's terrified of him. Maybe as she spends more time outside, things will settle down and some friendships will be made.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

spring boquet

Big J. brought back this pretty milk glass vase from his mom's this past weekend.  Milk glass is a favorite of mine, and the swans on the side of this piece made me eager to put it in use.  Bluebells and daffodils are abounding, and seemed to be a perfect compliment to the old fashioned style of the vase.
Thank you Momsie!