Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer farming!

After realizing how much I like being able to look back at photos to compare before/after, I went out last week and took some more...and haven't had a chance to even upload them! I finish my dog training course (fingers crossed I pass!) this weekend so after that I should feel a little bit less pressed for time.

Since the last post...let's see...:
-we got our water system all set up. 1000 gallons of storage means we don't have to worry about our slow well!
-we got 9 turkey poults (10, but one died right away). They're a mix of Bronze, Royal Palm and Blue Slate - all interesting looking breeds. They should be tasty for Thanksgiving and Christmas!

The parents:

Turkeys are currently living in what we thought was a tear-down coop - but what turned out to be quite nice inside to use as a brooder. That's Magpie's twin and her 4 chicks behind Abby.

I had been letting the turkeys out into that little attached yard but there must be a hole that needs patching. The turkeys got out and ran into a pile of cut branches while my parents were visiting...luckily we caught 8 of them and the 9th came out of hiding and made his own way back to the coop when we stopped trying to catch him. 

-we filled our freezers with delicious broiler chickens
-we brought our 4 piggies to slaughter. This transport went a whole lot better since we got that trailer working and the pigs ran right into it for the blueberry danish I bought them. We'll miss those guys on the farm. It's never easy, but we didn't let ourselves get attached.

They tilled up our moss for us! Now we have to lime it and reseed it, but we aren't sure whether to wait until fall or not.

-we cleared a huge section of the pond. It's surprisingly beautiful behind all that shrubbery! It's less mucky than I thought it would be and the dogs are having a blast swimming.

Err this is the cleared pond. You can't really tell from this photo....
This is also the half-eaten grow bed since the goats got to it.

-I visited Erika and her kids at a beautiful almost beach-front cabin a few hours away - it was a nice vacation night! Their family is coming for a visit this Friday to celebrate Loic's 5th (!!!) birthday surrounded by animals :)
-we had my parents and sister visit this past weekend and they were a huge help with everything
-while they were here, we took advantage of their farm sitting abilities one night and went to a 70s themed barn dance. It was a lot of fun! (Nathan ended up adding a tye dyed shirt to his costume after we complained that it looked too 'normal').

-we have tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and basil! The chickens are slowing the lettuce and carrots since they keep getting in and digging them up!
-we found the nicest spot to swim in the river and Zoey started swimming, too!

-Zoey got spayed and completely stopped hoarding sock babies. Phew.
-we planted 2 apple trees and a plum tree...and have been attempting to guard them from the naughty goats.
-we've tried to separate the goats from the sheep so that they can take advantage of all of the brush that's around oh...probably 10 times now. They've thwarted every attempt with their ear splitting crying and fence jumping. They love their sheep friends.
-I painted the backsplash tiles in the kitchen. Way more exciting than it sounds!


Oh and house chicken continues to make every attempt to be a house chicken.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Some Photos!

I finally unpacked my good camera to take some photos around the farm. 

Grapes in the front yard (planted a few weeks ago):

No hot tub is complete without antler decoration...

Our animal trailer..... yep, those are bags of alpaca wool. This might take some work...

This was the garden area in April. By the time we moved in it was waist - chest high. This is where we pig tilled. 

Now, with our raised beds:

Meat birds are going to the butcher tomorrow - they're looking pretty big and they're gorgeous birds:

We haven't re-assembled the chicken tractor so we decided to let them out to range in an electronetting yard we set up for them. It didn't really hold them in so they're now free ranging (we didn't expect it to hold them too well but it was worth a try - it isn't poultry netting). 

This is a big difference from factory raised broilers:

So far, so good with the newly raised nest boxes. Girls on the ground are waiting their turn for the prized 2 boxes (even though 6 are empty...):

Such naughty goats! They jumped up on the aquaponics grow bed and ate an entire row of kale. 

Adorable little ram lamb :(

Magpie's chicks all grown up. These are the prettiest 2. Little rooster on the left and hen on the right. They're right in between Magpie and Saul sized (makes sense) and you can see the Magpie head feathers combined with Saul's beard and cheek feathers made for quite the look...

This little rooster is so gorgeous:

Maggie looking for trouble:

Happy happy pigs! We moved them into our mossy paddock and are feeding them their grain on top of the moss to encourage them to dig it up. Pig tilling is the best! After they dig it up, we'll lime it in the fall and seed it with grass seed to give the sheep some more pasture. 

Piggies checking out the old alpaca wool on the fence (and hoping for treats!):

Another picture of the amazing feathers on this little rooster:

Caught in the lamb-butting act!!

Zucchinis are forming well - and we don't have that end-rot problem we had last year. 

Time to make some pesto!

The yellow gold nugget tomatoes are the first to ripen again this year:

The garden is looking really good considering how long everything had to stay in pots and how rushed we were preparing the beds:

Kale is a big squished in this bed but I like the smaller kale leaves for salads, anyway:

The main man, Saul - looking at me like I'm going to eat him.

Some hostas in pots in the front yard (all hosta credit goes to Erika - they're so pretty!):

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

So our chickens have turned their beaks up at the nest boxes we've provided and have been laying their eggs all over the property. We know where the main nests are, but we realized we'd been missing the 6 newest girls' eggs for the last few days. These are the 6 (there were 7 before the un-trappable 'coon attacks - more about that later) Speckles look-alikes that we got back in February-ish. They lay beautiful, big dark brown eggs. We decided to watch where they ran off to yesterday morning after letting them out. Normally we let them out and then go do other chores..but we weren't letting them sneak off this time. 

Right off the bat, 2 of them booked it for the road. Yep, that's right. They went all the way through the grass, down the driveway, under the gate (squeezed under the gate) and into the woods across the street. They were running in that hilarious way that only chickens can. 

So many spots to lay eggs on our farm...and they cross this?? Good thing it isn't a busy road. Right next to our "eggs from free-range chickens" sign, too. Sheesh. Talk about free-range.

Spot the hidden forest eggs:

Okay, so that's 5 days of laying from those 2 hens (assuming it was only those 2 using that nest). Now the trick is getting them to love their nest boxes! We put them higher up and this morning they seemed to be enjoying the view and laying their eggs up there.

While I followed them across the road, Nathan followed another into the reeds next to the pond. We found another handful of eggs deep in the brush there. 

Oh and did I mention that one of the favourite hidden nests is in with Thomas?? Do they know we can't easily go in there? Sneaky sneaky hens!

As we finished the rest of the chores, I thought I saw another one of those hens run into the house. There is one in particular who tries as hard as she can to get in there - we've found her pecking around in the kitchen, the living room...we were standing and talking in the kitchen the other day and I thought my parents' dog Lucy was by my feet. Nope - it was that hen, just standing there while we chatted! 

Anyway, I went inside to get changed for work and didn't see the hen. Then, while I was getting dressed I heard a funny noise from inside the closet.

She made a nest on Nathan's suitcase!

I grabbed her to bring her to the nest boxes but I guess I didn't catch her on time...the egg fell out while I was running her back onto the farm and right in front of Ryan. I think he thought it was delivered to him from the heavens.

Speaking of Ryan and food, I have no recent photos of him because he is *too fat for photos!* and it's embarrassing. He has been eating all of the broiler grower food that he finds on the ground and he is ballooning into obese Border Collie land. How am I supposed to train him to do all these athletic things for my dog training course when he's a fatty boombah? 

 Luckily, the girls would never let their figures go.

We've been discovering some lovely hikes around town.

Zoey's ears have decided that one up one down is how they'll stay. She gets spayed tomorrow...

She loves to play ball now instead of just running when the other dogs run.

Other than her strange sock obsession, she's a really good puppy. In the last few weeks she started hoarding socks...she will go look for one, take it to her bed, cuddle it and growl ferociously at any dog who dares look at it. Sometimes, it all gets to be too much and she'll take it outside and bury it. Hrm. I'm wondering if her hormones are kicking in and these are her sock babies? Whatever the cause, it isn't a behaviour that we enjoy very much! Abby and Ryan look at her like she's crazy when she guards socks from them - they don't want any stinky old socks. 

We got some hay for the sheep and goats since our pastures need a bit of rejuvenation. They went nuts for this stuff. Oprah's wool really is falling out, I swear!

Magpie's twin's 4 chicks are doing well and are super cute. Magpie's chicks are all grown up and I think 3 out of 5 may be roosters...we shall see...

We've been trying to trap the raccoon so that we can relocate the bugger. I realize that another raccoon might very well take his place, but after we spotted this guy in the cherry tree in daylight twice, and knowing that he is a Speckles killer, I'd rather he go. The problem is that he is proving to be un-trappable! We have set the trap for the last 5 night and somehow the trap gets tripped, the food is sometimes gone or half gone, and no raccoon. We need to set up a night vision camera!