Well, it’s been quite some while since I had both a chunk of free time AND the energy to put into a blog post. What with the new adjuncting job, I’ve been SUPER crazy busy- enough energy to keep the animals and people fed and healthy, but that’s about it.
However. It is FINALLY winter break- for both me and E- and we have been doing all the winter break things: watching a lot of netflix, cleaning, visiting, making a TON of delicious food, and getting caught up on a few months of farmlet chores. I can’t even say how happy it makes me to know that the garden is finally weeded and undercover for the cold weather that is late, but coming. It’s totally the little things. And so, here’s what’s been happening on the farmlet:
I am very sad to share the demise of our former rooster, Nelson, here shown protecting Spotty Hen as she (irritatingly) attempts to lay an egg on this dresser on our porch. We had an incursion of what we think were coyotes, lost 2 good laying hens and this guy over a three day period. After locking up the chickens for 2 weeks or so, the predator moved on, but we were very sad that Nelson was eaten. He was a GREAT rooster- protective, not aggressive with hens or people, and is much missed. Fortunately, we have quite a number of his offspring growing out right now, and will be crowning a new winner of the Rooster Hunger Games in the next week or so.
We’re actually awash in juvenile chickens just now, after hatching out two batches this fall. These are some of our adolescents: 13 weeks and counting. We sold a few hens out of this hatch, sent a couple of roosters to freezer camp at 12 weeks, and will be keeping 4 hens to build back up for spring egg season. That’s Miles, second from the right- the likely successor to Nelson. We’ve also got EIGHTEEN young birds from our second hatch. They’re 8 weeks, newly free-ranging, and underfoot everywhere you go in the yard. Stay tuned for news on how our DIY chicken plucker experiments develop: plucking 4 or 6 birds by hand is fine, but nobody wants to pluck 18 in one day.
All is well in rabbit land as well- we grew out two litters this fall, and Rhetta may (or may not) be pregnant again. It appears that my ability to detect rabbit pregnancy has not gotten any better with practice. But we’ve got plenty of tasty rabbit in the freezer, and a couple of kits growing out in the new, smaller rabbit tractor. Our oldest doe Grace, who was PERHAPS 3 years old when we got her, has been retired, and young doe Marsali will have her first mating experience in a week or so. I’m hoping to sell a bunch of the next round as breeding stock: last year’s spring bunny sales paid for everyone’s feed for the summer.
I’m going to finish up with a photo of our insanely delicious holiday ham: we’re getting close to the end of Acorn the pig, but had saved this for our little celebration. I don’t know if you can tell by the photo, but there’s a lot of hands and a lot of story in this ham: our dear friends Dillon and Diane, who traveled up here for the first Pig and Pie party, and inspired us to just jump in feet first with pig raising, the delightful Stacy at Yellow Wolf Farm, birthplace of both Acorn the pig and this year’s Soy Products: Tofu and Tempeh, Benjamin and Christopher, our companions in novice pig-raising and home slaughtering, as well as Ursula, David, and Wulf- who cared for Acorn while we were away in the woods last summer.
It’s not just a meal, it’s a community. And we are very blessed.
Until next time,
(More coming soon, as I still have a week and a half off work-perhaps a recipe post for Black Eyed Peas and Collards. We’ll see.)
I have a question. Do you water the garden once you have the cover on it? We’ve got spinach, lettuce and arugula but the kale and beets aren’t making a show yet. Beautiful pictures and great post. Thanks for the props. 🙂
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Last year, I think we only watered once or twice- the hoop house seems to work like a giant terrarium 🙂
Good to see you back posting. That ham looks really juicy and I can imagine it would have been very tasty.
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Thanks! I’m super glad to be back- and my goal for 2016 is a better work/life balance (with more time to blog)!