Today's Quote

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Update on Farm Life

Well, things have been dry here. So of course, stuff is suffering despite the water. Everything seems to be in slow motion in the garden. While it is producing it is slow about it. Even the fig tree is behind this year. Normally I am picking and putting up figs like crazy, but this year the figs are still green and hard. I emptied the rain barrel watering the fig tree and have even used some of the pond water to water the garden. I can only do so much of that though as it is time consuming and back breaking. However, the natural water seems to boost the plants better than water from the hose. As, I said in an earlier post we got hit hard by brown marmolated stink bugs especially on the squash. I have spent the past week or so picking them off and drowning them in soapy water. It seems to have helped and I might actually get some decent squash. That is if the grasshoppers don't eat me out of house and home. The ducks are falling down in their job and the grasshopper population is rising. It is so bad right now that I have been letting the chickens in the garden. I will sacrifice a few tomatoes, cucumbers and yes even squash to save my plants. A few days ago, the hoppers devoured half of a huge squash plant within just a few hours. I have put out DE carefully because of our pollinators, but it doesn't seem to do much for the hoppers. The sunflowers are ready to harvest and instead of drying and saving them this year we are simply feeding them straight from the garden allowing us to save the seeds we already have from the feed store. It doesn't take long to harvest and cut up a couple 5 gallon buckets and the benefit is that the critters are eating the whole thing, stem and all. A few days ago I had a very busy day. I drove several hours north of us to pick up some speckled sussex pullets to add to our little flock of chickens and then brought them home and went several hours south to pick up our.......pigs!!!!! I finally got pigs and just sucked up the drive and drove to get them. All the folks in our area that used to raise pigs don't anymore because they simply couldn't sell enough of them. So in order to get some pigs I had to drive about 3 hours south. It was a long day made especially long because the woman that gave me directions for the pullets was not very good at giving directions and I had to call them 3 times because I was lost. Apparently she didn't know her right from her left and everywhere she told me to turn right I should have turned left. Her husband finally got me to the house. But everyone made it home safe and sound. However, I did not realize until I got the hens home and was looking at them closely the next day that they had been de-beaked. Oh great! They probably won't be able to forage very well although they seemed to be giving it a good try yesterday. So just in case I have been putting some grain into the feeder, but that could get expensive. I may not have gotten as good a deal as I thought. Since my chickens free range the summer is a time when they cost me nothing to keep as they find all their own food. In fact if I put food in the coop they ignore it choosing to stay out and find their own until dusk. Well, we will just have to see how it goes. The piggies are in the front pasture and are loving it. They love to root around and I am loving having them to turn and soften that hard clay soil and get rid of those little sweet gum trees that keep popping up. Maybe I can actually grow something other than cherokee roses in there now. There is some grass and such but it only grows down at the bottom since the top is in such bad shape. The pasture is about 3/4 of an acre so they have loads of room to roam and root. They are getting a grain and hay mix in the morning with goat milk on top and then garden and kitchen scraps the other two feedings of the day. They either get goat milk or whey on every single feeding and they look like they have already grown. They are so terribly cute, but as the feed bill goes up I imagine they will no longer be so cute and I will look forward to butchering day. We came home with 3 as I am keeping one for a neighbor, one for my mom, and one for us. My neighbor is paying for hers and feed for hers, it is just living with mine. They are happier when together. They seem so smart and have already memorized the routine and are waiting for me at the gate when I come to feed. They are very polite also at feeding time actually waiting for me to dump the food into their bucket instead of mobbing me like the goats. We'll see how long that lasts. It has taken a couple of days of talking to my youngest about they are not pets (even though they are soooo cute). She normally has no problem with knowing that we are gonna eat goats or rabbits or chickens, but the pigs are so little I guess that she has been a bit upset. She is only 4 so it is expected. They won't stay so cute forever and eventually they will be large eating machines. We probably will butcher in December when the weather is cool enough. MMMMMMMMM......bacon, ham, pork chops oh my! Yummy yummy. Anyway right now we are enjoying their cuteness. Anyway, I am running late this morning and better get moving or the troops will get restless. Blessings from the farm, Kat

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