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

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Springtime on the farm

Wow, it is definitely spring even with this cold spell we are having. Yes, I said cold spell. Normally we are hitting mid 80s and a couple weeks ago we were doing just that. Now we are hitting mid 60s. I had to close the windows in the house and am having to put on a jacket for the morning chores! Unbelievable. But if it means that summer will be slightly cooler I will take it. So we are definitely seeing springtime on the farm around here. 3 hens have been sitting on nests and two have hatched out babies. One hatched out at least 6 that I saw, but since she nested in a very bad spot we lost 3 right off the bat. One of the other hens has 3 bitties with her and I have no idea if she hatched out more or how many she was sitting on. She was a total surprise. Another hen is sitting on about 7 eggs so we will see if she hatches out any. So far we have 6 baby chicks on the farm. One of our ducks is sitting on a nest also....right in my new huguelkultur bed in the garden. I don't care she can sit there as long as she needs to if she will hatch out some babies. The wild birds are nesting and we found some Robin eggs in the garden. Not sure if they hatched and the shells were cleaned out of the nest or if something got to them and dropped the shells. However, they were very pretty and made for a nice science lesson for Little Britches. Now, if the goats would just do their part and have some babies of their own so I can get to making cheese. It looks like Sugar and Coffee are beginning to develop udders and a milk line so we will see. The others I simply have no clue. Although milk production with Dolly is up because of all the fresh browse. Even old Thunder is feeling frisky these days and I think I am going to have to separate him from his daughter. He hasn't shown any interest in her in years but the new feeding program for him must be doing some good. I think I might need to back off his Red Cell for a little while. The rabbits are in full production mode and I can't keep up with the litters that are being born. The only problem is that they all seem to like the same nesting box, which is the top of a dog kennel. So thank goodness it is big enough because one will have a nest in one corner of it and another one will have a nest in another corner of it. My chinchilla doe is by far my best producer and she loves to be pregnant and having babies. Thank goodness she does take the summer off because I am afraid that she will wear herself out. I put two of her daughters in the second colony so hopefully I will continue with her great mothering genetics. She produces nice large babies that grow out well also. So far with everyone in full production the buns are getting their full feed ration, along with hay and fresh greens picked daily. When they stop producing for the summer then I will cut back their grain ration. With all the rain everything is really wet around here and I already had to strip the main rabbit colony once after the big spring cleanout. Usually I only have to do that once every other month, but it barely lasted a month with all the rain. We just seem to be getting so much at once and the roof leaks in a couple spots and sometimes if it is heavy enough it will come over the edge of the concrete into the colony soaking the bedding. I don't want babies being born in wet bedding so I had to make sure to get it stripped again. The buns were so excited to have clean fresh bedding. We were worried about colony 2 with all the rain because water does seem to seep under the walls if it rains hard enough, but apparently it is holding up well and the bedding was dry. The conveyor belt that a friend gave us seems to have really helped with that. I guess the water went under the belt and that way the bedding and bunnies stayed dry. I really have to get those bunnies some more toys and hidey holes in there. The garden is coming along well and of course the weeds are flourishing as well as the veggies are. So everyday I spend about 30 minutes or so pulling weeds. If I keep on top of it then it doesn't become such a chores. I need to move some tomato plants today. I even have several volunteers from around the garden coming up so I will move those into the tomato patch as well. Of course, I am still planting in the garden it takes awhile to get it full and I keep coming up with spots to plant more. If everything keeps going though we will have an abundance of food for us and for the livestock. At least that will cut down on the bill some. I am concentrating on protein (peas) and black oil sunflower seeds for the livestock because those are our two most expensive ingredients in our feed. We will see how it goes. This winter I will grow some grains, but I don't expect to be able to grow nearly enough. We have also been getting in wood for this coming winter. It is nice to have the "new" woodshed to stack it in and to work near. We are getting a second wood stove and so will need all the wood we can get for this winter. And of course with all the rain we are fighting fire ants once again. They are popping up all over the place. Where the chickens are we don't have too much of a problem with them but they are everywhere in the garden and all over the pastures. I also have to be watchful of the rabbit colonies because believe it or not they will come over the concrete into the colony. If you have been reading here long you know I don't like poisons, but for fire ants nothing else works. Believe me I have tried every single home remedy there is. I use the minimal amount that I can get away with to kill those suckers but they must be killed! So that is spring around here so far. How is your spring going? Hope it is going well. Blessings, Kat

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