Sunday, September 25, 2016

Harvest Haul

I had originally planned this post to be about goat containment, as we have had some challenges this week keeping the lads where they belong.  Change of plans - I'll get back to that another day...

Monday the scouts were out to harvest the pumpkins.  It was a bit more difficult this year because with only one light frost so far, the vines have not died down.  It is always hard to estimate ahead of time how many pumpkins to expect, although I thought the field was looking good.  Kevin says they picked 400 pumpkins this year - very good!  I really wanted to get pictures but the families packed them into their cars, trucks, vans, and trailers so quickly that I didn't have a chance. 

Our own squash and pumpkins did well this year too.

4 kinds of squash and an ample supply of pie pumpkins
I dug the carrots today, and picked some of the last melons, cauliflower, and tomatoes.  There may be some more, but the garden is mostly done now so I opened up the fence so the hens can go in and glean.  I sure hope they eat all the cherry tomatoes that are on the ground in there or there will be thousands of volunteer plants next year.

I am especially  pleased with the carrots - they don't always do well for me.
Yesterday (Saturday) was the last farmers' market that we plan to vend at this year.  Some of the other farmer folks will continue, but I am ready to be done.  It's gone fairly well for us and has been an interesting experience, but it sure does eat up a lot of time. 

That's about all I have for this week.  Until next time, be well folks. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Feeling Fall

This is one of those evenings when morning sure seems like a long time ago.  Is this what aging is about?

Autumn is happening whether we are ready for it or not.  Kevin is ready I think.  When we go out to do chores in them morning and the air is still and cold and the stars still shining brightly overhead, there is an extra spring to his step.  I know why.  Hunting season is coming.  Another sign of this is that whenever he runs into a like-minded acquaintance, the conversation quickly turns to deer.  Where have they been seen? How many? How big (or small)? What time of day - what they were doing -  what they were eating, what their IQ is... and so on.

Here in the farmyard, the turkeys just keep getting bigger and more beautiful.  The pullets are also very handsome; I couldn't be more pleased with how this years' hatch turned out.  There are more of them than I thought too.  For some reason, I had it in my head that I had 31 chicks hatched.  11 cockerels have gone to the freezer.  Two fellows are left but not for long.  That would leave 18 pullets, right?  Well, we caught them all last evening and gave them identifying ankle bracelets, and there were 20.  I had to go back in the blog to check, and yep, there were 33 chicks, not 31.  So 20 pullets and 13 cockerels. Outstanding!

Enjoying some watermelon rinds

And the turkeys join in on the snacks

Out in the goat area, there is a lot of flirting going on. 

We've had one frost so far, but it was a pretty light one. I was able to harvest a few more tomatoes to add to some I purchased so a little more sauce is going into the freezer tonight. It hasn't been a stellar garden year, but that is how the garden goes.

This week will be the big scout pumpkin harvest.  It looks pretty good out there but won't know for sure until the kids bring them out of the field.  I'll let you know next week.  Until then, be well folks.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Moving into Fall

I did not get around to taking pictures much this week, and wasn't happy with what I got.  So for our farm update this week, I will share some photos that Kevin took yesterday while he shifted the lads' living quarters. 

For those of you who may not have been following the blog for long, "the lads" are Forest and Ranger, collectively known as ForestRanger - our male goats.  They have been moving around the fields surrounding the house since spring.  We have a few portable pasture shelters (built mostly by Rollie - thank you!) and they move from place to place with fence panels to house the lads and the pigs.  This move was a little different as we decided to partition off part of the does' pasture and put the lads in there.  It's a weedy and brushy place - goat paradise, but it seems to be too much area for the does.

To make this move, the does were securely locked in the shed while Kevin moved the lads into the pasture.  Then he started moving the fence panels over to build a sturdy barrier - no fraternizing until November please!  He drove the cub and trailer right in there.  He had fencing tools and supplies in the trailer and also the pigs' messy slop buckets as the trailer does double duty as a slop wagon twice a day.

Well, Ranger just had to lend a hoof. 
Checking out the contents of the trailer
The pig pails smell interesting!
Oh, oh!  Got a little problem here!

Anyway, that was Kevin's Saturday morning while I was at the farmer's market.  Ranger is rutting already, which means he smells really, really bad.  And he likes attention so Kevin got used for a scratching post a few times - so when I got home I discovered that Kevin smelled really, really bad too!

In other farm "news", Kevin reports that the winter wheat is now planted, and the rye will go in next.  In the poultry yard, the pullets are neck and neck in egg production with the older hens.  Half of the hens seem to be molting - not looking very pretty these days.  And we lost one of the turkeys - not sure what the problem was with it.  The other five look good and are so entertaining.  Back to the goats, I am happy to share that Vinca is doing much better these days; she's eating well and seems to have gained some weight back.

There is more, but I think that is enough for this week.  Until next time, be well folks, and never forget.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Gobblers on the Roof

I have to admit that I am quite fascinated by these turkeys.  It's been interesting to observe their turkey behavior and I enjoy listening to their turkey music.  I do worry about them though.  Turkeys do what turkeys want to do.  The turkeys want to be on the roof of the Winter Coop.

 They roost up there too.  Even when it rains.

The turkey people and turkey books firmly state that chickens and turkeys must be housed separately.  Chickens apparently carry nasty diseases that are deadly to turkeys.  I hope not, because like I said, turkeys do what turkeys want to do.  The turkeys want to hang out with the chickens.

In other poultry news, the pullets are laying now.  Eleven of the cockerels have been converted from chickens to chicken.  I think there are only two young gents left, and the other eighteen are the pullets.  A pretty good outcome on the chick numbers, and they are nice looking birds. 

The little patch of wheat behind the house has been harvested (thank you Rollie!) so the pigs have taken up residence there.  They are getting pretty big but have more weight to put on before butchering time.

I don't have any photos, but take my word for it, the garden is pretty shaggy these days.  For highlights, we are really enjoying a good crop of cantaloupe this year and have eaten our first butternut & acorn squashes which were mighty tasty.  Hopefully the deer have left us some pumpkins - they did get the sweet corn.

The season is near the end.  As a gardener, I naturally dread the inevitable frost that is inevitable this month but all of us will be so happy when the mosquitoes are gone!

That's it for this evening I think.  Be well folks.