Busy time

With spring rapidly approaching, there’s a lot to do. Mainly little projects, but some big stuff too. 

We had mice burrowing into the coop so some bricks and gravel around the edges today to hopefully discourage that. 

I got the garden prepped. Had to clean out the old tomato and pepper plant stems. Shoveled in all the rabbit poop I could scoop, and added some extra organic soil I hadn’t gotten around to last fall. Still need to finish the wall and leveling, but that can wait a bit. 

The wood stove had been smoking out the house so I cleaned it out, swept the chimney, and cleaned out the catch at the bottom of the chimney. And now I understand why most people hire someone to do this! Lots of ash and soot. Dirty work!

The chickens are in full gear. We actually got six eggs today, meaning the five ameraucana cherps are the only ones not laying yet. And the injured hen has recovered enough to rejoin the flock. She spent a few days outside in a penned off area to reduce aggression and it seems to have worked. 

Now it’s time for dinner, some drinks, and some downtime before I go back to work tomorrow!

Wintergreen? Winter greens?

Eh. Either way, we are ready for fresh greens. I’ll be starting up the garden seeds soon but for now we want some salad!

Enter the grow lights! Nothing fancy now, just some spinach, kale, and arugula. But it’ll start saving us some food money bef re the garden really gets going. 

As per usual, the kale sprouts before literally everything else. 

Worth noting that we found led tubes for shop lights. Trying them out!

Farm truck time!

Finally got ourselves a truck. Spent slightly more than we had hoped, but we went to stokes auction and got a little white gmc S15. 

It needs an oil change pretty badly, but once that’s done it should be in pretty good shape for what we need. I like that it’s a long bed truck. Getting tired of trying to haul lumber and hay in a chevy sonic!

On the bright side…

Sad day for America, but more locally, we found out what was going on with the chickens!

Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you. Only one egg yesterday! Sad face. 

And only one in the nest boxes today. Also sad face. But then I happened to glance inside the dog house…

Silly birds. Well, I don’t want to hear any complaints from the dog that it’s too small, because I had to go in there and get them!

We’ve got a really pretty egg basket now. Can’t wait till the cherps start laying. Those should be blue!

First Winter Lessons

Ah, January. The holidays are over and the winter has just begun. Already, I can tell you we will be doing things a little differently next winter. 

First, all the animals have water with some sort of heat source. Not powerful enough. When the temperature doesn’t get above 33 for more than a few hours at a time for days on end, the little 5 watt heater just won’t keep it flowing for the birds. So we moved it into the coop. For now, anyway. The bunnies fare a little better but will still need a better option next year. For now, we break any ice and add fresh water nearly daily. And by we, I mean the girlfriend because she gets up early every day and does all the stuff I wouldn’t have time for. 

Seriously, could not do this without her. 

Second, shelter. It’s less of an issue now than it was in late autumn, but when those November and December rains come for weeks on end, it can get pretty miserable. All the animals have shelter, but I feel an awning of some sort would cut down on the muck and get them moving more. 

Third, wood stove. The house came with a pellet stove. Apparently a previous owner swapped out a wood stove for it. Why, I’ll never know. Sure, it’s efficient and low energy and can be hooked to the thermostat. But it also requires electricity to run, and the pellets cost about $5 a bag, a bag lasting a few days. Meanwhile, we live in the freaking forest. So yeah, swapping that out and getting a wood shed set up. 

All that being said, I do feel we’ve planned ahead decently well. We’ve got emergency food and water stores, the chicken coop has a light on a timer (separate timer from the door) which has the chickens on a regular schedule, and laying better. The rabbits have lots of shelter, as does the dog. Seeds for the vegetable patch are already in, along with heat mats to get the warm weather crops a head start. Have buckwheat already and have a local source for barley so we can have some small grain patches. 

Most of the building projects I’ve got right now are small, but in a few weeks things will get pretty busy here. I’ve decided to not rush the pasture and goats. As much as I want goats, if we fence the yard completely then we can more than quadruple poultry areas, to include ducks and geese, and make the rabbit area bigger. Still looking for a truck but once we have one, lots of other projects can start too. 

In the meantime, this salamander was crossing the road and I thought he was adorable. 

Eggs! But from whom…?

Hey, so remember that the Bielefelders started laying. We all remember the egg delivery, right?

Well, biology says when a hen lays an egg of a specific color, she will eggs of that color forever. Considering the quantity and timing of eggs over the last two weeks and the ages of our hens, we can safely say Bielefelder eggs look like the ones above. 

But then we got this today (except the one on the right is from yesterday). So we’ve got a warmer toned huge egg and a pink colored little one. 

The pink one we are pretty sure is from Raven. Her, Chipmunk, and Grey are the next oldest but Chipmunk is smaller and Grey is in the infirmary because of an injury. But that big’un…

I know turkey eggs are supposed to be white with speckles. But we are going to be watching Diane closely for signs of nesting behavior over the next few weeks. Without having seen the egg laid, we can’t be totally sure whodunnit. 

Also, right before I started writing this, a Bielefelder dropped another egg right in the yard. So now our egg basket looks like so!

Yay for chickens!!!