Friday, March 30, 2012

The Khaki Campbell

"Behold, my friends, the spring is come,
the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun,
and we shall soon see the results of their love."
-Sitting Bull

They've arrived just in time for spring...four Khaki Campbell females.  I read about this breed recently in The Resilient Gardener, mentioned in a previous post, and just had to get some. 

According to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, Campbells are a rare breed.  They originated in England were they are kept for their high level of egg production. 

These little ladies can exceed even the most efficient of egg laying domestic chickens, with the breed laying up to 340 eggs a year.  I have read that they hold the world record for egg production among all breeds of poultry.  In addition to being prolific layers, these ducks are extremely hardy and if allowed to roam, will forage for most of their food.

Sounds like the perfect addition to a homestead with high hopes for sustainability.  We will learn more about them as they grow.  It will be interesting to compare them to our Indian Runners.
Happy Spring Everyone.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

After the Rain

rain is over--
on the post a splendid

After having the driest winter in many years we have finally had some rain. It has been storming all week.  The skies cleared up for today although the rain is expected to continue.  I took the opportunity to go out and get some pics of the farm while the weather was clear.  Some of my favorite moments are after the rain when everything is always so fresh and new.  Above is our kitchen garden, which has become more of a bunny garden since much of the perennial greens planted to feed us year round are now going to give the rabbits their daily ration of raw food.  Of course, we don't mind sharing.

Blue potatoes are coming up in front of the barn.  A good place to plant them since the goats are not interested in potato greens.  They pass by this bed on their daily romp down the hill and have nibbled practically everything else I have tried to plant there (even tomatoes).  It's also easy to grab straw from their stalls to hill up the plants.

Brothers making an afternoon fire in the backyard.  A quick break from chores and play to roast some marshmallows. 

Seeds are coming up in the latest round of flats that were planted.  We scored a load of wooden wine boxes and are finding the shallow ones quite useful as seed flats and the deeper ones perfect as nesting boxes for the bunnies.

Speaking of bunnies, we've been caring for this mama while our neighbor is traveling.  Today she surprised us with a new litter.  We had an idea she was expecting but weren't sure about when.


The chicken run is super muddy but it's residents don't seem to mind.  Especially the ducks who are happy as can be.  Egg production has finally gone way back up after a pretty slow winter.  We're still working on the pond and the new coop. 

Hungary chickens fighting over their food.  Our winter chicks have matured nicely, you can see the Bard Rock in the center has fluffed out to the size of the rest of the hens and the Blue Laced Red Wyandottes (front) are some of the most gorgeous of the breeds I have seen. 


The real deal, muddy eggs from muddy chicken and duck feet.  The ducks are finally laying again after almost two months of moulting.  We're expecting five new ducklings next week.  I'm exciting to try out the Khaki Campbell breed after reading about them in The Resilient Gardener, a book I highly recommend! 


  After confinement to the barn for several rainy days, the goats were so happy to get out and graze.  Not certain whether or not our does are pregnant, I noticed today Bella has started to make her udder.  She is getting ready to make milk and that can only mean kids on the way soon.  Definitely the most exciting news around here yet.  We've been watching her get bigger and bigger but were not sure if her size was due to pregnancy or just a greedy goat who likes to eat everyone else's portion of hay. 



The turnips are looking sweet.  Rows of them down the hill are ready to harvest.  Have you ever had fresh turnip greens sauteed in a little butter?  Delicious!

A wonderful surprise in the orchard, the apricot trees have budded and are producing fruit!  Last year we did not see one apricot.  Now it's looking like just a couple more months for apricot pie and jam.  The rain has been a welcome friend.  The renewal and rejuvenation of the land from a good soaking is a blessing indeed.  Spring is just around the corner.