Friday, September 14, 2012

A New Adventure in Self Sufficiency

Our chick order arrived today.  Twenty five Cornish meat chicks plus several layer breeds that had just come in with our order.  About half of our layers are getting old and their egg production has been decreasing.  We are thinking some of them will need to be replaced in the spring.  I bought some Rhode Island Reds, Ameraucanas, and Black Australorps because I like those breeds, they are efficient layers and good sized birds.

The chicks were super sleepy from the rough journey but are now happy in their new home.  My carpentry skills are slowly improving.  
I seem to solely focus on building cubes for animal homes, but each cube gets better.  This one is quite large so the chicks can stay in here comfortably for a month or so until they go outside into their run.

Raising our own meat chickens will be an adventure for us but I, for one, am ready.  Every time I purchase a whole chicken for our boys I cringe and think how much better it would be to raise them ourselves. Well, we will see how it much of what we are doing is a big experiment.  I definitely don't think it will be any cheaper but the peace of mind we'll have knowing we will pasture these birds and harvest them with our own hands may be worth it.  For now they sure are the cutest little fuzz balls.  It's been awhile since we have had chicks around here.  Next may just be wild turkey jerky...

Monday, September 10, 2012

September: Working Together

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.  -Buddha

With the start of the school year, getting organized, and home school planning, many of the items on the farm to-do list have been either postponed or neglected.  This past weekend was the perfect time for us to host another community work party.  The feeling of so much productivity and being able to check almost everything off our list was extremely satisfying.  Our group has been wonderful, helpful, supportive, and super hard working!   

   Before the work party we harvested a lot of the
squash to make room for new seedlings.

As our co-op has evolved, all the participating house holds have learned that so many hands working together can go through way more tasks than anticipated.  Hence, the ambitious to-do list below. We accomplished almost everything, and we are especially grateful that all the hard jobs are done!  Like moving the huge truckloads of manure and mulch all over the property.  

We all broke up into groups and one crew had the sweet job of picking all the ripe tomatoes.  Maybe not so sweet, since we have had no time to keep up the tomato patch and it was completely overgrown with the cages falling over (a favorite hideout spot for renegade chickens who want to hatch their eggs).

The harvest was made up of such beautiful colors...soon to become sauce and salsa.  

The crew who moved most of the manure had the hardest job.  (We didn't get any pictures of their sweaty faces because we were too busy being sweaty ourselves.)  Our hugelkulture bed in the front garden now only needs a layer of soil/compost before we can plant.  We are thinking of planting a mixture of lettuce and more purple tree collards--you can NEVER have too many of those, by the way.  

And some new semi-sheet mulched beds in the backyard kitchen garden are now filled and waiting for rain to compost them down.  

Oh, and we can't forget some of the best helpers of all- the children! They did a superb job of shelling favas for fall cover crops and painting garden signs.  

Some friends stayed for the after party and added a much needed new layer of cob to our oven.  After weathering the last winter without a roof, it needed some attention.  We added something new to the bottom, the arabic word Haq,(حق) meaning Truth.  

An end of the day trade looking gorgeous in the basket, staples of farm fresh bread, milk, and eggs.  We must never forget how truly blessed we all are.  Thank you to all who came to help and who added their special touch to our farm.  Much Love!