Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Update ... why not?

It's been a while, but then y'all probably are used to it by now.

Things are really busy here, and my health has not been cooperating very well! I keep meaning to do an update video but maybe some day. If I do, I'll link it here. OK here it is: April Update

The gardens.
Gardening season is in full swing. We have a LOT of plants ready to plant. Some need planted right away ... or at least stuck into bigger pots. Tylor has been giving me bags and bags of kale and spinach :) :) :) that he's been growing at his place. I've been harvesting lettuce at our place. So thankful!! I just planted more lettuce seeds yesterday. Soon I'll have chard and beets to harvest too. Pak Choy seeds just got planted. Dino kale ... maybe the first harvest in a few weeks? Broccoli and cabbage are looking good!! I've actually never grown them before so I hope they do well enough to harvest something. Also in the ground already are calendula, marigolds, parsley, potatoes, green beans ... and more. The strawberries are really looking good. The asparagus, not so much. Corban unknowingly plowed out about half the patch! Thankfully I saved some seeds last year and started them in February - they are looking good and I hope to transplant them soon. Blueberry bushes seem to be doing well too. Lots of berries and other fruit at Tylor's place :) :) :)
Me and Tylor transplanting tomatoes about a month ago.

The seed bed.
Kale, spinach, carrots and beets. It looks like we'll be harvesting seeds in May. Here is a link to a post I did years ago about kale going to seed. My dad and I were talking the other day about how this kind of stuff used to be common knowledge but now most folks are totally clueless (and I used to be!). It's a blessing to know how to do these things, and I believe it's very important. I save as many of my own seeds as possible - year by year I find more of what I like and don't like. We STILL have a pile of kale seeds from 4 or 5 years ago!! And beets and spinach. All are still viable, but I wanted to get fresh seeds. I'll use the old seed for micro greens :)

The chickens.
Oh the chickens! We have 26 layers right now (2 buff orpingtons, 5 barred rocks, 6 Rhode Island reds, 3 French Black Copper Marans, 6 Easter Eggers, 4 Welsummers), and one rooster (French Black Copper Marans). He's penned up by himself until we "need" him. He kind of started getting an attitude once in a while and I do not have the balance/coordination to ward him off, so he has a bachelor pad now.
In effort to have a sustainable flock and good egg production for our faithful customers, we hatched out 51 chicks a month or two ago (pathetic that I don't know how old they are) and sold all but 19 of them. We're hoping we have mostly pullets but we'll see. We then separated out the BR and FBCM hens so we would only have eggs from them ... and they are set to hatch tomorrow, Lord willing. The FBCM are sex linked and the combination of a FBCM rooster with a BR hen produces sex linked chicks. We'll probably sell the boys for fryers and raise the pullets with the ones that are 1.5 months old to replace our current laying flock. There are 28 fertile eggs ... so assuming half of those are boys, we'll only have about 14 more new chicks. We were hoping for 30-40 hens total, so we might have made it? Even if we didn't, I'm done hatching for the year unless it's for someone else.
And we have a broody hen :) Brianna built a "broody house" for her so she can have privacy. We tried just setting fertile eggs under her while she sat in the regular hen house, but she'd get up every once in a while to get a quick drink and a bite to eat and by the time she came back there was another occupant in her box so she'd go into another one! Just the other day the broody house was completed, so we put her in there with 5 of the fertile eggs that are set to hatch tomorrow. She's been sitting on them consistently so we assume they'll hatch out. And once they do (or even if they don't!) we'll give her a few more newly hatched chicks to care for so we won't have as many to care for ourselves. Actually, if we only have about 14 maybe she'll be able to handle them all???? I'll have to look in to that and see if it's possible.
I'm too lazy to look for pictures of the chickens. They look like chickens ;)

The turkeys.
Yes, we are giving Bourbon Reds another try. Last year we got 3 poults in July that were about 2 weeks old. We put them outside way too soon and the caught pneumonia and died :( We tried so hard to save them!!! Well, we now have 2 new poults that I think are about 3 weeks old (again, I'm pathetic, I cannot remember when we got them). They are inside and doing well. They will stay inside for as long as possible, and then maybe move to the garage in a makeshift pen. We'll see.

The goats.
They're so cute! But WOW they sure are a lot more work than what I was thinking they'd be. My city-girl upbringing really shined through. I foolishly (or maybe I should say ignorantly?) thought I'd be able to take care of them, but no. My coordination is so bad and my hands are weak ... I can't even milk the thing! So Brianna has been the main goat caretaker. I told her if she ever gets married she's getting the goats as a dowry, but I still get the milk ;) She's a good girl. She did a lot of the work on fixing up the barn, built a house for the two boys, and so much more. I'm thankful. Just yesterday she said, 'You know this whole idea about "girls jobs" and "boys jobs"? I'm really liking the thought right now' ... while she was push mowing through a very difficult area. Even still, she does it all with a good attitude and is usually singing.

The puppies.
Sadie had 6 puppies last January 16th - 5 boys and one girl. We sold 5 and kept one for David. Everyone has been keeping in touch and it's been so nice to see how they are doing!! 3 of the 5 are working as herd dogs in training and doing very well. One is a companion but he is kept super busy. And the girl, Little Ann (or Freckles Ann if she's being naughty!) is also a companion but I think he might train her on cattle too? She's the only one that was sold to someone we know so we'll get to see her once in a while. Here are photos of the 4 we have recent pictures for. Puppies #4 and #6 I do not have updated photos yet.

Roy or Roy Boy - Puppy #1

Beau - Puppy #5

Ruairì - Puppy #2

Rusty - Puppy #3
And then there's Rainier, our Great Pyrenees LGD. She's one week older than Sadie's puppies but she's HUGE! She's so happy all the time, and if a dog could be thankful I'd say she's the most thankful dog I've ever met. So sweet!! But she is still a puppy ... she needs a lot more training and training her does not come nearly as easy as it does with the Border Collies! Roy Boy (David's dog) knows several commands already, but Rainier is like a big dope! She tries so hard though, so she definitely gets an A for effort! She does not jump up on me - I was really sure to train her in that right away before she got bigger. I can tell she WANTS to jump on me so badly but she doesn't. She'll sit if you tell her to. She does not really "come" yet, which is difficult for Brianna at times.

The worms.
The mealworms are thriving. I've had them now for about 8 months and have been able to feed them to the chickens for the last month or so. New pupa have just begun to form, so that's the second generation going through metamorphosis. I even have enough to put outside for the bluebirds, though they have not discovered them yet. (we have a bluebird house that's occupied again)
The European Nightcrawlers are doing well too. I just filtered out all the worms and as many cocoons as I could and put them all in new bedding. Their old bedding was all nice and black and not bedding anymore :) Black gold? It's so beautiful! I put the nightcrawler castings and the mealworm frass together and we plan on putting a scoop into each hole we did when putting the plants in the garden.
The nightcrawlers have mites ... which is normal I guess ... but I hope the majority of the mites stayed with the castings!
I'm not sure how long I'll be able to keep this worm thing going, but it has been something I've been able to do by myself so that's good. I think I gross Brianna out every time I clean the mealworm bins!!!

The childrens.
I've talked about Tylor a little already - he's been living with the single brothers and seems to be doing very well. He's been working consistently with a brother from our church learning how to be an electrician.
I've talked about Brianna a little too - besides filling her days with work around the homestead, she also still helps several elderly people and whoever else needs help.
Corban is still working hard every day. Right now he's mainly working with fence (including welding), planting, and doing tractor maintenance.
Malachi came to visit recently as well. We sure do miss him around here but are thankful he's able to visit and keep in touch regularly.

The church building.
We've been in our new church building since the beginning of this year. It's not finished on the inside but it's functional enough! Tylor will have his own tiny house out there too - he's super excited! His is on the right.

Well, what can I say? I'm hanging in there! God is good.

My dad came to visit :) it was a nice time for all of us. You never know what you are going to get in to when you come 'down here' ... we had him nursing a sick goat kid and hanging a very large picture on the wall of a private school wall. Of all things! He also took us out to eat at the Mexican Villa in Springfield and then we went to the Fantastic Caverns.

I've spent enough time on this already and am tired of looking at the computer ... so that's all for now!