we've been so incredibly busy outside with a multitude of projects that I've decided to add a new feature post. starting today, and sporadically on Thursdays, there will be the Livestock and Garden Report. this way i can keep you all updated with what we're currently focusing on, and how things are progressing. (and growing)
without further ado, in no particular order, is the first of my little homestead happenings:
last fall i got a box of perennial spring bulbs from my dear friend, Wanda. (she keeps showing up here alot, doesn't she? I'll have to introduce you to her sometime!) today the daffodils bloomed! the tulips and hyacinth are coming as well, but it will be a couple more weeks for them.
this is Bud, our red bone coon hound. B loves to feed him his dog biscuits, and will walk down to his house all by herself. i know it looks like he's biting her hand off, but he's really not! B is not scared at all, and this is one of the highlights of her day.
an interesting tidbit: Baby B is perhaps the only little girl that you know that has the honour of being named after (a different) red bone coon hound. B, the dog, was an amazing hunter, tracking and treeing 63 coons in one winter! maybe Dave will tell that story on a guest Friday. I'll have to see if i can talk him into that one.
Dudley is quite content, and loves when the girls bring him the winter rye from the garden. A will often bring him a green stick as well, and he appreciates that, too.
here Dave and G are finishing up clearing off this portion of land in preparation for our new pigs. previously, this was all just a jumble of scrub trees and thorn bushes. you can see the day lillies on the hillside in the front right foreground. we plan on buying 2 or 4 pigs in the next few weeks, and i'll be working at fencing off this area.
in exchange for a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies, G happily measured the pigs for me. i was surprised to learn that they weigh well over 250 pounds! although we planned (and plan) on butchering our own pig in the future, we realized that it would be nearly impossible to do that project this spring, so both pigs are going to the butcher on the 13th. in anticipation of that, I've been taking the opportunity to clean out the freezer and cellar of all those odd things that are lurking on shelves and in corners. Pig and Spot have enjoyed apple butter, apple dumplings, dilly beans, tomatoes, bananas, plum jelly, un-set peach jelly and several unidentifiable mounds of who-knows-what.
most of the seedlings are doing well, although it looks like we'll have to try again with the cauliflower. (this picture is of the peppers) they grew very tall and leggy, and probably will not make it. the peppers are doing well, as are the tomatoes and other cabbage-y stuff. the second greenhouse has really come in handy!
i was in town again this week, and while i was driving by the hardware store, i noticed that they had gotten their onion sets and seed potatoes. since Dave reads this blog, i don't feel that i should reveal at this time how much of each i bought. i may have been just a tad bit optimistic and enthusiastic. not to mention exuberant! let's just say that he should be happy that i buy seeds, and not shoes. right, dear?
we moved the high tunnel to its site in the garden last week, and today Dave and i put the plastic over it. it was fairly easy, and went very smoothly.
before we competed that, A was willingly picking rocks for us. i helped, along with B, and we filled the bucket fairly quickly.
after the plastic was on and fastened down, i put the thermometer inside. we were both surprised at how quickly the temperature climbed. today was a nice day, a very mild 60+ degrees. inside the high tunnel, it was 85! closer to the roof it was nearly 100!
A helped me to plant lettuce, radishes and cilantro in one of the cold frames. she really liked working in the dirt, and so did B.
the Cornish X are growing quickly. they've eaten almost 25 pounds of food in just one short week! we moved them to a bigger box earlier in the week, but just tonight put them in their new home outside. we have a small, bottomless pen that Dave built. the heat lamp is in there with them, and we've covered it with a tarp to further protect them from the weather. they'll be just fine, and they'll love to scratch around in the grass and dirt.
these chickens can eat an amazing amount of food. of course, since they will dress out at around 10-12 pounds in only 12 weeks, that's to be expected. today while i was at the feed mill i ordered 500 pounds of 23% protein feed for them. they need the higher protein feed since they grow so fast. we'll see just how long that lasts...
another reason we moved the Cornish X outside (besides that they stink!) is the buff orpington hens came on Tuesday afternoon. happily, all 25 peeps survived the trip, and we quickly settled them into the pool.
when we get new chicks Dave will often take the time to individually dip each peep's beak in water, then in the food. then we know that they are eating and drinking. these peeps are much more tranquil than the meat birds. the Cornish X are very skittish and freak out easily. it was getting very chaotic in the mud room with so many people coming and going, and then 50 chickens freaking out all the time!
so, there you have it. a blow-by-blow of our growing things. i better get this published, or it won't be Thursday anymore! tomorrow will be here all too soon, and no matter how much we accomplish in a day, there are always more things waiting for us. but keeping busy keeps us out of trouble...