Friday, May 20, 2011

Farm Update for late May

Each year, we face some kind of delay getting our garden planted and projects started, but it seems to always come together.  This spring has been very cold and dreary.  I even had to scrape my car windows on Monday morning!  My early attempts to seed greens resulted in no sprouts at all, so I tried again a few weeks later and got a few little starts, and now I feel pretty confident that the seeds I planted last weekend will be successful.

Luckily for us, Mike runs the Horticulture program at his school, so there are always plenty of starts available if we can't pull it together.  Also, our best friends own a nursery, ( so we lean on them when our luck runs out.

Right now, I'm working most days while Anouk is in school, so I'm up by 6am to get all of us ready and off to school, then I drive the long commute to the job site, and put in about 4 hours of work before I race back to her school to pick her up.  After school, we run errands and I try to accomplish some important task at home, like cleaning, bill paying, and garden maintenance, before cooking dinner and putting her to bed.  I usually fall asleep during that process and I'm toast after that.

Two Black Rouen & Two Swedish Blue
In between those tasks, I tend to our animals.  Our ducklings grew to nearly full-size within a month, and they now live where our turkeys have lived in past years.  I failed to socialize them, so they run from me, but they are very easy to take care of, and we have been supplementing their feed with a steady supply of slugs.  They are gorgeous and fun to watch.

Our chicks are now about half grown, so I moved them to the main coop just the other day.  First, I put them in an adjacent enclosure for the afternoon so that they could introduce themselves to the established flock through the fence.
That evening, all of the chickens retired to the coop as usual.  The rooster was particularly loud, but not aggressive, and they have been happily cohabitating for three days now.  (Chickens will become very territorial if you put new in with old during the day, and they sometimes kill the newbies.)

When we get baby poultry, they spend the first couple of weeks in a plastic tub in a closet with a heat lamp.  Then I move them out to our original chicken coop, close to the house, in our old rabbit cage for extra security.  When they are ready, I move them out of the cage to have full range of the brooding coop until they are big enough to be out in a yard.  When I moved the chickens, I was able to release the baby turkeys from the hutch, so they now have a big coop to play in.  We did not go with a heritage breed this year, but I would have to write another long blog to explain why.  Next time I get a day to myself...

It has been a beautiful week, and today is predicted to be the best weather yet this spring, so I had better get off my butt and enjoy the sunshine.  I have plants to water, bees to check, and a car to pack full for the POSSCA Artist's Garage Sale taking place tomorrow.
Tomato and basil starts in the greenhouse, with cukes waiting in the tray.
Broccoli and cauliflower bed.

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