Monday, April 30, 2012

Oh, and there's the homesteading thing...

I know it has been forever since I've written anything about how things are going on the farm.  The public art project has taken over my brain lately.  But, we still have to attend to animals, bees, and the massive garden.

So, just a quick summary:
We have 3 ducklings and 2 chicks.  They are in a rabbit cage in the barn with the goats, kept warm with a heat lamp.  But, they are growing fast and I need to figure out a safe way to give them some room very soon.  Unfortunately, the one duckling that I suspect is female has a deformed leg (or more likely, suffered a fracture early on and it healed wrong.)  I tried to create a splint to support her foot and leg, but she pulls it off every day.  She is still eating and drinking and growing, and the other ducks seem to protect her, so I am hoping she will be able to live a decent life with only one good leg.  We have tried to hold her a lot so that she will be more comfortable with us when she needs our help later, but all of the ducks are skittish.

We have a tractor-mower now, for keeping the lower pasture tended, and it has a system where we can catch the trimmings in big bins, easy to dump into the goat yard.  This provides fresh food for them and saves having to buy hay.  The tractor also has a little trailer that will help us haul wood, mulch, weeds, compost, etc.

Another new acquisition is a pick-up truck.  This is essential out here.  I had been carrying hay in the trunk, which is messy and inefficient.  The truck is only for hauling, not regular driving, and it makes life a whole lot easier.

We picked up two new hives of live bees in mid-April.  They are happily installed in their fancy new hives that Mike worked on throughout the winter.  We think the hives we lost this past year succumbed to mold, a common problem in this area.  But the new hives should help keep moisture out.

This time of year, it is important that we till, fertilize, weed and plant in a timely manner.  Having two big projects going right now makes it very hard for me to focus on the farm.  I manage to keep up with slug hunting and some weeding, but Mike has had to do the rest on his own.  He spends all of his time off work mulching, turning soil, amending, fixing and building new beds and structures.  Yesterday, he created a table for starting seeds in the sunroom, with a grow-light attached.  All of the beds are ready for planting, so I need to find time in the coming weeks to help with that.  If I don't, his hard work is for nothing and we don't have food in the coming year (or we spend a lot more buying things we could grow.)

Right now, I'm still making our morning smoothies with ingredients we harvested last summer.  We still have winter squash to eat and a lot of canned peaches and jam, plus many jars of honey.  There is so much summer squash in the freezer still, I will probably start feeding it to the goats and chickens.

So, while I have been writing more about the Artesian Well mosaic project, the little farm is still in progress and going well. 

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