A farm update is long over due. Plenty of things have changed since my last update… Lets see inside the house, A is quite mobile, following us everywhere, interested in pretty much everything she should not be handling, cords, remotes, laptops, and iphones.
The child proofing has begun, but will be an ongoing project as A finds things we have not yet secured.
Outside the house has been just as exciting. Around sheering time, which we hosted here for the first time, we introduced a few more alpacas to the herd. We are up to 9, which is pushing the number of animals I’d want to have here. It’s not too much for the land, but we don’t have it equitably divided, or shelter in alternate pastures, so it’s one big group for now. We’d ideally divide this into at least 3 paddocks, if not 5, or six, extending the fenced in area down the side of the house towards the lower fences. That is a long way off.
A few months ago we lost 7 chickens to a fox. It was a sunny afternoon, we had let the birds to do their nearly daily roaming, scratching and exploring, which they have enjoyed for the past few years without incident. I look out the window and see a red fox jogging along the side of the house, towards the coop. I immediately ran outside, there were no birds to be found. I was able to scare off the fox, but that was little reward.
We spend the remainder of the afternoon searching out the remaining birds. Charlie our rooster survived, two year old young birds, wisely flew up into the windows in the barn, and the solitary Balaclava eventually showed up as well. 7 down, 4 left. We pretty much immediately rushed 3/4′s of a dozen off to incubate in hopes to save the genes of the birds we knew and loved. On a positive note, we had planned on rotating some of the older layers out once the hatches have grown up. This expedites the plan, and was a deeper cull than we had intended, but does prevent us from having to find new homes for two year old birds. As for the replacements, we had already hatched out 4 birds, 2 blue laced reds, 2 aracanas. It turns out one of the blr’s is a rooster, so he’ll need to find a new home. Of the 8 eggs we rushed off to the incubator, only two hatched, and we have yet to identify sex yet. I’m hoping for two more hens, to leave us at a 9 birds, 8 layers. Which would be a good volume for our coop this winter.
We’ve also added a half dozen guinea fowl to the flock. I built a small hutch for them, with the help of Joe. It might be a little too small, after all is said and done, but they now have a home. We placed it on the far side of the barn to hopefully insulate us from the noise of the flock as they can be noisy. Hopefully in a few weeks I can put on the pop door, and allow them freedom to range.
Lets see what else is new… This years Csa has been flying by, I’ve put up some pesto, a batch of tomato sauce, one batch of jam, but that’s about it no pickles yet. I suppose we’ve also put up some food for A, beets, summer squash, and carrots. I’ve not really had a lot of time to cook, and with my lack of motivaton it’s been tough using it up each week. When I get home I want to play with A, get her to bed, and relax. This however does not mean we have been skipping the farmers market, we have been regular shoppers there, which often is a highlight of my weekend.
So in a nutshell, a lot of little stuff has changed on the farm, but it remains the same.