I really wish I could share pictures of K. and C., who are having their first farm springtime, complete with baby goats, dam building in the creek, their own gardens, finding nests of newly hatched chicks, catching toads and salamanders, eating salads made with wild greens they collect themselves, but that would violate their privacy. Still, I think I can give you at least a sense of the Hun-like decimation of food that goes on in my house with six little guys - they all stuck their hands in over the jambalaya to show how a pan the size of Idaho makes just over one meal:
Meanwhile the general population is expanding - goats, chicks and now cows:
Meet Dulce du Leche (in black) who is our new house cow. Well, right now she's our house calf, but eventually she'll be our family milk cow. She comes from wonderful friends who are doing amazing things with breeding for sustainable milk. It will be two years before we get a drop from her, but we're very excited. Isn't she a beautiful girl?
Meanwhile, the usual things are blooming like crazy - I'd show you more but the pix are taking forever to load, so that's why I'm posting so little - too much fun stuff going on!
How about you? What's new in your neck of the woods?
We just got the keys! Have been working on starting a community-run market garden on the housing estate where I live for just over two years. Got help on CSA-startup from you and Aaron on one of your courses. The site is an old school playing field that's been derelict for ten years, so we have a way to go to get it planted up.
We are having a Big Opening shindig this weekend with cooking activites, cake raffle and so and and we are having the Deputy Lord Mayor coming to turn over a ceremonial first turf. We have got to make the most of having got this far. First milestone. (New FB page - https://www.facebook.com/CanleyFoodProject - would love folks who like local food to 'Like' our page please so we can get it started up, hope it's ok for me to big it up here.)
This is our second year in our new place. I can tell that the soil is improving. Everything that was small last year is already bigger and a little more productive. I love watching the results from improving soil.
We have two new ewes. They are young and chatty. When I am head down in the garden I can hear them muttering in between bites of grass. One ole' girl is losing her sight and we have to help her find her way out of her paddock. But she is still quite spunky and otherwise healthy.
I have been helping the group of mom's I hang out with with some canning. We get together about once a month and do some community canning. So far we have made dandelion jelly and rhubarb salsa. It sorta give me a bit of a boost by adding a communal element to what can be a solitary activity.
You call that a big pan? Failure of the imagination!
The calf is a beauty! Nita at The Matron of Husbandry has very specific and what seems to me to be very sound information about raising milk cows- you probably have already read her stuff because I notice she is on your side- bar of favourite blogs. Your life seems very full and blessed Sharon!
We have had a few visitors to the one year old forest garden, and reactions have been positive. The Rugens alpine strawberries are producing some nice snacks, elderberry getting ready to bloom, most perennials doing quite well. Ducks are fine and laying, and so far we have avoided plagues such as we had last year. For all this and more, I am grateful.
Despite another wet, non-spring here on the west coast, the veggies are surviving and some thriving. I'm very pleased to be taking the Master Preserver class through the Extension, and look forward to demo-ing food preservation this summer. I've gotten involved in planning the first local Food Preservation Fair (slated for fall) and getting to know those who put on local famers' markets. It's nice to finally find a community of like-minded folks, after having friends and family roll their eyes and laugh gently at me.
Dulce is beautiful!
We are on calf-watch here, Sasha, our milk cow, should deliver any time in the next week or so, judging by her udder and the state of her hip ligaments. I'm so excited!
The garden is rather appalling this year, but I do have some potatoes and onions in and some beets and carrots and things that may start to sprout now that we've had a bit of rain. The pastures are doing really well, at least, so we've had a nice balance of sun and rain so far.
Congrats on the critters and the happy kids! You have a good life, and I'm glad you share it with us.
"finding nests of newly hatched chicks, "
Oh, yes? I think way back there, one of my "eaten" comments was requesting specifics on how you propagate your chickens. Do you have an incubator? Just let them lay where they may? And how well does that work? It's very relevant to me; I'm trying to work out how to do it in my own very peculiar circumstances; and I'm not doing well.
When my chickens "steal their nest" and start setting- the outcome, 98% of the time is; predation. Either the eggs are eaten; or the hen and the eggs are eaten. Thing is; they're living far from any buildings; they have no barn access.
On my mind. I've just had reports radioed in by two sets of workers: "there's a pile of Cochin feathers in the orchard, west end.." which likely means I'm out a rooster. And 3 hens went missing last week... so some kind of drastic action is being called for.
Greenpa, we do have an incubator, but it belongs to Isaiah (8) and he mostly uses it to hatch out more ducklings than we need ;-). We've had very good luck with letting the hens set, but they mostly either set indoors or under the calf feeders or milk stanchion outside, and we do have an LGD - been a while since we had a predator in the farmyard. I do have to take the hatchlings away for the most part, though, since the chicks are lost to predation after hatching if not.
After three years of trouble-free goat rearing and wonderful goat milk production, one of my does has mastitis which won't resolve and I had my first case of diarrea in a kid. Was so use to caprine perfection, but I am coping and getting enough milk from my healthymdoemtombe back in the swing with yogurt , cheese & milk.
One of my hens did hatch seven keets and two chicks for me, and six weeks later she is still bringing them to "lock up" each night. She keeps them close by in our predator-resistant yard during the day. So far, so good.
Lots of goodies from the garden, although I have to water daily. New baby feral hog to try & contain and eventually butcher. Vermicomposting a bit slow & have a new grub (Black Soldier Fly) composting biopod starting to provide chicken feed and better food for the red worms. Neglecting the donkey, mule & cows some, but they don't seem to mind as long as they have feed, water & pasture to roam.