Thursday, December 1, 2011
Today is a snow day---- it is coming down, covering the buildings and fields. Covering everything, including the dreams and projects. I'll think more about them some other day. Now I am interested in this REAL stuff. This snow will probably stay on the ground. We have had freezing weather for a week and the ground has gotten harder with deep freezing every night. No more digging. No more 'fixing one more thing' in the garden. The frost has put that to rest and this season is ended. I think I did 'good.'
So this morning as I look around, everything seems new and fresh and clean. What a wonderful day to be out here. Winter is here and I want to walk the new trails out in the woods. Last month I got the DR Brush Cutter fixed and I got to use 'my Walker' again. Sometimes when I am behind it, I think I can go all day. Anyway I widened trails and blazed some new ones in the back of the woods where the brush has been too thick to even walk through. Anyway, back there is a different woods--- there are a series of clearings through the raspberry brush with deerbeds and dozens of interconnecting trails among small groves of dense maple and poplar trees. Hmm. Sort of liked I walked into their living rooms. I haven't found nearly all of them yet. But that is for another year.....
Friday, August 5, 2011
Today is the day after Processing Day. The chicken yardgates and the coop doors are open. Feeder trays and waterers are in a row-all rinsed. It is pretty empty and quiet. No fat hens clucking, cooing, and squawking. The sunshelters are knocked down until next year. Today the yard is drying in the sunshine. In the mornings when I opened the coop door they would come running out, flapping their wings for lift and speed, and squawking to rejoice the morning and a full grain feeder tray. There I am laughing at them. Thank you birds for what you have given me.
Yesterday, one at a time the birds were carried to the cages in the trailer. We tarped the cages and drove to the Processing Facility. The workers were ready for us and the birds were taken care of for us. Saying butchered is hard. But reality. I needed good healthy food and I raised these chickens for that purpose. I gave these chickens the best non-gmo feed mix I could buy. I did what I could to keep them healthy and fit. My friends and family deserve good food. I am so glad I can do this for them and for me. It is just harder than going to the Supermarket and picking up a tray of chilled meat. So like the Chippeau Indians, I say, 'Thank you chickens for giving me life.'
We all live with a life and death cycle. I feel it and see it all around me out here. The woods, fields and slough and filled with life cycle/ preditor-prey relationships. It is just the way it is. All the plants and animals out here end up being food or shelter for something else. But in the meantime, flowers bloom, fawns run in the field and hawks float on the wind. In the city we controlled it and I didn't see it working. This country life is hard and at the same time it is beautiful. I am lucky to be transplanted here..... Lucky to be living in this real world of sky, soil and Nature. Thank you for letting me share this bit of my heart.
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Let's see..... A month of farming-- Well, the chickens are doing great! The are healthy, active and Big. They have three shade structures and they all have a places to go to stay out of the sun. I lost 2 birds to the Sun one afternoon. The decided to keep their heads in a cool shady place and leave their bodies in the sunlight. I felt so bad. Earlier I had walked right by them and did not make them move. So the next few days I came in and gave rain showers in the afternoon to keep everyone active. Lately the air temps are down and it is raining more, so there are no repeats. During the hot week I let the birds sleep out overnight. Then my neighbor told me he lost two chickens at night to something...... We have a lot of coyotes here and they are fearless. So I am back to bundling them in every night. My little wire fence isn't that good. More lessons for me.
Oh, the raspberry patch was just GOLD! It is about 100' long and 3-10' wide. Every mature bush was loaded! What a sight to lift a branch and see 20 big berries. I don't think I have ever had berries like that. So I have been picking practically every morning for 2 weeks. It doesn't get old either. I put my can on my belt, step into the canes and pick. What a wonderful thing... a few hours in another world. My problems dissolved and my busy brain slowed way down. Maybe it wasn't the temperature that slowed me down, it was the raspberries..... Then at night I fill a big mug with berries, drown them in milk and enjoy the best desert ever! Their season is pretty much over. Thank you Hamburg!
So then weeds ...... In early July I had things pretty clean. A week ago the weeds declared victory. They forgot about the lawn mower. I mowed between the rows and gained back some control. Now I am weeding the rows that are in the most need. Maybe in a week their victory will be a stalemate! The idea of gardening from 7-9 am seems like a plan. The summer produce is really starting to ripen. Green beans today!
I'll try to walk all around the land this week and see if I can understand what is going on with the fields, and the season. There is change out here all the time.
Friday, July 1, 2011
Tonight we are all tucked in. The flock has just gone in the coop and I finished the cleanup. The heat was pretty tough on us. Their outside pen is planted in peas 'n oats. The greens are about a foot tall and the birds have trails through the patch. I've been working out some things so they have activity, freedom of movement, and safety. Outside the coop door is an open area with room for the feeders, a waterer and shade shelters. I am trying to have it fixed so that there is shade for all 100 birds throughout the day. Also I want enough feeders so all 100 can be eating at the same time. I got another 3 foot trough so I am ok with that for now. I put netting over the top of the fence to give the hawks some problems. But they are so big and strong they could probably blast right through it. Anyway I feel more secure. So today the birds came out at about six. I fluffed the bedding, aired the coop for the day, and refilled the waterer. Today they drank 5 gallons of water. I watched them for a while. A few maybe a dozen were in the peas-nipping at leaves. Some were running, occasionally pairs were having face-offs to see who was boss. Most were walking around or just standing. The little tiny chick has started growing finally. She is the still the smallest but she is catching up to the others. Most have feathers all over except where they are having growth spurts. They don't look nearly as ugly as they did 2 weeks ago. Anyway by 8 they are ALL eating grain cereal. It is non-GMO grains with vitamins and protein. Probably a lot better than the cereal I was eating.
Today it was so hot most birds got in the shade, fluffed up and settled on the cool ground. They have good instincts. Then tonight I brought down more grain and grit for tomorrow. After hurting my arms last year I put stuff on the dolly and tow it. No more carrying the 50 lb bags... I put down a new layer of bedding and filled the waterer. When I opened the door to the coop and got out of the way, about a third zipped right in, another third went for drinks and more feed, the rest didn't move at all. Before dark I came back and scooted them all in and closed the door. The windows were all open and the temp was down, so they will sleep alright. Tomorrow is another day.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Today I let the chicks go from the little 4x12 incubator room to the big 12x12 coop room. They were sooo ready. In two weeks they have tripled in size and become so independent. No more red heat lamps at night.... they are growing feathers instead of the cute chick fluff. They look sort of ugly as the feathers grow in. I guess Pullet is about like Teen. No more cup size feeders and quart size waterers.....They have the adult grain feeders and a 5 gal waterer. There are 100 in this flock and tonight when I checked and shut things down, most were resting together and a few were still eating and getting drinks.
The new Non-GMO feed mix is going well. The birds are really growing and healthy. I found the feed mill company on the internet. Their site explained things well and their rep is down near Marshfield. So I bought 9 weeks of feed. It is more expensive but I think it is better for me to stand up for myself and the people that buy from me. So this is working ok!
I didn't write for quite a while. I've got some excuses: the weather was cold, working outside was hard, the tractor had a flat tire every morning and it would backfire. I think I was grumpy. But one day I was out in the woods in the snow looking at the tops of trees so I could cut the dead ones for firewood. ......... And way, way up in the sky I could see these little white dots. They were white birds moving in circles, way up there. They were just gliding and floating------- Some kind of white swans. Then one flew through the gliders and they all joined up in a white V heading NW. Their rest break was over. I am in Awe of Nature and the workings of the Universe. So much is happening all around. I don't even understand what I am seeing.
May was a tough month physically. I just had to keep working all day and every day. The season was changing from winter/spring to summer. Every day there was another thing that needed to be done in order to keep up with the awakening earth. Then the tree planting took two weeks....I didn't think it would be so hard, but planting a thousand trees, means bending over at least 2000 times. Luckily my partner helped me when I was wearing out. It is done now and in a few years it will really be something!!!! The garden is starting. We had rhubarb sauce and rhubarb cake. It was so good. Then the asparagus started to come up. Such good food. Funny, every day I am doing something I really like to do. How lucky am I!!!!
Friday, February 25, 2011
Welcoming another Spring! I have been making another garden map. I can just see the plants growing and the berries getting ripe. What a great year this will be. The surgery is behind me. My arms are healing and I am without the constant pain. What a gift! I will have to be careful with my arms and use tools. I can do that. I will have to plan and be smart. I can do that, too.
I am making goals. For the gardens--a kitchen/herb garden, a market garden and a grain field for the chickens. For the edge of some fields, I have ordered 1000 pine trees to make windbreaks and habitat areas. In the woods I can make winter firewood, prune out broken trees and make more hiking trails.
Then too I will sometimes mention 'We' as well as'I'. I won't always be doing things alone. 'We' are sharing some landscape and woodland projects and that is nice. We are working things out. More later as the projects become defined.