Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What's happening on the farm these days

Though the cool weather of the past few days probably isn't here to stay, it reminded us that the seasons are starting to change. As the days get shorter, we've been enjoying the longer evenings, and probably sleeping in too long in the morning! This week we just wanted to give you a glimpse of what is happening at the farm these days.
Our chicken flock is nearly to 100 birds now, many of which are hens and will hopefully lay well come next spring. It is a fun morning chore to let the chickens out, watching them scatter to find some early treats. The mothers and their chicks follow. We have two hens that recently hatched some chicks and there are about four more hens sitting. We continue to have loses due to hawks so these broody hens will hopefully help us keep our numbers up.
The bees have been in survival mode since the summer honey crop never happened. We've lost a few weak hives. The fall wildflowers are just starting to bloom (golden rod and aster) so this should hopefully help them start building up some winter stores. We'll also soon start to collect fall pollen, some of the best tasting we've found. We also will soon start testing all of the hives for mite levels in the hives. We do this by putting a board covered with sticky grease under the hive, leaving it 48 hours and counting the number of mites that have fallen out. This then tells us which hives are in need of mite-reducing manipulations and which should be fine as is.
Our small herd of goats continues to clean up the fence lines and the pastures. This past week, we've also added a new milk goat and a new milk cow to our animal collection. Both are starting to get used to the routine here. Our other cow, Elsea, is due to calf right around Christmas.
Before the rain came, we spent a day watering all of our new perennial plantings. We've lost a few of the blueberries bushes, but most of the plants are growing great.
And the garden is still producing well, so we've been busy preserving much of the harvest, canning tomatoes and freezing okra, peppers, and summer peas. Much of the fall garden is now planted and we're looking forward to those crops as well.
We always love visitors so come out and see for yourself. We'll even put you to work if you'd like!

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