It may sound a little naïve or even crazy, but I had no idea that building a farm would keep me this busy!
Maybe it's because everything is on a bigger scale, or maybe it's because I find myself doing 20 different jobs a day, but either way I have slacked on blogging because the work around here has kept me busy.
Fair warning, this post may be a little scattered, but I'm going to try my best to do a sweeping overview of everything that's bee going on.
First up, we added turkeys! I woke up one morning and informed Karen that I would be driving to Lulling and picking up turkeys.
Of course, Karen acted shocked, but he quickly fell in love and now spends time every day making them puff out and strut.
Of course we got them as tiny poults, but now I can't find those photos to share. Maybe one day I'll do a flashback Friday and spam you with baby animal pictures.
Next up, there has been lots of cleaning up. Karen and I have hauled truck loads of branches and brush all to the back of the property. Our well pump went up, and we had to cut down limbs off of a tree so the company could pull up the 300ft of pipe and the dead pump. See, I wasn't kidding when I said I've been busy. That, in addition to some dead trees, provided a fort and chew things for the dogs, but we decided it would be best to move it before it attracted any other furry friends.
I also had Karen help me with some mead making. I met the gentleman who leases the property across the road and convinced him to let me harvest some of the prickly pears that grow in the fields. He was more than happy, and said he'd love to try my Prickly Pear mead once it's finished. Of course, as the name implies, you've got to get rid of all the spines before you can peel and juice them.
Enter Karen and a flame thrower!
Alright, technically it's just a propane torch, but it's as close to a flamethrower as we've got and made for a fun evening.
Not only is it beautiful, but in about 6 months it will be delicious! As with most things, mead gets better with age.
I had an epic basil harvest, and needed to have a tent just to hang and dry all of it.
I cleared out the garden to make way for the fall crops and greatly underestimated the amount of basil I would be pulling. No worries, I got it all dried and ready for future use.
Another Karen project was building nesting boxes. Our chickens were just about to start laying. I had purchased some metal carts and a wire rack, along with some plastic crates. I explained my idea and left the ever creative Karen to make it work!
They had proven to be not only easy to clean, but also the perfect size for multiple chickens to share. Because if you've ever had chickens you know, they all insist on using the same box, at the SAME TIME!
And sure enough, the eggs started rolling in!
One particular egg shocked me, to be completely honest, I thought it was covered with poop. But it's not, she is just a fancy layer who likes to speckle her eggs.
We've also had some blue and green layers start. Every day is like an easter egg hunt around here. We're excited to see how many and what colors and patterns we end up with.
I've also been getting the garden set up for the fall growing season. Since we are in zone 8b/9a, we have a weird split season. Pretty much I can grow and regrow almost all of the things from spring, just in reverse. Starting with my hot loving crops and phasing in the cooler crops.
I've got tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers already growing again, and broccoli and all of my cold crops started as seedlings indoors.
I even have a little garden toad friend. Granted he scared me to death the first time we met, but now we're buds!
The final thing I'll end the catch up post with is the best and worst part of farming.
We have a motto for our animals, they will only have one bad day. Inevitably for some of the roosters, that day had come. We knew that we had too many, but after seeing how the harass the hens and some of the not as dominant roosters relentlessly, it was their time.
The night before I was getting everything ready and both girls were like, We get to help you tomorrow right?
Um, I had planned on just doing it myself, they hadn't butchered in almost 2 years and I didn't know if they would really want to jump back in. But if they're asking to help, I'm all for it!
The next morning bright and early we got everything outside set up and went to work.
The smallest doesn't like to watch when I make the cut and bleed them out. But the oldest was fine helping hold their legs and ensuring that each was dispatched as quickly as possible.
They didn't skip a beat, once we got the bird up to start plucking and processing both girls jumped in and were the best help I could ask for.
And just like that, from farm to table we put 4 roosters in the freezer and gave the flock a little tranquility until we know exactly which rooster we want to keep. Then the final ones will join freezer camp.
I'm endlessly proud of my girls. Not only because they wanted to help and were excited, but also that they feel comfortable enough to tell me which parts they would rather not be a part of.
We believe in being as close to your food source as possible. We raise and grow everything from fruits and veggies to meat, eggs and eventually dairy. You develop a whole different level of appreciation for your food when you are the one harvesting it. And that's exactly what I want to pass on to my girls.
So there you have it, an overview of the things that have been keeping me busy around here.
I keep promising a coop tour, that's my goal for the next post, I may even throw in an additional surprise, mobile poultry housing tour!