Time to Feed the Farm

The promise of a sunny, cold day!
The promise of a sunny, cold day!

 

Phoebe isn't sure if she's more interested in a hug or some hay.
Phoebe isn’t sure if she’s more interested in a hug or some hay.

 

Oliver helps clear out the chicken coop.
Oliver helps clear out the chicken coop.

 

Chickens looking for treats.
Chickens looking for treats.

 

Did you know that you can tell the sex of a duckling by its curly tail?
Did you know that you can tell the sex of a duckling by its curly tail?

A Few Too Many Beautiful Animals

Image

There were a few days this summer when we should have been paying more attention. If you check your chicks on the first day they’re hatched you can sex them. I refuse to kill animals on the first day of life. I just can’t do it. I won’t do it, but having nine roosters with only sixteen or so hens is a recipe for disaster, too. We should have sexed the chicks and separated them.

Image

During the summer it’s easy to find homes for roosters, but now in winter not so easy. They gang up on the girls and Tommy our head rooster is fed up with the others.

Image

Right now we’re paying for a lot of pets. Winter will keep the boys from being too sex-crazed (I hope since the young ones are very rough partners). I’ll keep looking for homes and kicking myself for letting things get out of hand.

I’ll never be a real farmer because I think chickens are too cute.

Image

farm kid and hen

Image

Bountiful Harvest By First-Rate Suburban Transplant Farmer–Not

Our first attempt at planting heirloom corn in heavy clay soil was, let’s say, less than stellar. But I wasn’t going to let that get me down. A small bit is better than nothing. So today I spent the last few hours shuckin’ corn. It’s a little harder than I though and I have these blisters on my thumbs but really homemade popcorn and cornmeal is sort of nice–now I have to learn how to put the grain grinder thing together.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Hmm. My hands look a bit dry.

Image

Don’t even tell me you don’t sometimes want to use evil pesticides.

All the books say if you have great soil and manage weeds and plant the right varieties you can re-create the Garden of Eden. Well, sometimes I like to think our beautiful spot is pretty idyllic.

Image

We’ve picked  fair crops of snap peas, string beans,  garlic and even a few beets. The Brussels sprouts are coming on . . .but out of the corner of my eye I see a bit of wilting on the pie pumpkins climbing over the cattle panel trellises that up to this point looked impressive. I ignore it, because that’s what I do sometimes.

Image

Finally when things get far gone and the evil music I hear as I walk by the pumpkins on the way to worming the goats gets to me and I take a real look.

Image

Can you see the little storm trooper of death? A squash bug happily laying millions (exaggeration maybe) of golden eggs of death which hatch into kind of cute bluish nymphs.

Image

My helper (farm kid) and I cut off as many destroyed leaves as we could with blue bugs crawling all over us and sprayed soap all over the little ones tip toeing over the pumpkins. I used the hard sprayer–so there you little creatures. I don’t care how cute you are,