Friday, April 29, 2016

Herb Bed Additions

While out picking up a few more tomatoes for the garden I ran across these two herbs. Horehound and Apple Mint. In additional to being a medicinal herb, Horehound produces a great flower for the bees. There are several recipes for cough drops out there that I may give a try. The Apple mint brings back found memories of the huge clump my mom had growing in the corner of our large vegetable garden growing up. It can be used for everything from a refreshing tea to a facial toner and even jelly! Good finds today!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

More Lambs

3 more lambs have arrived. A single solid moorit ewe and another wildly colorful set of twins!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Future Greenhouse Site

This area beside the barn used to be the old riding ring when we had horses. Later it was a small pasture but after the fence started falling down we decided to make this the future greenhouse site. Our plan is to plant in the ground in raised beds for a continual winter harvest. This is a perfect spot with close access to water and power. Super excited and fingers crossed a late summer ground breaking!

Monday, April 25, 2016

More Chickens...and LAMBS!

Today the replacement laying chicks arrived. A combination of production reds, golden comet and araucanas are settled in the brooder.

A morning lamb check found a little ram up and doing well. His mother has been keeping him far away from human contact and I finally gave up. He is a black and white spotted little guy. Sadly, this afternoon while checking the flock, I found his twin, another ram, dead in the woods. Possibly born dead as he was huge and mom never finished cleaning him up.
The afternoon check revealed this set of twins. Looks like a ram and a ewe. Flashy little ones these!!

I feel quite sure there will be more overnight arrivals as many of the girls are very close.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Spring is rolling along here on the homestead. The garden has settled in nicely even with the lack of rain. We dodged a late frost and it looks like we will be blessed with loads of strawberries, blueberries and blackberries.
The meat birds rapidly outgrew the brooder and have been moved to the mobile chicken tractor. As soon as they no longer need a heat lamp we'll move it to the orchard we they can range more freely.
Today we mowed hay. It is going to be a scarce year. I thought last year was bad but with no rain this year is going to be much worse. One of the fields where we normally get several hundred bales will most likely not even be mowed. There is just not enough to make it worth it. Instead we plan to let the sheep graze it and hope it will cut hay consumption enough to conserve more for winter months.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Herb Bed Re-do

I have been busy revamping the herb beds. I let them go for a couple of years because of Luke's little dog and his bad habit of peeing on them!! He has since moved up the hill and I have my beds back. New thyme, cilantro, basil, oregano and sage plants, just to name a few, once again line the walkway.
They have already been put to work in the kitchen adding delicious flavor to an herb loaded lamb dish hubby prepared recently!
I plan to add some more medicinal herbs and on a recent trip to Home Depot found a Meyer lemon, a key lime and an olive tree. Those are going in pots and placed in the bed since they will have to be moved in during winter months.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Meat Birds

Our meat birds arrived on Thursday but have spent the last few nights in the tack room of the barn until we could get them moved. We had a lot of repair work to do to the brooders after the raccoon attacks of last spring. The raccoons had bent in the tops and ripped out side panels in an effort to get to the chicks. Doug built a plywood top with  a pulley so it can be easily lifted and it covers both brooders. this prevents top attacks. One side board left to put in place and we have what we hope to be the "Fort Knox" of chicken brooders!!

51 birds are now safely housed for the next few weeks until they are feathered out and ready for the chicken tractor in the orchard.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Happy Chickens

The chickens are glad warmer weather and longer days have arrived. Each day they venture out into the pastures eating lots of bugs and tender grass. Today they blessed us with 27 eggs!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Welcome Spring

Another long lull in posting but it doesn't mean things are hopping on the homestead! Spring is a busy time of year for us. The early garden has been planted and things are starting to peak out of the ground. Snow peas, sugar peas, beets, turnips and radishes are all up. We also planted 60 pounds of seed potatoes and over 700 onions!
The goats kidded the end of January. We had a set of triplets and a set of twins. Two will be leaving for their new home in a couple of weeks and the others are going to remain here as replacement stock. Lots of spots this year!!

The fields have been fertilized and we are hoping for a good hay crop. However, we are already 3 inches below normal on rainfall so that may make for another low yield again this year.
 Yes, Spring is here and we are ready. Things are humming on the homestead!