Saturday, February 26, 2011

And now...pigs!

We just got these three little castrati today. Mighty cute, in a piggy way, though they can scream like tormented demons when they want to. We'll see how it goes. They're an experiment for this year and look set to be extraordinarily useful.

They're Tamworth pigs and few and far between in these parts. They're supposed to have nice dark, tasty meat. I hope that's so.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Those ducks, those cold, cold ducks.

Finally got around to getting a photo of the ducks and it would be on a snow day. But I figured I should post this before we have our next additions to the farm.

The white one is a Crested Pekin. He rather reminds me of a comic drunken colonel in a British novel. The dark one is a Cayuga. He's lovely and he's the boss of the ducks. I don't like him though. He'll be nice and meaty, at least. The one in back is a domestic Mallard. He's the smartest of the three and would probably fly away if he could. The hen is a Light Brahma and she'd better start laying soon if she knows what's good for her.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

What to do...?

Just for fun, here's the task list for the Better Half. This is for anyone who thinks country living is all fun and relaxation. I'm sure there must be a few people somewhere who still believe that.

* clear out herb garden--this just got finished today and I'm really looking forward to getting that all planted
* fix trailer on tractor, either with flat fixer or replace tire/wheel
* remove apple tree branches--this is from some SERIOUS pruning
* prune and fence grape vine--partially done and should be finished this weekend
* nesting boxes--I have a clever idea on this, which I shall document if it works

* make protective squirrel fencing for sunroom garden--we're planting peas there and squirrels love pea seeds!

* fix tractor so as to be able to mow--it apparently needs a new spring, of all things
* collect soil samples from garden extension and potato patch--I need to figure out what soil amendments we need
* clear downed trees from garden extension so that pigs can start doing their thing
* make pig shelter--might be able to use doghouse to start
* acquire hog panels
* make duck shelter
* prepare mudroom for presence of ducklings--we're planning to get 25 ancona ducklings, hoping to get enough hens to have a laying flock
* fence thimbleberries--only if AJ (the llama) is going to continue to have the run of that part of the woods, which may not be the case
* get grass bagger attached to mower

* clear and fence potato patch--going to have 400-600 square feet of pototoes, gardened dry
* clear and fence pasture north of garden extension (need to keep ahead of the pigs for clearing, fence and sow grass behind)

* get chicken tractor operational--ahead of time!
* fence garden extension--this will double the size of the irrigated garden and will be just beans and squash
* fence walnut--may need to be fenced earlier, but they don't leaf out until pretty late even in normal weather years

* this is chicken/turkey(?) time if the weather cooperates

Uncertain priority
* repair barbed wire
* extend fencing so that AJ can control blackberry--possibly corridor along east property line, with gates
* make AJ shelter
* install actual gates
* install additional lights/wiring/outlets in garage

My task list isn't as impressive, and involves a lot more paperwork. The Spawn and I will be doing a lot in the garden this year though. Or, at the least, I will and she'll be having fun in the pasture.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Yes, we now have ducks. Three drakes, who are busy out in the garden eating slugs. The chickens are out there eating and scratching the winter grass. Saves on adding nitrogen to the garden too!

We are actually planning on having a laying flock of Ancona ducks, but will be starting from ducklings late next month. The Spawn is mightily pleased at the thought of having ducks, I must say. I find them (so far) more entertaining than chickens too. They're amusing to watch as they dabble in the grass and they seem generally less descended-from-carnivorous-dinosaurs than chickens do. I have, on some camera or another, got pictures of the ducks. I may even get them off the camera onto the computer one of these days.

In the meantime, we're probably going to be planting three times as much space this year as last. And getting pigs, who will hopefully help dig up at least one of the other garden areas. As long as we're going to have 'em, we might as well get all the use we can out of 'em

The sheep are probably going to go. None of us much like them and we have a limited amount of usable pasture. We'd much rather have goats, if we're going to do ruminants. The hope with all this, by the way, is to discover what animals we DO want to raise before we buy our own property. What we raise will determine how much land we need in addition to a heap of garden space. Just in case anyone though we had some sort of homesteading ADD going on here.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Deus ex liber

Collaborative storytelling can be so much fun! The Better Half was making up a story for the Spawn at lunch today. He was attempting to do a version of the lion and the mouse involving a chicken and a grasshopper. Unfortunately for the story, the Spawn insisted on rescuing the chicken from every possible peril. Thus the story ended with the chicken being annoyed at having passed up a nice juicy grasshopper since said grasshopper never did follow through on its promise.