Thursday, July 30, 2009

First Fruits and Dying Dreams

Today I picked these few veggies from the garden. We have 3 yellow summer squash and 1 zucchini plus 10 pickling cucumbers. I'm going to fill my first jar of pickling cukes tomorrow. I'd like to do it the old fashioned way with good old natural fermentation. Nourishing Traditions has a recipe for just a quart so maybe I'll try that.

We had inherited a rooster awhile ago and I decided early this week that instead of butchering him as we've done with all our roosters I would take advantage of having him here and learn how to hatch my own chickens to increase the size of our flock. It all sounded wonderful and a perfect way to save the $1.80 per chick price (plus shipping). I even figure out how I was going to build an incubator out of apple boxes. But things don't always turn out as we hope.
Yesterday I was taking my daily walk through the garden and came upon a dead rooster! No idea what happened. He just up and died. We did hit 104 degrees yesterday so maybe he didn't drink enough and died from dehydration. So I guess I won't be hatching my own chickens this year.
My worry though is that he was diseased because just the day before we lost another chicken in that flock. The day before she died she was bleeding out of her vent. I thought since I separated her she was doing better because she looked better, the bleeding stopped, etc. But I was wrong.
I hope and pray there isn't a disease attacking my flock.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The farm in the heat of summer!

Seattle has record highs forecast all week. It's pretty amazing actually. This story explains why.
I refuse, though, to complain. I just need to remind myself of the cold rain, the mud that one needs to trudge through day in and day out when working on a farm in PNW in March. No, I'll take this heat any day!!! Here is how the farm is LOVING it or how some are staying cool.

My favorite thing to grow in the garden, green beans!! This year we have LOTS of plants. They are about a month ahead of last year and I am thrilled!! If you look closely you can see the tiny beans forming. The plants are covered in them and with this heat I anticipate we'll be picking beans by the weekend or very shortly thereafter.

I took this picture looking straight ahead at the corn! Corn loves heat! They are taller than I am now! A year ago on July 12th they were only maybe 6 inches high or so and we didn't get any. We hope for bountiful blessings this year. James counted 50 stalks. We probably could quadruple that for our family of 6 but we don't have room.

Summer squash in full bloom with a few ready to pick. I have 2 of these plants called "super pik" and I hope we'll get to pick a lot!

Zucchini loves heat at well and is going to town. I just love these squash plants. All the varieties. They are so majestic looking!

Here are 2 of my volunteer tomato plants. Full of blooms and loving the heat. I pretty much gave up on tomatoes for preserving so I only have a few plants just for fun and eating at the summer dinner table but I tell you what, these are the best plants I've produced yet. I have 8 plants of various kinds in pots and several volunteers in the garden that I've let go. They all look awesome!

Here we have the animals trying to stay cool. The barnyard where the goats are is continually under shade so they just dig some dirt away to cool earth and lay there.
The chickens, below, hide in this one little corner until relief comes. As the sun moves across the sky their shade gets bigger.

And last but not least, the human animals on the farm cool off in this manner.

I just hope and pray that this blessing of sun and heat sticks around for another month. Oh yeah, don't get all uptight you PNWers who hate. I could stand for 20 degrees cooler than today's 101.2 registered at the nearest weather station to our house (about 2 miles up the road).
I just don't want another blog post like this one in late August of last year titled "Mud, garden and eggs". No, I'm not ready for the heat of the summer to be over and I surely am not looking forward to fall and all the rain that comes with it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Decisions are made

I have made the decision to sell the goats. This was huge! But now that I've made the decision and we've talked it over with the children it is all accepted and everyone is fine with it.
The farm plans have just changed. We've not "given up" on the farming idea we are just changing our focus. After a lot of thought and research I've determined that where I really would love to put my focus is in the poultry business. We've got a real niche market it seems and if I expand the flock I am certain that I can actually earn a decent part-time income. We are going to get our business license and register our name, St. Brigid Farm, and apply for an egg-handlers permit (which really doesn't involve anything but filing a form with the state).
I will be somewhat sad to see the goats go but am I very excited about the future of the poultry business.
I have sold 3 of the 5 goats already and we have Brie and her baby left.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Goodbye Singeli and Jack

Singeli and Jack went to a petting farm not far from here. They'll be loved. Joseph will miss Singelo (as he calls her). He cried. I'm glad the other children are gone all week (although they did know they were going).

Got Milk?

I often have an abundance of milk and so sometimes will just dump some out to the chickens who love it!