Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Corn is Growing!!

I rarely grow corn in my garden.  It takes up a lot of room and it seems you must grow a lot to make it worth the while. Plus, in our environment, it's kind of like tomatoes...not hot enough for long enough.

But this year I was inspired to try it once again.  I was inspired by this book:
 In here she says you can plant corn into June yet.  
Then I was further inspired by a gentleman at Church who has been gardening forever.  He planted his corn in May and because of our amazingly warm spring it is already 4 inches or more high.  

So I decided to give it a go.

I took a tip out of the above book and "pre-sprouted" the corn.  I put the whole package of seed in between some wet paper towel.  I watered it to keep it moist until I saw little sprouts coming out of the corn.  ( I wish I had taken a picture.)

On Friday, June 12th, I planted my pre-sprouted corn in the ground.
Today here is a picture of the corn, poking it's way out of the soil,  only 5 days after planting it.
I think this is pretty cool!  I'm excited to see how this adventure in corn goes.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Wretched Racoons

My new flock of chickens loves to roost in the window of their coop.  The picture below is one of my favorites.  They are so cute sitting up there in the window. 
 This next picture shows the edge in the window that they roost on.  The chickens are much bigger now, nearly full grown.

 Just 2 nights ago we discovered that the racoons also like the look of the chickens sitting up on that ledge in front of 1 inch chicken wire.  And one inch is just big enough for those wretched creatures to reach through and try to nab a chicken. 
Sunday morning I found a pile of feathers and blood on the outside of the coop, and a dead chicken on the inside.
On Sunday evening I discovered one chicken has a big wound on her back.

And this morning, Monday, I found yet another very wounded on her leg and foot.  She can hardly walk.  This one appears to be a very old wound that is NOT doing well.  I cannot say for sure that this wound was caused by a racoon but there is dried blood on her and it's pretty nasty so I am guessing it is.  And it shows that the racoons have been here more then once recently.
When I discovered these poor chickens I was so upset.  It's one thing to have a chicken just up and die, this doesn't bother me.  I even butcher my own chickens. But to find them mutilated and tortured (trying to be pulled through a one inch mesh is pure torture) is completely different and I have struggled with this emotionally.

I have fixed the window sill so it off limits to the girls now.  But I'm still quite concerned about these wretched racoons.  We have actually seen one on our property several times in the last few weeks.  This is rarity. But could it be a sign of a big fight to come.  I think so.

I miss my dog Killick!  While he was here we never saw the coons.
Bey can't be trusted to roam and protected. Some guard dog he is.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Turkeys Arrive

We have embarked on a new adventure here at St. Brigid Farm....

We've never had such an adventure here although we have always wanted to. I, for one, am very excited to watch these cuties grow into a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner.  

 I went to the feed store to get chick starter for my little gals, and I ended up "rescuing" 7 loan leftover turkeys. They really aren't the breed I wanted, I wanted a heritage breed, but for the first efforts at raising turkeys, these will have to do. 
 I say rescue because they are a few weeks old, one is 5 weeks, and a few of them have some wounds due to living in too close of quarters. At least that is what they said at the feed store. The wounds aren't open wounds but rather scabbed over.
 I do have some concerns for their health because of these wounds. I've already begun applying some herbal salve to them.  My salve has calendula, garlic and tea tree oil (plus carrier oil).  We'll see if that helps them heal. 
  If the problem was indeed crowded living space then their new home should help.  They are currently in a large hutch but hopefully in a week or 2 I can allow them to go outside.

Come back often to see how they grow!

Friday, June 12, 2015

June 12

I have spent a great deal of time this winter and spring on a big project in the garden.  
I have been covering the paths with cardboard, scrap cloth and mulch.  I have a lot of mulch hauling to do yet but all the paths are covered with the cardboard or cloth.  This has been something I've wanted to do for years.  There used to be grass there. It was obnoxious during the height of growing season.  I was constantly fighting the grass out of the beds.  

Here is a picture from a couple years ago to give you an idea of what I'm talking about. The grass surrounding this bed is how the whole garden was.  
But I have finally won the grass battle!

Here are 2 pics of aisles...without grass.  One has the mulch on it and other just cardboard and shredded paper. You'll also notice in the pictures the other thing I have been doing with the beds...bordering them. You can see in the picture above that they didn't have borders either, which is probably the main reason the grass was such a hard battle.  My goal is to border them completely with wine bottles.  It is a fantastic way to recycle those wine bottles!  I get plenty from church.

 I have learned that you can cover lawn and grow a garden.  This bean bed (on the right, below) was just a bed of grass 3 months ago.  

I laid down thick cardboard, mulch, dirt and more mulch.  Put a border on it and planted some bean seeds.  Look at them grow.

I have one more bed to create.  It used to be a strawberry bed.  But remember that battle with grass, it won over the strawberry bed.  Now I have the tools to win it back.  After I'm done with everything else in here I'll remove this black plastic and build a bed.  Maybe I'll try strawberries again.

Well, here is what's growing in my garden today as of June 12th.
Garlic and cilantro. In the bare area I'm TRYING to grow asparagus.  I've been having a very difficult time of it.  I bought 1 year roots.  Only one grew.  My uncle sent me seed.  A few have sprouted.  I'm planting more.  We'll see.

Here is my bean bed.  This is one of the beds that I've completely lined with wine bottles.  I love it!

Spaghetti Squash.  I really hope it does well. We eat it all the time!

Snap peas for salads and stir fry.


Hops reaching for the sky.

Herb garden.  I have slowly developed this little area and I have more I want to do to make it better.  There is sage, mint, rosemary, lavender, calendula, thyme and oregano.

Here is a close-up of the calendula.  It's one of my favorites.  It is essential for use in salves for any skin ailment.

Tomatoes.  I grow in pots against the house.  They do best this way.

So far it has been a very productive spring.  I'm incredibly grateful for the delightfully warm weather we have had.  I know this may be bad for later but I won't let that darken the joy now.  

Friday, May 15, 2015

Duckling Adventures

We have some lovely, beautiful and precious new creatures here on the farm.  We call them "sluggers".  :)  We've had them for about 5 days now.
Charissa took this beautiful picture.  This is "Cheeto", she is a Pekin duck.

Charissa and Cheeto (she took this picture as well)

We have 4 Khaki Cambell (the brown ones), 2 runners(the 2 yellows in the back) and 1 Pekin.

They went for a swim today for the first time.

Monday, April 6, 2015

I love this place!

I know I don't keep you up-to-date very well.  Life just brings too much my way and as many of you know I'm one incredibly unorganized person.  I can't and won't make any more excuses for my lack of attention to this blog.

But one thing is for sure.

I love my little corner of this world, this so called "farm" I'm trying to build.

It's heaven to me to get out into the garden and dig.  To create.  To supply my family with food.

Here are some things I've done in the last 6 months:

I filled my freezer with 106# of fresh pork!  And boy I cannot wait to begin the 2nd adventures in raising pigs.  It was a grand time and something we will do again.

We've had an incredibly strange winter and everything is in full bloom and that means I've been able to get into the garden early.  I have continued to cover the paths in the garden.  I've put in a new raised bed and the best thing of all...

I built a chicken tunnel, or what I like to call a "chunnel".  It goes around the perimeter of the garden.  It will keep the bugs and weeds at bay.  The chickens love this thing.  Since I've installed it they have cleared all the grass from within.

The Chunnel

And last but not least we have added 30 little soon-to-be layers to the flock.  In 5 months we just might be able to keep with demand.

Those are the farm adventures!  And for about a month I will for sure not be back to blog.  If you go here you can see what why.  I'm about to have one of the biggest adventures of my life!!!

But I do endeavor to be back often over the best seasons of the year...spring and summer!!!  The busiest and best for this wanna-be farmgirl.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


his morning as I went out to do the morning chores I noticed that there was beginning to develop a sort of rhythm to the jobs. 

This felt very good!

We’ve had some changes since I last posted about the morning chores mostly because Bey has his own run now.  We don’t need to run him in the chicken yard any longer.  I also added a chore or two to the routine.  Here is how my rhythm has shaped up to be lately.

I start my day by walking Bey down the lane a bit.  I then take him to his new run and go to the house to grab 2 containers of water.

I fill 2 jars with warm water, one for Bey’s food and one for the pigs food.  Bey only gets about a cup or so but we read that solely feeding dry foods to dogs actually isn’t very good for them.  He enjoys the “gravy” that is created by adding warm water to his food.  

Bey is first with warm water. I feed him his warm gravy and food.  I then head to the pig yard.  I add 1 capful of Apple Cider Vinegar to their warm water (if you want to know why ACV go here).  I put 1/3 cup of alfalfa pellets in the warm water to dissolve ( lots of nutrients in alfalfa).  I fill their slop bucket with various grains along with “pig grower” which is a variety of grain and nutrients to, well, grow pigs.  I add the water to the slop bucket making their “hot cereal breakfast” and put in their feeder. 

I then head to the chickens, open up their coop, fill their feeder and throw down a little cedar shavings. 

About every 3 days I refresh the water containers for the pigs and the chickens. I put ACV in the chicken water.

I then go back to the pig yard with a bucket and pitchfork or shovel and clean up a bucket full of manure.  I’m determined not to let it get out of control because pig manure does stink!  I haul this down into the woods far from the house to where I’ve created a compost pile.  The last few times I gathered up some big maple leaves to add to the bucket to add variety to the compost.  Hopefully this will become a wonderful addition to the garden next year.
So far that’s it for the morning routine.  I got to thinking though how freeing it felt to feel this rhythm to my day.  And reminds me of  this…

“A habit is what we wear: A habit is the way we wear our days.
Wear new habits and your life gets a makeover.
Consistently do things at the same time everyday and find yourself a new person.” –Ann Voskamp of A Holy Experience