Today was kind of a sad day; we said goodbye to Mr. White, one of our Barred Rock chickens from the first batch of babies. He was our first injury, and therefore an unplanned euthanasia. I guess they are never planned. We found him one night, unable to stand or walk, we thought he might have broken something – so we isolated him from the others, made sure he had food and water… helped him eat and drink, and kept him warm for a few days, but he continued to deteriorate. Today we saw that he was no longer eating, and we didn’t want him to wither away slowly. Continue reading
While I was out goofing off in California, the littles got new digs! They’ve gotten so big in the last ten days or so! Sue purchased a 80′ net which she added on to the 50′ net they were put into just a week or so ago. Look at the space it gives them! They are loving the new digs, but it got us thinking about what to do for the littles and the bigs during the winter months. Especially today when we woke up to our first feeeze- luckily we were more than ready!
Sue called her trusty carpenter friend, Brent, a couple of weeks ago and asked about helping us create a permanent chicken coop that we can use all winter and that will work as a brooder as well for all seasons. At the same time we wanted to provide area to house feed and netting etc. Brent has been wonderful- he laughs at our ideas and then goes about helping us find the right way to do it and the most cost effective way.
So, here he is discussing things with Sue as his guys frame up the foundation for the coop. We might have it poured on Tuesday, barring the presence of a rain storm. Things happen fast around here!!! We’ll definitely post some photos of the pour.
Until then, thanks for reading!
Today’s weather: 34 degrees this morning- frozen bird baths. High was 73 degrees with a winds coming from the East.
The There are many different ways we’re trying to plant and grow our food over the long term. We’re on some densely packed soils and we have long dry periods, without much precipitation, so one thing we’re trying out is Hügelkulture. Hügelkulture is a type of raised bed gardening that replicates the natural process of decomposition that occurs on forest floors. In general, you mound or pile wood, leaves, weeds, garden debris- cover with compost or soil and plant on top. Over the long term, the gradual decay of the wood and other materials provides a consistent source of nutrients. Soul aeration increases as the debris breaks down, continually tilling itself over time. Also, the logs and beaches act like a sponge; rainwater is stored and then released during the dry times.
When we took over the care of the property, we inherited a water feature project that was only in its beginning stages. The previous owner had dug two separate pond areas connected by a stream. So there were ditches dug quite deep and Sue got the idea to fill them with the debris we were creating by trimming trees and pulling out weeds and more weeds. Now we have mostly filled the ditches with debris and are in the process of obtaining horse manure to cover the top and then adding some top soil from a neighbor’s yard- they don’t want it, it’s leftover from an excavation project. In a few weeks we’ll be planing our fruit and nut trees on top and seeing how it progresses over the long haul!
So, this Permaculter Class Sue and I are taking through Oregon State University has been really quite informative. Some of the design questions that need to be answered or addressed are rather common sense, if you’re paying attention to the environment, but others that we’re studying make me go hmmm. One of the common sense ones is: paying attention to wind direction; however, our wind directions are quite fickle, and gusty! They play havoc with our gardens because we can water in the morning and then in a couple of hours everything is completely dried out. We’re trying to decide where to plant a wind break, but the wind comes from all directions~ we can’t just wall in everything (tho’ we might have enough rock to do that!). AND sometimes it’s so incredibly strong that it just picks up the chicken chalets and tosses them around. How rude! Continue reading
We had an exciting morning today~ as the sun came up and Sue was out with the goats and I had just started setting water on the trees, we were entertained by the sudden evacuation of three Collared Peccaries, or Javelina. Some people call them wild pigs, but they really aren’t related. They were over investigating what we call “the dinky house” and the garage that housed Sue’s tractor. I think they were looking for some goat feed. Sue scared ’em up and they took off across the field. Actually, I think Sue was surprised as they were, but she had her wits about her and was able to catch this action shot of the mama leading the escape. Boy, I was surprised at how quickly they were able to hot foot it out of there. We think it was a mama and two teenagers. One teenager hid and then got separated when he didn’t follow the other two. Hopefully they will get back together later.
I think they’re kinda cute, really, but I guess that they’re noted for wreaking havoc in gardens and flower beds. On Fort Huachuca, during Halloween, they were imploring those that live on Post to NOT use real pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns because they attract the Javelina and then they run amok through the neighborhood. On their FaceBook page, Fort authorities were putting up WANTED posters for specific Javelinas caught in the act. They were just tongue and cheek, because the hunting season doesn’t begin until January. If they camouflage themselves as well as they do around our place, hunting must be difficult. The photo to the left is really two of them in the middle of the field (other side of the fence), but, in the morning sunrise, they just look like two little bushes.
It’s always an adventure for us! Thanks for tagging along.
Thanks for reading.
Today’s weather: Clear all day. This morning it was 47° at 6:30 a.m. when we met our neighborhood Collard Peccaries. High was 75°. Low tonight is supposed to be 40°. The wind has come back up, but there’s nothing about that, and we don’t really have a way to measure it at this point. (I’m thinking that we need a weather station for Christmas!)
It seemed like a long day today, but we spent a great deal of it in town, rather than home on the farm. We weren’t really able to get to many projects today, but the afternoon was exciting for us, and for the littles. Today they graduated into the chickshaw. We wanted to give them some roaming room~ they’re getting so big really quickly~ and we weren’t sure about letting them out with the bigs. So, we put up the smaller electrified poultry net, 50′ long, that you can sort of see behind the chicks, and wheeled in the new chickshaw. They aren’t laying of course, so Sue just temporarily screwed up some of the siding over the area where we need to add the nesting boxes. We moved ’em in the evening, so they would overnight in the chickshaw and tomorrow morning they will have a whole lot of new ground to cover! The wooden door you see unlatches and becomes their ramp in and out. Normally, we’ll have the food and water on the ground, not in the pen because they’ll only go in there at night. They don’t know it yet, but they’ll be so much happier. Then, we’ll be able to easily move them around to different areas of the property, when they’re ready to start working. Small steps, but important ones.
That’s it for today,
Thanks for reading!
Sue returned with Goats on Monday! Two young males who are really good buddies. Their names are Taco George (the brown one) and Mine (the black and white one). Those are the names they came with… Sue keeps calling them “Taco Bell” and “Mime”. We have them in an area that, we think, was used to pasture burros previously. It was already fenced in pretty well. However, we are also re-purposing a small workroom as their night time dwelling, and the fencing around that particular area is rather sketchy. If they wanted, the little guys could just push it right over and walk away. Luckily, if that happens, they will still be in a fenced in area; it’s just not as secure. Continue reading
So~ Sue and I are currently enrolled in an Intro to Permaculture class through Oregon State University. It’s a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) and we just started today. It’s over four weeks for a total of about 16 hours. I think it’ll help us in our fledgling design process. I really enjoy the overall concepts of Permaculture and the ethics behind it. We’ll be learning about these more in-depth and about the people who are truly the forward thinkers of this movement. One of the “fathers of Permaculture”, Bill Mollison said about design:
When we design, we’re always building for future floods, future fires, future droughts. And planting a tree, a few inches tall, that will be a future forest giant, casting future shadows. Future populations, will need future forest resources, shelter and security. So, somebody needs to range ahead in time, scout out the next century. We are not day dreaming – we are time scouts, finding places now for what will be needed then.
I love this concept of planning for future use. Mr. Mollison also said that “The greatest change we need to make is from consumption to production, even if on a small scale, in our own gardens. If only 10% of us do this, there is enough for everyone.” And that’s where we want to be at the end of this adventure; adding to our environment for future generations, while helping to feed the present people.
We are doing our best, starting small, and learning as we go. We’re so glad you’re along for the ride.
Thanks for reading.