This is Dodo, you’ve met him before, he’s in a close-up today because he has been recovering from frostbite for a number of weeks now. We’re quite worried about him because he seems to get better and then take a turn for the worse. He does best in warmer weather, but our weather is still quite variable. The other night it got down to 26° and he was just miserable. According to the books we have, frostbite on the chicken’s comb is terribly painful for them. Frostbite can affect three main areas: feet, wattles and comb; the comb is the area most often suffering from frostbite. This can happen from wind-chill and Roosters seem to succumb the most. They are often out patrolling the run, keeping an eye out for predators, and stay out even in the cold and wind. In this photo above, you can see Dodo is still showing some of the effects of frostbite: the black dots on his comb are spots of dead skin cells and you can see his once proud comb has flopped over. His color is getting better, but he just can’t stand the cold at all at the moment. He is also quite listless and not eating well. Continue reading
It’s Friday night and a lot has been going on here over the past few days and weeks. Thought we’d use this time to update you on a few of the ongoing projects. Continue reading
Sometimes we get caught up in things that we’re reading, written by those who are the “pioneers in the field”, or “fathers of Permaculture”, and we think that their beliefs or the techniques which they espouse are sacrosanct; not to be messed with, questioned, or contradicted. Then again, I don’t believe either of us are used to following anything blindly. The reason I’m on this train of thought is that Sue has been reading publications by Joel Salatin, who is – perhaps – most popularly known for his farm’s appearance in Michael Pollan’s very well received book entitled The Omnivore’s Dilemma; she has been closely studying Salatin’s book You Can Farm. In it, he attempts to provide a road map for those who are considering getting into farming; his title tag-line is “The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Start and Succeed in a Farming Enterprise.” Additionally, Sue purchased “The Salatin Semester,” a dvd series, and had been watching them to learn techniques and perspectives on farming for sustainability and for profit.
HOWEVER, one of the things Salatin discusses is starting too late in your lifetime; he gives a warning to those over 45 that they really need to honestly assess their abilities. He says, “As age increases, the following things happen: physical stamina lessons and emotional stamina lessens.” We all know these things to be true to some extent and – to be fair – he recommends working with some younger people who can help out with the physical tasks and provide needed support to help you roll with the punches. And also, at one point, says, “the only thing worse that getting a late start, is not starting at all.” We are trying not to get too locked in to the “you’re too old to be doing this” mind-set, and when Sue brings it up, I just have to counter with “I don’t believe that.” And I truly do not. Farming truly is a life, and we hope to make it a business, there is no age limit on life! Nor, for that matter, on doing business.
Sue has so much stamina and “stick-to-it-iveness” that I believe she is the last person in the world who will let something as trivial as a number stand in her way of making her dreams come true. She’s already proven nay-sayers wrong for most of her adult career! There is something to be said about beginning an enterprise once you’ve retired. She has a regular income already and we will be adding to that income soon by selling products raised here on the property. The only way we can go is up~ as far as I see it.
There are others who are of this same mind set. One avid Homesteader, who Vlogs and Blogs under the moniker- Becky’s Homestead -has recently posted an encouraging word for those who wish to begin after 55, or even 65 – here’ the link, if you’re interested. AND, even the person who is considered the father of Permaculture, Bill Mollison, believed what we do in the NOW matters, regardless of the size of our endeavor. He says (and I have used this quote before), “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.” That’s our over-arching goal, feed ourselves and feed others… we hope to make a profit along the way. I don’t believe that there is an age limit in doing this. We may want to add “internships” sometime along the way, or allow 4-H members to have their livestock on the property in exchange for some help; but all that goes a long way to completing the idea. And Permaculture isn’t just about what we can do for today, or how we can get immediate returns; it’s about creating a future reserve, helping our immediate surroundings to provide for those that come after, planting trees that will be “casting future shadows” – that’s Bill Mollison again.
So, if you read the blog on a regular basis and think “why the heck are they doing this at their age?” Please remember that, we understand we might not see the complete and total fruition (ha!) of the overall concept, but I am confident that we will be able to reap the benefits of the work: healthier, happier living gained by planning for the future, designing and creating our personal environment, and simply watching the dream grow. We continue to encourage our friends and family to visit us and see, first hand, what’s happening here on the ol’ homestead, and experiencing the progress that we’re making. Yes, experience it. It is an adventure every day!
Until then, as always~
Thanks for reading!
Today’s Weather: Well, as I finish this blog, it is after 11:00 p.m., at this late hour, it’s currently 58°. That’s quite a warm night for us. My phone says that the high was 78°, but I’m not very sure of the accuracy! I do know that is was a beautiful day and amazingly clear. Tomorrow’s high is only forecast at 64°, and we’ll be windy, with a low of 29°. As you see, our weather varies day to day.
Egg Report: If you follow us on FaceBook, you know that yesterday we celebrated the laying of the first Easter-Egg! It was a beautiful light green. The other two that day were pure white and we know those belong to two of The Three Sisters (they are the Hamburgs that were raised together and always hang out together, thus – “The Three Sisters”). I love the Hamburgs, they have little polka dots on their tails. Anyway, back to the report… three eggs yesterday. Today, we had three eggs as well, but I believe, one of them was from a Buff Orpington, (which may be a first there as well) because the egg was buff and it was larger than our other buff colored eggs which are usually laid by Maeve or Immen.
This is the first weekend that we actually made it to POWWOW. This is an amazing local program that helps get veggies out to people and helps prevent waste. For $10 you can pick up 60 lbs. of fresh nutritious produce. Our church is the distribution point for the Sierra Vista and Hereford area so we had an “in”, we didn’t need that though~ anyone can come and stand in line for the distribution. If you cannot afford the $10, you can have it for free. This is a program that we really want to get behind, because it speaks to the part of us that wants to get good, quality food into the hands of people who might not easily afford it otherwise. Well, we can certainly afford it, and this month the shopping list was just great! You can click on the list below if you want to check out the website and learn more about the Borderlands Food Bank.
Tomatoes (12 roma, 8 round, 9 beef, 9 grape boxes, 9 cherry boxes), 2 acorn squash, 2 butternut squash, 3 yellow squash, 3lbs anaheim peppers, 3 eggplant, bell peppers (6 green, 6 red, 1 mini assorted bag) and 1 tung qwa
So, I didn’t go to see all this stuff, but Sue brought home a great assortment – everything but the Tung Qwa. I had to look it up; it’s a winter melon that is generally seen in Chinese cuisine, often used in soup. The vegetables change depending on the season, but they seem to always have tomatoes.
She also brought home 2 boxes of the “past their prime” veggies. Today we chopped them all up and made a veritible vegetable feast for the chickens! It looked so pretty on the chopping board. The acorn squash we’ll give them raw so they can return to it again and again. This is good to help beat the boredom of being stuck in the coop during the yucky winter weather, like we’ve been having. However, our chickens are very picky, we’ve found; they prefer their vegetables steamed a bit~ thank you very much. So, after chopping, we had two stock pots going at the same time. All those veggies smelled so good cooking!
Since we think this program is so great, we’re going to become more involved (Yes, Holly B., you heard it here first!). Next month, we’ll show up extra early to help prep and hand out the food. I’m looking forward to it~ and we’ll be able to pick up some veggies each month. Hmmmm, maybe I’ll have to learn to can food now!
Well, until that adventure~
Thanks for reading!
Today’s Weather: Tonight as I write this (7:28 PM), it’s 46°. High today was 51°, low tonight is forecast as 33°. This morning, when Sue looked at the temp around 6:30 AM, it was 39°. We had rain all night and snow on the mountains right above us. This morning we really couldn’t see because the clouds were so low, but in the afternoon the mountains were beautiful. Tomorrow, the high is supposed to be 62°. We might go to Tombstone if the weather isn’t too bad. We’ll see.
Egg Report: Today we had three, yesterday we had two… I think we’re working out a schedule here. Some of the hens are using the nesting boxes now, but we still have those holdouts that are laying in the wall. Darn! ~ but at least we know where to find them.
Our first glimpse of this property, early summer of 2016, was via Skype with our Realtor, Joan Wilson (Long Realty, Sierra Vista). She had been searching and searching for a place that fit all of Sue’s qualifications, in the correct price range, with the right amount of acreage, etc. THEN, she found this place that she thought was perfect and really, really wanted us to come out to look at it and make an offer. There was just no way for Sue to get out there any time soon. So, we arranged this property tour via my laptop in Ramona, with Joan’s I-pad in Hereford. She walked us through the house and all along the property, to all the out buildings, we talked about the usability of the land, and the pros and cons of the property and area. We loved it! But there was this one building that we just could not figure out. Continue reading
“What mystery is that?” you ask. Well – lately, we’ve been wondering what happened to our ladies’ egg production numbers; one here, two there, never consistent. After we moved them in with the Littles, numbers were a disappointment. I kept saying, “when things have calmed down, numbers will go up” or “when the weather warms up, numbers will go up” — it just wasn’t happening. Continue reading
We need to finish some projects! We have some friends that will be visiting over the next 4 or 5 days and so Sue’s been working on finishing projects. One big one was the processing, which was a success. And, now, with Dustin visiting, Sue’s had a little help with some other things. An important project that’s been lagging is painting the chicken coop. During the rains, we found out that the siding on the coop is like a large sponge and so it had started buckling in some places, not badly, but enough that the guys who put up the coop suggested we paint really quickly. As of today, it’s almost complete. Tomorrow they will paint the trim and be all done with it. Another project will be checked off the list! Continue reading
Bees! One of my personal dreams for this homestead is to begin an apiary. Sue gave me an amazing hive for Christmas and I can’t wait to begin using it. It’s from an Australian company called Flow that created a different type of hive that is less intrusive than a traditional hive when harvesting honey. Here’s a quote from their website “It all started because Cedar felt bad about bees being crushed during the honey harvest. He was also sick of being stung and having to spend a whole week harvesting his honey.” Their system simply cranks apart the cells and allows honey to flow out. “No mess, no fuss, no heavy lifting, and no expensive processing equipment. Through the clear end-frame view, you can see when the honey is ready without opening up the hive. The extraction process is so gentle, the bees barely notice at all.” I was so excited to receive this amazing present! Then Sue said, “You better research Bees in Arizona. We might have a problem.” Continue reading
I was so surprised by the number of people that were asking for an update (I mentioned this last night on the Facebook page)! I had actually started the post the day of, we were ready to go and just waiting for the scalder to come up to temp, but then we got into the process and by the time we were finished (6pm) it was the last thing on my mind.
It was a process just getting ready to process! Friday night we separated the roosters we planed to dispatch from the general population, and also brought the biggies around to join the littles. That is all better to do at night since everyone is so much more calm- less chance of being pecked! We’ve talked about this before in an earlier post entitled “Night Moves”. We placed the condemned in cat and dog crates (we had to keep Ahmen away from the other roosters because he had just become so mean, he was attacking everyone) so they wouldn’t be eating or drinking through the night or early morning. It’s best if you butcher them with an empty crop, much less mess and clean up involved. The separation created some consternation among those remaining on the other side of the coop – Immen (the little black hen) is still looking for Ahmen, they were pretty tight – so I placed the beach towels over the top of the crate to keep the roosters calm and to help keep the others from panicking. Continue reading