We are enjoying the final days of Christmas; the tree is lit and shining, all the lights are on the bureau, and the candles are lit in the little votives. Tomorrow is the last day of Christmas and we’ll begin removing the decorations. We were so busy this season that only yesterday did we sit down and write our respective holiday missives, Sue did a great job of summing up the farm info, and I added a few other remembrances, so thought we’d just recap here. Some of you may be receiving the entire recap in the mail soon, so if you want to skip this one, feel free.
In Sue’s words: 2019 was a year of finishing some projects started in previous years. We finally planted the wind break tree line. The Conrad Hedge fund Hedge was planted. Both are flourishing! The orchard of chestnut trees that we planted last year survived the year (less two), and are looking good for next year.
We lost a few animals this past year. Taco George died in mid-January about the time that the two goat boys were about 1 year old. He was a great goat. Friendly and a good caretaker of the two baby boys that we got. We also lost about 20 hens and roosters to unknown causes though none to predators (knock on wood). We had several in “medical care” for a few months. Wheezy (named for her ailment) finally went back to the flock. We believe she was stung in the face. Leggs (also named for her ailment of bumble foot) was finally healed with antibiotics and went back to the flock. Nudie Bootie (named for her lack of feathers) finally feathered out enough we could also put her back in the flock.
The RCW (Romney Chicken Wagon: Pictured at right under the January 2019 snow) chickens have never gotten back into the swing of laying since the disastrous windstorm that put it on its side two years ago. I am thinking that I will have to consign them to a future chicken broth and fill the RCW with laying hens. We have worked what seems to be a good system to keep the RCW from tipping over during wind storms this past year, so it may be time.
The large coop was busy this last year. We raised 3 batches of about 16 meat chickens each. Since they are fast growers we lost a few of the first batch to heat prostration until we learned what was going on. The next two batches did quite well. We sold all but a few of the meat chickens. We will be doing that again in 2020.
I made a chicken tractor to put chicks or broody hens in, but the wind tore off the lid before I even got a chance to use it. I’ll repair it soon and then we’ll have it for spring. We have been using straw bales surrounding the chicken tractors to keep them in place and keep them from blowing away. The straw works really well to keep them in place, but makes it harder to move them; therefore, we’re not doing any of this daily move stuff.
In addition to the 3 batches of meat birds, we also raised a batch of 16 banty chicks, 16 Cuckoo Maran chicks, and 10 Austra-White chicks. The Cuckoo Marans and the Austra-Whites will be layers for the next two years. The banty chickens also lay but they have tiny eggs. The eggs taste great though and we have a few customers who specifically request those.
Joanne has found a market for almost all of our eggs this year. We have, at times, even had to purchase eggs from the store so ‘our’ eggs can get provided to our regular customers. The new layers will help with this ‘good’ problem! She also ginned up lots of buyers for our meat birds, selling all but the ones to be donated, and the ones that the plucker was over exuberant with. We kept them for our own dinner pots!
The view is great, the sunrises and sunsets are usually spectacular and the worldly clamor is muted by the soothing (or sometimes jarring) animal noises that fill our daily life; although, you can often hear the trucks coming up and going down the grade. I am still enjoying this new adventure and feel like I am settling into my new boots.
Some of my words: Both my two paid positions have kept me exceedingly busy lately, and I feel I am not able to do as much on the farm as I’d really like. I’ve been nursing along a winter garden, greens for the birds mostly, and I’ve met with some success. Our weather has been mercurial the last few months; we even had some snow the final days of December. Even now there are patches left in the shady dales on the mountains. The chickens do not particularly enjoy snow, but they do put up with it well.
Back to the garden – I hope to have more success this spring and through the summer. We enjoy having the fresh vegetables for ourselves and the chickens. This year – I’d love to share a meal with friends which was made entirely from our own harvested bounty. Maybe a chicken pasta primavera, so I can use the pasta machine that Sue gifted me this Christmas! Consider yourself invited!
Speaking of visits. They have slowed down a bit, but we were blessed to entertain our friend Floyd Ellison and his chum George Lindsey for a short time. Also, my forever friends, Ray Carlburg and Tony Urquhart made it down for an exceedingly fun weekend. Mom and Dad continue to make the trip over a couple of times a year for holidays. We were blessed to have them for Easter and Thanksgiving. We have also welcomed several friends and their children at various times, field trips are fun! As Sue has already said, we’d love to have you join us at any time.
Sue and I do interesting things for fun around here… we recently took an all-day Concealed Carry class and now all we have to do is mail our certificates away for our license. We often go to the movies for fun, and last month I took Alexis to see the traveling production of Jesus Christ Superstar when it was in Tucson. Occasionally we have friends over for dinner. One of our most interesting and fun events last year was having a “Piano Swan Song” concert. Backstory: Our church was given, on permanent loan, a lovely grand piano for the choir practice room. That meant the horrid piano that was already there had to go. We had our piano technician neighbor, Monica (pictured right, during the concert), give it a once over to see if it was fit for fixing so it could be donated. Her response was, “Don’t bother.” Sue had the piano moved here so that we could turn it into a flower garden (if you google “piano gardens” you find some fine examples). Before that – we decided the piano should have its own swan song. We invited the choir, our neighbors, the man who helped move it, and whoever else wanted to come to enjoy its last music. It was a beautiful night filled with great people, wonderful food, and some amazing music. It was also Wing and a Prayer’s first Facebook LIVE event. You can probably find it on our page still.
If you follow our blog regularly, none of this is really news. Whether you do or don’t, now you’ve been caught up on all the news, twice!!!
Hope this new year finds you all happy and healthy. We welcome your cards, emails, and comments on the blog or Facebook. Thank you for your continued love and support. And, as always~
Thanks for reading!
Today’s Weather: Started out a bit chilly, but ended the day with temps in the 70’s. Currently, at 6:21 p.m., it is 57°, clear skies, humidity at 27%, winds out of the west at 5 mph, barometric pressure is at 30.12 inHg. Sunrise today was at 7:20 and sunset at 5:32.
Egg Report: Rather dismal actually. Today we ended up with 6 chicken, all together, with 2 duck. Yesterday we had 7 chicken, 2 ducks. The goose has stopped laying for the time being.