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A Week on the Farm – June 11, 2016

This has been a productive week on the farm.  The early veggies are coming in, with garlic scapes made into pesto and chopped for the freezer until tomatoes are ripe and pasta sauce can be made.  Edible pod peas and chard were on the menu last night.  Shelling peas are soon.

The tomatoes were pinched and tied a few days ago, the planted part of the garden, well weeded again.  The pumpkin patch still has me in its clutches.  I mowed the paths and worked with the hoe enough to create 3 hills for seed.  I still need to keep pulling the lamb’s quarters around them until they sprout and send out runners to choke out the weeds.  I am toying with trying to just smother them.

The Memorial Day weekend chicks are 2 weeks old now.  They move in and out of the Huck’s coop with ease, but also seem to be able to get out from under the plastic net fence, but not back in.  That makes the hen absolutely crazy and she will fly at me, pecking through the fence when I am trying to get them back in.  At 2 weeks, they are starting to grow the little wing feathers that come in first.  Another week and they will be scraggly adolescents and not so cute anymore.

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Day olds and 2 weekers mingling and meeting.

The other Broody started her hatch out yesterday.  She successfully hatched all 9 of the original eggs under her and has 9 little fuzzy balls to try to keep up with.  Her babies were moved in their bucket nest this afternoon when we found half of them in the layer’s coop, half in the nesting box, and Mama frantically fluffing and trying to scare off the other hens and B’rooster.  After they were moved she was so thirsty that she stood at the waterer until most of the chicks had escaped from the nest.  Both broods are locked in Huck’s coop now, mingling.  Tonight might be interesting if the wee ones can’t get back into the nest.  I’m not sure that I want to crawl in there with two protective hens to help out.  I may have to.  Maybe she will just create a nest in the hay on the floor of the coop and tuck them in there.  This morning, I found one that had gotten out of the nest in the layer’s coop, a flaw in its design in that there is a 3 inch board to help hold the hay in, but an insurmountable obstacle to a chick less than a day old.  The little chick was cold and lethargic, but perked back up once I tucked it back under the hen.  That gives us a total of 14 chicks out of 19 eggs (plus a few discards that were laid under the broodies by other hens in days that followed them starting to sit.)  A good many of the chicks are “ugly ducklings” as daughter is calling the mixed breed chicks.  They all have some dark fluff on them and can be distinguished from the pure Buff Orpingtons.  I am hoping for a few BO pullets to add to the laying flock.  The cockerels and the mixed breed chicks are being raised as meat.  I really would like for two more broods.  If we could get another dozen chicks, I wouldn’t have to raise any in the garage this late summer.

9 new fuzzy butts

9 less than a day old fuzzy balls

The fields around us are all mowed and baled.  Our power went out today around 1:15 and stayed out until after 4:30.  We went to town to return to the Farmers’ Market as I had lost several of my mesh produce bags, to get the fixings for a cold Mediterranean dinner, and a Priority Box to mail some fiber.  When we got home, we found the smaller tractor with the sickle bar mowing the hardest part of our farm.

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Spring moves on toward summer.  With it the heat.  This will slow down the grass growth and the frequency that it has to be mowed.  We will continue to mow around the house as needed, mow the hill with the trees a time or two, but the whole farm won’t be mowed again after this haying until a late summer/early fall mowing to knock down the invasive stickweed and Autumn Olive that crop up after the haying is done.

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