Saturday, March 31, 2012

Showing off some New Spots

Bird auction today was pretty disappointing. Some really nice pea-hens but all went for too much and with the kids we couldn't really stay around as long as I wanted. 

Oh well! It's the start of sale & auction season again so we'll fill the barn sooner rather then later.

In the mean time I got a great deal on this lovely pair, which was really the only thing we brought home (except a bug zapper... yeah that one wasn't me!!)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Ducklings, or not

Delilah who was formerly sitting on 7 eggs is now only sitting on 2. So either something gotten in at her eggs, or the cows may have stepped on some, which is really too bad. Few more weeks to go and we should have ducklings though! Same with Daphne who is thankfully still on her 7 eggs.

2 of the 3 chicken hatches ended in momma chicken getting off the nest and things aren't looking great for tomorrows hatch. On the other side Coco is sitting a new nest.

I hold out little hope, but we'll see!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Egg Shell Pots

Little project for a Thursday, quick and easy and cheap with the dozen eggs we get every day!
A number of the eggs I collect every day are unsellable, either their really dirty or cracked. These go straight to either the dogs or the piggies, which they're more the happy to gobble down!

So to start with I blew out the eggs, this does take a bit of practice. It's a fun project for older children, but you have to blow fairly hard and treat the egg shell gently so doesn't work well with young kids.

You can see the little tool I used in the upper corner on the egg carton, it's a skewer for trussing a turkey. Nice and sharp easy to hold. So you pop a hole in either side of the egg using a quick darting motion, and breaking up the yolk while you do this, then just blow the contents into a bowl.

Then I took off the tops of the shells, quite easy to do just being careful and taking a bit at a time. 

Then it was time to call in the boys! Playing in dirt is always so much fun!

Seeds were a bit of a challenge, I didn't want to put anything in that was going to grow too large too quickly, and that meant these were pretty small seeds. Fine for my 4 year old with a lot of help, 2 year old wasn't able to handle this job, but was happy just to play in the dirt!

Sitting in the sun with a bowl of beets I'm hoping to pre-germinate and get in the ground, as well as some cherry tomatoes!

The egg-shells can be planted straight out into the garden, I would break up the bottom of the shell a little right before sticking them in the ground. But the shell will help to fertilize and provide extra calcium for the seedlings. If I was still getting 80g jumbo eggs, this would probably be a great way to start tomatoes! 

Is it wrong to chose a certain product over another because of the fantastic container they come in? Love these things!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

One with the flock

Having a quick little snooze along with all his charges

Awww, he's embarrassed I caught him napping!

Megs gone for a snooze in the sun

While the cows just like to sleep in the hay!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Garden Time

Been taking advantage of the early spring to get into the garden and prep some beds, hoping for a big market garden this year. That's something I've never done, in fact I've never been more then a moderately successful home-gardener so we're not banking on my tomatoes to make or break the farm, but we'll see!

It is inconceivable around here that the ground we be un-frozen in March, I think unless you live in a more northernly place this is probably not something you can really understand, but we should have a foot of snow still. If we're lucky, a little bare ground, but the soil would be frozen hard as a rock. Well, our early spring and +20C days has meant the ground is soft, and now fairly dry, should make for an exciting season! 

Carrots & Beets
 I did plant a little, things I can cover over with plastic, and are cold tolerant for days when the temperature dips back down to normal.

3 beds all seeded
 So I've planted out lots of carrots, beets, turnips, lettuce, spinach, radicchio, arugula, cauliflower, broccoli, and some broad beans only because the turkey stole the package and dropped it in a puddle.

My very lame, and quickly throw together fence
to keep the chickens off the freshly sewn beds
(they will eat the seeds)
Mostly I've just been using the time to turn-over all the soil in the garden & try to kill all the weeds, an activity the chickens are really happy to help with! Mostly because I'm uncovering lots of delicious worms, grubs & pests that they are more then happy to scoop up and crunch down on. I'm happy because we're not just removing those things from the garden, but it's free food for the chickens!

The soil towards the back of the garden, which I didn't use last year, has been a wonderful surprise. It's very soft and wonderful having obviously been well cared for over past years (and explaining why we have such a weed problem!). The front of the garden where I planted last year (and where our beds are now) obviously needs some manure to lighten up the heavy clay soil and that's a project for a little later in the year.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Smoked Chicken

This was DELICIOUS!!!!!!

The skin held in all the moisture from the chicken so it was amazingly juicy, and full of really amazing flavours!

I didn't rub anything on the skin which I would definitely do next time. A few herbs, maybe a little spice, salt & pepper. I smoked it with hickory for most of the day then gave it about an hour in the oven. I would smoke it a little less next time, the skin came out quite tough, but the meat was very tender.

This was one of our white rock meat chickens, I can't wait to try it with the dual purpose bird we have in the freezer, or a turkey, or just more chicken!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Waiting on Chicks

I separated our two mommas to be last night (after dark so they'd settle down on their new nests and not move overnight) so they're up in the "feedroom" section where the other chickens can't bother them (the weird boards are just up because I wanted to let the other chickens out into part of the garden).

One set of eggs are due on the 27th and the other on the 31st. I candled them last night as I moved them and things look good!