Archive for September, 2007
In all the excitement of the past few days, I’ve neglected the “wild chick” story. While we were getting the horse settled the girls saw a hen with chicks under its wings. They were, as Martin described them, “wild chicks” as they were laid, brooded, and hatched without the aid of a nursery.
It’s the first time that a hen has brooded chicks, and we were in the dark that the hen had squirrelled the eggs away. There are three of them, all different colors, so they may have different pappas.
It’s early for a frost. Very early. Here’s Linda out last night covering some of the flowers in the garden. We rolled out every tarp, old sheet, and even an old dish towel or two to try to survive the night.
We’re especially worried about the flowers since we have 25Â centerpieces for a dinner to get out this week. It was a hectic night – the horse came, and with the imminent frost, we picked raspberries and tomatoesÂ and covered flowers, peppers, and a few tomatoes racing against the sinking sun.
I’m not 100% sure but I think the work paid off – we had a light frost here and it killed some things, but I think the plants that were covered will be ok.
This might look like the girls are out on the road taking the dog for a walk. But it is a moment Emma thought would never come – the day a horse came to the farm!
The person we bought it from (The Jolly Rancher) preferred not to turn around her horse trailer in our yard, but was kind enough to bring it to the beginning of the gravel road, 1/3 mile away – so the girls got to walk/run the horse home!
The horse is a 6 month-old miniature horse named “Chelsea.”Â She won’t get too much bigger. We saw some at the Iowa State Fair pulling carts and Dad softened from his hard line of “no horse ever on this farm” to “I could see having one of those for the girls to train to pull a cart.”Â The upside is they don’t eat much and aren’t as dangerous as a full-size horse. So here’s Chelsea, the latest addition to high hopes gardens.
Here’s this week’s “Thingamajig” entry.
Also check out the last thingamajig answer.
As always, put your guess in a comment below.
We have found that using buckwheat as a mid to late summer cover crop works well for us. It grows well in hot weather, provides late season forage for the bees, and if the flowers go to seed, we fence in the chickens to eat the seeds, fertilizing the garden for the nextÂ growing season.
You may notice the chard is still hanging in there quite well. Once it makes it through the heat of summer it revitalizes and is the last thing to die back in the garden.
Emma wanted a picture of the baby guinea keat and an adult.
She had her hands full, but Claire eventually got a shot!
The girls have started to attack a barn horse stall. This one has been filled with corn cobs (and has been since we moved in). I attached it one afternoon with a wood chipper to make some chicken nest box bedding, but haven’t done much with it lately.
The girls have removed about half of it – filling about 30 gunny sacks full. The barn has a number of these stalls, the first of which Linda uses to arrange flowers, the others are filled with “stuff.”
The alley along the stalls is this nice red brick. We were surprised when we cleaned the dumping groundsÂ out of the barn a while after we moved in to find this wonderful floor. We had someone from the Iowa Barn Foundation come look at the barn and he said if we wanted to the barn would probably be eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places because of this floor and the unusual roofing support. We haven’t pursued it, but are fixing up the barn as we have time – mainly needs new windows and doors.
Joel Salatin would be proud of this cheap and easy temporary turkey shelter. The turkeys used to be in the “turkey tractor” (the moveable pen that is now upside down on the old hay wagon). But they were getting too big, soÂ I just put a tarp over part of the wagon for rain protection, put the tractor on top as a rain porch for the food, hung the waterer on and voila – a movable turkey resaurant, hotel, and umbrella.
I had thought of building a small shelter for the food and turkeys, but this was much quicker and probably better than a portable shelter that would be prone to blow-over and perhaps not as easy to move as this one, already on wheels. The turkeys are all within a fence that keeps big critters like dogs and coyotes out, so they are free to roam a fairly wide range.
Today was another big picking day – both raspberries and apples. I even got tired of picking raspberries today. We also started on the peach harvest, they seem to ripen better off the tree. But those will be for another day.
So, 24 more jars of canned raspberries, 11 pints of peach-applesauce, and 22 pints of raspberry-applesauce. The apple sauce was from some apples we had peeled and frozen earlier in the season, plus some apples the girls picked and peeled today. ‘Tis the season for harvest. I was thinking, although it might seem like a lot, 33 pints of applesauce is not even one jar a week. OK, you can subtract summer months when other fruits are in season, and that leaves us with one jar a week from today’s batch!
This week’s Photo Friday contest theme is purple. Here’s a shot from a the sheep barn at the Iowa State Fair! I call these the “Odd Couple” as one is very neat and the other doesn’t seem to think that the wood chips on the posterior are troubling.
This is a nectarine tree, that was damaged as a lad and grew back from the rootstock, so the nectarines aren’t particularly big, but they are plentiful and Martin loves them canned.
They look like small, white-fleshed peaches and the tree is the most prolific fruit tree we have, so I keep it year after year.
The fall raspberries are really coming into their own – it seems like by the time you pick to the end of the row, more have ripened at the beginning!
I much prefer the fall-bearers to the summerÂ berries because they are so much less work and produce more. It would be hard to give up all the summer bearers, as waiting until September is a long time.
Linda was asked to give a presentation to the Marshalltwon Garden Club, so she snuck out of school (didn’t really have to sneak) and gave a presentation over lunch, then that evening offered a tour of the farm.
Here, they are gathered around the paw-paw tree, just one of the off-beat plantings at high hopes gardens. About 25 folks made the drive out here, including some neighbors who I’m sure where just plain curious about some of the things we are doing. It was a nice group of people who have an understanding of how things work (or don’t) out in the field.
When we were out pulling some weeds, we saw this handsome fellow on the fence!
It’s a praying mantis – state insect of Connecticut and fearless eater of bugs, even small birds (gulp), and for females, even their mates once they have finished copulation!