I have to say, the term farmstead is really growing on me.
So, what has been going on around here, besides the thrice-daily stirring of the apple scrap vinegar? I’m so glad you asked!
First up, that most unruly flock of chickens!
Dare I say it? Well, I’ve said it before, so I guess I shall say it again: I’m pretty positive both of the new chicks are female. I think we lucked out!
These two Ameraucana/Ideal 236 crosses are over two months old. No comb development, curved tails or pointy saddle feathers on either one, and you know I’ve been checking obsessively. Plus, they just look like girls to me.
I think there will be no coq au vin for us (thank goodness!).
We were at the farm store last week and there were bins upon bins of chicks for sale. All so cute and fluffy! There was even – incredibly! – a bin filled with Blue Laced Red Wyandotte chicks. I couldn’t believe it!
I’ve been hankering after that particular color and breed since we first started keeping chickens, but back then they were much harder to find and spectacularly expensive. Seeing them at Wilco of all places, and for less than $10 a chick, was surprising. I was extremely tempted by them, and even Jasper said he’d be game to buy a few.
You might like: Happily Awaiting Chicks
But then I remembered how much easier and more satisfying it was for a broody hen to raise her own chicks. I remembered how stinky and messy it was to raise chicks inside the house, and then all the trouble of integrating them into the flock. These thoughts battled in my head for awhile, and in the end we didn’t buy any chicks.
Are you as shocked as I was? Me, passing up the chance to bring baby animals home? What is happening?!
I think it has everything to do with being the end of August. If they have those same chicks in April, you know I will be buying some. I am so full of excitement and energy in April.
In August, I am down-to-the-dregs bone weary.
We are harvesting so many things every day, and working overtime to preserve them. Apples, potatoes, beans, onions, corn, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, and the list goes on. It’s hard work and extremely time consuming. As Two Branches Homestead put it, this is when the real work begins.
We are far (far!) from being self-sufficient, but we have definitely grown enough to put a big dent in the food budget this winter. We even had to buy a new upright freezer that is more than twice as big as our old one, and it’s already getting full of homegrown produce! The old chest freezer will hopefully hold venison, should Jasper be lucky and get one this year.
Ugh, I have to tell you though, sometimes it just feels like too much. I know I’m going to appreciate it come January, but the thought of all I have yet to do before things go bad is often overwhelming.
I may get a little bristly this time of year!
Sitting on my back stairs and looking at my flower beds helps.
Isn’t this a pretty little corner? It’s come so far this summer! Korean hyssop, night-scented tobacco, echinacea, hardy and scented geraniums, catmint, zebrina, blueberries, self-heal and, most majestic of all, the grapevine. I planted a lot of it from seed, and I was surprised by all the flowers I got this year. It looks amazing!
I need to figure out a way to keep my citronella scented geranium alive this winter. Should I cover it in burlap? Dig it up and put it in a pot to bring inside?
That geranium has been my knockout favorite new plant. I’ll have to write a post all about it, because it really is an awesome plant that I knew nothing about when I got it. The smell of it when I water or brush against it is heaven on earth.
And last, but not least, the Puddle Ducks have started laying eggs!
I don’t know which of them are doing it, since they tend to lay them very early in the morning before I even let them out of their house. We’re getting 2-3 a day from them though, so we’re pretty excited. I haven’t tried them scrambled, but I’ve been using them in baking, and I’m surprisingly pleased with the results.
The shell of the duck eggs seem waxier than the chicken eggs. It’s a weird feeling, but not in a bad way. They’re a little harder to crack, but I wonder if that’s just because the ducks are new layers.
Oh, and please don’t judge that ugly plastic-covered hole that used to be their pond. Ducks are busy little excavators it turns out, and managed to dug out large swathes of ground under the edge of the pond liner. They ended up collapsing that whole side of the pond, and it was the downhill side, of course.
So, among our many other projects, we’re now planning on expanding their fenced yard and upgrading their pond. It will have to involve lots of gravel and stone and perhaps a rigid liner that can’t be tunneled under.
Basically, it needs to be the Alcatraz of duck ponds.
Oh, those Puddle Ducks. Never up to anything good, but at least they entertain me!