Wednesday, October 26, 2016

State of the Farm

What is there to tell you?

We have plenty of frozen chickens looking for bellies to fill.  All but one frozen turkey is claimed.

Garlic planting is truly, abysmally late this year.  There has been too much for James to do and not enough evenings (he and the big kids are in taekwando two nights a week and he teaches at the local college one night a week).  The plan is this weekend.  It's a good thing this year's harvest was beautiful and we have plenty of fresh garlic to enjoy.

Tonight we shifted more chickens.  With hatching new flocks, weeding out the bad in old flocks, and needing to retire a chicken tractor, we've had all kinds of moves.  Four of our oldest hens are now in with the teenagers. Unfortunately, we had to butcher Aragorn, our best rooster, because he was tearing up his ladies.  That's a no-no in a land where roosters are expendable.  Sadly, a juvenile rooster perished shortly after being introduced to his own flock.  I don't know why, since he didn't show signs of injury.  Our oldest chicken tractor will hit the recycle pile this winter, and next spring James will construct a new one.

The summer's downpours did a number on our soil fertility, and I'm not sure how many strawberry plants survived.  They're currently invisible beneath the weeds, and I haven't found a good weeding routine.

The weather is (finally, slightly) cooler.  There's plenty of clean up this fall in preparation for a smaller farm next year.  We may not raise any meat chickens and instead focus on turkeys.  There are big trips in store for next summer, which makes the garden hard to keep.

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble

Today was our annual turkey butchering day.  We started in June with 10 heritage turkeys, six of which died.  We added five generic white turkeys from Atwood's, so we ended this fall with nine turkeys. Two hens and a Tom are being overwintered in the hopes of hatching eggs next spring.

Six turkeys met the chopping block as well as our new chicken plucker.  We once borrowed a plucker and otherwise have always plucked by hand.  Oh, the agony.  Last year, James was ready to give up on butchering because of the plucking.  This year, we had six turkeys cleaned and bagged in less than two hours (with three helpers).  In addition, five roosters, some belonging to friends, were cleaned.

I'm happy to say the coops are quieter and my chores are shortening up for the winter season.  The turkeys, free rangers, were defecating all over the sidewalk, spying on me (Momma turkey) from the front windows, pecking at siding, and otherwise becoming a neighborhood nuisance, so everyone will appreciate a quieter flock.

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.