Our chickens turned a year old in April, and in my estimation, were well old enough to start brooding out babies. While the breeds we bought were eclectic (Rainbows from Hoovers Hatchery; dominique and black sex link from TSC, and an americana), I had initially purchased them for meat birds with the hope that I would get some good broody hens in the mix. I want to go on record as saying I have learned my lesson on why picking breeds is so important.
I have not been impressed with my chickens thus far. Firstly, lets talk about rainbows, these are not colored egg layer rainbows, but a Hoover’s Hatchery mixed bag of their own making for unique color patterns. I will grant, they certainly deliver on the color patterns. Roger and Drumstick, my roosters have beautiful plumage. But they are MEAN to the hens, pure bullies. I ended up giving my americana away because they picked on her so much. They pick on all the hens, but her the worst. The Rainbow hens lay large eggs consistently, but have shown zero inclination to go broody and have a much darker side that we will get to in a sec.
We are finally to the taste testing part! After watching something for close to 20 days, I get nervous wanting to make sure it’s not all been a waste. Especially if your fermenting bubbles slow down toward the end like mine have.
Week three is the final “adding” step to your wine mixture. After racking the wine with a siphon into a clean fermenter, we will add another pint of water and the final sugar mixture. Let’s all be thankful that sugar is so cheap, because between wine and jam, it goes quick around here!
What a week! I am so happy that this week’s wine tending was short and sweet. This week was adventurous enough getting through more of the blackberry harvest, jam making, starting to pick the silverberries, and having our first farm calf born (eeekkkkkk!), but today, Toby decided to scare me to death and start limping for no reason after 60 unsupervised seconds outside. I am happy to report that the vet said he was most likely just stung by something and he couldn’t find any evidence of a break or a snake bite. My vets are saints and not once called me paranoid. I think Toby just wanted a field trip to the vet! Regardless, I am so grateful that it was nothing worse. My favorite saying around here is that God looks out for idiots!
I was never a huge fan of wine, the whole dry makes your mouth pucker experience wasn’t for me. Give me juice with alcohol content and I’m good. Last summer, we had a person decide to trespass on the old logging road that cuts across the back side of our property. Said person got his vehicle stuck in the limb dump about 30 yards into the logging road. Keep in mind, these limbs have been rotting since approximately 2014, and the soft layer of organic material underneath the limbs made getting stuck inevitable.
We treat non-venomous snakes fairly well on the farm. If it is an exceptionally fine specimen, we may catch them and tell them how pretty they are and to go catch a mouse, but that’s really it. And thankfully we’ve only seen one venomous snake.
This arrangement worked beautifully until we got chickens. Really, it started with guineas when we saw our first snake in the coop. On the day we brought them home. Benny the black snake was re-homed to the barn across the property, which is approximately 500 yards away through thick brush teeming with wildlife.
When you live in rural any-where, there are not just four seasons to the year. In addition to the Big Four, there is also rain season, calving season, chick season (dates set by the local Tractor Supply store and when they have peeps in stock), and so forth. One of my favorites is berry season! Not only is it a great excuse to avoid more physically demanding tasks, but it also means that canning and wine-making season is also just around the corner!
Well, it has been a week of firsts. I registered our farm with the USDA (a lot of stress, but actually incredibly easy!); the first of the real blackberry harvest is in; and now my first blog post (also stressful, and NOT incredibly easy). So here goes. About me, and why I should probably be fitted for a straight jacket right now. I wanted land; I wanted a farm to grow any and everything! I thought we had a pretty good grounding for starting an agriculture adventure. My father-in-law grows the best garden you have ever seen, so my husband got that gene. As for me, growing up, I was always helping aunts, cousins, and friends with livestock; I owned a horse most of my life; and I’ve spent my fair share of time in the garden. How hard could it be?