Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mis-Adventures of the Year

Ok, so I sometimes like to think and pretend that weird wacky things just don't happen to me. Well that of course is not reality and weird and wacky things DO happen to me. What follows is a short list of the mis-adventures from the past year that make me smile that I am well past them.

Transporting rabbit on bike.
Simple right? Put rabbit cage on back of bike pedal bike home. Well it would've gone just like the except for the fact that while biking from the ferry terminal along my chosen route there is this thing in the way. It's actually called a bollard but why it is where it is makes me call it a thing. I believe it's intended use is to stop cars and trucks from crossing a pedestrian bridge that likely can't take that kind of loading. Well this bollard is on the opposite side of the bridge where pedestrian and bike traffic comes from and the direction the cars come from is completely open. Anyway this thing makes you slow down and thread your bike through it usually leaving about 6-8 inches on either side of the bike and panniers. Or so. Well with a rabbit cage mounted on back of bike there is actually negative space available, so that when traveling along and trying to thread bike + rabbit cage it doesn't fit. I, blissfully unaware, thinking about the great rabbit from Abundant Acres Farm that is going to fit right into my rabbitry, am not thinking about any of this bollard/trail blocking thing up ahead. Of course I did think about it maybe a nanosecond before I tried...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thank You Turkeys

The turkeys were processed the weekend of November 20th at the Day Road Farm with Lauren and Garth of Dropstone Farms. It was a full day of hard work and it was cold too. 

What I learned is that turkeys are strong, resilient creatures, that have huge wings that whip you in the face when you get close. Also learned that if they are given the chance to escape they will, sorry G, but as they are social creatures they might come back looking for their cohorts, which gives you a chance to hunt for the now wild turkeys.
Our Bourbon Red turkeys came from Bay Hay on May 15th as day old chicks. After a spring, summer, and part of the fall season they got really big! The Tom's after processing weighed in at 17-18lbs. The hen's weighed in at 13-15lbs. 

The "pasture" the turkeys were tractored in also raised 25 chickens this year. Turns out that the pasture is tired and needs a good rest period. Not sure if it will be ready by May for another batch of turkeys. The cover crop is growing ok. I will over seed in late winter early spring. I'd really like to see some good grass growing there before adding birds again. Also another thing I learned about tractoring chickens and turkeys is that the tractor should be well constructed with the ability to be moved daily if necessary. The tractor I had this year was poor to good and will not be used for chickens or turkeys again. Nope it will likely become the frame work for two new Hare Raisers, ala Natures Harmony Farm, sometime this winter. 

Hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving Holiday! There is so much to be thankful for this year. One thing that I am thankful this year, which I have never been so thankful for is turkeys!

Friday, October 8, 2010

BEE CRAZY!! Queen!

Ok so right around June my bees were rockin'. There was capped brood, eggs, pollen and a nice big fat juciy queen bee buzzing around working her magic. Now when I say magic I really mean it! There is a lot going on inside a bee hive just because of the Mother Bee, aka queen bee.

Her importance can not be underestimated. Everything the hive does, except for just about one thing, which we'll discuss later, is to make the Mother Bee happy and to provide her with the nourishment she needs to keep popping out eggs.

So my queen seemed to be doing great. At least she seemed to me to be doing great. Well right after that, our queen vanished. No note, no teary goodbyes, she just wasn't there anymore. Of course it was my fault or it least I was thinking of all the reasons it could be - maybe I squished her accidentally while moving frames around. Or maybe I inadvertently dropped her outside the hive while looking for her on previous inspections. I started having nightmares about squished bees.

Once I realized she was missing, I freaked out! I scrambled through my notes from my bee class, the class at Beez Neez Apiary was great but was my note taking? I found some sketchy details about re-queening but hardly enough to help make a decision. So I looked up a local expert. I called one of the mentors from the Westsound Beekeeping Association, there are several on the island. After a quick call I was relieved a bit but also started worrying. The mentors response to the situation was to leave the hive to itself and they would replace the queen. This relieved me because to buy a new queen would be expensive and take time to track down. His advice also had me worried too because I wasn't certain my bees would be up to the task. That was a big question and I couldn't just as the bees if they were up to it, I'd just have to wait and see. A hard task for a nervous nelly.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

2010 Harvest Fair!

Making Cider - Check out this big apple!

It is full circle for us and this blog. Last year our first post was on the Harvest Fair and now here we are reporting back on another fabulous Fair. 

This year Fair was almost a wash out but miraculously the clouds broke and the sun shined down on lots of happy faces. The music was great, the food was great and it was great to see the people - kids running wild, parents chasing them, grandparents, and new born babies. Totally full circle. 

We made cider from apples that we picked earlier in the day. One gallon of cider from one paper grocery sack full of apples. 

Thanks to Friends of the Farms for putting on such a great event!

They may not look tasty but they sure are, perfect for the cider press

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Worst Hard Time

Just finished Timothy Egan's book, Worst Hard Time ( Was hard to read cant imagine living through it!

Will get a review out soon.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pullets! Humphf!

The four Americana pullets are now 23 weeks old. A pullet is essentially a chicken in their teen years - teenagers.

They look great, act normal, and are eating and drinking well. The rub is that they are at the age when laying normally commences and so far no eggs. I know what you're think, gimme another week. And that is what we'll do. One more week and then I will demand they start laying, that ought to do it.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Poof! Summer...almost gone!

Ok, so I'll be the first to admit it, I've not held up my end of the bargain. The posts this spring were a good start, but what happened to all the updates from the summer? Well...summer happened and then I slide down this crazy rabbit hole and and I chased a rabbit and I ah...chased a chicken then I...I ah...chased a turkey and ran from a scary bee hive and woke-up and it was August!

Stay tuned for an upcoming series of posts to update you all on the progress this's been a wild ride - mating flights, chicken processing, pullet growing, foraging, and eating some amazing local food. Stay tuned!