The Farm*Homestead*Garden Blog

All things farm, garden, homestead related from the Catsndogs4us family.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A Bountiful Strawberry Harvest

We've been having a good strawberry season so far. From our plants we've harvested over 6 pounds of strawberries so far. Some have been eaten fresh, some were made into strawberry pancakes for breakfast one morning and some have become jam. Strawberry season for our area is about half over, I hope to harvest quite a few more pounds of strawberries with plenty of help from KitKat of course!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Big Little Chicks

The spring chicks are growing and changing very fast right now. Just a couple weeks ago they were still spending most of their time in their own outdoor run and sleeping in their own little pen in the main coop. Now the little ones are running with the flock and having a grand time exploring every corner of the fenced yard. They've started going into the coop own at nights and a couple are starting to roost with the adult flock rather than sleeping in their own pen or in lower spots. They're all about 2 1/2 months old now. I still can't tell for sure if the straight run birds we got from a breeder are pullets or cockerels. I'm cautiously optimistic that most are females. No crowing yet! One of the little add on silkies is showing boy signs though so I think we've got a paie with the little black silkies (that were supposed to be female marans). 

Little chicks eating with some of the adult birds.


Sunday, June 10, 2018

Poultry yard extension phase 3, 4, 7??? I don't know anymore!

I may not know what stage of the poultry yard extension I'm on but I do know that I moved 100 feet of fencing into its new position today. SO MUCH WORK! Most of the brush on all sides has been cleared and the piece of fencing that was moving the least was ready to be moved. The hardest part was pulling out and then banging in again the t-posts. They've been in for about 2 years and had really gotten quite comfortable in their positions and didn't want to come back out of the ground. After repositioning them they really didn't want to go back into the ground in the new area. I didn't think I'd make it to the end of the line but after about 6 hours I did. Moving the electric fence took about 1 hour, moving the stretch of shorter second level of defense fence took about 45 minutes. Moving the 100 feet of welded wire fencing and all the t-posts took four hours or so. And this piece was only to gain the birds about 10 more feet of ground, well 10 feet of ground all along the 100 foot stretch so it was worth it. They have green within the fenced area again. The next two sections will be much more complex and will gain the birds A LOT more space but that is a job for another day or maybe another week. The 4th side doesn't have to move, thank goodness! That is the chain link dog fence which the chicken/duck yard joins up to.

Got my main tools, I'm ready! I use my cutter and zip ties for nearly all farm jobs it seems.

No turning back now, it's down. Hope the birds don't find me too quickly.

The ducks found me too quickly.

The chickens found me too quickly.

What (not) great helpers I have.

Despite my many feathered helpers the fence is going back up about 10 feet back from where it was.

Near the end, trail of tools that I'm almost too tired to pick up.

New greens to enjoy!

KitKat supervised.

The birds love their new area.


Saturday, June 9, 2018

Clearing brush and trees for chicken/duck yard expansion

I've been hard at work clearing brush and trees so that we can extend the chickens and ducks fenced yard. This will also enable many of the fruit trees to get more sun and have less competition for resources. We have learned that the fruit trees within the current chicken/duck yard are thriving and doing so much better than before we had the birds there, it makes sense to extend their yard around more of the orchard area. Since there is poison ivy as we get closer to the woods I am doing most of this work since my husband and the kids are prone to getting a rash from poison ivy but somehow I never get a rash. I can't use a chainsaw so had to press the hubby into service for the trees that are too big for my cutters. He wore heavy clothing and gloves and worked in the area for less than 2 hours but still got a small rash.

I've been clearing in this area for a few years now. Previously the entire area I'm working on now was as heavily wooded as the woods that can be seen beyond the new cleared area. I can't wait until this project is done. I know the chickens and ducks will enjoy the new area to explore. The fruit trees will benefit from the birds fertilizing them as well as eating insects that might bother the trees. It's a good solution to several issues, wanting the birds to have more room to explore, wanting to let more light into the side yard and onto the fruit trees, as well as enabling the birds to rid us of more insects and they will keep the brush down so it doesn't grow back so intensely. Having more cleared area might help cut down on potential predators getting close to the coop too.

Of course I have kitty helpers all through this project, mostly KitKat but Rufus and Stormy join me from time to time too.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Seize The Day!

The flock is happy that it's spring and they're ready for anything!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Just A Day

Just a day around our little farm. So much to do this time of year and always new challenges. Batbaby the Marans cross chicken has hurt her foot somehow which led to the others picking on her. While she heals we have her separated but still within sight of the flock by day so they stay used to each other. Batbaby was previously one of our most skittish birds but now she seems to love the extra attention. 

All of a sudden the fruit trees and bushes are starting to blossom and fruit. Baby fruit is really kinda cute. Hope we get a good crop of fruit this year. 

One of the young chicks, now 2 months old. This crop of chicks is doing very well. They should be laying in the early fall. 

 Vegetable gardens are pretty close to being all planted now. 

More baby fruit...

And more gardens.

 KitKat of course is around to help. These bean teepees are far away from the chickens and ducks area, hope they don't find this garden!

 More baby chick photo opps. It's hard to get a picture of the Tolbunt Polish Frizzle bird's face, she has too much hair (feathers!)!

Little silkie getting big too, I still can't believe we ended up with two more hatchery quality little black silkies (they were supposed to be Marans) Oh Well!

And this is why I'm not going to have a bean teepee in this spot anymore!

And a couple of the ducks just chillin' on a hot afternoon.