Sunday, September 27, 2015

Welcome Fall, Late Summer Update

This morning as I  gather my thoughts I hear a gentle farmer's rain hitting on the porch roof.  There will be a little chill in the air and maybe the need to light a fire in a few days.  Many of you think, when fall comes life becomes easier on the farm.  I think not.  We shall be preparing for winter, bringing in bedding for our pasture crew,  replacing the windows in the barn, covering the tunnel which will allow for the harvest of veggies later or maybe all of the winter season.  Wood is gathered and racked but there are a few additional trees Mr. Bootsie plans to harvest, this project has been ongoing all summer, this additional wood is being stored in the woods with plans of refilling our wood racks as soon as they are emptied.

I have heard the Pope (Head of the Catholic Church) is in America along with an International Bike Race in Richmond, Virginia.  I have heard there are folks lining the streets and gathering in mass crowds.  I am so thankful these type of events do not concern me, I love my simple life here on the farm.  My pleasure comes with walking my three goats through our woods and see them enjoying what they choose to eat, then there are are feathered children who always but a smile on our face.  It seems the ducks know when we should come and let them out.  If we are in the garden working one of our girls lets out a belly honk which can be heard all over our farm.  We let them out to free range each evening about a half an hour before sundown. We hear the hawks working during the day and see them return to where they nest in the afternoons.  With this in mind I feel this is a safe time of the day for our feather children to spend time outside of their runs. 

Learning from cleaning the garden, next summer when the leaves on our squash plants begin to turn yellow I plan to remove them.  I had this on my to do list this summer but it did not happen.  The plants were very healthy and strong allowing for a good harvest.  When we began to remove the plants they were infested with squash bugs.  I filled a five gallon bucket half full of water, placing the plants in the bucket,  submerging the plants under water, those little critters would get on the side of the bucket and climb to get out of the water.  It was a field day for me, I did those things in, just in case any made it, we rot the plants and use them for compost.  The buckets I use I can seal so I do not fear any getting away.   I have tried burning, but the plants do not seem to want to burn and I question how many bugs get away while I am trying to burn them.
Winter Squash Harvest 2015

Lessons from Momma Hen.  As I shared with you in the past, this is first hatching for our little momma hen. I was concerned how she would care for the chicks but she was an excellent mom.  We have been putting the three of them, momma and two little ones, in the duck run each day.  In the afternoon everyone free ranges, night time they return to the brooder where momma and chicks spend the night.  That was until Thursday, September 24th, Momma came into the coop, went into the section where the big girls stay and proceeded to the roosting pole.  She landed herself and began to call the chicks to come up with her.  Knowing it was a bit much for them, I placed the chicks beside her, I questioned if I did the correct thing, I have never allowed chicks to move in with the adult hens at such a young age.  These are going to be big birds in comparison to their momma, in fact they are just about as large as she is right now and still growing.  Now she is a small bird but when any other bird has bothered her chicks, she took them on.  One evening, one of the largest hens in coop waited for me because she had had an encounter with Momma Hen.

My baby chicks, all grown up.
Little roo on left and little hen to the right
In the kitchen, this summer I began trying to use the garden to table theory, pick the garden, plan my meal, use all veggies as fresh as possible.  We have had some wonderful meals.  The freshness of picking and eating within a few hours has made me appreciate my hours spent working the garden.  I have preserved some of our harvest, shared with others, fed the pasture crew and kept plenty on our table.  My mind is already busy thinking of the garden in 2016.  I have a few ideas on making the garden better, but first I need to bed the garden down for the winter.

Taking everything into account, I think this season was rewarding,  Mr. Bootsie made a move into garden helping more than before, he has always helped with prep work but stayed away during the harvest, but this season you could find him picking the garden.  I can always use an extra pair of hands and his assistance was welcomed, even if I forgot to tell him.  I was pleased we finally we able to hatch 2 little chicks, not so sure about my roosters, but this will work itself out.  There are not enough hens for 2 roos and someone will need to go.

Time for me to hurry on my way, garlic and onions to plant, squash to roast, I can always find something to do here on our little farm.  Until...