Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Springtime chores on the farm

Springtime on the farm means lots of things to do.  I am only remembering the quiet of the winter past when I had time to read - ha!  I feel in a frenzy needing to do so many tasks at once that my head is spinning and my body is aching.

Our first batch of meat birds arrived today - cute-little-balls-of-fluff.  We picked them up in their cardboard box crate at the local co-op bright and early this morning - 60 chicks in all.  They squish them in a box together so they can help keep each other warm.   When we arrived the whole store was filled with the sounds of cheeping coming from the many boxes of other customers - maybe that's why they ask you to come in early - the sound is a little intense with so many in one room.  The chicks were hatched within the last 24 hours and they can go 72 hours without food and water because they are digesting their yolk sac so although we went straight home we knew we had a few hours to spare.

We decided to use a different pen to be our brooder box this time around.  The chicks are so little we have them in a big cardboard box for a few days before we let them have the run of the whole pen.  A heat lamp is keeping them warm and toasty and they are all eating and drinking and looking very healthy.  In a few short weeks they will already be ready to head for the butcher - it's unbelievable how fast they grow!

Last week we embarked on a new venture - quail.  We bought 1 male and 5 females from a lady north of Port Perry.  Quail are very tiny birds compared to chickens and lay the most beautiful delicate spotted brown and black eggs I've ever seen.  We're going to hatch out some of their eggs to increase our flock and when the time comes we'll be putting them in the freezer as well.  Right now my kids think I bought them just so I can take pictures of their eggs!

My rhubarb is looking fabulous - I have several clumps in different places in the yard. I was planning to move it all to one spot but then decided not to in the event that tragedy would strike one part of the garden perhaps the rest would survive - that said I've never seen rhubarb killed off by anything!   It's ready to pick so I am trying out a new recipe from a friend and fellow blogger Farmgal.  It sounds delish and it supposed to taste great with beef, lamb, on sandwiches and a million other ways.  Thanks Farmgal!  See her blog here!

Rhubarb Relish
16 cups rhubarb
6 cups vinegar and 2 cups water
8 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
5 cups white sugar
5 cups brown sugar
4 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp allspice
2 tsp cloves
6 big onions

Chop rhubarb and onions, add all ingrdients, stir well,bring to a boil, turn down and simmer for 3hrs or more until thick.  Jar and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes at 10lbs pressure.  (check your altitude for pressure in your area)

I went to visit my mom and dad this week and picked up some perennial plant divisions from mom.  We have clumps of the same flowers repeated over and over in the gardens  - lillies, hollyhocks and peonies mostly so I am looking to diversify a little!  I also bought more perennials at a plant sale last weekend so I've been busy finding homes for them all and trying to prevent the chickens from digging them up as fast as I plant them.  I resorted to a section of old wire fencing around one area - it doesn't look too pretty but they need a week or two to grow some roots. Hopefully by then the chickens will have found somewhere else to scratch and peck!

Then of course there is the vegetable garden.  It truly is The Garden of Weedin.  I got a set of coasters with gardening sayings on them as a Mother's Day gift from my hubby.  I hope this is the summer that I finally get on top of the whole veggie garden thing.  I've been working steadily at it but there are days I wish I had a weeding genie to help me!  My kids will do almost anything for me except weed and since they are so helpful in so many other ways I am OK with that.  My garden is in my front yard - not the best place for a weedy mess and certainly not what I would have chosen but for now it's what I got.  My long term goal is to make it a no-till garden a la Back To Eden. It will require some major changes and several truck loads of wood chips so for this year I will do what I can and hopefully by the fall I will be ready to get started for next year.  I'm a little behind where I wanted to be so I am still at the adding-poop part when I could have had many things planted already.  Oh well!

Superwoman I am not.  Time for a bath in some epsom salts to ease the aching muscles! 

1 comment:

  1. Hello Anita! I, too, would like to turn my "Garden of Weedin' " into a Garden of Eatin'!'s still early in the gardening season so keep planting. I use the no-till method and simple put down sections of newspaper around the plant (or between rows of carrots or onions), then cover it with mulch (grass/straw, not hay/leaves,even wood chips) - the newspaper keeps it dark so the weed seeds don't germinate and the mulch just looks nicer....
    Good luck - I share your aches and pains.


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