Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Life on the Farm

Things have been super busy here at the farm.  We have had lots of birthdays (four) in the last ten
days of June, as well as LOTS of company.  It has been one of those times where I have been too busy living to do any writing about it.  Also, since the company has left, I have been getting caught up on my rest.  

 One of the projects we have done recently  to build a hoop coop.  We found the plans on the Backyard Chicken Website.  It is really simple and uses three steer fencing panels and some chicken wire.  It has a basic wood frame.  We did buy treated lumber for the base to increase the structural longevity.  

It has a simple wood frame and we put in two roosting poles.  Recently, My DH was given a bunch of white tarps.  We have used a couple of the tarps to provide weather protection.  

We cut off part of an old screen door to give access.  We wanted it to be tall enough that someone about 6 ft can stand in the center.

We put the little chicks in there and it has worked well.  We were able to move them out of the garage and get them on grass.  After three days we opened the door and let the chicks free range inside the electric fence with the old hens.  I was pleased to see there were no issues between the hens and the chicks and everyone seems to get along.  The hens even come in and visit the chicks and get a snack or a drink.

Here is the almost finished structure.  We still want to put a tarp on the back end of the coop for more weather protection.  We are still trying to figure out a way to make this coop more mobile.  We need to figure out a wheel system.  Right now, we slide it along on a couple dollies.  

One other potential use for this structure would be to use it for a simple green house in the spring.  The white tarps let a significant amount of light through and tables on the edges would give a good planting surface.  

Here is a recent picture of the fields.  A close examination shows that there are lots of beans, sunflowers, radishes, corn, sorghum and several other plants coming up nicely.  We planted a grazier nurse crop on the field which contains a mix of about ten different seed types.  The purpose of it is to build organic mass in the soil, also known as topsoil, and to encourage the restoration of nutrients to the soil.  It is nice to see them turning green!  We are hoping to get some cattle to feed/graze on there late this summer.  

The herb bed is looking good.  The plants all seem to be thriving.  No casualties yet.

One of the plants in the herb spiral is bee balm.  It is flowering and does give it a nice dash of color.

I love the purple flowers on the clematis.  We have several in the front and a pink one on the side of the shop.

Elizabeth found a very cool snake skin in the front garden.  We welcome anything that keeps the bugs down.  We tried to encourage the hens to snack on the Japanese beetles in some of the gardens, but they were a little rough on the plants and they were more interested in digging up the dirt and looking for worms than eating beetles.

For all those people that were wondering, yes, the pond can and is swam in.  It is a spring filled pond and also gets filled with rain water.  When the weather is warm, we do get some pond scum, but Thomas has been faithfully raking it out and putting it on our compost pile.  

We also have these super sized bug catchers, also known as bull frogs.  We had some young men here who caught three that were HUGE!  They wanted to use them for frog legs, but we requested that they return them to the pond so they can get more bugs.

This is some of the recent happenings on the farm.  Stay tuned and I will try and get some more posts up soon!

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