Friday, August 29, 2014

What's in a Name? (The Hoop Coop, a light how-to)

I am unreasonably particular about names. I say unreasonable because of how much time I waste thinking about it, for one, and also because if the name for something doesn't fit properly the situation will be a major distraction until I've resolved the problem.  As you may imagine calling the new coop structure the "Broiler Boat" then filling it with hens and turkeys instead has been driving me crazy.

Now, I think of it as a Hoop Coop, which is no unique idea according to google so it may not be as exciting, but I feel quite a bit better about it.

Today, I'm going to run through some parts, measurements and steps for you in case you want to try out this structure yourself. (continued)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

PPPP Report Week 9

Six little ladies, taking their leave. With enough room for
first class, they scramble atop each other like it's coach.
Welcome back.  Once again it is Wednesday and it's time for the Promised Pastured Poultry Progress Report and I'm happy to let you know we've had our first scheduled reduction in tenants. Six of our little Barred Rock layers left in style Saturday.  They will be reclining in the lap of luxury as they bask, warm, happy, and well fed  as the backyard flock for our in laws.  Not new to chickens (they were there with us as we learned the ropes too, years ago) these will be the first birds at their place in over a year.

Turns out a year off, give or take was just about right. (continued)

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Bit About the Bacon

The latest paddock, slightly used.
As the pigs featured briefly in Friday's post, it is no surprise that questions about them cropped up over the weekend.  I have been fascinated by the boys since we first brought them home and it has been a learning experience throughout.

As we have discussed before the pigs are a welcome, if recent, addition to our farm  and my affection towards them has only increased as they continue to demonstrate just how awesome they are.  Not as awesome as bacon or sausage though, which bodes well for their eventual graduation. (continued)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Little Signs of Progress

Happy pigs.  Eating = Happy.
When you have a lot going on at once it can be easy to lose sight of where you are making progress.  Days where your best intentions become an extended example of "putting out fires" being behind schedule and scrambling just to keep up with needs to be done never mind the items on the agenda that you were hoping to address.

A day like that is stressful for me, as it would be for anyone, and while I may not call it a "good day" it is still often better than the alternative.  Dealing with those problems and having that rough day becomes a down payment on a (hopefully) smooth-sailing day tomorrow, or next week, or next month.  At the very least it is educational. Probably. I hope. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

PPPP Report Week 8

The boys in the box.
It's Wednesday!  Time again for your Promised Pastured Poultry Progress Report. Only another month before the broilers are "done" and, let me tell you, the boys are BIG now.  Full sized chickens in their own right, if not quite as large as the broiler ideal yet.  All they need now is a little more time (and a lot more feed) and they'll be the plump broiler/roasters of my dreams.

The tail end of Week 7 saw us through to a total of 500 lbs. (10 bags) of feed and as of 8/19 we are on bag 14.  100 lbs a week may seem like a lot, but we're also talking about over 100 lbs. of poultry "on the hoof" now that they are so big. (continued)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Garden Photo Gallery

As teased on Friday, there are many many photographs of the garden last week. Without further ado, here they are, presented for your enjoyment.  As with previous photo posts I warn you after the break there are many pictures, ready to peg your internet connection and will be data heavy. If you are concerned about such things you may want to wait until you are in range of of wifi. (continued)

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Importance of the Gardens

Kale and Chard.
I love trees and perennials. Anything that's happy dumping massive amounts of food on my
head every year (and there are so many plants happy to do this) is bound to be a winner in my book.

With that said though, the majority of what can be produced in a hurry are annual crops.  I look forward to telling many stories about all the future surplus tree crops that will be raining all over the farm someday, but for now those are "someday" stories.  The crops gracing the table right now, the production we rely on today, are annuals. And most folks plant their annuals in the garden. (continued)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

PPPP Report Week 7

Happy Wednesday, welcome back to the Promised Pastured Peeper(Poultry) Progress Report. I can't really refer to them as peepers moving forward because while they still make noises that may sound like peeps they are really much to big to think of as babies anymore.

After some discussion after Week 6 about how much feed we've used Mrs. Farmer and I did a professional audit (which means counting empty bags off the floor of the shed) and determined that we had finished 7 bags of feed by Week 6 and are now into bag #10 as of Tuesday 8/12.  The "little" guys are eating a lot more now than before but soon we'll be tripling their pasture exposure which will certainly help. (continued)

Monday, August 11, 2014

How to Make Simple Sour Pickles

Cucumbers taste pretty good but really I don't think of them as all that special. PICKLES though, pickles are like magic.  Magic that takes something as bland as a cucumber and fills it with that incredible pickleness. Beyond that, if store bought pickles are magic, homemade pickles are downright miraculous.

Of course, cucumbers don't just volunteer to hop in the pickle jar so they require a little coaxing and a little know-how. As a long time standby of most gardens I find a lot of people end up with too many cucumbers and not enough desire to eat them.

Pickles help this in a couple different ways. (continued)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Lazy Sunday Reader's Recap

Monday - Comfrey Tractor

Wednesday - PPPP Report Week 6

Thursday - Propagation Challenge

Friday - Farm Photo Friday

Which of this week’s updates was your favorite? Let us know in comments.
Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Farm Photo Friday

Miss Bumblebee and my echinacea 
A sampling of selected scenes as I made my way about the garden this morning.
We'll be hosting some visitors (and no doubt giving a tour) today so taking some time to ensure everything is looking good was well worth it.  Mobile users and those who pay for data be forewarned: lots of photos after the jump you may want to check back later on wifi.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Propagation Challenge!

A slightly dramatized, if not inaccurate representation
of my "pot problem".
Earlier this week a friend posed an interesting question.  "Do you have any empty pots, containers, or planters?" he asked. Of course the answer is yes.  One hardly accumulates so many plants for the yard and garden as we have without amassing surplus containers and we are no exception to this, the piles of surplus containers hither and yon are both large and deep here at the farm.

I should have known there would be a catch, of course, a twist... (continued)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

PPPP Report Week 6

Apologies for the black shadow there.
Apparently my phone case wanted to photobomb.
Happy halfway Wednesday. Welcome to the Promised Pastured Peeper Progress Report, week 6. It's halfway for the broilers, but it's not "downhill from here" as the saying goes.

Through Week 5 we had been continuing to use the brooder lamp on damp or chilly (or frequently, both) nights but I finally stopped that Thursday.  Mrs. Farmer would happily leave such in place indefinitely but approaching 6 weeks old and well passed the time they were fully feathered these guys should have been living without it already even with our summer nights being unseasonably cool.  (continued)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Comfrey Tractor

Comfrey; probably Symphytum x uplandicum
When folks have a garden and they hear you are starting one I find that most want to give you advice, a few will have an interesting trick or two, and some even want to give you plants to get yourself started on the right foot.  This is especially true of rare or obscure plants, with bonus points if the obscure plant in question can be put to good use.  

As far as obscure plants which can be put to good use go I have yet to meet a better candidate than comfrey.  With a few straggly leaves, an inch or two of root, and the promise that we would have no trouble getting that single cutting to take off I was admittedly skeptical.  I need not have worried.  In only a few weeks the single specimen had not only perked up, it was flowering profusely in its pleasant purple fashion.  Such flowers are only useful if you're rearing a non-hybrid variety of comfrey as hybrid seed (in comfrey's case) will not germinate.  But there are other ways to propogate the stuff.  It was time for phase 2 to begin.  (continued)

Friday, August 1, 2014

Garlic Season

Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good.” 
- Alice May Brock 
(of ‘Alice's Restaurant’ fame)

I love garlic.  If it is possible that such a thing can be carried to an extreme where it is no longer healthy, that is where garlic lives, for me.

It can improve almost any type of food, to paraphrase Angelo Pellegrini, with the possible exception of ice cream and pie... and I'm even thinking that's debatable, I bet I could find a way garlic would work for both.  Alas I have no time to devote to culinary experimentation, there are words to write!  But garlic ice cream, hmm, perhaps a suitably smooth puree whipped into a....  (continued)