Archive | December 2013

Sunday Summary

In the Kitchen:

It is the week of Christmas, every year I plan on giving my family homemade gifts and every year life gets the best of me and I do not do it.  This year I did however make homemade caramel candies.  The only problem with the “gifts” is that my family is eating them faster than I can package them to give away!  So I guess that means I have found a good recipe and hopefully it will make a good gift for our family and friends next year…so if you get some act surprised!  The blog that I found the recipe on I really enjoy and am inspired by it, if you have time check it out!  http://www.willowcreekfarm.wordpress.com

Meat Birds:

I received a Christmas gift early!  As I mentioned last week our meat birds need to processed.  I have been sending emails, making phone calls and asking everyone I know, in order to try and find a processor or someone to let us barrow a plucker.  Well the family that I buy my rabbit feed from was able to get me in contact with another family that processes birds for the 4-H kids.  I tried most of last week to get ahold of this family and when I had not heard from them by Thursday at lunchtime I had just come to the conclusion we were going to be processing these birds on Friday.  When my husband called me during his lunch break on Thursday I told him I still had not heard from the processor and that since he was off on Friday we would just have a processing party.  He then informed me that he had to work on Friday.  We were out of feed, so the birds had already received their last meal, I had two choices; buy feed or do what needed to be done.  Well, I decided it was time for me to put on my big girl panties and process these birds.  I did have some help, a high schooler from our church is a hunter and was willing to come and give me a hand for a couple of hours, but neither of us had ever plucked chickens before and I really wanted roasters.  I spent the rest of Thursday afternoon mentally preparing for what was going to happen on Friday.  I received a phone call at 5:30 Thursday evening from the processor.  He was planning to process our birds Friday morning and I all I had to do was drop them off after 9:00.  I screamed.  Not just a little wahoo scream but a win the lottery scream.  I was so grateful to not have to kill, scald, pluck, gut and package these 23 birds, Merry Christmas too me!

The Rabbits:

Well it has been a sad week and a half.  Of Aurora’s 7 kits only 2 are still alive.  The good news is that they appear to be very fat and happy.  We put a heating lamp directly above the nesting box outside the metal wire cage.  I think the babies were getting too cold, Aurora was not covering them up.  She had pulled her fur, and she made a great nest but she was not covering up the babies. The heat lamps really seemed to help them, it was funny to go into the Bunny Barn and see the babies “sun bathing” on top of the nesting material, most of the time belly up!

Laying Hens:

We have a little red hen that is a Houdini Chicken.  She gets out of the chicken pen everyday.  I know she is not getting out when we go in or out.  I have checked the fence line and there is no holes or cracks.  How is she getting out?  I guess that is a problem we will have to solve this week. 

Something that we are very grateful for is that we have been able to sell our eggs.  We have a couple family that buy from us regularly, and it is nice to be able to make some spending money.  Mostly it just pays for the chicken feed but every little bit helps.

Aquaponics:

I have transplanted some broccoli plants into the aquaponics system, I will keep you posted on how they do through the winter.   Almost everything else has died.  All we have left is a lonely beet plant, it seems to be doing well, but the beet is not getting any bigger.  We are going to leave it in the system just to see what it does.  I was not able to plant seeds this week, there is always the hope for next week, but with it being Christmas I am not optimistic.

Merry Christmas everyone, from our family to yours!

 

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Catch up

I wrote this a week ago and never hit post.  I have been inspired by another blogger to do weekly updates, so this week you get a two for one deal! 

Weekly update, even though for us this is really a monthly update, maybe even bimonthly update! I know eventually my life will slow down and I will be blogging more, now is just not that time. So let’s catch up

The meat birds…
The meat birds are ready to go to slaughter any day now. We learned a very important lesson, do not plan on having your meat birds slaughtered during deer season. All of the small scale processors in this area are processing deer this time of year. They have no time to process our chickens. The birds that we choose to raise this time around are ready to be processed between 12 and 15 weeks.  They are ready now, if we wait too long the meat will become chewy and we do not want to see all out hard work be for not. If I can not find someone to butcher them this week, we will have a butchering party a get it done in an afternoon. Hopefully that will be this week.

The laying hens.
We have now have 20 hens. Eight of them are not mature enough to start laying yet. We get on average about 11 eggs a day. We have some consistent customers so eggs don’t gather in my refrigerator for very long. We have had some cold weather this week and some snow, the chickens have done pretty well. We have been feeding them some freezer burned veggies (note to self do not use cheap freezer bags) and food scraps to keep them busy.  They also love cracked corn, shelled sunflower seeds and flax.

Our rabbits.
We now have two senior bucks and 2 senior does, all with different blood lines!!! This makes us very happy because that means we can now sell mating trio’s and pairs. We are doing our part to save this amazing breed! We have Jr does that will be ready to breed around Christmas and other Jr does and bucks that are ready to sell. 
Our two senior does both kindled this week. Bella is doing great and had a litter of 7. Aurora who is normally our great mommy did not have a very good week. She kindled 7 kits all together with one being stillborn. Over the last couple days four more kits have died. We have no idea why. It was cold this week but the other mama and babies were in the same barn and did fine. We know some of them got to cold because she removed them from the nest but no idea why she would do that. We are very upset by this and feel like we have failed these poor babies. I hope that it is not something that happens again.

Aquaponics system.
Most of our plants froze. We have since put a light in the greenhouse that keeps everything above freezing. We are hoping to start seeds this week, but with everything else going on, that might just be wishful thinking. This year with the system has been such a learning experience and I honestly am enjoying every minute.

Well that is what is happening on your backyard farm. I hope everyone has a good week and I hope to post again next week.