We have accomplished SO MUCH this summer. SO MUCH.
But summer is coming to a close and winter is beginning to rear it’s ugly head. We are feeling the heat of beginning to start the last of our projects and finishing up as much as we can.
We are constantly doing so much stuff that I forget to take pictures, but also I forget what we have done!
Win Some, Lose Some...
What a year.
We lost ANOTHER chicken.
Back when we would keep 5 hens total, it would be devastating to lose a bird, but when you know 12 more are coming into laying age, it makes the pill easier to swallow.
We lost Rachel. She was one of our Silver-Laced Cochins, and she was a dink.
ALL of the chickens and ducks come when called. They run to the coop when I call because they know they’ll get treats, and that is how they get locked up.
Rachel always ignores me and sits in her dust bath. She was on Rachel time.
Well this time she was on Rachel time in the woods so I didn’t notice she didn’t get locked up. 🤦🏼♀️
Sometimes if a hen is failed to enter the coop and gets locked out, the hen roosts on my front step so I carry her to the coop.
Not Rachel. She’s independent.
She roosts in the woods.
Well, something caught her and dropped her off on my lawn.
Not saying don’t be an independent woman, just be smart about it.
Sheepers are Getting More Comfortable.
The Babydoll Southdown Sheep are feeling more comfortable free ranging. They have taken over my flowers in the garden – eating my Phlox, Bee Balm, and Goldenrod. They challenge me by eating the vegetables growing in the garden, or whenever I harvest, they’re sneaking bites of my harvest.
The cooler weather is making our gentle ram, well, rammy. He takes a few steps back and head butts you. Not hard, but startling. We have learned to just scratch his fuzzy head and tell him how cute he is.
The reason he is getting rambunctious is because in cooler weather, the reproductive organs are triggered for mating. It won’t be until November, but this is their first year of life and I am sure the hormones are raging.
Little buddy, simmer down.
New House for You, New House for You, New House for You!
Speaking of the sheep, hubby is building a new sheep shed. This one will be bigger and have options for storage, or chickens. 😉
The way our breeding program is set up, we can keep rams if we want/need for breeding. The rams will need a bigger housing unit, so in preparation for possibly keeping next year’s babies, we are expanding.
The ewes are getting indoor housing within the barn, and the rams will get a new shed. We are moving the old ram house to the field for protection when on pasture and the barn will have a space for the rams after sheering.
Our first year of shepherding is almost in the books, and we are beginning to feel like a real farm.
The new house was custom designed by hubs, and we were able to build it for damn near free. WIN! It will be a steep-peaked roof (I believe tin, but maybe shingles) with cedar siding. It will feature windows we found in the barn. I cannot wait to see hubs vision come to life.
Lose One, Gain Five.
A They say… lose one chicken, get five more to replace it.
That saying is real life.
Up the road I have a family member who raises a variety of chickens with fun colored eggs. I have worked on getting fun colored chickens and she gets fun eggs.
Naturally, we swapped fertile eggs. She can hatch some fun colored chickens and hopefully I can get some pretty egg colors added to our basket.
Next year will be a great production year, and I cannot wait to see where our flock goes. I have ideas for different housing options to integrate some birds with the sheep and possibly give Phoebe a friend.
Next week should be hatch week!
I have been desperately trying to get a hen to go broody, but they aren’t taking the bait. I wonder if they’re too hot? One of the birds keeps pecking at the eggs I was trying to help provoke broodiness with, so I squashed my plan.
We are out of town, and that almost ALWAYS ensures a broody hen (fingers crossed). Otherwise we might try to stick golf balls in a nest so the hens cannot peck the eggs. Then I will swap them out before hatch day. Time is ticking.
Petunia Seeds: A Journey to Understanding Cross-Pollination.
In other non-livestock news…
Last year I noticed my petunia flowers getting little pods on them. Upon opening said pods, I discovered tons of tiny black seeds.
Curiosity got to me…. maybe if I plant these seeds, I will get some flowers?
Sure as schnitzel I got a bunch of petunias.
This year I am going to begin my first hands-on journey to discovering how I can control seed collecting to get cultivars I want. Reading about cross-pollination confuses me so hard. I really learn best by DOING.
I labeled my seed collections of which flower I collected seeds from. I will see if the seeds breed true (likely not) and see if I can control what color flowers the seeds produce.
In the meantime, expect to see progress pictures and stories of what my little seedlings are growing into. It will likely be a long journey, but hopefully will help me understand how I can control which type of vegetable seeds I sow.
From losing a hen, to gaining five more, managing the crazy sheep to building new houses and collecting seeds for studying – our week has been crazy busy!
Tying up loose ends and bringing on the last of the outdoor projects will prove to be a challenge, but we are up for the challenge.
Heres to another busy week and more progress to creating OUR dream life.
If you ever have any questions, or ideas for future blogs, comment below or shoot me an email!
From the farm,