Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A year on the farm (almost)

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of the day we bought the farm. One year ago we were ecstatic, freaked out, a bit overwhelmed, and super excited. One year ago, I was packing and packing and doing more packing. One year ago I was looking through hatchery catalogs looking to see what kinds of chickens I wanted.

So how'd the year go?

We got the chicks on Feb 4, when they were three days old. We built a brooder area in my office and they lived there until we could  move them outside. Had to wait for the weather to warm up and for the chicken coop to be delivered. Now we have 13 hens, three roosters (one is a Wellsummer - he was my "free exotic chick with purchase"), and this October, we hatched out some chicks and while we started with 13; we are down to eight but they are a large healthy size now so they should make it through the winter with no worries.

In February, we bought four American Guinea hoglets - two males and two females. After about two or three weeks, we added two more males to the mix for friends of ours. By September, they were big enough to go to the butcher. While the meat is great, the sausages are tasty, the bacon was fantastic, this type of hog is more for lard than meat; going to try something different next year.

The garden beds did really well. I'm going to be expanding the garden to make it even bigger but this spring/summer all I could manage was two rows containing seven beds that were 8' long by 4' wide with 3' paths in between. We've had the hogs in a fenced kennel that we've been moving all over the area where the garden will be. They are rooting up all the grass, digging up, turning over, and fertilizing the soil. Should be perfect next spring.