The weather has dramatically begun to turn into fall over the past couple of days and with the busy work schedule, I realized I have not posted for awhile. This is a quick review of farm activities over the past couple of weeks leading up to our last few days of warm weather.
My parents have been de-cluttering their house and my grandparents over the past year and they came across a cookbook that was revised in 1964. It was given to me and I was impressed with the fast expanse of recipes that were printed in this cookbook- everything from wild game to canning. Scanning through the recipes and deciding which one to try I discovered a fairly simple recipe for popovers. One of my biggest challenges. I can’t ever get them to pop. My first attempt turned into burnt popovers- however they did pop. My second batch was a little under-cooked- so had no crispy outer coating. But third is the charm. I was super excited that the family agreed that I have conquered the art of popovers.
The hogs are starting to really gain weight- along with significantly increasing their food intake. In the beginning, they were eating 1 bag of feed every couple of weeks. Now they are going through a bag in almost under a week. I will also add that no matter what someone tells you, pigs stink. I try to let them free range when I am home and every where they go, they leave a stench. They also have become quite good at digging up my yard. So, they have now been banished to the back part of the pasture and the compost pile. Put their digging skills to good work. Other new discoveries we have learned is how fast they are. When I let them out of their pen, the trio goes running across the field as fast as they can and I usually have to make sure there are no chickens in the way because they become very easy targets.
This is what my yard looks like after the pigs have had 5 mins. in the area. Speaking of destructive, their pig pen really is a pig pen with at least a foot of solid mud. The mud was getting into their feeder and blocking the food. We spent the weekend adding hay and raising the feeder on a pallet. So far so good.
Speaking of using the pigs for good and not evil. We have been trying to pull the remaining garden items for the season so the pigs can tear up all the leftovers but we have continued to find little surprises of harvest everywhere. This last weekend we filled a milk crate full of carrots, summer squash, zucchini, peppers, onions, and gourds. The pigs will have to wait a little longer to have some new fun in the garden.
This might be some of the hardest news to discuss in all the updates. It is always amazing how attached you become to your animals. Several months ago, I purchased a group of bantams. The hope was to have hens and one rooster to breed with Ladybird. We were ecstatic to discover we had 3 hens and 1 rooster- Loki. Over the summer we had several severe storms which caused some commotion in the barn. As a result, Loki was injured and we have been working with him all summer to try and get him back to normal. It has been amazing how well he got. However, over the past few weeks, his condition has rapidly deteriorated. What made this so hard was his spirit was so strong but he was unable to really move around. He was most content laying in someone’s lap or being carried around. The whole family knew that this could go either way.
While we were contemplating what to do with Loki, we had another chicken incident. One evening after dark, I headed out to the barn to put the animals away and check on the pigs. I had let the trio free range for a little bit before bed time. With my flashlight, I went searching for them and found them in the corner of the pasture. They were smelling something I could really recognize, which I looked closer to see a black feathers and a body. My initial thoughts was it was a crow that was injured or dead. I scooted the pigs back to their pen and went back for a closer look and was sadden to discover that it was not a crow but one of my bantam hens. Looking even closer at the body, we noticed that the head was gone along with all the breast meat. It reminded me of a thanksgiving carcass. After doing some google searching we guessed it was a hawk or eagle. All other possible animals would have taken the whole bird, eaten it differently, etc.
Getting back to Loki, he got to such a point watching him struggle that we knew it was time. We put him down and he is now buried by Warhammer. This was a tough one. Not only because we had spent so much time with him but to ride this roller coaster of having good days and bad days with the ending be this causes you to get a little emotional. I think we also look at death differently when you have faced losing a loved one.
The remaining bantams are suppose to be 2 hens. However, one has been acting quite strange that I think it is a late rooster. It has longer neck feathers and saddle feathers. Take a look for yourself in the pictures.
The last little update is I picked up a few more chicks. I wanted to add a few more laying hens before winter so they would be laying for spring. It is always fun to see how fast they grow in the fall. They tend to feather out faster due to the cold temperatures. I picked up 2 Rhode island reds and 3 americaunas- since Autumn, my only blue egg layer is either hiding her eggs or hasn’t laid in about a month.
I will end my blog with my spoiled trio. They have a good fall coat on and are just a joy to hang out with at the end of a long day.