Thursday, April 10, 2014

Homestead Update

What an emotional start to the month of April.

First, we're still reeling today from the unexpected death of Pancake, one of our sheep, who passed away yesterday morning along with her two lambs in utero.

On the other end of the spectrum, our seedlings are popping up like crazy. The seed-starting greenhouse is doing a great job getting sprouts up and, well, sprouting.

Tomatoes in the upper right, brassicas to the left, and lettuces underneath. Yay greenhouse!

The lettuces in particular look really good. Looks like salad season is right around the corner!

Lettuces, spinach, arugula, and something else. i think. Wife planted these....
Bridget Da'Cow is chugging right along on fresh graze. She's giving between 1.5 to 2 gallons a day now. The grass is starting and stopping growth, since spring seems to be hitting the snooze button repeatedly. Maybe warm weather needed to go to bed earlier....

Bridget, tethered and grazing on early spring grass and clover.
The pigs have about doubled in size since we brought them home. They whey, table scraps, rooting, and other miscellaneous foodstuffs are really working hard at bacon making. They're about ready to move to a new section so I can bring the chickens in to the movable pen area.

Pigs in their heavily torn-up pen. Note the wallow, front and center.
The rabbits are doing fine. i will be breeding them either today or tomorrow. haven't decided yet, but since I'm in the middle of building an enclosed barn for Bridget, it may wait until tomorrow while I finish that up really fast.

Skittles, left, is a bit calmer now, so I think she's de-stressed enough to breed.
The chickens are doing fine as well. The baby chicks are looking like real chickens, very much ready to get out of the chick-u-bator.

"Get us outta here already!"
The big chickens are doing well, too. They had back-to-back 15-egg days this week (followed up by a 9-egger). Corn the rooster continues his aggressive streak, so we're planning a dispatch date for the very future. Basically, as soon as we release the leghorn roosters, Corn's dinner.

Your days are numbered, Cinnamon King....
The fermented grain feeding program for the chickens is doing exceptionally well. Their yolks are a deep orange, the eggs are strong, and our feed bill has been slashed tremendously.

Fermented grains on the plate, whole grains in the jar. All on a bed of hay. Hooray!
You can see, in the jar, the barley on the bottom, then the wheat, oats, sunflower seeds,
and finally the kelp topping it all off.

I have multiple concurrent projects right now, including a Bridget barn, a rabbitry, garden prep work, fence reinforcement finalization, and a few other things. The kids, meanwhile, have baseball or scouts every other day, so my time keeps getting spoken for. Plus, we've been having a lot of visitors lately, so entertaining has also eaten into my "do stuff from the big list" time.

It's a complex array of emotions I'm experiencing this month so far, spanning excitement, sadness, busy-ness, anxiety, contentment, and thoughtfulness. Oh yeah, and exhaustion. I feel drained. I need some good rest to recover and regain the spring in my step to finish the month out strong.

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