Summertime

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Things couldn’t look more Summery these days! I found these mulberries while out today. Although Hubby and I have differing opinions on Mulberry trees. I see them as food and want to keep them, and he’d rather get rid of them.  Blah, blah weed trees etc. We compromised. I picked an area that is on a fence line that has Mulberries, Wild Grapes, some Gooseberries and Black Cap Berries and I claimed it. He can take others out but my little fruit buffet stays!

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These are Black Cap Berries, and this bright red says that I better prepare because they all look like they will turn that nice black purple all at the same time. I’d like to make a full canner of Black Cap Jam. It is delicious. It has all kinds of little tiny crunchy seeds in it, but we love it, the flavor is rich and the color is beautiful!

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The chicks are OUT of the garage! This was huge. We now have them in 4 separate coops that Hubby built. This one is permanent, (not a mobile tractor type) and we call it our Winter coop. We have 8 new hens in it. The future layers get the best digs! Then we have 3 mobile units that Hubby did an amazing job on. Between the four units we could be a Chicken Tractor Museum, because each one is unique. He used lots of stuff we already had too!

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This one was a huge job for him, more than he thought it would be, but it turned out great. It is light weight enough that the four wheeler can move it, but the Coop part gives it substance and weight against the winds. We have about 35 Roos in there and it gets moved on to fresh grass daily.

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These are our current layers. They are just starting to go through their molt, so the eggs are down a bit. This coop also gets moved onto fresh grass daily.

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This we call the Hoop and Coop. It houses 10 Roos and we are free ranging them. We have never done this. We open their door and leave it open all day and they go in and out, and unlike children, they go to bed without being told:) We are pleased with how well it is working, and yes we realize we could lose birds this way. We will assess the success of operation free rangers at the end of the season.

They coops are spread out and so I am trying to get used to using the four wheeler to distribute water and food amongst the four locations but I always have trouble starting it, of course, then Hubby gets on it and it starts right up. Grrr, I have to work on this because when he goes on his annual “Mancation” with his brothers I will be on my own! So, MUST learn how to get comfortable with the thing, so far, I have a 50-50 success rate, higher once it’s been run and lesser when it’s starting for the first time of the day.

The Garden

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This was the garden a week ago, at this point it already looks a lot different, things have grown so much!

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Zucchini

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Basil

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Collards

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Beets

I am very excited about this garden. It is definitely the biggest and most productive garden I have had. I am also doing a better job of planting new things continuously. My daughter did a second planting of radishes a few weeks ago and I just planted the third round yesterday in an area where there were storm damaged snap peas. The peas went to the chickens to be finished off. I am starting to think about what and when I want to plant in the garden that has the frame for the high tunnel to sit on, as that will be our Fall veggies such as various greens and radishes. I tucked two tomato plants into this area as well, thinking that possibly with the tunnel over them, that they might fruit longer, but it’s experimental at best.

A conversation at the top of our small part of the world.

On the 4th of July we headed up to the top of the field (our high point view) and brought a couple chairs. We were able to see about 5 different communities Firework shows, but not a lot of them. I mean literally not a lot of them. We could see the very top edge of the colorful displays, the rest were obscured by hills. While we scanned the Horizon in different directions we talked about the farm a bit. We actually took time to recognize what’s changed around here. Chickens: We now have 4 chicken coops (3 of which are mobile), and a permanant brooder that can be taken apart and stored. Setting up next year will be soooo easy! In the Cattle area we have way more fenced pasture than ever! Last year at this time, we were actually feeding hay because we were so low on pasture. Then we were scrambling in Winter because we were short on hay, and in addition to the scramble it wasn’t always the best hay, which was really disappointing. Right now we have more hay than we know what to do with, and it is all stored, we are feeding pasture only and not seeing any worrisome signs of not having enough, and the hay that we have is really good hay! We will even be processing a bull and a steer very soon and that will be our first beef that we have raised ourselves. Those are so many great changes! Even the garden is bigger and way more productive this year than last year. It’s easy to get into a rut of focusing on all the many things that need to be done, at some point though it’s impotant to take stock of what has been done, and how much better off we are just one year later! The next morning? We went back to our to do lists;)

I call this picture…

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…Moon Over Coop

 

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