Monday April 30 Garden view. A green haze starting to be apparent. Stuff is growing.
A view of the garden on Sunday May 6 late afternoon. Storm clouds were slowly moving in. The green haze is even greener and hazier than last week
A very busy two weeks it has been. I got bogged down with things to do and did not get the time to post a blog last week. So this week it is two in one. The first week first.
The little white and brown miniature horse fell over the fence at his next door pasture and cam over to visit with his bigger cousins.
We had to prepare for the arrival of the newly hatched chicks which were to be picked up on Saturday April 29. Chicken houses needed to be cleaned out and chickens shuffled around. We had previously taken away the flock of older hens so the fancy breeds were moved to where the old hens had been as the fancy’s house was the place where we brood new chicks. So two houses were cleaned out and repairs made to the roosts in the old hen house and everything taken out of where the new chicks will be going.
A chicks eye view of the newly arrived day old chicks under the red light of the heat lamp.
Marie and Aerron drove to Performance Poultry near Carrying Place in Prince Edward County. Just a bit west of Trenton for the pickup late Saturday afternoon. We kept the two boxes of chicks overnight, all day Sunday and overnight again, in our kitchen beside the wood stove. We hadn’t quite finished cleaning and getting ready their brood house. They were somewhat overcrowded but had heat lamps on them as well as the woodstove. The ideal temperature is 95F reducing by 5F each week until at 70F at which time they will be sufficiently fledged to be ok with out supplemental heating. We moved them into their brood house with lots of space and several heat lamps on Monday. We’ll have the heat lamps off after only about three weeks if the weather warms as we would expect through May.
This hen is almost exactly a year old now. She is a silver laced Wyandotte, not rare breed, there are good numbers about. but they are somewhat unusual. They should be excellent layers and we think that ours are.
We have gotten several obscure breeds of chickens as well as two breeds of turkey, the Ridley Bronze and the Bourbon Red. The chick breeds have names such as Spangled Russian Orloff, Silver Grey Dorking, Delawares, Sicilian Buttercup, Blue Andalusian, and Golden Laced Wyandotte. Parts of the names will often refer to some physical characteristic, such as colour and colour patter, type of comb and also the place of origin. Sometimes the colour description in the name is a bit difficult to interpret unless you have seen it described before and sometimes the place in a name is not actually where the breed originated. We are getting all these various breeds for several reasons. We are wanting to find a breed that will work well for us, our location, our management practices, good laying on whole grain feeds and foraging on pasture and good longevity. We would like them to lay eggs economically for more than three years, 1000 days. We are aiming for an 80 to 85 % lay rate in the first year, 70 to 75 % average in the second year and at least 6o % over the third year. We also would like to have a bird at the end of lay which will have a good carcass as a meat bird. We are wanting a good long lived dual purpose chicken.
Inside the fancy chickens house. Nesting boxes at the back to the left of the door. The overnight ladder roost near the door. I have to be careful when opening the door in the mornings as chickens fly off the roosts straight out the door. Several times I have had chicken wings brush my nose. The cage on the left wall has 5 newly acquired ISA hens who were kept in the cage for two days in order to get to know their new room and room mates.
They are out with all the others now, no problems.
Grandson William had the camera and took several fine photos. Spring flowers.
The weather has now finally been good enough to get working in the garden. We have been held up too long by the poor April weather. We picked up most of our seeds and sets at William Dam Seeds in Dundas. More seeds are in the mail from Prairie Garden Seeds in Saskatchewan and there are one or two packets that we need to get from a couple of other places by mail order. There is still much work to be done to prepare the garden. Work that could not get done until now because of the weather. Seeding rows have to be prepared, straw mulch spread. Seeding will be done both before and after spreading straw depending on what it is we are planting.
The fall planted scallions are growing quite well. Another of William’s photos.
We are still burning wood though a week ago Saturday we had let the fire go out for the day, re-firing in the evening for overnight and we did again let it go out for a day and did not have the stove on for just one overnight. Hopefully we can soon let it go out for more extended times.
This is Wendy a 4 week old lamb with a severe handicap. She is perfectly healthy lamb except for not being to use her front legs. She was born this way. She lives in a box In our kitchen, skitters about the house and outside. Just now starting to eat a little grass. Her back legs propel her along quite quickly if need be and she can spin around in a blink when she gets playful.
Horses, cows and sheep are still not yet out on pasture. It will not be until near the end of May that the grass will be grown enough to turn them out. They are going to get quite anxious for fresh grass long before then. If the weather stays warm enough but not too hot and the rain comes regular then we might have enough rapid grass growth that we will have to get them out so that the grass does not get over mature.
The rhubarb is rowing really quickly now. Rhubarb stew and pies soon.
Stinging nettle, Korean mint and parsley.
This past week has seen us really getting our hands dirty preparing seed beds and planting. There is now so much to do and so little time in which to get it done. The weather is fine and we do need a bit of rain every week or so. An inch or 20 to 25 mm would be ideal each week.
Two of the main flock of Red Sex-link hens. You’d think that they could come out with a better name. They are scratching under the junipers at the front of our house.
Last Friday the big windstorm held things up a bit. Wind gusts at the weather station a quarter mile down the road, were recorded at 94 kph late in the afternoon. The rafters in the green house attached to our house became detached from the house at about that time. The plastic covering fastened to the rafters tightly and I had to cut it away with my knife as I was concerned that the whole thing might go with possible damage to the house. So that is a real nuisance and the only damage that we sustained. It really did need a rebuild but we don’t have the time now.
My photographer helper William hand feeding his Brahma chickens and others.
All else is well. The horses, cows and sheep are still waiting to get out on new grass but that will have to wait a little bit longer just now. So much do be done in the spring. Seeds from Prairie Garden Seed arrived. Even more to plant now!
The hairy woodpecker getting set to strike a peck.
A belly view and feet tightly gripping a brittle little stem.
He was drilling away sideways and upside down too.
A male Hairy Wood pecker spent a lot of time over two or three days pecking away at the dried last years flower stems of Yucca (probably Yucca filamentosa) on our front lawn. No idea just what he was finding there but he sure was busy. Lots of photos and here are but a few.
The red patch on the back of the head says male, the downy feathers on the back say hairy.
Another view of his hairy back.
He just looks so nice.