July 4, 2013 Farm Newsletter 20-1

Hello: and to those of you in the CSA, welcome to our 20th season.  We are quite late this year for a variety of reasons but the good news is that we have started, we have a lot of vegetables coming ready and much more growing in the garden.  We are expecting that as we progress through the season that it might be one of our better seasons.   If you are reading the paper copy of this newsletter and have not looked at our website you may find it interesting to look at the site;  https://devonacres.wordpress.com   as the internet allows us to write more and make photos available that we would not be able to otherwise.  On the list of vegetables available for sharers to pick up on Thursday, July 4 are:  Potatoes, dug on Wednesday; Peas, mostly picked Wednesday, these are snow peas and if we are able we will pick the shell peas, though they are past their prime and might be a little better for green pea soup; Arugula, small leafed Kale and Mizuna for salad greens. We will also have a small amount of Spinach and Lettuce; Radishes, Turnips and Garlic Scapes and some Green Onion,  Remember to bring bags to carry vegetables and that the pickup time is between 5 and 7 in the evening.

Until  Wednesday just over a week ago we were starting to get a little dry again so the rains that came on Wednesday and Thursday were really welcome.  We had started some watering on the Monday and Tuesday and the very hot weather at that time was, along with the lack of rain making a lot of watering necessary. On the first day we got about 24 mm of rain, just over 3/4 inches, and eventually after the rains were finished we had a total of just about two inches or about 55 mm.  Things are growing quite well now, including the weeds of course.

The other big thing this week was that we got 25 new laying hens from Frey’s Hatchery in St. Jacobs.  We had ordered them through the feed store, Sindens Feed and Seed in Burford.  These are 18 to maybe 22 week old ready to lay pullets. There are 4 varieties of chickens, look at the photos, and they are all good layers of medium to large eggs.  If there is sufficient demand for eggs we may get more in another month or two.

These birds were raised indoors from hatch, probably no natural light and almost certainly have never seen the outdoors. They are being kept in our new chicken house until Friday when we will let them out into a very small outdoor run and then after another few days out into the larger run where they can have full access to sun or shade and lots of grass to scratch around in.  We won’t let them free range, since they will hide eggs in all sorts of places, will scratch up places we don’t want them to, such as the vegetable garden and will eat various vegetables such as tomatoes and lettuce and as well if completely free ranged they easy pickings for coyotes and foxes. We will give them a large, outside, grassed area maybe about 100 by 100 foot, likely divided in half so that we can allow each half a few days to recover from the chickens. These chickens have been fed a non-organic food and initially we will be giving them the same thing because that is what they are accustomed to. An 18% protein lay ration from Sindens. We will gradually switch them over to an all grain diet which the chickens themselves will supplement with grass etc. and whatever insects that they can find. We will search for a local source of organic grains but will feed out conventional until we can get a local source of organics.  We should soon have a few eggs available for sale to our CSA sharers, haven’t figured a price yet.  Eggs are not part of the CSA though, they are separate thing.

Olivia, our granddaughter happily picking potatoe beetle larva from the potato plants

Olivia, our granddaughter happily picking potatoe beetle larva from the potato plants

Olivia and sister Emma searching for more potato beetles.

Olivia and sister Emma searching for more potato beetles.

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A freshly dug Yukon Gold potato plant. Somewhat small but then it is early and the plants are still healthy and growing.

A view of the garden, new bean planting close up and the potatoes in the background.

A view of the garden, new bean planting close up and the potatoes in the background.

The new extension with the original house to the right,  No cover yet.

The new extension with the original house to the right, No cover yet.

Close-up of the extension made to the old chicken house, without the cover on but with the new chickens installed( though the fella closest to us is our pet rooster Eddy).

Close-up of the extension made to the old chicken house, without the cover on but with the new chickens installed( though the fella closest to us is our pet rooster Eddy).

This bird is I am guessing, a Delaware.

This bird is I am guessing, a Delaware.

don't know the breeding of this chicken though I suspect that this and the red one are the same and are a hybrid.

don’t know the breeding of this chicken though I suspect that this and the red one are the same and are a hybrid.

One of the new chickens, unsure of the breed. Pretty chicken though.

One of the new chickens, unsure of the breed. Pretty chicken though.

These black and white birds may be Barred Plymouth Rock.

These black and white birds may be Barred Plymouth Rock.

This older good looking feller is one of the two roosters that usually just roam freely about with two hens and four ducks.

This older good looking feller is one of the two roosters that usually just roam freely about with two hens and four ducks.

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