July 17, 2014 Farm News

July 15, a large, impressive cloud, lots of growing greenery.

July 15, a large, impressive cloud, lots of growing greenery.

We had new potatoes as part of the share last Thursday.  This is the variety Kennebec, a white skinned, white fleshed potato.  They were nice sized on average with a lot of the smaller ones too.  This is a mid to late season potato but was the one I planted first.  The yields from the ones to be harvested later in the season should be quite good.  The potato beetle is still there but we have gone over the rows twice now removing all the beetles and larva and the population of the predatory soldier beetle is high enough now that any we missed and new hatchings of Colorado potato beetles should be eaten by our friends the soldier beetles.

Potato rows, freshly cultivated and looking a lot less weedy.

Potato rows, freshly cultivated and looking a lot less weedy.

We managed to get the chicken run fenced by Thursday morning so that the new hens could roam outside and they seem very happy for that knowing instinctively what to do.  These are ready to lay hens, 18 to 20 weeks old when we picked them up two Mondays ago so they are just beginning to lay eggs, pullet eggs, small, even some pee wee sized.  But they will soon increase in size.  We are only getting about 30 eggs per day but soon, we hope, they will be laying about an egg per hen per day, or for the 60 hen flock we’ll likely get about 55 eggs per day average.  When the chickens are out foraging on grass all day every day, as all our chickens are  doing they will get a significant portion of their nutrition from weed seeds and other vegetation and from insects and other tiny animalia.

Some of the new hens, a pullet, looking reall pretty.

Some of the new hens, a pullet, looking reall pretty.

The old flock at breakfast.

The old flock at breakfast.

 

The ducks splashing away in their newly installed swimming pool.

The ducks splashing away in their newly installed swimming pool.

The ducks take to water just like ducks.

The ducks take to water just like ducks.

Thursday evening we managed, after the CSA pickup to weed the cutting leaf lettuce 3 row bed and thank you to Mihaela for staying so long and doing such a fine job helping me to weed.  Also I must say, “Thank You” to Ken Peach for the long hours and hard work put in most of the day on Thursday, making the job of picking vegetables for the CSA pickup considerably easier, so much so that I wonder if we could have done it without Ken’s help.  This is the third Thursday now that Ken has come for most of the day to give us very welcome help with the CSA picking. In addition Ken has been out at other times putting in long hours helping in the garden.  Again , Thanks Ken.  Also to Suzanne, thanks for your CSA picking help Thursday and again while we were busy stuffing hay in the barn.  Two Saturdays ago, Allen came to help me with picking potato beetles and their larval grubs and when we determined that the last few rows had so few left that it was better to turn to wed pulling in the spuds.  Thanks Allen, a lot accomplished.

Friday we had to look after one of our yearling bull calves that has an open wound in the middle of the right flank.  It has a circular area where the skin is raw, maybe 3 inches in diameter and in the centre of that is a hole going right through into the calves first stomach.  We know that because a stream of green liquid squirts out when the calve moves certain muscles  such as when he swats with his tail.  We cannot figure out what happened.  The nature of the injury makes it unlikely that another cow pushed  him against something sharp and besides we searched the area and could find no candidate objects . But we really don’t know. Other than this ugly looking wound, he looks fine but after delaying for a few days while we tried to treat it ourselves he really does not seem right so we are having the vet come out.

Saturday Aerron harnessed the horses and did some cultivating, the weeds are getting thick and large in many spots.  Needs constant attention now.  We have been doing a lot of hand weeding and hoeing too. I had to make and install a new knife, a new blade on the wheel hoe as the old one was worn so thin that it was getting quite bent and not doing a very good job.  Also put a flat free wheel and tire assembly on our wheelbarrow to cure the recurring persistent problem of flat tires.

Sunday was more wheelhoeing and hand weeding by us and Aerron  had the horses on the cultivators again moving weeds around.  We also spent a bit of time moving things out of the barn to get room for bringing in hay and on Monday our neighbour, Laverne Green arrived with his loader tractor and wagon decked out with 8 hay bales (the large round variety) from our other neighbours, the Blanks.  Between about 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Verne delivered 42 bales, unloading them into the big doors at the top of the barn and Aerron and Meself rolled them into position on the mow floor, just one layer as we have no means of getting bales up to a second level.  This was the quickest that we have gotten this job done.

 

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