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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Little ones on the farm

The other day, Mama discovered that we have a new family of woodpeckers in a tree in the goat area. She was in there mowing and happened to see several baby woodpeckers hopping through the branches. They are the offspring of the small woodpecker that has been a regular at the farm for the several years we have been there. Fortunately, we do not suffer any damage from the variety that has chosen our trees as home, but as I understand it, they can be quite destructive. So far, it has been a fun opportunity to watch the tiny ones learn to adapt to the life ahead of them. We have not heard them peck on the trees but I expect that will be coming soon. I will let you know if my opinion changes when that becomes a part of our ambient noise.

Very soon we should have more babies on the farm. Three of our cows look very close to ready. The fourth does not look pregnant. It would be a disappointment for her to miss giving us a calf this year but those things happen. For the goats, Millie looks like she could not get much bigger before kidding but we are pretty certain that she has at least three more weeks to go. Mama is praying for twins. We should have at least that but Millie has had triplets for both of the last two pregnancies. Triplet would mean that we would have to bottle feed one of the three. That is the main reason Mama is praying for this to be just twins. It is not that we do not thoroughly enjoy bottle feeding a little goat, it is that we would have to be very consistent in giving that feeding three times per day for six to eight weeks from birth. That consistency is what causes the problem since both of us work. I think filling the little one up in the morning and then again after work would be enough but you know Mama. She would stress out about the little one being hungry through the day and want to make a special trip to the farm at lunchtime to make sure it got its belly full. Maybe I should pray for twins too.

We have five or six hens that want to sit and Mama is constantly having to get the eggs out from underneath them. I do not think it would be a problem to let them hatch out some little ones but Mama seems committed to keeping that from happening. It is not like we do not have plenty of eggs. We are getting twelve to fifteen every day and since sales are down we have plenty of eggs to spare. A couple dozen chicks would add to the fun of having the chickens. But I think Mama has ordered a couple dozen chicks from a local hatchery that she plans to raise in one side of the coop. They will be here sometime late next month. In the meantime, we need to treat the coops and our chickens because some of them are looking pretty pitiful. Maybe it is molting time. Maybe it is mites. We can never be sure. So, we treat for mites.

The recent rain really helped our garden. More rain is predicted for this week so I will have a couple additional free hours in the evenings since I will not have to water the plants. We have potatoes sprouting and I have covered them a second time to give them more depth. We have tomatoes starting on several plants. We have peppers on several plants in the raised bed and we have blooms on the squash that I have struggled to keep alive through the past week or two. We also have blooms on several of the strawberry plants that survived the winter. I have them in a bed in the garden as well but it is on the ground so we have to constantly fight the ants as we tend to those plants. I plan to allow the strawberry plants to repopulate the bed with the runners they send out. By the end of the season we should have a full bed again. We have blueberries, blackberries and black raspberries in various stages of development. It will not be a big harvest on the blackberries and black raspberries, but the three blueberry plants are loaded. We are waiting to see how the figs, plums, nectarines, pears, apples, apricots and peaches will do this year. But, it looks very promising so far.

I like this time of year.


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