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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Rooster free zone, already full, elderberries

Mama and Brittany Wycoff bought thirty roosters to raise for meat but the roosters they ended up getting turned out to be some type of fancy breed that would never have grown to the point that they produced any meat to speak of. The last time the Wycoff’s were at the farm they took five of the ten we had and dispatched them at their place – Mama and Victoria did not have to witness the deed. I wanted to see if they would eventually gain any weight but it was fruitless effort. After several months, they weighed less than two pounds each – live weight. Rather than feed them any more I decided that last night – since we had done our FBI DVD Saturday evening – would be a good time to get them culled from the flock. The problem is that I did not have a prayer of catching them by myself, so I enlisted the aid of both Mama and Victoria. With their help, we soon caught the birds and put them in a small cage I could easily get them out of. I waited until Mama and Victoria had run to the house before I started dispatching the birds. It is not something I enjoy doing but when it has to be done I can do it. For now, we are rooster free; at least until we find out which of the Bantams are roosters.

As I run electric through the shop I am kind of making it up as I go. I did not have a grand plan at the outset and as I picture all the things I will be putting in the building I am starting to realize I will easily occupy all the space it has to offer. It is only 21x24 so I have about 500 square feet in total. Not a small space, but certainly not a huge shop. It may take several iterations to get everything placed so it is usable as positioned – at least, that is the goal. At this point I am wishing I had not volunteered to put the two freezers in the shop, but I have already run dedicated circuits for both appliances. Oh, well. No sense getting greedy.

Mama and Victoria will be making their second trip to the Cantrell’s this evening. They took Kobe to meet Leo Saturday afternoon but it was not yet time for her. They hope she will be in standing heat today. She was bought with the idea of getting puppies from her. If the puppies have a mix of her and Leo’s personalities, they will be great dogs. I have maintained the shelter for housing the pups and their mama once that moment comes, so I feel like we are set up for the breeding. We have at least three families that want pups if Victoria lets Kira have another litter, but I think these pups – if the breeding is successful – will be as good as or better than Kira’s offspring. Time will tell. That litter will end up being a big part of our winter activities.

Mama picked another batch of elderberries from our little patch. She filled the colander I normally use to catch the harvested fronds of berries to overflowing and still could have picked many more. When I was done watering, I stripped the seeds from the fronds and we filled two quart freezer bags. If I remember right, that makes eight quart size bags of ripe berries we have put up so far this year. With the way the plants are producing, we are less than half way through what we will have access to by the first frost. I will probably make our first batch of elderberry syrup this weekend. With the nights in the fifties and the days in the nineties, we will need the cold remedy earlier this year than any previous year.

We should be able to make plenty; which is good because I have a feeling we will be needing it.


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