Category Archives: Farm

A green egg!

Our first ever green egg!

It looks like someone is finally pulling their weight around here!

On another note – there’s a hole in the fireplace (we had it swept today), many black widows live in our basement, one of the rabbits escaped from his cage (but not the barn), and I am being sent to an IEEE (The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) leadership conference in San Jose next weekend.

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Time goes on

Fresh eggs from the girl.

Wow, this month as really gotten away from me. I apologize, and I hope to avoid this in the future. 19 credits for this Fall semestre is a bit much, and I may be in over my head. I’m trudging on, though, so don’t worry about that. My classes are tough this semestre and I am in primarily intense electrical engineering classes. The only class I am worried about is my microelectronics class, but I seem to be catching on to what is being taught. NPN and PNP BJT transistors are rather fascinating, if a bit difficult to immediately wrap one’s mind around.

On the homestead, we’ve had a great many changes. Mum and dad built a new coop, one that is much more secure and sturdy with easy-access nest boxes. One of the free girls was producing amazingly, but was far too loud for this neighborhood, unfortunately, so we sold her to a very nice up-and-coming urbanite who lives in a part of town which won’t notice the extra noise. Then, a week after that we found out that Clever Girl was actually a clever boy, and he started crowing on a Sunday. At first, I thought that it was a neighbor’s dog. Then, after putting up the sides on a new cage for my rabbits, I realized that the crowing was coming from my yard. I ran over to the new coop and run and watched in stunned silence as Clever Girl stood perched on the dead tree branch crowing his little heart out. I caught him, and my brother helped me to put him down (a quick axe to the head ended that). I invited one of my EE friends over to learn how to butcher, as he had previously asked to be called over the next time we had a meat harvest. Well, that was unexpected.

The forth coop we built.

Three of the girls

Thus, we are down to four hens. They are fairly quiet, but we still have to run out and hush them sometimes in the morning as we truly do not want our neighbors to discover our secret. We are receiving about an egg a day, sometimes two (although it’s rare). Yesterday we finished filling a used Wholefoods egg carton. We’ve been baking cooking and pancakes from our eggs, and haven’t bought market eggs in over a month.

The rabbits have been growing up nicely. Last Saturday I put Josephina in with Godwyn to get her ready for December harvest. Apparently, my rabbits do not breed like rabbits – instead, they groomed one another for hours. I left them overnight, and will test Josephina for pregnancy in about eleven days since we put them together. Last Friday was a horrid day, as I awoke at 5:00 am to discover my rabbit cages strewn about the patio. Poor little Mina had scared herself and injured her back; I was afraid I would have to put her down. Fortunately, when I arrived home after school that day, I checked her one more time before making the final decision. I pinched between the rear toes, and she jerked her leg back to her body. That meant that she’s not paralyzed, just injured. So, I have been caring for a debilitated bunny in my living room and washing her daily due to the build up of urine and feces. She’s in a shoebox filled with hay and puppy training pads to prevent her from moving too much. In another week and a half, I will start on rabbit physical therapy and my littlest sister has claimed her as a pet if she recovers. If she does indeed recover, she will move in with our pet angora rabbit, Dimitri – that spoilt prince.

Mina, our partially paralyzed bunny.

Svetlana relaxing in the sun.

This past weekend my mum and I spent building an open air barn for the rabbits on the patio. We made it out of the same wood used for this old patio, and I don’t think it’s very noticeable. We used chicken wire as walls, which is not perfect, but it’s the best we can do. I think that my warren is much safer now. I even built the door!

Open air barn/rabbitry.

Two weekends ago I planted our Fall/Winter garden: oats, beets, radishes, turnips, carrots, onions, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, kale, and garlic. The lettuce and spinach is coming up nicely. I have never grown oats, beets, radishes, turnips, carrots, onions, cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli from seed before, so this is a learning experience! The tomato plants are still producing tomatoes, so we have been having organic BLT’s regularly around here.

Organic, mostly home-grown BLT.

Newly growing oats!

Fall garden greens - spinach, lettuce, kale, green onions, and broccoli.

Root vegetable garden.

Tomatoes!

Last Thursday my littlest sister and I traversed out behind our backyard to gather wild blackberries by the stream. We also happened to find some feral grape vines growing, so we picked them by the bunches. On Saturday I made blackberry pie, and this weekend I would like to make grape jam.

About 6-8 lbs of feral grapes.

3/4 of the wild blackberries we picked.

Wild blackberry pie.

This weekend we will be decorating for Samhain/Hallowe’en. It’s my favourite time of the year, and my husband and I will be celebrating our first anniversary in October. Happy Fall, everyone.

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This is how you transport chickens …

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Somehow we ended up with four instead of three. Our flock has just increased by a factor of three.

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Free laying hens!

Score! I just responded to an add on Craigslist about free laying hens. I’ll be picking up two “Easter Eggers” and a single Australorp on Wednesday. Beautiful. They’re even quiet! I’ll update you later this week.

Here’s the text of the add:

Free laying hens about a year old. I have 2 easter eggers (greenish blue eggs),2 rhode island reds,1 buff orfington,1 black astralop and 2 mixed breeds.
Please call 8##-6##0 or 7##-4##3.

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Preparations

Tomorrow is the first day of the Fall semestre, and I’m both excited and wary. It’s going to be different having to take care of my herd and flock before and after class and work. I’m taking nineteen credits this semestre, and the majority of them are upper level engineering courses. I finished building two more cages today, and put my princess, Svetlana, in her own cage, and moved the young bucks over near her and then put one of the large bucks, Rasputin, that bastard, in their old one. Phew. That leaves just three more cages to build, one more 30″x30″ and two 36″x30″.

We’re looking at buying two more hens for the flock, most probably Australorps. The other two breeds on our list are Americaunas and Orpingtons. We really need them to be quiet, though. We think that Clever Girl may be a silent rooster. She hasn’t laid an egg since we got her, but if she is a rooster, as long as she doesn’t crow we’ll keep her.  Also, we planted the fall garden yesterday. My lower back still is sore from all the hoeing we did. So far we have beets, turnips, radishes, carrots, onions, scallions, spinach, lettuce, kale, broccoli, and celery seeds planted. We still need to plant some more broccoli, the cauliflower, the cabbages, and when we obtain the seeds for oats and barley (and the starters for garlic) we’ll plant those.

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Playful youths

A quick video of my rabbits playing with pine cones.

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Exhausted morning

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Svetlana, our only American Chinchilla doe.

This morning I awoke to my mum frantically knocking on my door telling me that three rabbits had escaped. The big boys. I quickly got out of bed and dressed before running up to the rabbitry and corralling those three bucks and setting them back where they belong. I soon discovered that they managed this escape by pushing up on their metal feeder, and watching it fall over. Somehow, those guys were able to fit in a two inch by three inch hole. Jerks.

Today is a clean up day, and I have to get a lot done for my job. Hopefully it all pans out, as my laptop is still being fixed due to a virus it caught. Life on the mini-farm.

A quick view of my rabbitry: (the cages are now raised on bricks and we will have a pvc hutch built for them this weekend)

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Red Forest Rabbits

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The young bucks, Igor and Wolfgang.

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The "big boys", Rasputin, Godwyn, and Sigurd.

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The girls, Svetlana, Mina, and Josephina.

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Another shot of the big boys relaxing.

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Finnegan enjoying his new charges. He loves guarding this herd.

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