Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Maters are comin' on... and farm notes

What could be better? Oh yeah.. it was a free... yep, makes it even better!

Finally! The tomatoes are coming on and today was the first egg and tomato sandwich, on home made bread - totally delicious.  I just love summer food - especially every meal we can get out of the yard.

Every "free" meal is a blessing and we are so glad not to have to buy groceries. Today all of our meals are free including this yummy sandwich, the roast and taters I fixed early in the day so I wouldn't have to heat up the house later, and a wonderful bread/tomato/veggie salad. And we are snacking on the things I baked earlier in the week. I'm hoping to keep the oven off for a day or two because its HOT!

Holy heat index, batman! The local weather says our heat index hit 100* today, thank heaven we have a windy day or we'd all be cooked.

We've been making the rounds every hour or two giving everyone fresh water and such. No casualties, but I had to move the Salmon Faverolle chicks out of the hen house and into a cage in the cool grass. They were peeping miserably. They seemed happy in the grass and I'll be relieved when they are big enough to be out roaming around. These chicks are too small to be with the big hens - who have gone after them every time we've run them from the day coop to their night coop. We need to make sure they are at least, sort of, kinda, nearly the same size before we turn them out to free range.

Of course, if they had a momma she would protect them from the other hens. I keep wondering if Runner, the turkey hen, will take them as she is a great defender of her chicks. Runner and Little Pansy (our lead rooster) were fighting like cats and dogs yesterday. Runner poofed all up and displayed her tail, and LP got low and fluffed out his mane. They flew at each other, talons up, and then chased each other around the yard... until, that is, I got The Enforcers (the dogs) out there. Then they had a common enemy and ran in different directions. I'm telling you folks, its always something out there.

The newest chicks are doing well - and with the weather being so hot they are really vigorous because they don't have to keep warm under Mrs. Dowlrimple. I think they are the only ones who are happy in the heat.  She still won't take them out yet. I tried again today to get her out of the brooder coop but she wasn't having anything to do with it. I'll try again tomorrow before the rest of The Insane Hen Posse is let out.

Quick farm notes:
* Maters are coming on in a few varieties. Remind me NOT to let the 'paste' tomatoes go to seed in the hillside garden. They are just too seedy.
* The first sunflowers have lowered their heads and the little flitty birds are eating all the seeds. I'll need to "bag 'em" or just take them up. It seems early but everything is hurrying right along this summer.
* That ridiculous hen.. make that... those two ridiculous hens are tightly set on "nests" in the layer boxes. Each had a few eggs under - at this point I might as well just let them set there. Fats ran one of them off her nest so who knows what's going on. I gave Fats the boot and put the broody back.
* Bianca, or Pig Pen as we are about to call her, won't keep a nest in one place. I'll need to start locking her down in the morning. Silly duck. In fact, they are all nuts right now. They are all hanging around the hen house and yesterday Miss Puddles tried to have an egg! She is still brooding her clutch, for heavens sakes! I'm giving up this summer on trying to keep any sense of order - everyone is nuts. Silly ducks!
* The weeds are doing great! But at least they will be a lot of free food for the goaties.. so there is that.
* Goaties like the new hay much better and milk production is back up - but certainly not to this spring's levels. I contacted the breeder for Vita.. we'll see when he wants her.
* Peaches at the local orchard are going like hotcakes. They've been selling out before noon - need to remember to get up there on Monday.

So is it hot enough for ya?


Chai Chai said...

What happened to Big Pansy? Didn't he take over after defeating Fred?

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Hi CC! Big Pansy went to live with Bourbon Red... he was down one rooster and I had one too many. LP and BP were also really starting to fight so someone had to go. BP pulled the short straw in the coin flip. Plus, I never could look at him the same after he destroyed my dear Fred.

Mr. H. said...

Now that sounds like a delicious sandwich.:) 100°, yikes! That is a little bit on the warm side. I have a question for you if you don't mind. Do you have knapweed in your area and if so is it true that goats will eat it?

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Hi Mr H! Its considered an invasive species here.. and I'm pretty sure we have some - but not like other weeds taking over. Goats will pretty much eat anything that isn't toxic to them - unless of course, you WANT them to eat it. Then they won't. On purpose. Dang goats!

Actually my quick search revealed that goats and sheep can be used to control knapweed - except Russian knapweed. Goatworld reported even the most hearty goats will avoid it.

Are you thinking of taking the plunge into goats? They'd made a great addition to your place

Be sure to read "What I know about Goats" for a fair and accurate assessment (HA!) of goats for the homestead. All kidding aside, they can be invaluable. The alpine breeds (like our Saanan, Vita) would be a good choice for your climate.

Mr. H. said...

I am thinking about goats, not this year or next but possibly the year after that, and guess what...pigs too. I know, I know, you hate them.:) I raised three weaner pigs about 15 years ago, best pork I have ever had.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Mr. H - I'm totally supporting you with goats AND pigs. While I hates the pigs like no other... oh the ham... and done right, you can raise them cheaply. I'll be writing more about that soon. But in the meantime, start workin' on your fencing - for both goats and pigs! You won't regret it. 'Cept for all the pig hatin... but you kinda get used to that.

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