Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It’s impossible to give a 2 month update. Just a few highlights:

Introducing Dolly, our new ¾ Swiss Brown (1/4 Jersey) milk cow. Mostly the milk goes to our pigs (and the calf-see below). She is so gentle, and even though never before hand-milked, she took right to it. We don’t even restrain her legs (like we do for Mabel). We also still have our Jersey heifer from Mabel. She is halter-trained and ready to be bred. We may sell her as how many cows can our small holding support? Speaking of cows, we purchased a Jersey bull (Bart) calf. We will raise him to breed back our milk cows next year and then fill our freezer with him.

Our plan to sell some surplus turkeys this year was disastrous. Out of two batches, only two survive (Thanksgiving and Christmas). These will be the most expensive turkeys ever!

On the other hand, raising meat birds is going well (though we are not selling any). We have been eating Dark Cornish, Gamecocks, and some surplus roosters of various strains all summer, and we still have some two dozen left to butcher. We also have a dozen Dark Cornish hens (with rooster) to hopefully perpetuate our meat flock (along with the game hens).

We also have a diversified egg layer flock developing for the coming year: RI Reds, Amberlinks, Silver-laced Wynadottes, NH Reds, and some mixes. The old ones will go to the crock pot or the sale in a few months. (Was slightly disappointed with the White Leghorns and Comets we had this years. They did okay, but I expected better.)

Okra! Okra! Okra! We are getting plenty and learning to love it. Mrs. Curley makes a mean soup of okra, tomato, corn, and lentils, with chicken broth. It’s good in the summer-being lighter, but really I can’t wait until we have some in the dead of winter.

Put up over 30 quarts of corn. Most was not from our own field as the drought hit it, but from a neighboring farmer who let us pillage his field when he was done. The pigs got quite a bit also.

Watermelon was a wash, but the cantaloupes come faster than we can eat them. The green beans were a total loss (I managed even to lose the hay). Butter beans (Lima) are being harvested now-okay, but I was hoping for more. Zucchini was great while it lasted. Tomatoes have been so-so, but not finished yet. Egg plant is doing well now … and Cayenne peppers, more than we will use in a few years!

Dixie Lee peas are coming in like crazy. Looks like we’ll have a bumper crop.

It looks like our peanut crop (graciously on a neighbor’s field) is bigger and better than last year. I think I posted before that the peanut hay for the cows was a real boon.

Twice we went blueberry picking, some 18 gallons in all. These will taste good throughout the year in muffins, pancakes, jams, etc. It’s almost time to pick our own muscadines too.

And now it’s about time to start the fall garden. Broccoli, brussel sprouts, Swiss chard, collards, and turnips will go in as fast as I can manure and till up the spent garden space.

Now we have a flock of ducks, mostly Muscovy, but a few other species are roaming around. We also have a half dozen Guineas. (We went to the local small animal sale a few weeks back and go some deals).

With all these birds hanging around, our front yard is full of poultry tractors. Some of the poultry (gamecocks and guineas) roam totally free (no feed cost either).

We had an excellent spring with four litters of pigs. So far the summer/fall production is slow. We’ll have some, but things haven’t worked as well as planned. More to come this fall.

Requiem Press …. The old website will be coming down soon. We are going to try to clear out our inventory with some stellar pricing real soon. Our new site will be the site where transactions will be by Paypal only. Stay tuned on that one.

School started for us this week. Should be an exciting year. St. Michael, pray for us!

Plans before winter? We need to repair and finish (roof) the barn. I’d like to convert totally or partially to solar heat for our water heater with a homemade unit I am planning. An outdoor solar heated shower may be in the works too. (Don’t worry family members if you plan to visit, we won’t be dismantling the indoor plumbing anytime soon.) We’d like to get our wood stove (or more precisely our chimney) working again soon. A local builder has some ideas on how to make it safe again without spending an arm and a leg. (I don’t recall if I ever posted about our chimney fire back in early 2005, but we haven’t been able to burn wood since then.) Also, a couple of new chicken coops for our upcoming laying flock need to be built.

We really need to paint the house and repair the roof soon too. But we have some other minor, but urgent repairs or jobs to finish first.

God has been very good to us this year. We have been blessed with many family visits from the North. Food has been in plentiful supply. Money hasn’t, but we are together, working and playing (mostly working).

One final note: I was struck particularly but the second reading this past Sunday:

And you have forgotten the consolation which speaks to you, as unto children, saying: My son, neglect not the discipline of the Lord: neither be wearied whilst you are rebuked by him. 6 For whom the Lord loves he chastises: and he scourges every son whom he receives. 7 Persevere under discipline. God deals with you as with his sons. For what son is there whom the father does not correct? -Hebrews 12: 5-8

This was something I need to be reminded of this week!

Oremus pro invicem!