Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring is heading this way......

I won't say that it is here only because I don't want to jinx this wonderful weather we are having.  Besides the official first day of spring isn't until NEXT Tuesday (March 20th).  Our temps hit 50 degrees or so yesterday and we were graced with a day of March showers.   With lots of sun today and a bit of wind to dry up all the melting snow it's been absolutely "springy".  
I have spent most of today cleaning up the winter accumulation of doggie poo in both the yard and the goat pasture....ummm not a fun chore.   5 buckets worth are now fertilizing the pines around our property lines.   I'm seriously going with one more reason to push the raw diet, much less waste.  I realy have to do a bit more research into some of the commercial foods that have less of the supposedly undigestable fillers.  I would like to find out if less waste products in the kibble really means less "waste" on the ground. 
I believe Abra (our Asian Heirloom Hog gilt) is bred.  Unfortunately I have no clue as to the possible due date.  I'm going to guess late April to early May.  I will keep updates coming on this the best I can.  However I find the excitement I get from knowing my goats are going to kid does not extend to knowing that my pig will be farrowing.  Perhaps it is because I know with great certainty where most if not all the little piglets will be ending up.  Or perhaps it's just that I haven't yet had the pleasure of seeing cute tiny little piglets running around!!
We have finished curing all the meat from Roto (the york/old spot cross gilt we butchered here).  The bacon and ham both turned out amazing.  I can say they are not like you expect your ham or bacon to be when purchased from the store.  Our bacon wasn't quite as fatty, but delicious just the same.  The ham was so different than store bought, but again it was great.  We won't get much (if any) bacon from Abra and Avidor's offspring but we are certainly hoping that the meat is just as tasty and that we get some nice cute and tiny hams.  Now that the weather is finally getting nice, I just have to wait for the large snowbank to melt next to the garden so I can get the summer pig pen put up.  I hope they enjoy their summer digs as much as they have enjoyed their winter one.  I don't want them to move out too soon though as they have started their spring rototilling.   In the fall I was concerned that these guys weren't rooting as much as the full size pigs we had.  I was wrong.  It might take two of the little ones to do the same amount of work as one big one, but they ARE getting it done. 
We are approaching the time for Amber and Winchester to leave our farm.  We are happy that both have found very nice and loving homes.  We wish the best for them and their new families.  We would have liked to have kept them all, but our acreage IS limited and we feel that this sale will be the best for  the horses that will be moving, the horses that will be staying and our land.  In time we will add a cow back to the mix along with a few more breeding does and that will most likely put our land at it's maximum capacity. 
Oh, I almost forgot to mention - I picked up my first Cornish Rocks this week.  We just picked up 10 to try them out, with the pork we have that should be enough to last until next year for meat.  It was so nice grocery shopping this month, the final bill was so much less without having to add meat to it.  We are really hoping for a buckling to raise for the freezer this year out of the April crop of kids.  Then in another couple of years when we have our cows offspring we should be well set.  Add any venison we get and we'll be needing two new freezers (or more canning jars).  So the home shopping list for meat will soon consist of pork, chicken, chevon and hopefully beef and venison.   If I had the room and was so inclined, I could try my hand at aquaculture and raise some fish too.  But that I do NOT see happening. 
I finally got my seeds started and I am very happy to report that my tomato seeds I saved from last year are so far germinating at 100%.   Yeah!  I have another round of seeds to plant this weekend too, but I am quickly running out of room again this year.  I even made my seedling table bigger by adding in all the leaves I had for it. 
I bought two peach and two pear trees this year but still have to decide where I want to put them.  With most of our property being utilized as either garden or pasture space, it's becoming hard to find a designated "orchard" space.  I already know where our three maple trees are going to go when we get a chance to transplant them and since they will be quite large and shady I can't plant the fruit trees near them.  I have some nice space on the east side of our property that I may utilize.  I suppose it's time to do some more scouting out there.  I think I will grab a 1/2 dozen or so blueberry bushes as well.  I was told by a customer at work that you needed to have more than one variety of blueberry for them to pollinate well.  I'll have to do some research on that subject to be sure.  I know right where to plant the bushes.  I also have some hops that need a place to go.  I was thinking that I might grow them right up the side of the chicken pen fence.  If I string wires right, I can even have them run onto the roof maybe and create a sort of canopy for the chickens.  I haven't thought that whole plan out too much, but I'll certainly come up with one soon.  I have to get it done sooner rather than later because as I said spring is heading this way.....and it won't be long now!

Until next time.........

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