Taming of the Jungle has progressed!

I made good progress in the garden yesterday.  I need to do a bit more today, not quite as much which is good.  I got most of the tomatoes trimmed and tied up, planted more green beans and planted the poor seedlings that Wally told me I was going to have to stake to the house if I didn’t move them soon. I never did plant cucumbers.  Oh well.  They are readily available from other farmers.

I think the chicks (still in their eggs) in the incubator just started peeping!  Good!  I was worried that I hadn’t heard them yet.  I have a feeling that the hatch may not be as good as it was last time and quite frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if most did not hatch.  Hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think the eggs were cared for as well as they should have been before I got them.  I fixed a piece of goat panel in front of the door to the tractor where the older Dark Cornish are so they can go out but the big chickens can’t come in.  That seems to be working well.  I have the White Rocks trained to go up in their house for food.  I walk out there with their feeder of organic, soy-free chick feed and call them and they come running.  There are always a few stragglers, but between Gel and I, we get them all up.  Then I let them out in the morning so they can forage with the big chickens.

Today I have to go into Lincolnton and file my meat handler’s license and grower’s certificate with Lincoln County so Wally and I can go to the Lincoln County Farmer’s Market in Denver.  Hopefully that will work out well.

Yesterday afternoon Wally drove to the feed mill that we use to mix our chicken and goat grain.  It’s nice to have our grain barrels full.  The way it is mixed now, it comes out to about $15 for 50 pounds which is reasonable; a lot more reasonable than organic chicken feed which is $27 for 50 pounds.  This feed is not organic, but much of it is locally grown and none of it is GMO.  I’m happy with that.  We are using up the last of the organic chick starter that I traded farm products for at the Conover Farmer’s Market and once that’s gone, we’ll switch the chicks over to that food.  I’ll just need to feed them some raw milk to balance it out.

Over the weekend, we are going to pick out six of the dual purpose roosters and put them in a separate area (using the electric poultry netting that didn’t work for the rabbits) and feed them a good bit of milk and extra grain to put a little more weight on them.  They’ll still have plenty of room to graze, but will have more access to grain and more importantly, milk, to fatten them up a bit and then I’ll get to practice my poultry butchering skills.  We received our safe handling labels in the mail yesterday so all we need to get to be all set to do our own poultry butchering are a couple of killing cones which I just ordered.

I did not get the lap top set up for Wally yesterday.  Hopefully I can get it done today.

My milking got cut short yesterday: somehow the kids opened the door to the kid pen and got out and did most of the milking for me.  Oh well.  I haven’t made much cheese this week.  The last batch I attempted to make turned into a science experiment.  That’s okay, chickens like science experiments.

I have a loaf of sourdough bread rising.  It’s a commitment to remember to feed the starter on a daily basis.  It’s even more of a commitment to make a loaf of sourdough.  You have to make the sponge the night before and let it rise overnight, then first thing in the morning, when I am still bleary-eyed, you have to make the loaf and set it up for the first rise, then punch it down and let it rise again.  This all takes lots and lots and lots of time, but if the loaf comes out, it’s well worth the time.  I think with this loaf I may kneed it out and then add some garlic and maybe some goat cheese to the middle of it and then bake it.  At the Charlotte Farmer’s Market a baker was selling these wonderful round loaves of sourdough bread stuffed with herbs, etc.  Like with everything, the more bread I make, the better I’ll get at it.

Tomorrow AM I need to process a few more rabbits.  There’s several that are likely large enough to be processed.  I need to reduce the number of rabbits in one of the tractors.  I have two more litters to get out on pasture and need the space.  We still have another tractor to finish, but we simply have not had the time to do it.  Wally has to work again this Saturday.  The money is good (and very helpful!) but working six days a week is hard on him.  He didn’t get the mowing done last weekend so it’s going to take longer to get it done now.  He said he was going to try to do some of it tonight and tomorrow night so he won’t be stuck mowing and weed eating during what time he has off.  Then it’s up to me to get as many of the other chores done so he doesn’t have to do any of that.  I try to get almost all of it done before he gets home from work.  It’s exhausting, it really is.

I best get going and get it done.

Until later …