Friday, June 27, 2008

Strawberries and Chickens!

So, the strawberries didn't happen. As usual, I'm a day late and 3 weeks early, or something like that.
We went to get them picked and found that they had already been picked out. It would be easy if it were the same every year, but with the wacky weather lately, they were late as it was.
I can still go north, to get some, but I think I'll concentrate on the cherries over on the west side of the state. Have a friend who lives over there who will keep an eye on it for me, then we'll go to get bunches of those. The sweet cherries are about 1.5 weeks ahead of the sour cherries, but both are just yummy! Cherry syrup and jams and stuff are just as good as strawberries, but the strawberries are local. Oh well, maybe next year. Actually, I'm going to make a note of that in my really cool portable brain that I can't live without, to start inquiring about strawberries around the 1st of June.

Got our first "batch" of hay in last night, well, when I say "we" it wasn't me helping. at all. this is a first!
I was daddy-sitting, so didn't get to partake in the festivities, but not to worry, there's LOTS more hay to be got!

Stupid coffee pot! Just got up to get a cup of coffee and realized that it never turned itself on. grrr.
OK, I'm over it.

So anyway, in my scattered little brain, we've covered strawberries and cherries and touched on hay. Let's go to my awesome chicken self feeding system shall we?
The items needed for this include as many 5 gallon buckets as can be rounded up (on the farm, this isn't a problem), a shotgun or drill to drill lots and lots of holes in the sides and bottoms of the buckets, A way to suspend them above the chicken pen (sticks work great, as does left over binder twine - the plastic stuff) and as many dead critters as you can get your hands on. Again, around here, shooting possums, raccoons and stuff that attack my critters are plentiful, as are fish guts from hubby going fishing, so usually don't have to look real far.
Hang the buckets up above the chicken pen (pre shot or drilled for holes) and throw in the dead critter. Within a matter of days, the flies will swarm and lay their eggs. The maggots will fall out of the holes and chickens will eat them up. It gets a bit aromatic, but if there's a reason for it, well.... it's easier to put up with.
See? Self feeding chickens! Works great!

A bit too redneck for you? Well, it works, and around here, we're all about making these critters pay for themselves, even the dead ones! If you happen to like the idea of this system but lack dead critters, leftover garbage, especially meat scraps would work too, just not as quickly. But we don't have a lot of that, the leftover garden scraps and vegies go to the chix and the leftover meats go to the Bu-Dawgh, with the exception of leftover chicken and turkey, which the barn cats will happily relieve you of.

And the most exciting news of all? I got a heifer last night! This brings my cow total to 4! She hasn't come to live with us yet, but hopefully soon. You know what this means? a constant source of calves as I have a friend with an awesome bull, and an almost constant source of milk and cream for drinking, cheeses, yogurts, butter and ice creams. All organic and natural and everybody with no antibiotics or growth hormones, no pasteurization or homogenization, nothin' but milk, grass fed, right from the cow! Life is great!!

Tonight? more garden work and more chicken pen work, it's supposed to rain, so that will put a halt to the haying, temporarily. And if it rains too hard, there is the hayloft that needs to be organized before we bring in any more hay! The sound of rain on the tin roof of the barn is just one of the best sounds ever!

I love the farm, can you tell? Now, to make it pay a salary that I can live with....


Anonymous said...

Ok. Your automatic chicken feeder is gross. I don't think the maggots are that dumb to fall out of the holes. But who knows. Besides, I don't think your maggots will be catch up with the demand. Your chix will starve before there will be enough maggots.

Ter - N. MI said...

they do fall out of the holes, I know from personal experience. They're not the smartest creatures on this planet. Yeah, you still have to sustain the chix with grain, but between the veg. and garden leftovers, a bit of scratch, any bugs and worms, plus the maggots, they do really well!

Anonymous said...

i wanna watch you milk the cow. can you do it in a pioneer dress with pigtails. on a bucket with a stool. you sound like a dr. suess book.

Anonymous said...

What year is this? Is it 1890 or 2008.