Duck, Duck, Goose Puddle Management

It took me a few busted kiddie pools over the years to figure a better way.

I clean the kiddy pool out daily and refill it with fresh water.  Sometimes it is nearly half full, but so very mucked up, I can’t bear to wait.  Sometimes there isn’t much left in the pool but even then, if you lift the side of the pool to drain the water, it crinkles in half or worse.  A good 6 months of that and eventually the pool cracks.

So I got smart.  Just call me Maxwell.

I found a discarded piece of plywood slightly bigger than the pool.  And put it under the empty pool, and filled the pool with water.

And now when the pool needs to be emptied. I lift the board it sits on and the pool stays flat against it, I can easily spray the pool out, lay it all back down again, and start over.   Sorry I can’t do the process and take pictures but….

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I know, crazy huh?  And I’m thinking you could do this with a kiddie pool that is used for actual kiddies of all things!

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Protein for Your Poultry Falls From The Sky


Whether you are plagued with flies, or not, if you have poultry you should have fly buckets.  Harvey Ussery explained them in his book, The Small-Scale Poultry Flock.

Basically flies are attracted to food for their offspring. They fly around, find moist foody type stuff, lay eggs, the eggs hatch, the larva gorge, grow, get ready to pupate.  When fly larva pupate they prefer to do so in the ground, so when they are ready the travel downward (geotropism). When they do that in your bucket with lots of holes in the bottom, they fall to the ground and your ever watchful chickens snap them up.

Free protein.

And that fly that laid those zillion eggs in your bucket, did not lay eggs some where else away from your chickens, only to have those pupating children of theirs grow up, fly into your house and bug the snot out of your city mother visiting for the day.

I use offal from when we butcher our livestock or poultry, I tend not to use animals that die suddenly potentially from communicable disease.  You can use kitchen scraps, especially the stuff your chickens won’t eat.

When do you need to recharge?  You can keep an eye on the ground beneath the bucket.  Fresh stirred dirt implies an active bucket.

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This picture shows an active fly bucket over head. Notice the well scratched dirt.

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This bucket is just about out of larva and needs fresh stuff. You can see the activity is infrequent.

 

Ingredients:

5 gallon bucket, lid optional.

3/8″ drill bit  (and the drill)

Baling twine (this might just be me, but every project must have baling twine)

Food waste, the best of the best is meat or offal from butchery.

Shavings for those with sensitive noses. I don’t always use shavings, it is rather a spontaneous judgement call.

DIRECTIONS:

Drill holes all over the bucket, on the sides and lids so flies go in, and the bottom is important so that the larva can fall out.

Put a fine layer of shaving on the bottom especially if you have squishy large intestines that can cover up the holes.

Put in your fly-delicious fly food.

Put more shavings around and over the glop.

Put on the lid, if you have one.

Hang above your chickens social area.  Placement is important, you don’t want the chickens pecking at the bucket but not so high that you forget it is there and walk into it with the top of your head.  Plus, when I recharge it, I like not having to take it down, just toss more in. There does come a time that I have to take the bucket down and empty it out onto the compost pile and start over.

Happy fly-bucket making, happy chicken free feeding, happy fly-free living!  (Nearly)

 

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There is Weeding and Then There is WEEDING.

Looking forward to getting my morning’s off to a rocket start.

This wasn’t one of them.  Spent three hours on reading about market gardening, sipping coffee, and eating my farm fresh eggs on toast.  Did you know some restaurant folks buy honeysuckle flowers to make ice cream with?

By 9 I was out doing chick stuff, the quails were cared for sometime during breakfast.  Then as per normal, on to Margaret Garden poultry chores, including washing water bins and wading pools. One hour total.

The sprinkler is vexing me. But I managed to get it going satisfactorily while I weeded Dirt’s bean bed 2.5 hours for the one extremely weedy bed.

Lunch and entertaining Henry.  I attached a beach umbrella and we went down to the garden to weed the raspberries.  It is a jungle.  I didn’t notice that one of my marking strings was off and I think I pulled out about three feet of raspberry starts. I’m pretty sure I weeded for an hour total and I didn’t quite make it to the end of short rows, approximately 40-50 feet.

Dirt came home with supplies and ideas for the big water pump so I worked with him on that for a good hour.  I’m very excited for the fix! Another half hour was spent on the sprinkler.  I also wanted to rough up in between the leek rows so the water and calcium would penetrate. Took me 10 minutes with the rake on one 90′ bed. The other two beds I did with a cultivator, the took 6 minutes each.  I went out to the corn bed to see how the cultivator would work out there, worked for about 20 minutes and nope.  I didn’t get far.

Bath time! Since part of my work on the plumb was wading in the pond.  Hair washed too this time!  And then…. exhaustion and feet caused the bed to call my name.

Tomorrow’s another day.

 

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We Interrupt the Scheduled Program

That could be the title of my life and I typically do it to myself.

Company’s last day, and up late working so again late waking and movin’ out on the day.  But as usual, chick house, rinsed water buckets and fed. And other basics.

Took about an hour total to broadcast prilled calcium on the three leek beds and two empty ready to go beds next to them.  One 50# bag per two 4×90′ beds. Set the sprinkler for just the leek beds while I used my Johnny’s seeded to seed swiss chard and flamingo spinach.

Spread the last half bag on the pole beans,  when Anna showed up to say they were leaving.  I may indeed have left the bag out open, thankfully it won’t rain tonight.

When I returned to the garden with my lunch, a can of PBR, I took up with getting the water on all five beds, did by hand watering for quite a while. Sometimes a job done like that is worth the lost minutes.  It gives me time to think, look about me, contemplate my next big leap.

It came in the form of Dirt arriving home early. We were scheduled today to unload the load we loaded last night.  So I hopped on the tractor to see what our day was going to be.

As we waited to hear from the hay boss we scoped out the back yard grazing area, talked with Bet where the cow could go and where she wouldn’t go.  Pick up an old mess on the back patio and kinda just shot the breeze with Lucas and Bet.  And Henry of course.

The call finally came at 5ish.  We were up at the feed store just before closing and emptied the trailer in thirty minutes.

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Where the best hay is, Webster Road Feed.

On our way home I realized physically I could not move another inch if it took being on my crazy feet. I took a bath and went to bed.

Tomorrow is another day.

 

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Leeking Like a Sieve

Here it is a quarter midnight Sunday and I’m finally in bed writing up my day.

Got a bit of a slow start, houseguests and Sunday.  Giggling with grandbabies over coffee and breakfast making.  Forgot to eat breakfast

Went about my regular morning routine, just a lot later. Quail, incubator/hatcher, chick house, cats, Margaret Garden poultry…

Dirt delivered bags of poultry feed to me in the garden and then we went out to the west pond together to measure the fire hose.  Dirt noticed the special valve and weed basket missing so off came the boots and socks, up went my work pants and into the mirey crag I went.  Trolling, in the true sense  for the missing piece.

It wasn’t to be found. Measurements were taken, evaluating glance was thrown at the crops and back to the garden proper I went.

Settled on the project du jour but headed back to the farm house when I realized I was empty stomached, thirsty and without anything to care for either plight.

Filled my gut, slaked my thirst, and kissed my haying husband good bye with a promise to somehow join him when needed.

Transplanted leeks for the next five and one half hours.  Two hours per ninty-foot-plus bed.  The last batch of leeks didn’t quite make it all the way to the end.  In the three four foot wide beds at the far end of East Market, rows of leeks were place eighteen inches apart, with a inch or so between depending on the size, or lack there of, of the seedling.

I’ll need to go back tomorrow and spread calcium – prilled lime – and turn the sprinkler back on to the beds.  Leeks are shallow feeders so I tend to not like to put the amendments on the bed before planting, but instead side dress. After the calcium and water, I will put compost in between the rows, one reason for the extra space between rows.  More towards fall I’ll go back and seed spinach and the like in between the rows of leeks.

At about 5:30 – 6 I headed back to the farm house, to tidy the kitchen, and make dinner for those who needed it.

‘Round about 7 p.m. I finally headed towards the town hay fields with a stop at the hay boss’ house while they finished up dinner and cooed over the babies.

We hit the hay field right at about 9 p.m. and left at 10 p.m. with a full load.  We were missing one of our stacker girls, and Dirt was driving instead of bucking, so out typical driver was on the trailer stacking.  Dirt not only drove but he also babysat Henry.

We followed the hay truck until it turned into its very own driveway, headed home with little chit chat.  I hopped out at the gate and entrance to the Margaret Garden to collect eggs.  In the way back to the house I swung into the chick shed area and put all to bed.

Then me, after collecting dishes, tossing away garbage and takin’ a quick dip in the tub.

One more day under the belt.

 

 

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Score Keeping Turns Sour

No real need to keep track of my time today.  Because it wasn’t mine.  I did the necessary stuff.

And then Haying took over.

I did come back to the house for a wee bit, moved laundry, took plastic film off of two short hoop houses, gathered up dinner for the hay makers.

For a while my nose was in spring flowering bulb catalogs.  I need a loan to accomplish my ideas.

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How Much?

My son, the one married to my second born daughter, brought me some geese today.  As he backed into the Margaret Garden to unload them, he looked around and then asked, “How much time to you put into this.”

He caught me off guard so of course my reply was silly.

“Not enough.”  Pause.  “I sit around way too much”

Truth is, I don’t have a clue.  And I should.

Today for instance, here it is 6 o’clock in the evening and all I can remember….

I washed eggs first thing for a half hour at 5:30 a.m.. sent 4? dozen with Dirt.

Ate breakfast, entertained Henry for a bit, by 8 I had done the chick chores including washing wate buckets and adding corrid for their final coccidiosis treatment, and was out moving water on the beds I intend to seed.

Then I began to prepare to bring geese home while, putting some wash in the laundry, moving baby quail out of the house, setting flea foggers upstairs.

Arranged to borrow a truck, headed to get it but found I didn’t need to, so instead visited with my friend who is convalesing from back surgery two days ago.

1 p.m. Came home, dealt with the gate opener that wouldn’t open the dang gate.  Started making pens for the geese.

3 ish.  Geese delivered and distributed to pens, waterer set up, shade set up.

4:00 ish evening chicken chores. Collect eggs. Kick 3 broodies off nest,  devise a plan while I walk back to farmyard to do the chick house afternoon chores. Strip upstairs bed, notice the smell of the foggers, perfume. Move laundry for weekend guests. Get a beer from well house fridge, clean up accumulated milk jugs from orphan lamb project.

6pm took a bath to get green goddess goose doo off my face. Move laundry, strip sheets on my bed. Wrote down what I did… Not much.

There are a few more hours. Dirt is baling hay in town, Bet and Lucas are shearing all day and home late so no need to do dinner.  Just tidy up the slum, so guests don’t feel creepy.

 

Addition:  so I left off at about 7:10 after spending some time talking to a dear friend who is struggling.  I talked about something I know better than gardening, depression and suicide, or at least extreme suicidal thoughts.

I picked up thises and thats, did a load of dishes (we do not have a automatic dishwasher, it is all done by hand). Moved laundry, moved quail back to the living room.  Did more dishes.  But then realised I did not have a scrap bucket.  Off to Margaret Garden. I took some egg baskets back down with me.

Moved water one last time,  in the morning I’ll move it again and then 5 – 90′ beds will ne good and soaked ready for seeding.

I checked on all the birds and yup, the broodies were back on the nests. Grabbed up two more eggs, 28 total.

Back to the farm yard to get a nest box top big enough to hold broodies. Stopped off at the chick house to tuck everyone in for the night. Some little ones had escaped, thank you scratching hens, put a board in to block hole. Set up a light for some I moved over to an empty pen earlier.

Headed back to the Margaret Garden with nest top, made a nest bottom from a market garden basket missing a side rail.  I’ll set the girls up completely tomorrow,  with eggs.

Turned around and our two lone African ganders that had never left the farm had come to see their friends, I hustled them into a vacant pen, got them set up with water. And now for heading back to the house, move laundry, make my bed, rewash my feet, make a phone call to see where Dirt is, make dinner for myself… a cheese sandwich

9:30 done.

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Birds, Birds and More Birds

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Spring is a hard season for me here in constant rainy land.  But the bright spots come in the form of eggs.  The feel and colors thrill my heart and pick up my soul.

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I collect eggs all during the day, in a nearly vain attempt at having a clean egg to deal with.   The eggs meant for sale for kitchen use I gentle wash in plain warm water and reseal them with coconut oil or a mix of beeswax and olive oil, for extended shelf life and ease of use for our egg customers.

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Often, the eggs I keep for our house are unwashed until used, but I know that can be a difficult hurdle for non farm folks, sometimes even for us, but I am happy to sell pretty clean unwashed eggs as well, upon request.

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Then, if eggs are not enough to make my heart sing,  there are the chicks and poults!  A perfect day brightener!

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I love hatching out lots and lots of chicks, poults and ducklings. We aim to carry at least 150 hens each year, so given that half of a hatch are males and a few of the pullets just aren’t up to snuff, I hatch out lots for a reason.  I do end up with extras but I do not like selling chicks or poults, just too much stress to please customers.   I may be selling the extra juvenile turkeys, that are past the somewhat fragile poult stage.  Check back with me later on that.

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I will sell turkey hatching eggs on those occasions when I feel I have plenty of little poults filling my brooders. Like right about now, $24/Dozen eggs, kinda cheap on accounta their being mutts and all. I just can’t bring myself to eating turkey eggs, they seem so expensive of a thing to eat.  The eggs for hatching are collected through out the day and marked on the bottom of the egg the day they are collected. Set on a cool dark shelf and tilted daily.  The top of the egg is marked on the date they go into our incubator.

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I specialize in mutts, some folks call them “heritage turkeys”, I refuse marketing ploys, okay, blatant trendy marketing ploys.   The original stock of our VF&G mutts were Narragansett, Blue Slates, Bourbon Reds, and Midget Whites.

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Our Midget Whites, the one turkey breed I do have isolated out, seem a bit large for their standards, but really, why eat a turkey the size of an overgrown chicken.

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We do have a Bourbon Red tom, he is resting from breeding for a bit to recoup from a fighting injury.

He seems to enjoy being the one free ranging, cattle hanging out turkey.

 

 

 

More about all the chicken girls and our housing in another post.  I gotta go stare at the brooder pens!

Sorry the comments to the blog are closed.  Too much spam, too little time to figure out a solution.  If you are interested in eggs, and are local, look up on our contact page as to how to get in touch with us.

 

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Rusty Is Moving On, Raspberries Coming Back

Rusty is moving on. No longer will he be VF&G’s boss hog.  He’s on to greener ground, not under it.

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We were getting ready to move him out to the woodlot as he has done his work completely eradicating all life forms in the old mixed raspberry and BlackBerry plot  or, since we have to bring in a new boar anyway as we have decided to keep a daughter of his, putting him in the sausage grinder.  Which would be very hard for some of us who think fondly of our Rusty Pig.

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Instead, a nice young farmer couple up north needed to have their gilts become sows.  He  has given us some very nice young pigs,  he’ll do the same for them now

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I will indeed miss him as his pen is, was, in the Market Garden that I work in daily.  .  But….

 

Next Monday I will have my raspberry patch back, !! minus the raspberries and fancy blackberries (those are no big loss, yeah, thornless, but not as tasty as natives or the weedy invasive types).  I will be putting in only fall bearing raspberries, this time around, also known as everbearing.  A pair or two of Pilgrim geese will spend next winter and early spring in the patch, keeping down grass and weeds while hatching out their young as they have done before,

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Back when there was grass in the patch.

The reason for everbearing or more accurately autumn bearing, is that for the autumn crop to be big and profitable, it is best to mow the canes down right after they bear in the autumn skipping the summer crop entirely.  

The autumn crop bears on first year canes, primocanes.  Summer crops bear on two year old canes.  

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When the geese are in the safety of the raspberry pen, taking care of the weeds and grass, they are a bit tough on the canes waiting to bear a summer crop.   So if the raspberries were strictly summer bearing, they faired poorly. But with strictly primocane culture by the time the crowns put up the new canes the geese and their goslings will be relocated to another spot on the farm that needs mowing that no one wants to machine mow.

So it is good-bye Rusty Pig, Rusty Nailed It, Rustoleum, and hello fall raspberries.

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This post was written on the road with Rusty, and on my phone, I have no idea how it really looks!

 

 

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Bad Morning, Better Day

Ugh, up late. Bad start, no breakfast biscuits for the menfolk as promised, fail. But doing best for a redeemed day.


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Ten chicks and three turkey poults

 

 

Grabbed chickies out of the incubator.

 

 

 

 

Red attracts the birds, they tap it and out comes a drop of water.

Red attracts the birds, they tap it and out comes a drop of water.

 

 

Water nipple trained them. Sorry no actual pics of me doing that, I would need 4 hands, I only have 3 today.

 

 

 

 

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Warm but nervous. Just need to get the giant hand out of the brooder.

 

 

The newer chickies quickly snuggle in with the older chickies who are always up for new friends, that’ll change in a month or so.  But for now it is a good way to help train the newbies to the waterer and feed dish.

 

 

 

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Checked temperature on the hatcher. Yes, I’ve decided to keep it, and modify it myself (decrease wind tunnel effect) because I cannot seem to control my need to completely fill the incubator with eggs. Speaking of incubator.

 

 

 

 

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Revised front.

 

 

 

 

I found some old chalk board paint, stirred and tested it yesterday.  After taking care of chickies, I painted the front of the incubator.  Hopefully, I can keep better track of whom to move and when.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nice clean brush. And I even prepped the surface before painting. New Leaf.

 

Before the paint was even dry, I washed the brush Dirt loaned me.  That should make up for no biscuits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Even put it back in the package and put it in Dirt’s shed. Yikes! I’m Dirt now.

 

 

And not that cleaning and returning a tool you borrow is really like doing a favor, (you should do it no matter what)  but Dirt was the one who let me sleep through not one but two alarms for me to get up to make the biscuits.

 

 

 

Now off to find something nice to do for Lucas who didn’t get biscuits and instead had to have his eggs on Swedish rusks, like half constructed Eggs Benedict, interesting for sure, but not biscuits.  And for Bet, who had to scramble quick to find something to feed her husband when she came into a dark, cold, empty biscuitless kitchen.

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