Thursday, February 24, 2011

...and we are off

Well, I am going to apologize in advance that this is going to be a rushed blog post.  All day I have been running around like a chicken with it's head cut off.  I have been busy getting ready to leave for the MOSES organic farming conference in La Crosse, Wisconsin.  I am ÜBER excited.  There are a lot of great speakers and workshops.  These type of event always go too fast.  There is SOOO much great information being presented and I can only go to one workshop at a time..... unless someone can figure out how to clone me.... hmm.... (never mind, that might be a little scary)

Amidst all the craziness, I did actually get a little garden work done today as well. I now have a bunch of leeks planted in the seed-starting area I had set up. (pictures to come when I get back from WI, I promise)

ok.... now where did I put my suitcase....

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Measuring things out

Ok.  Here is a picture from yesterday.
What do you notice that is different about this photo?  I will give you a second to think about it....

That is right! There is no snow... 
(ok, so there is a tiny amount on the right hand side... but we are going to ignore that)

So the weather has been treating us quite well and all of the snow has melted and now I can see dirt.. lovely, glorious, black Iowan soil.   I had to actually confirm that it was not a mirage and I was not just imagining actual soil instead of the frozen iceburg I was sure I was trapped on.  So I went out and measured the garden.  Next up is to calculate how many rows we can fit in there and what should be planted where. 

In case you are wondering...... it is real soil.  Well, right now it is mud..... but that will dry out soon...right? 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Greenhouse.... finally

Well, it finally happened.  We were able to get all of our ducks in a row and made the trip to Dyersville to pick up the GREENHOUSE!!!.  You may have remembered that we ordered it quite some time ago.  The actual pick up of it was delayed several times.  First, they didn't have all of the parts... then the roads were crappy... then other things took precedence, ie. Carl had to haul corn... then the roads were crappy.... this went on for about three months.  FINALLY, we have it on site.

 Ok, Ok...  I know it does not look like a greenhouse.... but rest assured it is all in there waiting for someone to free it's plant growing potential.

  It is still in boxes and on pallets tucked away in a safe places around the farm, but at least it is here and will be ready for us to erect it once we get the time and the weather/ground is cooperative.

Weekly Chick Update

Well it has now been a little over a week since I got the new chicks.  At 9 days old they are doing wonderfully.  A few of them had a small problem with "pasty butt" which was kinda of annoying.  This was remedied easily with a little yogurt to give them some beneficial bacteria in their gut.  It seems to have disappeared and all the chick are happy and healthy.  They are all growing quickly and are very active.  It is exciting to see there new feathers starting to com in already.  It looks like they will grow into a very beautiful flock.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Day Old Chicks

Here is a short video I took after all of the chicks were counted and had settled into there new home.

They are fast little buggers...

New Arrivals

Well yesterday was a busy day on the farm. Michelle and I traveled down to Webster City to pick up my new chicks from McMurray Hatchery.
This is how I picked-up the chicks from the hatchery.  They come in a box so that they can keep each other warm.

I got five different breeds that are going to eventually make up a wonderful laying flock.  We will have light brown eggs, chocolate brown eggs, and blue-green eggs. It should make for a wonderfully colorful assortment in each dozen that we sell. It takes about 5 months before chickens can lay eggs, but I have a feeling that this amount of time will go by very quickly.  Araucanas will lay the blue-green eggs.  Black Australorps, Silver-laced Wyandottes, Buff Orpingtons will all lay light brown eggs.  Last, but definitely not least, the Cuckoo Marans will lay the dark chocolate drown eggs.

Here are some photos I took this morning when I went to go check on them.

Group Photo!!

This is the "Free Rare Exotic" chick that came with the order.... it will be interesting to find out what kind of chicken this is. 

I guess it is very exhausting being so cute.

So there are 58 chicks total.  I ordered 11 of each of the five breeds and the hatchery gave me the "free exotic" chick and they also threw in an extra Buff Orpington and an extra Black Australorp.  I love free.

In a couple of months, once the weather outside gets warmer, I will be taking the chickens out of the chicken house and put them in the mobile pasture pens (more on this later..... after I actually build them) so they can eat grass and bugs and be happy little hens.