For anyone who hasn’t been out here for a while (or at all!) I thought I’d do a bit of a tour to give you an idea of what we are up to every day. First I’d like to introduce our meat birds:
These chaps came to us as chicks in July and have been growing fast ever since. They are a commercial breed called Cornish Cross and they are designed to grow quickly and put meat on the breast. They are not the most good looking creatures as they are basically programmed to eat as much as possible and grow as quickly as possible. We have them on pasture which is providing them with an open environment and pasture to graze on. They are quite sedentary, especially compared to our layers, so we move their shelter regularly to encourage them onto new grass. Our snazzy new electric fence means we can move them, and subsequent flocks, easily onto new pasture. Electric fencing and organic farming really go hand in hand!
The veggie garden is yielding beautifully and enjoying the milder temperatures and occasional rainy days more than the drought like conditions of July and early August. The boys really enjoy the harvesting process and it is a good way of teaching Neirin his colours, the difference, for example between red and green. Ahem.
The tomatoes are definitely dominating our harvest right now but we are also getting squash, carrots, chard, kale and beets. We have turnips growing for the pigs and we’re watching our cabbages intently as they begin to slowly find their shape. Our acorn squashes are growing beautifully and we are dreaming greedily of roasted squash filled with cream and cheese in the fall. I need to get myself moving and plant a few rows of winter spinach, especially as we’re hearing that this fall with be especially mild.
The chicken coop is probably the place we visit the most. We sell eggs to friends and Huwyl earns a little share by collecting eggs through the day. We have a couple of chickens who’ve turned carnivore (eating eggs) so we are collecting them every couple of hours to get them out of harms way. This is still the favourite activity of visiting friends, I love the awe that children experience when they hold a warm egg in their hand for the first time. Chicken bottom warm as I call it. Even Neirin is beginning to understand (most of the time) that the eggs must be handled carefully. Each one feels like a little treasure to me.
The pigs continue to be a joy. Their favourite pursuit is still wallowing in their self made spa mud baths. They are such affectionate creatures, they love nothing more than a good scratch behind the ears and a good back rub. I admit to being trepidatious about them leaving us in October, but that is why we are raising them and next year there will be new piglets on new pasture. For now I fill the wallows every day and enjoy watching them lolling about in the shade.
The bees are doing their thing, though we are leaving them alone a little as one of the hives went rogue recently and the queen was replaced (read Stephen’s account of that on his blog), we’re getting some help from our neighbour taking the honey harvest this year and we are waiting nervously for the nod from him that it is time. I’m thinking it’ll be in the next week or so, giving the bees time to build up their stores for the winter.
So that’s us, that’s how we spend our days. Pigs, chickens and talk of meat bird transportation and trailer tow bars over night time cups of tea. It’s all consuming and all providing. We love it and hope you’ll get the chance to visit us soon.