Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Cold Antler Farm visit, chickens, and planting.

As usual we had a bit of a busy weekend, and part of that involved meeting Lucas here, who showed off to us all day. We met him at Cold Antler Farm where Jenna Woginrich was kind enough to show us around and be hospitable to us. We loved seeing everything on her farm.
She actually has a similar sized lot to what we have, but much more of it is in use. She keeps very busy, and has a variety of creatures on the farm in addition to logo creation, book writing, and a variety of other activities from archery to draft horse use. Left are Jame and Ciersie that were very affectionate and hung around us most of the day. The Critter learned how to headbutt things from them which has been so far fairly entertaining.  Going out to visit, see, and experience was our Saturday and a day well spent relaxing together and seeing someone else doing something similar to us, just a bit further along. Of course, Saturday and Sunday we had other things to do.

Normally we would be waiting another week or so to be getting things in the ground, but with the weather predictions for our area, we decided to just go for it and take the risk of frost. We had a lot of that to do, and as I mentioned mid month we had a lot of weeding to get done. The Lady of the House and a good friend did most of the weeding. I on the other hand mostly wielded the idiot stick (a stick with an idiot on one end, and a shovel on the other), and did the actual planting.  Left you'll see what appears to be a bare patch of bare ground, and right now it is. A little below the surface is asparagus. We picked up 18 asparagus starts, and put them in, we'll see how well they come up in this hot, dry weather. We're watering them and everything else we want alive relatively regularly which is a bit frustrating. While we did get the weeds mostly out of the garden beds as you can see Above, and Below we didn't mange to get all of the weeds out of everything. In a few places we're seeing how well half rotted feed and yard waste bags do as weed guard. So far they seem to not be terrible. We're going to have a hell of a time with the bed Below because of the volume of weeds to things we want to save. We're considering buying actual bark mulch to use.

Other than the asparagus, we planted one more pear tree, and all of the seedlings we had that we didn't give away at the seedling swap, or to friends. That came out to a few dozen tomato seedlings, and a few dozen pepper seedlings. Of course, in my enthusiasm to get them up I didn't label all of the seedlings, but I'm starting to get much better at telling seedlings apart by their leaves which is kind of cool. Not a skill I've actively worked on learning as much as it is something that has just happened over the years as I've been doing more gardening. It's easier with things like the tomatoes we planted because of how many of them have different coloration on the leaves, but even with the relatively similar pepper plants I'm starting to recognize differences. Not well enough to place bets on, and only with things we've planted many times, but it's progress. We'd intended to not do tomatoes this year, but with how many seedlings we started, we just had so many left over, and we can't just kill them off for no reason. Hopefully this year we'll be able to keep them more under control, and not have blight sweep through and kill everything before we get to harvest anything. Of course, that's predicated on the idea that our chickens aren't going to kill everything first.
See that dark spot with paper bags all around it? That's our mama hen with her chicks that found an area of dirt she's decided is going to be her dust bath. She dug up the tomato plant, scratched out a dip, and has been flailing around in it spreading dirt all over her, and showing her chicks how to dust bathe. I wish she'd do it elsewhere, in dustier places. She seems very happy with where she's doing it, and it's not like the tomato where she's doing this is still alive anyhow, so . . . ah well. They've also been killing off plenty of the garlic sprouts, or at least the greens of them. For all that though, she's been a very good mom. All 5 of the chicks are doing well so far. Right now we still have to move most of them into the coop at night because they're bad at ramp, but last night was the first night we didn't have to move all of them into the coop.

Previously all of the chicks would have to be moved because mom would settle under the ramp with them under her. As you can see though, some of them have started figuring out how to go up and down the ramp successfully which is a nice change. Even so, I still ended up chasing around a couple chicks for a few minutes last night to try to get them in. It wasn't just chicks I had trouble getting in last night though. I ended up tromping through the woods with the Lady of the House looking for one of our Cinnamon Queens that didn't come back for the night. There were 2 missing initially, but I recovered one fairly quickly in the evening dusk when she couldn't see me to run away very effectively. The other one ended up saying out overnight, and thankfully she survived. I'm not sure why she did the wandering off thing, but I'm definitely keeping the run closed up for the day so we don't have any more runaways for the night. I'm hoping that I don't have to run around catching chicks again to put away, not my favorite part of the day, and it isn't making for a good relationship with the chicks when I really want to be setting up a positive association for them involving me. I'm going to have to sit down and hand feed them when they're in the curious instead of fearful phase. On a side note, at Cold Antler Farm we saw some slightly older chicks. It's amazing how fast they're going to be feathering out. As you can see Below some of them are having their wings feather out already. We are so curious what they'll look like if they survive to adulthood.


  1. Great Meeting you all! Beautiful birds you have there!

    1. Great to meet you as well, and thanks! I'm looking forward to seeing how the chicks look as adults.