Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holiday Happenings!


On Thanksgiving we went on a walk around the pasture with our grandparents. When we came back to visit the chickens, we were surprised to see an egg laying in the chicken's run! Caroline went in to get the egg, when we noticed that an overturned bin was moving! We thought the wind was blowing it, but when we flipped it over there was a chicken laying under there!!! We don't know how long she was trapped, but she was SUPER happy to get out! Since then we put her on a leg strengthening program, so if she gets under that bin again she will be able to BURST out! :)




We are part of a group called M.O.E. (Money Offering Effort) that has fundraisers to earn money for organizations and people. We donated four dozen eggs to the sale at our church this past weekend. The eggs contributed $32 to the total of $279. This year we are donating the proceeds to the Haitian Education and Literacy Program and to the family of Sgt. Collin Raaz, a City High Alumnus, who lost both of his legs in Afghanistan.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bale Rolling

This past weekend a family friend flew in from North Carolina. When we were in our pasture we invented a new sport, bale rolling. It was very fun. Here is a video:
video

Monday, November 7, 2011

Saturday Adventure


On Saturday, we went to the the Golden Delight Bakery near Kalona to get some half-moon pies to take to our Grandma and Grandpa's house.  On our way we passed an Amish horse and buggy and parked next to one that was hitched.




Hugo




 After our visit to the Golden Delight, we went to our Grandparent's house. They had three orphaned  kittens but they have a working farm and the kittens are too tame for that. They would be in danger with all of the equipment driving around. Now we have three kittens!
Zelda
  
Ivy




Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall Harvest



Look what we found in our garden today! Can you believe we are still getting greens and strawberries?! Maybe we will be able to have a fresh greens salad on Thanksgiving! About a month ago we planted a fall greens garden. It has broccoli, spinach and lettuce. These greens like the cool weather. Every night we cover our strawberries and greens so they don't get frosted.   We also found our little sleeping beauty cat, Ollie!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Blue eggs for sale!

Their first eggs!
Yesterday when we went out to check the nesting boxes we saw one of the smaller hens, Tina, was laying her first egg! We let her be and sure enough, when we went out later and she had left us a turquoise egg. We were so excited! Today, we went out and the other Ameraucauna hen, Piper, had also left us her first egg! We are excited because that means all of our hens are finally laying.
Piper!

Tina!


Pasture Mowing

The mower
A bale
The wind rower

This past week we got our pasture mowed. First, our neighbor drove down the highway with his big John Deer tractor then mowed it into rows. Then he and his brother came a few days later with their wind rower and baler. The wind rower makes the grass into larger rows and turns it so the grass can dry. We have 38 bales in our pasture.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lighting

We've noticed in the last couple of days our hens haven't been laying as many eggs; they slowed down to about four per day instead of their usual six. We read that our henny pennys need about 14 hours of daylight and we are only getting twelve. So today we bought a timer for our lighting. Tomorrow the light inside the coop should come on at around 5 a.m. and then at night it will get dark naturally. If you turn out their light abruptly when it's dark outside they might panic and not know how to get back to their roost. We spent about six dollars on our timer, but we know we will earn that money back from the additional eggs they lay. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Poppy

Last night when we got home, we went out to the coop and closed the chickens in and checked on them.
Poppy
Only ten chickens were in the coop! Poppy, the chicken who always flew out, was missing! We grabbed our flashlights and looked in all the trees, thinking she would be roosting somewhere. This morning we hoped she would be happily clucking around the yard, but she was nowhere to be seen. We looked and looked for Poppy. Later we found lots of feathers scattered around the yard. We think Poppy was eaten by either an owl, a fox, or a hawk. We are very sad. :(

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hornworms

Yesterday we went out to our garden and we noticed a lot of our tomato leaves and about a dozen young tomatoes were eaten. We found tons of these worms, called hornworms on our plants. They were up to 5 inches long!  We grabbed our scissors and chopped all the worms in half (gross, but effective!) We killed about 30 yesterday and only about six today. They also eat potatoes, so if you have a garden beware of these beasts! Even though they have a very scary-looking horn, they are completely harmless to you (not your tomatoes though!) These creatures turn into hawk moths. The moths are very large and they sort of act like hummingbirds.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Wing Clipping

Today we had to clip Poppy's wings. Poppy is a California White. California Whites are a lighter breed so it is easier for them to fly. Poppy would fly up onto the six foot fence and get into our yard. When she is in our yard she is at the risk of being lunch to our dogs or cats. To clip wings you just clip the flight feathers on one of her wings so she is off balance and can't fly.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Delicious Homemade Tomato Sauce




This is our Pizza Garden. It has tomatoes, oregano, basil, parsley and chives. Here is our recipe for a yummy homemade tomato sauce.






Ingredients:
10 very ripe tomatoes
2 T olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ c chopped fresh basil
¼ t Italian seasoning
¼ c red wine


Directions:

1.     Cut the stem out of each tomato and cut an X on the bottom. Put the tomatoes in boiling water until their skin starts to peel.  Plunge tomatoes into bowl of ice water until cool enough to touch.  Remove skins and squeeze tomatoes to remove seeds. (Caution! Do not wear a white shirt during this operation!)  Blend tomatoes until smooth.



2.  In a large Dutch oven, sauté garlic and onion in olive oil.  Pour in blended tomatoes. Add basil, Italian seasoning and wine.  Bring to a boil, then turn to low, simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes or until thick. Serve with pasta or as pizza sauce.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Life on the farm

Our coop

Poppy and her first egg
We have eleven chickens. Six big hens, four little ones and a rooster. Yesterday we got our first egg from a smaller chicken. We also got new nesting boxes; a little upgrade from the cardboard boxes! We harvested a wagon load of huge zucchinis. We cut off the tops of two and hollowed them out and stuck our arms inside them. We also made some delicious zucchini brownies and bread.