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Fred & George – Pet Alpacas

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Find out what our two pet alpacas do on our small farm
I talk a big game about making the farm work for us. The apparent weak link in all of that is the alpacas. We don’t do anything with the fiber, they’re usually very dirty by the time we shear them and I don’t spin any way. The poultry all serve the purpose of insect control, eggs and meat. I’m sure as heck not going to eat the alpacas, so what do we keep them for? [Read more…]

Muscovy Ducks – Sustainability in your Back Yard

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Muscovy ducks are the most sustainable animals I can think of to keep, find out why we'll always keep them on our farm and how easy they are to care for
My husband is currently awaiting the Zombie Apocalypse, or something of that nature, so I hear a lot about planning for the end of civilization as we know it. Maybe that’s why he goes along with my never ending desire to plant more fruit trees, grow a bigger garden and raise all the livestock! Or maybe he just loves me and wants me to he happy. Either way, we’ve got a lot going on between the baby, the house pets, the alpacas, the chickens and the rest of the flock so we try to keep simple routines. The easiest keepers we have are the Muscovy ducks, hands down. I’m not the only one who thinks that way either, when I put together my post about Favorite Chicken Breeds Mike from Gentleman Homesteader shared that Muscovy are his his favorties too, you can read why on his post about Adding Muscovy Ducks to the Homestead[Read more…]

Favorite Chicken Breeds

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Every winter I look forward to the chicken catalogs. I love flipping through, looking at the pictures, reading the descriptions and figuring out what I’d get if I had infinite money and space. Sadly I find both of those things in short supply so I have to cut back on my list. If you’ve ever found yourself in the same position you know my pain. I know how confusing it can be to settle on one, or a few chicken breeds so I asked a few of my blogger buddies what their number one chicken pick would be and why.

Favorite Chicken Breed - Chicken Scratch NY - Brahma

Just for fun we’ll start with my favorite. I absolutely adore my Brahmas. They’re a heavy breed and they do fantastically through our harsh winters, they’re SO FLUFFY and they have small combs so frostbite isn’t much of a concern. My ‘main man’ is a large Brahma and judging from the fact that all the chicks we hatch out are at least 1/2 Brahma (despite there being multiple Orpington roosters) he’s doing his job. They’re all very friendly and curious, even my rooster is a sweetie pie. [Read more…]

Cackle Hatchery Surprise Box – 6 Weeks Old

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Our surprise babies are 6 weeks old and I thought I’d share how they were doing. If you follow me on Facebook you might have seen some of their baby pictures!

Cackle Hatchery Surprise Box - Day 1
The Cackle Hatchery Hatchery’s Surprise box is basically an unknown quantity of poultry where you get at least 40 birds, when I was reading about it I saw that some people get ducks or turkeys in their boxes but we weren’t that lucky. [Read more…]

Saffron Prep – The Bed

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We’re trying Saffron again! The first round was a few years ago and it didn’t survive the chickens. I ordered 100 saffron crocus bulbs from Fedco, the ordering deadline is August 15th so hurry up if you’re in the market for some!

This time we’re planting it in it’s very own bed that’ll be over-planted with direct seeded annuals during the summer. Saffron crocuses bloom in the fall and the whole show takes place September-November. The bulbs are set for delivery after Labor day so the bed will be empty until then and leaving soil open is never a good plan so we’ll be filling in with a cover crop for now. The crocus won’t mind and a frost killed annual is the perfect bedfellow. No digging means no viciously murdering disturbing the bulbs with a shovel.

4x4 Perenial Veggie Beds
The box is 4×4 and will be placed next to the other 4×4 boxes we have set up for perennials in the vegetable garden. In the far corner of the garden I have a large L-shaped bed of asparagus, a 4×4 currently planted with leeks (it was strawberries but they didn’t survive the neglect, next year it will be horseradish), another 4×4 with Jerusalem artichokes and finally the new bed.  You can see the JA behind Alfie and the new bed behind that one. This one will have 1/2 hardware cloth across the bottom, the others don’t. It’s basically a giant version of the DIY Compost Sifter so I won’t rehash those instructions. [Read more…]