IrisRoseColor

I’m personally a big fan of traditional blue/purple iris, but this one is just stunning. It’s been fun to see what all the colors in the yard are. Evidently, Walla Walla had a famous Iris breeder for a lot of years, and many yards here locally bear the results.

Yup, right now everyone seems to be living in peace and harmony. We’ll see how long it lasts. No one has gotten stuck in a fence this week.

We managed to trim the feet of Elmo, the one goat who we will keep (as a gift) from my friend whom the other goats are on loan from. Elmo (recently renamed Molly) was a rescue and her feet were way overgrown. Trimming feet is definitely a two-person job, and we’ll have to do it every week for a month or so, removing a little bit more each time, until they are back to normal. She took it pretty well.

The young sheep are growing fast! Soon it will be time to ween them.

ducksPond

Trust me, the water only looks this good for about 10 minutes.

We lost a duck last week to a predator (possibly possum – it happened IN the pen) but after adding a lot more wire to the pen, no one has died since. The hatchery sent us one extra, so I’m not down in count from what I expected, but it was still sad to lose one.

TurkeyTeenagers

Just before being moved to the dog pen. Peep peep peep. Two males and a female (who is, quite traditionally, bringing up the rear).

The turkeys have graduated to the outside dog pen, as they weren’t staying put in the duck’s quarters and were too little to not be penned up. They are doing fine, and need no supplemental heat even though they are only just over four weeks old. Lets hear it for heritage breeds!

The 25 seven week old chickens are now venturing out during the day, and are all doing fine. They are in that “I’m not afraid of you, here, I’ll show you, I’ll stand on your foot” phase that I love.

TeenageChickens

Teenage chicks. They look like they should be smoking behind the gym, don’t they?

All ducks and chickens are now on the same “flock raiser” diet with supplemental calcium for the egg layers, since trying to feed seven week old chickens and four-week old ducks separate food from the mature hens when everyone has access to the same yard was pretty much impossible. Turkeys still get the 28% protein ration.

The ducks are HUGE. I can’t believe they are only four weeks old. They go out and swim and forage a bit during the day, and go back into the pen (horse stall) at night without too much trouble. I’ve read that they can learn a phrase and know what to do, so at night, while herding them into their pen, I say “bedtime, ducks, bedtime”.

RedWBabiesRed, the Red Star who lives under the blue spruce tree and has been sitting on eggs for weeks, hatched out 2 babies Monday the 14th. I’ve put some chick starter (I had a bit left) and a waterer under the tree, and other than that, they are on their own with their Mama. I just got done raising 25 chicks. Not interested in doing it again for another six weeks. Speck, the Speckled Sussex under the “egg shack”, has not hatched anybody, so I suspect her eggs are not fertile. Now…how to get her out of there?

And now, for some garden porn.

Cucumbers, just coming up. Yup, that’s likely slug damage on the one in the lower right corner.
CucumberSprouts
Corn. So excited to grow corn. I quit trying to grow it in Colorado. Between the really short growing season for corn and the earwigs that would eat the corn silks off of the forming ears before they were pollinated, leaving unfilled spotty ears, it just wasn’t worth it. Especially when I could get Olatha sweet corn for about 10 cents an ear when it was in season. But corn is so quintessential “farm”, know what I mean? So this year, I’m giving it a try here. We’ll see how it goes. Corn on the grill, anyone? I have high hopes.
CornSprouts
My peppers are all in the ground (OK, almost all – I have eight jalapenos that got a really late start that are still in pots) and lo and behold, one of them already has a pepper forming. Sweet! Sweet bell, actually.
PepperBabies
GrapesFormingExcited to see grapes growing on the grape vine. I pruned about 80 lbs of old vines off of it last fall, and it was difficult to know what to leave in place so I would get some fruit (it hadn’t been pruned in about 5 years, and didn’t produce much fruit last year). I tried and tried to grow grapes in Colorado, but late spring frosts killed any fruit in all but one out of 10 years. So seeing this is really gratifying, even though I don’t really like grapes all that much. Should make for some nice grape juice. Planning on planting some table grapes for sale at market this year or next.

Was able to harvest radishes, pok choi, mustard greens, kale (thinning out the plants) and a tub (literally a tub) of arugula for market last Saturday. Seems several of the “mustard mixes” I planted contained quite a bit of arugula, in addition to the arubula I had planted on purpose. So it was everywhere, and all started to send up flower stalks at the same time. Out of the ground it needed to come. Most of it sold (at a screaming deal price of $2/lb) I’m happy to report. Did I mention I bought a “legal for trade” scale to use at market this year? Love my new scale!

I’m doing a much better job this year of keeping track of planting times, harvest amounts etc., so next year will have a much better idea of how much to plant and when. Strangely, this year I am having the hardest time getting lettuce to germinate, of all things. Lettuce – one of the worlds easiest to grow plants. Have NO idea why. I’ve been growing lettuce for 15 years.

So, because of the way our barn is built, and damage over the years, there are lots and lots of nooks and crannies for starlings and house sparrows to nest in. Neither of these birds is native to the United States, and they out-compete native birds for nesting sites. So it is generally frowned upon to encourage them. We’ve had more pressing things to do then figure out how to block off all their spots just yet, so we have a fine crop of babies peeping every time we go into the barn.

StarlingBaby The other day, this baby starling, who was ready to leave the nest, but not  quite ready to fly, was rescued three times from the barn floor (and in between some wood pallets, and in the woodpile) and put into a plant pot on a shelf under where the nest was (I couldn’t reach the actual nest). I finally put him in the blue spruce tree on a branch. He was noisy enough that I’m sure his parents had no problem finding him. He really wasn’t scared of me, just wondering where his next meal was coming from.

Miles Away Farm Blog © 2012, where we’re thankful that we don’t have to feed the starlings, in addition to the rabbits, chickens, ducks, turkeys, goats, sheep, cats and dogs. And we’re thankful for a seemingly happy healthy brood of critters (while we search for a new dog to protect them all).

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