Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Indignities of Transition

My hens are mostly finished molting, and, with a slight increase in daylight, and a little extra protein in their diet, have also slowly began laying again.

This one gal, however, has not yet completely recovered from the ravages of her first adult molt, and is reduced to a single, sad-looking tail feather.

Mama feels your pain, anonymous-Australorp-hen-that-only-my kids-could-identify-by-name. My molt was pretty intense too, and the grow-back phase is slow and awkward. We're in this together, girlfriend.

Filthy bathroom mirror and all. You're welcome. ;)

Monday, December 31, 2012

Good Riddance 2012!

Normally, I do these end-of-year and end-of-season posts sort of like a tally; the wins on one hand, the losses on the other. Suffice it to say that no one wants to read that jolly list, myself included, and so, I'm going to focus on the things that have me looking forward to 2013 in Boggy Hollow.

We're getting piggies!

Homegrown pork is out-of-this-world delicious, and raising pigs is just about the most complete form of waste-food upcycling that there is. They'll eat our leftovers, excess or sour goat milk, windfall apples, bakery outlet leftovers and imperfect, unsold produce from our local grocery store, and maybe some dumpster-dived restaurant leavings.

Besides the pork for ourselves, I'm looking forward to the stellar manure that these guys and gals will produce that will fire up our compost heap.

We're going to have a garden again

Bill is taking the reins for garden planning and building this year, which has in no way dampened my zeal for browsing every seed catalog that lands in my mailbox, and buying and coveting interesting and old seed varieties like other women covet new pairs of heels. Yeah, I scored a couple packs each of Hungarian Blue Bread Poppy and Slow-Bolt Cilantro seeds. It's probably more than I need, but I figured I'd splurge a little...


I bought my Boo a beginning beekeeping kit and a few books on organic beekeeping, and he's pretty fired up about it! We're leaning toward trying top bar hives, at least initially, as they produce more wax than a traditional Langstroth hive, which would be useful to us in soapmaking and candlemaking, among other applications.

According to what we've read, the bees will venture out as far as three miles to gather nectar for their honey. We live in an area that is well known for its blueberry patches and bogs, so the flavor of our honey is likely to reflect that. I don't think I've ever even seen blueberry honey available, so I'm looking very much forward to tasting our first batch. :)

We're also excited to see what impact keeping a hive or two on our property will have on our garden and fruit trees' productivity.

The Grand Opening of our Farmstand 

A lot of kinks are still being worked out with regard to how we'll realize this goal, but I feel pretty confident that we'll find a way to make it happen, hopefully in time to take advantage of the increased traffic that comes our way when the blueberry bogs and Christmas tree farms open for business.

Among our offerings will (hopefully) be goats milk soap, eggs, produce, flowers, handicrafts and honey. If I am able to acquire a cottage food license between now and then, I may also sell jams, jellies and baked goods.

So now you see why I'm not willing to look back, even for a day, at 2012. 2013 holds so much promise for us - I can't wait!

But as for today, it's snowing at a good clip, and I have a half-finished knitting project in my lap. Noses will not be put to the grindstone just yet - this next little piece of Winter will be reserved for dreaming, reading, preparing and resting up for the big Spring that we have planned. :)

Wishing you all a Happy and Fulfilling New Year -

Billy, Michelle, Livy & Scarlet,
and the Critters

Farmer Bill and his happy herd