Monday, October 27, 2008

Ducks and Chickens

The Duck House.
The Duck House and their Yard!  Little swimming pool on the left side.

Electric fence surrounding the duck house.

9 pumpkin varieties grown on Green Akeys Family Farm!!

New fencing.

1 week old chicks


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ducklings and more!

Ducks getting their feathers in!  They look a little funny when the feathers are coming in.
M with the Rouen male duck.
The fencing is now all finished on about 30 or so acres of pasture.  Next project- watering.  
When I take walks in the morning, my buddies Dougie and Mickey come along with me.  Kind of funny to have a cat and dog follow me around the farm.

Fall lettuce harvest.  Romaine, red lettuce, black seeded simpson, more chard, etc.
I wanted to see how long I could grow lettuce into the fall for the CSA next year--- looks like we should be able to have lettuce until late October.
Pumpkins are harvested so Mike will be seeing if you want some pumpkins.  Lots of different varieties were grown and I realized that I do need to plant them 1 week earlier and that I actually will want a larger pumpkin patch next year and to make sure I get the jack-o-lantern type pumpkins as I really only grew about 12 pumpkins that look like your traditional pumpkin.  All the rest are cool and I'll try to bake with them but we'll need more of the basic pumpkin.

We are also continuing to shell the soup beans when we have time and we'll be able to offer more/extra beans to those families that might want more of a bean share where you'll get the beans and either we can shell them for you or you can borrow our Mr Pea Sheller machine and shell them yourselves.  (I'll include a video in a future post)

We've already shelled about 5 quarts of various beans and we'll also want some volunteers to try them out along with us.  I want to make sure that they taste as good as they look.  

The soup beans are somewhat labor intensive- but I really like knowing that they were grown with no chemicals and so for me its worth the labor and its also kind of fun (the machine has an addictive quality about it-- you don't want to stop once you've started shelling).

Finally!!  I'm at a hotel with good uploading speed so you can now see the ducklings shaking their tail feathers.  They are so fun to watch!   This is already  1-2 week old footage and the ducks are now double the size and they've been moved outside to the hoop house.

If I wasn't sold on pastured poultry, I am now!  The change in the ducks from being in the smaller area to going out on the grass was night and day.  I could visibly see the difference in their walk and their mood.  They just looked happy and healthy and they love the grass!  Animals should not be confined to small places where they cannot run around.  To see this first hand after reading so much about it was just so wonderful.  I knew we were doing this farm because we believed in pastured animals and the quality of meat and eggs that would come as a result but until this weekend all I had to go on was trusting in what I had read and believing the logic.  I am now an advocate and I've seen it first hand.  Please be forewarned and don't ask about the benefits unless you want a 10 minute lecture.  

We are members of the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association (APPPA) and over the past week I'm really happy to be a part of this organization.  I can't wait to see the chicks on grass in a few weeks.  I can now visibly see why Pastured Poultry is healthier for you just by watching the ducks.  I wish I had snapped a picture of what I saw when I came back from the store on Sunday--- Mike and the kids were laying on the grass with the ducks 2 feet away from them.  The ducks were waddling around in a group and playing in their little "pool".  The sun was shining on everyone and the temperature was about 78.  The ducks would waddle over to the kids when they held out pieces of clover and they were quacking up a storm while the kids were giggling.  All was quiet except for these sounds of joy and the gentle breeze.

That scene will stay in my memory forever...

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Today the chickens came.  25 Barred Rock chicks and 1 bonus chick.  Pullets to be exact.  A pullet is a female chicken under a year of age.  They become a hen after 1 year.
We have no idea what breed our bonus pullet is so it will be fun to find out as she gets bigger. The kids are calling her Shirley.  Emily has wanted a hen named Shirley for a year now.  
She's very happy!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Upload Speed

I never really understood upload speed vs download speed on the web until tonight.
The Hilton Garden Inn in Indianapolis has virtually no upload time or they just don't let it happen.  It's horrible.  Period.

So no duck pictures today.  Visualize the last photos with Margaret and imagine that each duck is twice the size.  They are much louder now as well.  

The ducklings are starting to get in their feathers so they are starting to look a bit odd.  You can see their skin through the down.  They do a lot more grooming and shaking of their wings and tail feathers.  I have a great video of this but alas no UPTIME SPEED!!!!

The fencing was also finished today so we can start on the 4-legged animals.  We just need water.  That's Mike's next project.  I still think that the fencing is enough to get the goats and we can do buckets of water until the irrigation is set.  Of course this is not fair for me to say as I'm traveling a lot during the week and if they had to count on me to give them water, they'd die.

Chickens are supposed to arrive this week.  So perhaps Thursday or Friday.  25 chickens to be exact.  

I'm still waiting on the rest of my garlic so that the fall crop can be planted.
We have lots of baby pumpkins and baking type pumpkins so give Mike a call if you want some.
We'll be setting up shop in the next 4 weeks and Mike will be creating the order form for the CSA for next year.  He wants to start with only 10 shares and do it really, really well.  I think that's a great idea.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Ducklings

This is Chocolate.  She is a Chocolate runner duck.  
This is Spike.  We checked and we think she's a female so maybe she'll be Spikette at some point.
This is Quackers.  Also a female.

Video of the ducks eating some lettuce.