Thursday, October 31, 2013

Compost, compost and more compost

Last week, we had a few freezing nights so its time to clean out the gardens. Essie decided to help with the pepper bed.

Now I know what she was really after- a snack!

This week, the temps have been much more seasonable and mild so I decided it was time for the big garden cleanup. 

Essie pulling marigolds

Chloe (yes, this is just 1 marigold plant)

AJ got to use the mulch machine to suck up pine needles.

Chloe wanted to show off how big our pile was.

Once again our ladies enjoyed getting to work on the compost pile.

I got 6 bags grass clippings from a friend the next day so the pile got even bigger!

Once again, the chicken had to lend a hand beak.

Yesterday, the kids had a half day of school and the weather was so mild, we all wanted to be outside.  I scored about 50 bags of leaves the night before so I put the kids to work again.  AJ had a friend over and by the end of the afternoon, another neighborhood boy joined us.  They had a great time ripping open bags of leaves and piling them up.  They had so much fun, they wore out my mulching machine (hoping they just clogged it up).

I wasn't joking when I said 50 bags, we'd already used 6 bags by the time I remembered to take a picture

Boys love machinery

Boys broke machinery so we just decided to pile them up

Field of Dreams organic matter

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Eggs, Eggs, and More Eggs!

One of the most fun parts of owning layers is to see the variety of eggs from my ladies.  The ducks continue to lay 5 eggs a day (we have 5 ducks), but this week, we got 2 giinormous eggs, 2 days in a row from the ducks.  Everyone has told me ducks lay larger eggs than chickens, but they have been about the same size as my large brown eggs.  Much harder shells to crack though. 

Top row-duck eggs
Bottom row-chicken eggs
This little chicken egg is about the size of a quail's egg and had no yolk, so it went to the dog. Someone obviously had a problem at some point this week, but not sure who it was. 

This is the weight (ounces) of one of my average sized eggs.

This is one of the large, brown eggs

Average size duck egg

Large duck egg #1

Large duck egg #2

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pumpkin Carvin' Time

After a cold, nasty day yesterday, the skies cleared today for a beautiful October afternoon.  We had our first frost last night and it was a hard one, but today warmed up to about 60 degrees.  We decided to carve our pumpkins outside, mainly so the mess stayed outside as well. 
Chloe (left) and Essie (right)

Working on their designs

Note the clean up crew roaming in the background

Chloe being gross

then getting down to business.  She did an excellent job cutting out her design with very little help from me. 
Essie with her pirate

Chloe with her ghosts

I missed a picture of AJ & his hand from the crypt.

The clean-up crew moved in once the kids ran off to play

And I was left with the job of picking out all the seeds from the pumpkin goo

Roasted pumpkin seeds

 Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Some Farm Fun

The kids are on fall break this week and with Grandpa came home from the rehabilitation center on Tuesday (YAY!), we figured we'd better stay close to home this week.  I took the kids down to the next county to visit my friend Kelly's farm.  Kelly and I were suite mates in college and honestly, I can't remember the last time we saw each other (crazy since she lives just 30 minutes from Wilmore).  Kelly and her husband Matthew raise beef cattle and Freedom Ranger meat chickens.  I wanted to scope her chicken operation out, as I hope to start raising my own meat birds (as soon as I find some affordable land!). 

Davis, AJ, Essie, & Chloe love on Louie, the farm dog extraordinaire!

Essie with one of the Freedom Rangers (5 weeks old)

This is me visualizing myself raising my own meat birds one day

Davis thought the chickens wanted to play ball with him.
The chickens were not impressed.

Davis wanted to show us around the farm on the Gator

oops...we ran out of gas

A quick refill on gas and we were off to see the big bulls (and I mean BIG).
All in all it was a fun way to spend a  beautiful fall day.
Thanks for the hospitality, Kelly!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Kill the Beast

WARNING: the below photo is a bit graphic. 

 I went out to collect eggs today and found this guy staring back at me. He was sitting right in one of the nest boxes.  I tried to get him into a live trap, but once he jump out of the duck house at me, it was on to the one by one piece of lumber in my hand.  Not the recommended weapon when taking on an awake raccoon in the middle of the day (can we say rabies?!?!) but its what I had in my hand.  I've had numerous issues with predators since starting this little homestead and I knew if I let him go, he'd be back again. I'm actually shocked he didn't kill a chicken or duck and didn't appear to have eaten any eggs either. I NEVER want to have to take care of a predator with a piece of lumber again.  Seriously will be looking into something with a little more fire power (and someone to teach me how to use it). 

Saturday, October 12, 2013


There are only a few things I like about fall: cooler temperatures and leaves.   Summers in Kentucky are sweltering.  The humidity is ridiculous! But then fall comes and the daytime temps hover around 75 and evenings dip into the 50's. And then the leaves start falling.  Seeing as I grew up in upstate NY, the changing of the leaves here in KY is no where as beautiful.  They kind of turn yellow and then just fall.  But since I'm a wee bit obsessed with compost, I love driving around town and spotting bags of leaves setting out for the trash man.  I scored last week and found 25 bags at one house.  I saved a few bags for future use in the chicken run but after a friend gave me 5 bags of grass clippings, I decided it was time to build a mondo compost pile in the garden.  The chickens will enjoy scratching around in it and come spring, all I have to do is rake it throughout the garden.

Of course you can't compose a giant leaf pile without jumping in it at least once...or maybe twice.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Treasure Island

Our kids love for Dad to read to them every night before bed.  Lately, we've been reading some of the old children's illustrated classics that have been around since Mom and Dad were kids.  The kids can tell you all about The Call of the Wild, The Last of the Mohicans, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (including the names of the authors!).  This week we finished reading Treasure Island, and our tradition is to watch a movie version of the book when we finish.  To go all out with a complete multi-sensory experience, we made a little family trip to Long John Silver's for supper.  (Long John Silver, the kids will tell you, was the cook for the voyage to Treasure Island.)







Three hungry little pirates