Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Rabbits

Despite rabbits being one of my favorite homesteading animals, we haven't had any for a little over a year. Before last winter, we decided to get rid of our current rabbits to avoid the winter care, and because we wanted to start with fresh stock the following year. Well, that never happened, and a year later we finally got on the ball to get more rabbits.

Friday, we got our Easter bunnies. Named for now, Thing 1, and Thing 2 from the temporary blue markings used to tell them apart.

They are a New Zealand/California mix. They are already bred to a Californian buck. New babies should be here in a few short weeks.

For now, they are in our hutches, but I'd like to see what we can do to get them out on grass this summer. Another project to add to the list. The farm they came from has their does in an old stall. They run together and are provided hay bales to burrow into for nesting. So, many different ways to do things. So, many things to try.

And, a few more pictures, just because.

Happy Easter to you!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Blogging at The Wild Ramp

Did I mention that I'm contributing to The Wild Ramp blog? There are several talented writers over there who share on a variety of topics from local farms, recipes using seasonal ingredients, and local food issues. Today, my post over there is about our first experience with wild leeks, otherwise known as ramps. Hop on over, and check it out!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"Spring" Update

This winter has drug along. We've been sick more than usual. It feels like we've had more cold weather than usual, and I do believe March has seen the more snow than any other month this winter. This was March 13th.

We had thunder snow that day. The snow (thankfully) didn't stick around for long.

The first day of spring came and went, and yesterday we woke to a winter wonderland scene that would have been much more appropriate for the week of Christmas instead of this week of Easter.

I know. I know. It is spring. It is still chilly in spring. Snow does happen. blah. blah. blah.

We did get the potatoes in, and a few things in the raised beds. Plants are started indoors. I may or may not have started my cucumbers far too early.

I'm really not asking for much. I don't want summer temperatures. In fact, at this point, I'd be thrilled with sunshine regardless of the temperatures. C'mon spring! We're cheering you on!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Spring Fever

Spring is always an exciting time. It is a time of anticipation, a time for new things. I've caught the bug.

I've started plants. Some of them I started too early, and am going to have to transplant and find a inside place for until it really warms up. I knew better, but I couldn't help myself! I wanted to have things growing!

I've made a lot of plans for the upcoming season, and have been itching to get them started! I've spent a little too much time browsing facebook and craigslist farming ads. We don't have any spring babies coming this year, and I think I'm compensating by bringing new animals to the farm.

We have our first batch broilers going, and another batch is coming next week. We've made a deal to get some rabbits soon. We haven't had rabbits for a couple years, and I am excited to start again. The pens need a little TLC before they come, and we are thinking about some ways to tractor them also.

We purchased turkeys! We've never had turkeys before. We brought these beauties home on Saturday. I love watching them, and love the sounds that they make.  The hens are laying, and we hope that they will hatch out some eggs this spring.

And our long awaited new arrival, Stella, came home today.

She has a future as a livestock guardian ahead of her, but today all the kids wanted to do was hold her and love her. Who can blame them? She is an adorable ball of fur!

Spring garden work needs to get here soon, and keep me busy. Who know what other animals I might bring home if it doesn't?

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

They Really Are Aren't They?

It is Ham, Bacon, and Eggs week! The three oldest kids started this 4-H project way back in October when their hogs were taken to be processed. The helped to cut the meat. They've salted, waited, salted, and salted again, waited, trimmed, kept records, waited a little more for the smoking, and final their hams and bacon are ready!

This week keeps us hopping. There are record books to complete, check, and finalize. Invitations to buyers to be sent. There are pictures to be taken. Eggs to be selected and prepared. Meats to be chosen for judging, and finally the breakfast and sale day bright and early Thursday morning.

The kids put a lot of time into these projects. The committee members are saints for all the work they put into this program, and we are very grateful.

Tonight was the night eggs are turned in for judging, and the meats are graded and then placed. First, all the meats are separated into three groups; blue, red, and white. Since each pig has two hams and two bacon, each participant starts with two of each. Only one ham and one bacon may be entered for the final judging and sold. After the meats are separated into the three groups, participants select which of their hams and bacon they want to enter into the final judging.

The extra hams and bacon may be donated for the buyers breakfast, taken home to be sold or consumed, or for FFA students, entered into the state FFA competition. Each of our kids chose to donate one of their meats for the buyers breakfast. I'm glad to see them do it, and it only seems to be the right thing to do. But as Kellen was donating a bacon tonight, a committee member remarked to me, "They are good kids."

I was glad for the reminder. It has been a long week already, and frankly, the kids were kind of on my nerves. But they really are good kids. Ham, Bacon, and Eggs has been our favorite 4-H project, and I'm proud that these kids have been willing to give back to the program!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013


Happy Birthday Vivian! 
(How can this be my baby?!)