Friday, July 4, 2014

This Week on the Farm: July 4

It's been a lovely week. I'm enjoying the "honeymoon" second trimester and the weather has been surprisingly temperate. Lots of time to get out into the garden and to spend time with our animals.

The thornless blackberry canes that I planted last year are going crazy! We've only got maybe twenty berries, but the canes are multiplying and sorely in need of a trellis system. I'm excited for next year, when this plant will produce lots more blackberries and when we can finally let our blueberry bushes grow some berries.

Oh, these ducks! They're four months old now and much less of a pain to clean up after now that we just let them free-range in the pasture. There's some risk that a predator might get them at night, but everything has been fine so far. Although they're not nearly as filthy as they were when they were in a contained space, they do manage to dirty up the water containers very quickly, as you can see here. 

The middle fella in this picture is definitely a male; he doesn't look that much different from the other two but is beginning to get some iridescent green feathers on his head, which identifies him as a drake.

Spottle is my favorite of our two older ewes. We developed a special bond during the short time that I milked her. She's just got a sweet, gentle disposition and is a great mama.

Little Sassy. She's Spottle's ewe lamb, almost seven months old now and as sweet as can be. She is looking more and more like her mama as she grows. She's not nearly as skittish as her unnamed twin brother, who wants nothing to do with us (which is smart on his part, since he's our freezer lamb!).

Tiberius and Sassy. Tiberius is a naughty, naughty boy (I don't risk going in the pasture with him anymore unless he's tied up or put in the pen), but I just think he's gorgeous and his nose wrinkles are adorable. I hope he passes down his red coloring to the lambs he sires.

Since Tastebud lost her winter coat she's been looking so pretty and clean. Well, as clean as a white sheep can be when it wallows in the red dirt all day. I love her pink nose.

Our chicks are growing up! We've got seven total and I think at least three of those are roosters. Hard to know for sure until the roo's start crowing. The ones here are Buff Orpingtons (the yellow ones), Easter Eggers (the red ones), and Speckled Sussex (the white and black ones).

The bush beans have quit producing already, but the pole beans are just getting started. These are yard-long beans, which really do get a yard long. I've been experimenting with cooking them; they're not as crisp as regular green beans so they do better with being sautéed than with being steamed. I may try roasting them in the oven and cooking them in a curry.

We've got plenty of green tomatoes on all eight tomato plants, but these first ones to ripen have been full of worms. I'm not too worried, since we've got several grape and cherry tomato plants and worms tend to leave those alone, plus our chickens are thrilled to get the wormy tomatoes that we don't want.

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