Two weeks of brutal heat and humidity kept me sidelined – I’m so thankful for the break in the weather so I can get caught up! Here’s the lowdown on farm activities for the past few weeks.
My little chicklets are officially hens – they are all laying eggs! I collected 439 eggs in July and egg sales are going strong. I have 9 regular clients, including my fav coffee shop (Benetti’s Coffee Experience). It feels good to have steady income – and I love delivering my product directly to clients. I take eggs to my church on Sundays, the coffee shop/Raytown area on Mondays, the OP/Basehor area on Wednesday, and down the hill to my roommate’s sis on Fridays.
We lucked into the last 4 guinea chicks at our feed store (Feldman’s) about a month ago – they are happily in the sunroom and will move to an outside box I built in just a few weeks. We lost 3 of our first four to foxes – heartbreaking – and are thrilled to get another chance with them this year. I think we went wrong by raising the first 4 with our ducklings – they were quite neurotic and didn’t enjoy the outside/free range experience like they should. These four will free range during the day and be secured in the barn at night. Their behavior is already wildly different than the others. The remaining guinea is in the coop with the other birds and doing well. The learning curve can be brutal, my friends.
The garden is exploding with produce – tomatoes are coming on strong, peppers are thriving, and summer squashes (zucchini and crooknecks) are here too. The squash are struggling a bit in their location – the soil is like powder, there is major sun and no water access. The recent rain is helping and I’m still holding out hope for more squash. I’ve battled issues with deer, caterpillars, and grasshoppers and lost a few plants – but I’m thrilled with the masses of Romas, Celebrity, Arkansas Traveler, Chocolate Pear, and Minibel tomatoes that are here. Tomatoes are my absolute fave of summer – these cut like butter and are incredibly tasty. I’m still reaping the benefits of early spring plantings with tons of onions (I planted 400 since I use them in everything), potatoes, cucumbers, and green beans. For my first year using an overgrown plot of land…I give myself a gold star. I’m feeding myself, my roommate, and I have enough to put back for the winter – maybe even enough tomatoes to sell to my egg clients!
It has not, unfortunately, been an injury free couple of weeks. A thunderstorm blew in early evening last week, and a loud clap of thunder scared the ducklings and led to one escapee. I caught her quickly but the poor girl injured her right foot webbing and pad in the process (the left just had one small scrape). Thanks to info from Lisa Steele’s book Duck Eggs Daily (my fave poultry blogger) I knew how to tend her injury and she’s doing great. We wrapped the neoprene bandage in duct tape to help keep it on – it’s working really well and she’s putting full weight on her foot already. The injury has officially given her the name “Rachel” – the ducks were already named for Orphan Black characters and Rachel has a bad leg. Ha!
I’m cooking lots of fresh dishes, pulling buckets of weeds each day, clearing storm debris, doing some small woodworking projects, and harvesting produce daily. I’m reaping the benefits of winter planting and spring labors – what a thrill!