After week’s 9 raccoon attack, in which wire was neatly sliced and folded back, and a 6 x 6 inch opening created, we lost some birds. (At first I thought a human had done it but realized that it didn’t make sense. But the wire was folded in such a tidy fashion.) Not a good thing, but also part of the reality of the farm. So more birds are ordered. We have 25 barred rock hatchling hens en route and another 30 guinea hatchlings. This time, the post office has been well-prepared, and we are ready ahead of time with the tubs and heat lamps. Our goal is to get the hens up to about 100 by the end of the summer.
The chicken house has had all but the final siding installed and the outdoor permanent run has been built. The birds are now inside the sturdy old chicken house—still a little shaky about going outside, and I’ve visited the farm where I grew up, to get the old nest boxes and other poultry equipment that have been setting unused for 30 years.
In this process, I’ve learned a small fact: Roosters are called that because in the evening they take their particular flock of hens to roost. As a child, roosters were scarce and not desired in an egg operation, so I never got to observe the natural behavior of poultry. Here, we’re working on building a population of barred rocks. Another fact: a barred rock hen in its first year will typically lay about 280 eggs. Then in year two, production slows down to about 60% of that. As the bird ages the eggs get fewer but larger. We’ll see how these birds do. They do have a sweet and calm personality.
As you know, the heat continues: the peaches on the old tree are small but beginning to ripen as are the pears, but all are just a bit smaller than expected. The trees are beginning to show some yellow in the leaves. We need a week of good soaking rain—always much better in the garden than irrigation—but that doesn’t look like it will happen. (Did anyone read the heavy snow forecast for this winter?)
We’re planting for the fall: burgundy beans, more yellow squash, chard, arugula, spinach, winter kress, cilantro, and other herbs. We’re planning on herb production in the greenhouse, to maintain those even into the cold weather.
And we’re planning for the event on September 23rd! Rogers Ford Winery will be here, and we’ll have a buffet dinner along with a wine tasting to benefit DC’s Bread for the City. We’ll have a few short remarks about the geology here—mostly, we want all to enjoy a lovely fall day outside under the old Pecan trees.