Saturday, February 28, 2009

Catching Up

I spent all of February either preparing to travel, traveling, or recovering from traveling. First I went to California for my grandmother's funeral, and then I went to Utah to visit my dad and step-mom. I actually have a fair bit to blog about, but it's sure hard to get back into the swing of it after a break.


First off, I discovered that Queenacres has given me a blog award. It's always nice to meet other people who share a similar vision. Welcome, Queenacres, and make yourself at home. I guess I'm supposed to now pass the award on to my favorite blogs, but I feel kind of silly to be perpetuating a chain, so I'll just point out that my favorites are always listed on the right sidebar.


February Egg Tally: 74 eggs, 97 for the year.

This count only includes full-sized chicken eggs. There were also a few bantam eggs and a bunch of duck eggs, but ducks don't lay their eggs in a nest box and so their eggs are far too dirty for human consumption. When it gets warmer I plan to separate the Pekins out and collect their eggs for hatching. At least one of the Australorp pullets has started laying, since a couple of the eggs have been small, pointed, and heavily speckled. I could be wrong about this, but speckled eggs seem to be mostly produced by young hens. I remember that when the Reds first started laying, many of the eggshells were speckled, but now they are all pretty uniformly colored.


Kefir Reboot

I don't remember exactly what happened, but the last time I set up a jar of fresh milk for the kefir grains, I wasn't home to refrigerate it at the proper time so it overfermented. The jar has been sitting on the shelf for months now, but I couldn't ever work up the motivation to deal with it. Today I finally drained off all the fermented milk, gathered the kefir grains, rinsed them in filtered water, and fed them fresh milk. Some eight hours later, the milk is starting to ferment, which means that my grains are still alive and salvageable. It will probably take several changes of milk before they start producing good quality kefir again, but the animals will be perfectly happy to drink the less palatable stuff. I'm looking forward to drinking kefir again; I was starting to miss it.


Progress on the 101 Goals

I've been working on reading Horticultural Enterprises, but I was disappointed to discover that the authors advocate for a very industrialized approach, with chemical fertilizers and pest sprays. This book was published in 1929 (first edition 1919), so it must have been one of the very first to take such an approach. It's certainly interesting to read from a historical perspective, but I don't wish to garden the way they teach. Therefore, although my goal list stated that I would answer all of the chapter questions, I will most likely only answer some. It's interesting to see the industrial agriculture mindset developing, but I have no desire to study it for my own use.


Tracy said...

Seems like everyone but me keeps counts/weights/etc of their farm -- I guess I should do that.

I know my mom keeps a tally of eggs laid each day, so I guess I could sum that if I wanted. Your tally would mean more to me (as a blog reader) if I could relate it to the flock size (i.e. 71 eggs for the month from 25 hens) or something like that. We have 14 hens now, will be getting more soon. Our daily egg tally varies from 3 to 10, depending on how cold the week is at this point in the year.

Mel, Foxtail Farm said...

To be fair, I did say how many producing hens I have in the January egg tally ;). At this point, though, I don't know how many are producing. There are five hens that I know produce, but there are approximately 30 pullets that are unknown. At least one has started laying, but short of catching each one and measuring her pelvic bones, I don't have any way of knowing how many or which ones.

Actually, in a few months I probably will catch them all for testing, so that I can cull any that haven't started laying yet. Then I'll have a better idea of the number of producers.

Tracy said...

Oh well - yeah -- we have no idea how many are producing as well. We just know how many total hens we have.
The only one we can really monitor is that one lone California White hen we got for free last year. Since she is our only white-egg layer, we can tell whether or not she produces (and she's doing quite well!)

We just figure -- if we have 8 eggs out of 14 hens, that means 8 of them are producing right now on this given day! ;)