Thursday, August 30, 2012

New Chickens!

Newest baby chick
We recently had five baby chicks hatch under the care of Harriet, a Buff Orpington hen determined to be broody so we set her on some fertile eggs. Here's a photograph of one of her babies, enjoy!

Broody mama hen sitting on all of the babies.  
Notice how fluffed up she is as she tries to appear formidable lest we dare take away one of the chicks.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Green Heron

Heron on left side of photo along the bank of the pond
We have a small green heron living on our pond. It is likely living a pleasant life feasting on the bounty of fish and frogs in and around the pond.  Occasionally, Sofie has chased away the Great Blue Heron with its loud call but she doesn't seem to perceive the green heron as a threat.
Closer view of the heron
It is hard to see sometimes when it is crouched along the bank as its neck is not usually outstretched as it is in the photo. It uses its long neck to snatch fish or frogs out of the water. Check out this link to learn more about green herons and their long necks!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Roasting Peppers

Roasting peppers
When blessed with a bounty of produce, one has to find a way to process everything that does not sell. Processing in an efficient and less time-consuming method is greatly appreciated when there is too much going on! We hunted down some recipes for roasting peppers in the oven, but many of them specified that when broiling peppers in the oven they should be split in half and the seeds removed. However, recipes specified that when roasting peppers on the grill the peppers can be left whole. So we decided to go with broiling the whole peppers, which worked out fine.
Blister forming on a pepper below the broiler
We placed the peppers stem down on a tray and put the tray below the broiler. After about 5-10 minutes we flipped the peppers over with tongs to roast on the other side for 5-10 minutes. The entertaining part that is perhaps missed when you split the peppers before roasting them is watching the skins blister and pop beneath the broiler.  Fun to hear and see! Some of the peppers were charred on all sides after this, so we placed them in a pan with a lid, then flipped the remaining peppers until all of the sides were charred. When the peppers were sufficiently charred we placed them all in the lidded pan for an hour or so until cooled, rubbed the skin off and removed the seeds. Having the hot, charred peppers in a lidded vessel seems pretty important because they retain a lot of moisture, and this helps with rubbing the skins off. Our modified method worked out really well and we made delicious pimento cheese with some of our freshly roasted peppers!  Some went in the freezer.  The plants are still producing so there will probably be more pimento cheese very soon.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Water, water everywhere

Thunderstorms this afternoon have brought a lot of rain in short periods of time--a total of 3 inches so far.  Here's what some of the farm looks like.
 Normally this is a small wetland area from which peepers sing in the Spring. 

This is the outflow through 2 culverts under the farm road.  It is roaring!
This side is the inflow for the culverts.  The water is running so quickly that it created a whirlpool.  See it swirl!

Here's the view up the hill of the path we take to reach hen-a-bago 2.  Wonder when I'll get those eggs gathered today?

Below the solar charger mounted on the fence post in the center of the photo is a green box containing the battery.  It's all underwater.  Hope the box is waterproof.  Fortunately the fence is not carrying a charge right now.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Broody Hens!

Broody hen in a nest box with a baby chick

We had been hoping for months on end for our hens to become broody so that we could hatch more chickens. In the last couple of months we have had success!

Baby chick among the eggs
We started finding chickens in the nest boxes that would not get up off of a clutch of eggs and rather than discouraging their broodiness we encouraged it and designated particular boxes for the broody hens. Once the chicks hatched we moved them into the brooder house.
Minerva Louise with baby chicks
Much to our delight Minerva Louise, one of our "yard chickens," went broody and not only hatched out 5 eggs but also adopted a number of other chicks from a different flock, kept them warm, and tended to them! It was always a delight to see the babies climbing all over Minerva Louise and peeking out from beneath her.

As Minerva Louise protected her brood she was not always so gentle with older chicks in the growing mixed flock in the brooder house. Once her babies were big enough we removed Minerva Louise and now she watches over the young chicks along the outside of the fenced run.
Minerva Louise longingly following the babies