The wheat harvest did not go as planned. Mostly, this means that the chickens broke into my hoop where it was drying and decimated my crop. The good news is that this fed them for 3 days. The bad news is that it took me 6 months and 100 sq ft to grow enough feed for 20 chickens to eat for 3 days. Talk about a reality check in sustainability. This is what I try to explain to people when they tell me I should grow grain to feed my animals: I could, but it takes the big guys less time, money, and resources to do the same. We all depend on conventional farming to support our daily lives, it’s just that some of us delude ourselves into thinking we depend on them less.
The more homesteady aspects of the HeartMoss life are going well: the rabbits and sheep continue breeding, some of the pigs have gone to slaughter while the others have gotten larger, and the chicks we’ve been hatching all year are turning into real full-grown chickens. The pasture has held out this year into November, in striking contrast to last year when we had to start feeding hay at the end of October. Our guardian dog, Puff, is turning into a teenager and sometimes he chases after the sheep and cats like they’re dog friends that he can play with. We’re hoping to get lucky and not have very many poultry problems while he’s in his teen phase. By the time lambing season begins in March, he will be 11 months old and should be capable of fully guarding the sheep flock.
I’m spending a lot of time away from the farm in order to make some extra money, but it’s definitely a problem when there is so much to do at home.
A few weeks ago I bought two turkeys that were supposed to be our Thanksgiving dinner. Well, I noticed that they seemed a little hennish, and sure enough (through some internet readings) I decided that they were female. So instead of having turkey dinner, I went out and bought a tom turkey to keep them company. This way they can begin breeding and laying eggs in the spring to propagate the next turkey generation. This is the hope, at least.
The winter garden is going well so far. This year I finally got my low tunnels together. I used large nails as spikes and black plastic well tubing as hoops, then put row cover over the top of it. This is held down with t-posts (a good material) and bricks (which I do not recommend) to keep the tension up in the fabric. We’re growing spinach, lettuce, and kale under these, and it’s growing much faster then if it was in the open air, plus the plants should have protection in January and February from the worst of the winter weather.
I can’t wait to see what winter throws at us this year.