Friday, February 28, 2014
Right about now, when the buds are just starting to swell, is the best time for grafting. Grafting (for these purposes) just means taking a cutting from one tree and attaching it to another so that you have two or more species growing from the same trunk. This is how you see all of the 5/1 fruit salad trees in the nurseries. In fact, just about every tree you see in a nursery has come from a graft as they have a big head start over seeds and nurseries are able to use root stocks (trunks and roots) that are disease resistant/soil and water tolerant/dwarf/semi dwarf, etc. and then just graft whatever kind of fruit they want on top. That's why every fruit tree in the nursery has a bend or knot in the trunk at the bottom where it meets the roots. It's just a branch of an already grown tree grafted onto a better-suited trunk and root system. Ah, science!
Of course, you can't just stick any limb on any tree and expect it to grow, they have to be closely related. You can grow pears and apples together, most citrus can pair and many of the stone fruits can be combined. In theory, you could make one tree that could bear almost every kind of peach or apple or cherry or plum or orange. We just want to make sure we get the most out of our trees so grafting a pollinator limb on each one just makes good sense... any it's pretty darn cool too! Pictured is one Mike did about a month ago and you can see the grafted limb is a bit behind but still budding. This limb will produce its own flowers which will pollinate the rest of the tree with a little help from the wind and insects.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
This little group of chicks should start hatching in about a week. We used a black copper maran rooster with black copper hens and olive egger hens and Easter egger hens. The blue eggs should hatch olive eggers, the olive eggs should hatch dark olive eggers and of course the dark chocolates will hatch pure black copper marans. #backyardchickens #farmgenetics #homegrown #matchingthehatch
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Monday, February 24, 2014
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Lucky (or not), the yak died unexpectedly last year so mike skinned her out and sent her hide off to the tannery. Look what just showed up in the mail. A beautiful leather yak rug! #taxidermy #wastenotwantnot #yak #shelties
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
The asparagus have been growing and disappearing at a steady pace around here. They have been wintering in the greenhouse which has been inaccessible to the chickens. Occasionally, I will leave the door to the greenhouse open while I am working in the yard. Today, I caught Sherlock in the act...chowing down on our newly sprouted greens. Shame on you Sherkock, shame on you.
Monday, February 17, 2014
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Friday, February 14, 2014
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
It has always been our intent for this to be a real, self-sustaining farm. The animals grown here are used for their milk, eggs and meat. Today we harvested five roosters for the freezer.
This is a video of Mike's homemade chicken plucker. He made it last summer but hadn't had a chance to use it until today. If you have ever plucked a bird by hand, you will appreciate how efficient this thing is. Just to be very clear, this is not a live chicken! This rooster had previously been humanely dispatched, bled and scalded to loosen the feathers. It's not alive in the video.
We are recording all of our experiences here at the ranch, not just the cute pictures of goats and doggies. We understand this may not be for everyone but every drumstick and hot wing you have ever eaten had gone through this process. These roosters grew up here from chicks, were provided a great free-range life and are now providing us with wholesome food for our table.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Monday, February 3, 2014
Check out this awesome livestock scale mike made from a sensor kit and an old pallet. Our heaviest critter is Zsa Zsa the mangalitsa gilt @187lbs and our heaviest dog is Nella the anatolian @133lbs (she weighs almost as much as Cotton, Scout and Jones shown here). #repurposed #farmerengineering