Monday, May 25, 2009

What's happening

Desmond and his hens may be the new luckiest chickens on the farm. When I set up their paddock, I left a large plant growing in the middle, thinking it would be a safe and attractive, shady spot for chicken siestas. This year it started to bloom, and when I came in from work one day, Farmer Steve was near dancing a jig. "Elderberries!", he said. To my knowledge, we haven't had any here before, so it is a wonderful surprise. We will be able to add elderberry to our winemaking repertoire, with any luck, and the chickens can feast on the immune system boosting windfall.

When we set up our livestock paddocks, we try to either situate them in places where there are 'bonus' food plants growing, or plant things along their fencelines to supplement their available forage. It reduces our feed costs and increases their happiness to clean up seasonal treats such as muscadine grapes, persimmons, herbs like comfrey and wormwood, blackberries, and now elderberries, what luck.

We'll see how that luck holds out. We planted our two little American chestnut trees today. We brought back the seeds from a mountainside in Virginia last fall. They stayed in a plastic bag of slightly moist peat in our refrigerator over the winter, and then we planted them in pots in the greenhouse this spring.
They were all vigorous and ready to be planted, so we considered carefully where to put them. We chose spots inside two of the chicken paddocks, with rich soil and some protection from a mature treeline.
The little guys were then given a protective chicken wire cage to shield them from potential nibblers.
We hope they will be happy, it can't hurt to try, after all.

The sour cherry tree next to our front porch is ripening its fruit, and I believe it might be the most ornamental plant on our farm.

The wildflowers are in their full glory, they surely rival any cultivated thing we could grow.

Our week old little turkeys are happily kicking around in their brooder room at the hen house, and their little brothers and sisters will be ready to join them this evening. 43 in all, that's a good bit of fuzzy cuteness.


Billie Jane said...

Every time I read your posts I fill up with joy and envy too... joy because its such a wonderful thing to be able to do what you do, and envy because you are doing everything I want to do... one day I will get there! Brilliant post! ooh and elderflower cordial is very yummy too!

j.d.h. said...

I echo Billie Jane. Thanks for sharing. I am hoping and prayin' for those chestnut trees.

Sara said...

Thank you very much! Do keep in mind I tend not to post about the really bummer stuff. I love what I do, but only most of the time, sometimes I wish I had become an accountant, haha.