Sunday, October 25, 2009

Autumn #2 at PFF

The last post refers to a dry spell that in October has certainly been broken. Since that post we've had lots of rain, making for some challenges in our pig palace, and yes, they liked to play and rip up their tarp (another contradiction from the last post). Today, Red heroically moved her beautifully constructed new pig hut into the 'garden pasture' to give them a more solid place to stay toasty warm and dry. While she was rigging this small outbuilding up to her tractor and driving it to it's new destination, I got some much needed grown up time . My friend and I did some Earth, Wood, and Fire studio touring. I feel so grateful for these new friends- amazing artists just down the road who have been so welcoming to us. I like this place.

We have all had a great day- the sun was so warm today- and we all got to finish the day doing fall chores together, rubbing piggy bellies while they lounged in their new surrounds, and having a final hammock swing before putting it away for the year. (It's maybe the most time we grownups have had in said hammock, but last year when the hammock was unceremoniously put away without a certain kid being informed, it caused some 'big feelings'. ) This year, the big feelings were being grateful that pigs are moved, the sun was shining, the leaves and fields so many beautiful shades of gold it hurts, the successes of the season, and mostly, being together.

We're especially looking forward to getting the broilers to the processor. The weather has been so wet and cold that pasturing them didn't happen the way I had hoped. They're just for us- and of course they were raised well and fed organically, but I really wanted to optimize foraging and get them out. It could have been a perfect time of year to do them but this year it wasn't. I can't believe how much they are eating and of course the feed isn't cheap. I knew that when I saw a $30 chicken at the co-op last year that it really could cost that to raise an organic broiler. They are eating about a pound of feed a day each now. We have been slow to realize it and every other day- have a panic moment of getting to the feed store and hoping they have enough organic grower feed. We buy 2 bags and start all over again within 48 hours. Of course if we could figure out ways of growing our own grain or at least getting a gravity box to get better pricing and the convenience..... we'll see what we can figure out next time. Our turkeys are growing slowly and risk their lives daily by heading at a trot right for Dottie. It seems when you try to herd them they lose all their senses and run opposite of your guidance. Still, I like having them and we'll hope that the broilers slow down a bit while the turkeys catch up so we can bring them in together.

The hens are finally hens and we're getting those beautiful blue-green eggs again. The roosters- well- they are finally roosters and we get to hear the crowing again now. Our other hens are molting so our egg production is not yet booming (actually very slow and lots of days no eggs at all) but I think each of our 7 young hens should be on board now. B is thrilled to see those auracana eggs again.

There has of course been a lot of fall activity- getting compost on the asparagus/strawberries, lots of cleanup, mulching. The care of the animals always gets more intensive as they grow. We've had leaking chicken waterers plaguing us for weeks. Red was finally able to fix them as well as many other little things. Still waiting for a neighbor busy finishing his own long fall to -do list to get our fences up . But Red has her tractor, and we're chugging along. We see the slowdown ahead- more time to relax. And another season to plan.

One bit of news- we have a logo. Much gratitude to the design pals who helped us arrive at this. I can't seem to get it posted here- but we'll go figure that out!