Sunday, November 1, 2009

Mission Accomplished

This weekend began on Friday for me, since I had the day off. The To Do list was long but I was determined to get as much as possible accomplished. I began by removing all of the old firewood out of the carriage house. Some of that wood had been in there for years. Each summer we would order up new wood which would end up stored on top of the old wood and the cycle continued, year after year.

I removed all of the old wood and stored it on the porch so that we'll actually burn it. Next, I cleaned the carriage house out to accommodate the quail cages for the winter. This was no easy task. The carriage house has a dirt floor and clouds of dust are kicked up whenever you try to move anything. My organizational system was to move everything to the edges of the barn and leave the center, wide open for the cages.

Though I had previously loaded up the chicken pen with plenty of pine shavings, I decided to make use of a free resource...LEAVES! I took them a couple of bags full for them to play in. Though the chooks were scared of them at first. They soon discovered that it was great fun to scratch around in them. I was sorry that my camera has been borrowed by a friend. It was hysterical watching them fly up in the air making the leaves scatter.I may try to put some up for them to have in the winter. It would help to cut down on pine shaving usage.

In an attempt to spread the fun, I also gave the quail some leaves to play in.They dug tunnels through them and peeked out at me.

Then it was back to (real)work...This time gathering up sticks and twigs in the yard and storing them away for quick kindling to get fires started. I went back into the house in an effort to escape the rain that started in the afternoon and made some firestarters. I make them out of leftover paper towel/toilet paper rolls, candle wax, laundry lint, and sometimes a handful or two of that shredded insulation made from paper. We used to spend about $30 per year buying commercial firestarters.Now we just make them from things that we used to throw out. Besides, mine smell better than the commercial ones.This batch smelled like plums...Just in time for the holiday season.

Next undertaking involved putting up plastic on the back porch. I like to hang the laundry there to save on energy(read=save $)Once the clothes are just about dry, I throw them in the dryer to soften them up. It is something that really saves on the electric bill and I'd like to be able to continue it through the winter, if possible. We've already saved a bundle on the gas bill by only heating the house with wood this season. Of course we know that we won't be able to continue that much longer but we are pleased that we've been able to do it this long.

I also drained the water barrels, put away most of the garden tools, stocked up on feed, urea fertilizer(for melting ice) and a couple of bales of straw for the quail.

Last,but not least, is a project I've been trying to accomplish for the past month...putting the gardens to bed. Well, it still isn't completely finished. I have a hard time pulling up plants that are still producing. We are still getting a few green cherry tomatoes. They don't ripen until I bring them in the house, but after not getting tomatoes for most of the summer, we are enjoying their meager bounty. We still have onions in the ground, one more potato plant, a few herbs, turnips and (of all things)several pea plants that are beginning to bloom. I still got some quail manure, straw and leaves into the gardens around the remaining crops. I may not actually till anything until the spring.

Tomorrow, it is back to work. Sitting at a desk sounds pretty good right about now!


Joannes said...

Hi Carolyn

I'm blown away by your website. Its AWESOME! I love the ticker counter thing you have put in! It's amazing. Did you rent or purchase your incubator? We got 3 chicks from the farmer's market but my boyfriend is thinking of getting an incubator for the next round of chicks. Any tips?

I'm from Western Australia by the way! :)


TheMartianChick said...

Hi, Jo! Thanks for the compliments. It is awfully nice to have an Aussie here!

We actually purchased our incubator. I figure that it will eventually pay for itself. We bought one that was a bit pricey, but we wanted something that we couldn't screw up.

The best advice that I could give would be to try to get your eggs locally (if possible)to improve your chances of getting a good hatch. Eggs that are shipped a great distance have less of a chance of hatching successfully.

Also...Make sure that you allow the eggs to rest (pointy end down) for at least 36 hours. This allows the eggs to settle after being jostled in the mail.

If you aren't able to have roosters where you live, then you will want to have a plan for what to do with the roosters.My roosters move to a friend's farm as soon as they begin to crow, since we live in the city. As a result, we have 9 hens in residence.