Homestead Monthly: June 2015

June homestead photo feature
Turkey Hatching Fail

Our egg-hatching track record is dismal. We made our first attempt to incubate eggs: 11 turkey and 1 duck. It turns out that turkey eggs are notoriously hard to hatch and the babies are very fragile during the first couple weeks of their life.
turkey one week old

I had never seen anything actively hatch before, so I was excited for the experience. Hatch day came, and the first egg showed signs of hatching but then stopped. Then a second egg started to break open. He made a small hole in the egg and I could see his little beak in there. My eyes were glued to that incubator all day long! It can take up to 24 hours for an egg to go from little hole to hatched. And of course the one hour that I didn’t look at the incubator is the hour that he hatched. And there he was- a baby turkey, still attached to the egg by a little membrane and barreling around the incubator like a horse and buggy gone haywire! So, we missed the whole hatch. And that was the last activity in the incubator, the one and only egg to hatch.

Now we’ve got a lonely baby turkey. I’m his new mother, and he loves to snuggle into our necks. He peep-screams from his home in the bathroom, until we come pick him up, then he immediately turns into the most content little baby who just wants to sit calmly on your shoulder and take in the big, big world. Basically, we’ve created a monster and so much for our Thanksgiving turkey!

Garden Update
It’s amazing what a month’s time can do in a garden. I am blown away every single year by what a tiny little seed can turn into. And seeing those plants break through the earth makes me just giddy. Imagine me screaming across the yard to Karl, “the kale is up! the kale is up!”

Garden end of june

We had a little rabbit problem in the beginning, because we didn’t realize that grown rabbits would fit through a 2-inch fence! There was a week where my broccoli was getting ravaged every night by the dirty things. We fixed it by fencing in our fence with chicken wire on the bottom.

We now have the Fort Knox of gardens.

Catching Swarms
As part of our local bee club, we are on a list of people who get called when someone in the area finds a swarm. We love being part of it, because it is a win for everyone involved: the homeowner get their bees safely removed (and doesn’t get stung), the bees don’t get killed with Raid, and the beekeeper adds a new hive to their apiary. Plus, we feel like Superman swooping in to save the day.
bee swarm park

We got a call a couple weeks ago about a swarm in a tree at the local baseball park. We loaded up the car with a hive box, ladder, and all our tools. The bees that we rescued had been there for a couple days- so they were very hangry (hungry+angry!) We were able to shake the tree branch over the bin and capture most of them. The only casualty was me- I got stung!

Although this swarm was tiny, and we are unsure if they’ll make it or not, we were happy to remove the bees and give them a home.

Not So Baby Ducks
Recently I wrote about how we tricked our duck into adopting two baby ducklings. And now at a month old, they are nearly as big as she is! They are still awfully cute and fuzzy though, and they are starting to make the squeakiest little quacking noises.
teenage ducks

The lady that we got the ducklings from was a little scattered, and I don’t think they are what she said they were (we didn’t care, we just needed two babies, and fast). It is fun to watch their adult feathers and coloring come in, and try to figure out what breed they might be.

Adding to the Homestead
It’s our second summer on the homestead, and we’re finally learning about all the plants and trees we have, taming the landscaping, reclaiming the grown-over woods that surrounds the yard, and planting lots of new and fun things.

mulberries

We’d thought it would be fun to keep track of everything we have growing, and what we add to the homestead every year. Check out our list of all the perennial things we’ve got growing! —> What Our Land Provides.

Enjoy reading about what’s happening on our Homestead?
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—> October/November Homestead Monthly
—> September’s Homestead Monthly

—> August’s Homestead Monthly

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