The Homestead Monthly: September 2014

chicken gang porch w words
A gang is “a group of recurrently associating individuals with identifiable leadership and internal organization, claiming control over territory in a community, and engaging either individually or collectively in violent or other forms of illegal behavior.”

Yep, that’s exactly what these chickens are. Gangsters.

A roving band of hens and their rooster ring leader.

They’ve been so much fun to watch this summer! Speaking of… I can’t believe summer is officially over and soon we’ll all be hibernating for five months. It always sneaks right up, doesn’t it?

Here are some of the highlights from September on the homestead!

Egg-Bound
We started off the month with a chicken emergency: one of our laying hens became egg-bound. That means she had an egg stuck that she just couldn’t push out. There are various things you can try to help, and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. You have about 24-48 hours to get the egg out before the hen will usually perish from this.

So, our hen got a five-star spa treatment- two warm baths followed by a blow-dry. Not joking. We bathed and blow dried our chicken. Twice. And I gave her a massage. And just when I thought we were at the end of the rope, out came an egg… well, it was the insides of the egg and was followed by a weird mangled soft shell. It came out when I picked her up. Spurted out all over the foyer floor. And a little on me. I imagine this is kind of what it is like to have children.

She perked up pretty quickly after that and has been looking great, acting like her usual self since then. We really bonded over the experience and she and I are the best of buddies now.

Preserving the Harvest
It’s been a light garden year for us, but we’ve still managed to put away some goods for winter- some from our garden, some from my parents’ garden, and some from other local farms and orchards.
squash wagon

This is what we’ve managed so far:
pears, canned
pickled jalapenos, canned
raspberries, frozen
raspberry applesauce, canned
zucchini and yellow squash, dehydrated
green beans, frozen
wild asparagus, frozen
green pepper and jalapeno chili starter, frozen
sauerkraut, canned
maitake mushrooms, dehydrated
sliced green bell peppers, frozen
apple slices, dehydrated
apple sauce, canned
peaches in their own juice, canned
peach sauce, canned
diced tomatoes, canned
cherry apple fruit leather, dehydrated
winter squash, stored whole as is

Hey, I’ve been busy!

The Orchard
We’ve been busy planting. Well, Karl has. We waited until our favorite greenhouse put their fruit trees on clearance and then pounced (40% off!!) We planted three different types of plums, two types of cherries, some blackberries and honeyberries. Add that to the apple trees and golden raspberries we planted earlier in the spring, and we’re shaping up to have quite the orchard.

I can’t wait until we get to harvest our own fruit from our own trees. Plus, it sounds fancy to say: “Karl dear, if you need me, I’ll be in the orchard.”

Karl: Organizational Wizard
Did you ever have a mess so horrible that it slowly ate away at your soul every day? Like a closet you haven’t seen the bottom of in 12 months, a messy desk drawer, a cluttered pantry or purse full of crumpled receipts and old gum?

Ours was the garage. We moved into our house a year ago and our 2+ car garage and attached workshop became our storage unit. The cars barely fit and we didn’t dare think about trying to make room for any projects in the shop.

Enter Karl: Organizational Wizard. He finally succumbed to the clutter decided on some industrial shelving units for the garage to store our “stuff.” They are awesome. We spent several days going through everything and putting it in neatly labeled boxes and up on the shelves. It is glorious.

And I am happy to report that we now have a garage and workshop!

Egg Report
At the beginning of September we had two hens laying, and now at the end of the month we have five. Including our first Americauna, who laid the most beautiful blue-grey-green egg.

I still get way over-excited and giddy every day when I find an egg in the nest boxes. I hope that feeling never goes away.
first blue green egg

The ducks stopped laying two months ago and haven’t picked back up yet. Judging by our yard and the fact that it looks like a county-wide pillow fight took place there… I think it is because they were molting. Hopefully they are almost done growing those feathers back and will begin laying soon.

The ducks aren’t phased at all by the cooler temperatures. It’s 40 degrees and they’re splashing in the pool. I, on the other hand, am wearing three sweaters and two pairs of socks. Eeek!

Comments

  1. says

    You have been busy! I just pulled in my small apple harvest and now need to get working on how to preserve it. Not sure what I am going to do yet, but I see some pie and applesauce in our future!

    Glad you were able to help your egg-bound chicken! Always like a happy ending on a farm, and they don’t always happen that way, do they?

    • crystal@wholefedhomestead says

      Thanks Amanda! One of my other favorite ways to preserve apples is lightly dusted with cinnamon and dehydrated in slices. So good, and also make great gifts during the holidays.

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