Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Orchard News

We have a new apple! Just one. But we're thrilled because its from the new tree just planted last month. Last year we hear the MN State berry guy (official title??) say that he plants 2 or 3 new trees every year so we thought we'd do that, too. Mid-May Karl and I drove to the famous Bergeson Nursery at Fertile, MN (near Bob's family farm) to buy 3 apple trees, 6 maple, 11 green ash, 1 weeping willow for Elizabeth, and 2 (divided into 4) lilacs for Karl. All are growing and thriving so far.

Our one new apple is from the Prairie Magic tree; the other two are harolson and royal duchess. Our old apple tree has fruit growing. I need to get a plastic jug of "stuff" hung in it to deter the worms. The "stuff" recipe has to be found but it contains things like sugar and apple cider vinegar or something like that. I'll ask my friend, Bev.

Also growing are raspberries! My small patch that started with transplants from friend Amy last fall was a bit overgrown this year but after a little work its coming around. I'm thinking of buying some new plants and filling in the bare spots. The gooseberry bush looks good after being cut back and cleaned out, however haven't seen much fruit yet. Plums are small but ample.

Whey-fed pork

Erbert and Gerbert enjoying the great outdoors. These two had run of the pasture getting good excercise and fresh air making for two happy pigs.
These pigs were fed whey - the by-product of our cheese-making projects. We now are grateful for a freezer full of very healthy, good-tasting pork and plan to get two more feeder pigs to begin the 5-month process again.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Heirloom Turkeys

All they do is make noise! But they sure are cute.
The Turkey Poults arrived last Thursday morning. We had the chicken coop all cleaned out (thanks to Elizabeth), the heat lamp hooked up, water and feed ready to go. The poults come in a small box with a divider; Blue Slate breed on one side and Narragansett on the other. Each poult has to be hand-delivered to the water and feed so they know where to find these on their own. And then we check on them often so see how its going.
Last year we had amazing success with receiving 11 birds and ending up with 11 at the end of the season. This year is more to the norm with already losing 6 out of 22 birds. Things seem to be settling down in the coop now so we hope to keep all the rest.
When we first researched raising turkeys, we read the statement that for the first 6 weeks its hard to keep them alive, after that its hard to kill 'em. At this early stage they are quite fragile. But we'll keep checking on them and are looking forward to the day we can let them go outside, and they can start roaming around. Last year we had so much fun watching the birds and listening to them. What a funny bird! And of course we look forward to late November when they all go to the processor and then to the customer for great turkey dinners!
Happy Thanksgiving.