Thursday, June 10, 2010

Porch Toad & Loading Chickens

I almost stepped on this little guy on the way out my front door this evening, and was actually carrying the camera. So I'm sharing him with you. We live in a little valley, so we have water management issues. Lots of them. Like we have a swamp around our compost pile. That means we have frogs, toads, snakes, and all kinds of bugs. Everything has to lay low a lot of the time, though, because chickens hate snakes more than anything else and will go out of their way to kill them. Yet another thing you learn when you raise chickens: they will eat almost anything...
Tonight was loading time for our first batch of chickens of the season. We know a farmer who grabs 5 at a time, I'd love to actually see that because even in the dark they are squirmy little creatures. Ryan can only get 4 at a time, and of course I max out at 2. Curse small hands with short stubby fingers! We load them at dusk/night because they are MUCH more docile then, and we don't have to chase them all over their shelter nearly as much. That was something we learned our first year.

Last year I made a short post that 180 chickens is the max that fit on a trailer. I'm sticking with that; although the 180 chickens fit much better today than they did last year. We're hoping that's not because they will dress out small. Small chickens suck and don't make us much money.

On a side note, I apologize for anyone who follows me by a feed. I went through and put labels on all my blogs, so I suspect it will say there are lots of new/edited posts today. However, I thought it was useful to actually use the labels if only for my own organization!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mulberry bread & mowing the lawn

We have a friend who comes and works on our farm in exchange for eggs, chickens, turkeys, etc. He is my very favorite person most days because he keeps Ryan working and motivated! Anyway, he has a myriad of food allergies that make it very hard to cook lunch for him. He is lactose intolerant and also allergic to soy, tomatoes, fish, and pesticide residue. This means honey and sugar are also out because of the residue unless they are organic and even then they are to be used sparingly. So here is what I made for him as a special treat: mulberry bread!

It may be the ugliest thing I ever baked. It looked like a purple-black miasma of goo when I was done with it, but it was surprisingly edible. I followed my A-to-Z bread recipe, which a similar recipe can be found here. I cut out all the sugar, though, and wouldn't advise that for anyone making this recipe. I thought the mulberries would add some sweetness, but the bread badly needed some sweetener when it was done. Ryan put honey on it and ate it anyway, but the man is a human vacuum so that doesn't surprise me.

One of my favorite reasons for living out in the country is that I don't have to mow the lawn all the time. There are no city ordinances or neighbors or anything. So I can let my lawn start to look like this:

This is particularly handy when we have 3 (not one, not two, but three) mowers on this farm and only the non-power-assist-push-mower-that-kicks-my-butt works.

But eventually Ryan decides that he cares how our lawn looks, so here it is after I mowed it with the mower deck all the way up:

This was made possible by Ryan's wonderful grandmother who took pity on our poor lawn and let us have her riding mower. Yay for the people in our lives who help us!!!