some winter tasks

charging the Takeuchi After some cold nights (12 below freezing) my Takeuchi bobcat refused to start.  Cold and tired battery.  The best way to charge the battery is to pull the cab forward on its hinges and then you have direct access to the battery.  It is heavy and best done with an assistant.  In the past I had an anchor point in front of the Take and winched the cab forward.  However, there was no anchor point for the Take this time just a 2,400 gal rainwater tank.  The last time I Read more [...]

hatching chicks

My second round of hatching chicks In my May post I described my process for hatching chicks.  I hatched 5 chicks from 7 eggs using a Brinsea incubator.  I did not mention that one of the chicks had part of its intestine protruding, presumably could not digest food, and died 2 days later.  The 4 remaining chicks grew at a steady pace and are now almost the size of their mothers.  It appears they are all hens. I began chicken keeping with 8 purchased (1 rooster and 7 hens) and 6 gifted Read more [...]

hatched chicks

We have a Buff Orpington rooster and 8 hens, one of which is his sister.  Because most nights I am away from the property I have an automatic coop door opener (design specs elsewhere on this website).  Most nights I lock them in but, when I can't neighborhood kids earn pocket money doing so.  And when they can't a neighbor obliges and I will offer, though she doesn't always accept, a dozen eggs.  She used to keep guinea fowl and she mentioned to me that all the eggs I had given her were fertilized.  Read more [...]

short-night veggies

I was aware of but didn't not pay much attention to the long-day and short-day preferences of certain vegetables.  I knew that with onions, since I live in the south, I needed to grow the short-day variety.  But that was it - until recently.  In spring last year I had a lot of success with radishes and beets and so this past fall I seeded the ground again with  radishes, beets and, for good measure, turnips.  Only the turnips grew, excepting a couple of sorry looking beets.  Got me wondering.  Read more [...]

egg production

I have mentioned my travails with the Speckled Sussex - one was ill and died and the other went into a serious slump and, despite my efforts also died.  So from 13 hens and 1 rooster I am down to 11 hens and a rooster.  Two of the hens had problems of sorts. Gimpy, one of the hybrids inherited from my neighbor, developed a bad leg or hip.  Don't know why - could this has been from the rough attentions of the rooster?  She hobbles with difficulty and I recently noticed she was now losing feathers Read more [...]

November tasks

No pics for this post since my camera informed me the battery pack had to be replaced and refused further negotiation. A pleasurable task, this time of year, is collecting the flower seeds. I did my first Cosmos seeding early 2010 and, from the seeds gathered last November and spread this past spring, I enjoyed a whole new expanse of Cosmos. By November 8, as was the case last year, most of the seeds have dried and spread and are easy to grasp in one's hand and release into a shopping bag. Read more [...]