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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chickens 2 weeks

Well It’s been a week since I talked about chickens or peeps to be more precise. Let me just say in that weeks time I set up a second brooder for the little ones. They where getting to big to all fit in one. P4270001

They have grown in there wing feathers and are flying in the brooder not around the house. They all but have tail feathers and there combs are starting to form.

They are still in the cute stage with some baby fluff on top of there heads. I make sure I handle them a little bit each day so they get used to me and humans in general.

They seP4270003am to enjoy the attention they get and some of them even look at you like. Hey when is it my turn or why is he getting all the attention. Its neat to see that they like to be held or picked up at least. If there are any problems later that they need to be moved or held. It should be a nonissue.  P4270004

I’m not sure if you can tell by the pictures if they have grown. But in real life you sure can, I will keep you all posted on the growth and changes.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Polish Chickens

If you haven’t read the entry entitled Chickens I suggest you do. It will save me from repeating my self. (It’s the next entry down).

Out of all the chickens they had at the auction, there was, one in particular breed that Ed really  likes. Called the Polish Chicken P4170006this pair which is especially beautiful are buff laced. The buff is there coloring and the lace is there marking. A trait of polish chickens is they have a crown of feathers on there heads. This gives them an afro look, unlike what everyone things of, when you think of what a chicken should look like. Polish chickens have a slender body with the head dress or crown of feathers.                                                      

P4170007There are some Polish breeds that have the crown feathers covering there eyes. Not these two they can see perfectly fine. After we got home Saturday we brought these two in the house while we set up the peeps. This got them out of there box and gave them some exercise for a couple of hours.

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To the point where the hen got to perch on the shower curtain rod for a while. After we got the little ones all settled into there new home. We put these two back in there box (which they weren't happy with, that I may add). Then we took them up to the farm where they will be living.

After we got them there we decided to let them have free roam of the garden until the coop is built. So I got them out of there box and they loved the new freedom that they had. Now if you have noticed there are no pictures of them at the farm, there are two reason for this one we forgot the camera. The second is as of last night they have become MIA, the story is that Saturday night the rooster flew the coop but the hen stayed behind. Sunday and Monday the rooster was around just on the out side of the chicken run. Until last night when the hen got out and I got the rooster back in. When I left for the night the rooster was gone and we haven’t seen them since.

We don’t believe that anything bad has happened to them, they just wanted to be free ranging on there own. That's cool and all but we wanted them to stay in the area where we but them. They of course disagreed, so we are hopeful that they will return or at least let us know they are ok.

And if nothing else the first rule of chicken husbandry is to make sure there is a roof on the chicken run and there are no holes in the fence.

Chickens

This past Saturday Ed and I went to a farm auction in Kutztown PA. This auction is held every spring to benefit the Amish and Mennonite schools in that area. The local community brings donations that are then sold to help the schools.

They have everything from home interior, quilts, farm equipment, yard equipment, animals and much much more.

While we where there we of course had to check out the animals. They manly had fowl and rabbit, one family did bring a horse to be sold. The birds where everything from chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys to pigeons, quails and guinea hens. They had peeps and ducklings also, so while we waited for the auctioneer we checked things out. They had a lot of Americana Peeps these will lay colored eggs when they reach maturity.

The auctioneer finally arrived and the bidding started. I will tell you that I got all the Americana Peeps, all sixty three of them. I know, I know that’s a lot of peeps, but here me out, if you would purchase them for a hatchery they would cost from $2.00 / $3.00 a piece. That in itself isn’t bad. I certainly would not have purchased sixty three of them, maybe a dozen. At the auction, are you ready for this I paid a mere $0.35 a piece for them. Now do you see my logic, In reality there is going to be some loss from predators so having this many chickens is not that big a deal and since they were strait run I don’t know how many are male and female. If there are manly boys then I will have to get rid of some of them since they don’t lays eggs.

We brought are little four day old guys and gals home. With some stops at a feed and farm store to get supplies. Set them up under a heat lamp, feed and watered them and they are doing real well.P4170009

These are the little ones after we first got them home.

Now they are a week old and growing fast, I started them on grit today. That is to help them digest there food since they don’t have teeth the grit helps to pulverize there food. As they get bigger I will be separating them into multiple containers so they have more room. Below you will find some pictures that I took today.

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P4200016  They look like little hams posing for the picture

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What I have been doing is holding them a little each day so they get used to humans. Some like it, others do not that’s fine because they will. We would like to have educational demos at the farm and I would like all the animals to friendly with the guest adults and children.

My goal is to keeps you up to date with there progress so check back once a week to see how they are.

Dandelion Wine

Last spring while I was reading one of my magazines I came across a recipe for Dandelion Wine. It became to late for me too make any last year so I vowed to make some this year.P4200014

So that is exactly what I did, you don’t realize how long it takes to pick enough flowers to make this wine. Try like two and half hours, you only use the petals no green parts.

After picking the flowers for like ever, you also need to get some lemons and oranges. Besides sugar, yeast and water you are set to go.

With this recipe you use the rinds of the lemon and orange plus the orange its self. First you boil the flowers, water, and rinds for twenty minutes. Strain that out and add your sugar, then let it set until it has cooled. then you add your yeast and orange slices. Now you let it set for, four days this is the first setting.

On the fourth day you strain out the mixture and let it set for two weeks. This is the second setting which is pictured above. Then there is a third setting for another two weeks before the final transfer to the bottle and setting in a cool place to age.

The recipe says that the wine will be ready for Christmas so I won’t be talking about this anymore until then. All good things take time, it’s the same with good wine as well.

Cheese Update

Back in January Ed and I started to make hard cheese, Gouda, Monterey Jack, Farm House Cheddar, Traditional Cheddar. If I remember correctly I said none of P1190024 them would be ready until Easter. Easter was here and gone and we tasted the first of the four cheeses.

The first cheese we made was the Gouda, we had it with some wine from a friend gave us and bread that I purchased from a bakery. Boy was it good, the first pieces were reminiscent of Parmesan, with a slit sharpness that mellowed out. It was a good pairing with the wine and bread.

After we sampled the first pieces we did share, everyone that got a sample liked it very much to the point I got and order for a wheel. 

The rest of the wheel I kept in the refrigerator to have later in the week. As the week went on the flavor of the cheese mellowed out not being as sharp when it was first cut. This Gouda is also a good grating cheese. I made some pasta with olive oil and herbs. Just before I served it I topped it with some grated Gouda and it was good.

The next wheel we are going to try is the Monterey Jack, once we do I will let you know how that came out.