3rd and 4th Weeks of May 2016
A lot has happened here over the last two weeks! Last Tuesday, we had a plan to head over to visit with Shelly at Old Time Farm and pick up our heritage bronze turkey poults. I was puttering around setting up the heat lamp in the brooder and getting the feeder and waterer ready when someone pulled up the driveway. It was a neighbor, asking if we wanted to catch a swarm of honeybees. We had discovered a few weeks ago that our colony had died, so we decided to go for it. Shawn went after the swarm, while I went to get the turkeys.
These turkeys hatched during the first week of May. Heritage turkeys are quite slow to develop compared to the Cornish Cross chickens we raise, so they will need heat for at least two more weeks and will not go onto pasture until they are eight weeks old. They are really good at flying at this age. When I opened the brooder lid to freshen their water this morning, one flew right out! Fortunately she didn't go far and let me scoop her up.
Prior to catching the swarm, we had placed an order for a package of bees, so once we knew we would have two colonies, we had to hurry up and finish the second hive we had started over the winter. We completed it the evening before the post office called to tell us the bees had arrived. These hives are top bar hives, where the bees build their own comb according to the use of the cell (brood, drones or worker bees, and honey and pollen storage.) If you look closely, you can see bees flying in the rays of sunlight.
A lot of progress has been made in the garden as well. The danger of frost finally passed and we planted out 175 heirloom tomato starts, as well as eggplant, bell peppers, basil, green bean and corn seeds, and more lettuce and green onions. We are very much looking forward to the farmers market next Saturday. It looks like we will have radishes, spinach, romaine lettuce, and cilantro, as well as garlic stored from last year.
The tomatoes! We planted Cherokee Purple, Costoluto Genovese, New Yorker, Orange Strawberry, and Sugar Lump.
This week the broiler chickens were big enough to leave the brooder and we moved them to their pasture pen. They have a lot more space, shady and sunny spots, and fresh grass and bugs to eat. We move the pen daily to keep them off their own manure. In a few weeks this will also produce the most amazing electric green grass!
The baby rabbits are now three weeks old and they have left the nest box and are hopping all around the hutch. I think four will be all white like Mama Brandi and two look like they have brown nose, ears, and tail, like Papa Brody. They seem to be driving Mama Brandi crazy, trying to nurse constantly. We will wean them in two more weeks. We also have plans to build a pastured rabbit shelter that we can move daily to provide a more nutritious diet and more natural setting during the warm months.
Have a wonderful week!