Productivity sounds like such an office buzz-word, but it’s definitely applicable. Our little farmstead has been quite productive! We are bringing in the harvest and reaping the benefits of the summer’s hard work. The garden is slowly emptying, and my mobile chicken ark goes from bed to bed, letting the girls sift through the soil for weed seeds and bad bugs (like squash borer pupae, which lay dormant in the soil for the winter). As the ark moves out, I spread a thick layer of mulch and rabbit manure on each bed. We have been so buried in fruit along with our other work (both on the farm and at our full-time jobs) that we’ve been simply chopping it for jam or juicing it for jelly, and freezing it. There will be time a little later to thaw it out and make the preserves, but for now, we just need to keep it from spoiling. The latest was a bumper crop of grapes from my father-in-law’s vines. Meanwhile, the kale is simply exploding, and the winter squash are soldiering on towards ripeness.
We harvested eight young roosters this past weekend. We didn’t raise as many as last year, since we ordered pullets instead of straight run, and had only one hatch of our own chicks. Right now I have my older Speckled Sussex rooster, a young Buff Orpington roo (traded to me after he turned out to be a “he” instead of the expected “she”), and a young cross-bred rooster who is nevertheless extremely pretty and seems to be quite good-tempered. I plan to keep the older rooster and the Buff Orpington, but I like to keep my options open, in case the Buff starts to become aggressive or otherwise become a poor choice.
I’ve also made arrangements to trade some of my ducks for a new chocolate drake and a favor to be named later. One of my favorite things about the Muscovies is the wide array of colors available, but I’ve only managed to acquire white and black. It’ll be nice to get a new color into the mix. Next spring I hope to be able to find some blue as well! I think my favorite part of this lifestyle is the prevalence of the barter system. A family friend was looking for some black-and-white females to purchase, but since he had a spare drake in a new color for me, I suggested a trade instead. While money may have its place, this serves everyone well, and it’s much more fun when it’s an option!