31 December 2015

Eggs in incubator

OK, so I set the eggs into the incubator on Sunday evening, the 20th.  I had intended to set on Tuesday the 22nd as a way to mark the winter solstice, but the Pretties in particular had other ideas and the egg turning tray was full a couple days early.  I candled those eggs the other night, and pulled out a total of twelve clears from the original forty-two set.  Three of the 15 Silkie eggs were definitely clear, and nine of the 27 Wyandotte eggs were clear.  I had read that decreased daylight hours affected roosters' fertility, and I suspect this is what I am seeing, as I do no extra (artificial) lighting.  No big deal, especially as the eggs may start hatching early on the 9th, which is my birthday.

I have four Silkie pullets setting nests now, with the first one having five more Silkie eggs under her, and the second currently has one Wyandotte egg from Tiny and the Flashy Girls, after kicking the other two out twice.  The other pullets are either setting golf balls or an empty nest (until another pullet lays and she tucks that egg under her, which I pick up every evening).

The bunny report:  George has a couple of mates.  One is a black Mini Rex looking doe, at least one year old, whom I have named Gracie.  The other looks to be a part Rex part-Lop, as she has one ear that always sticks out to the side.  I named her Brooke, and she is a lovely color rabbit folk call opal.  I'll try to fix the picture situation soon, and post pics of these adorable bunnies.  None was pet-tamed, but I have gotten to where I can pet all three, although none will let me pick him/her up without fussing.  Ah, the joy of having soft furred mammals to raise and play with!

23 December 2015

Chicken thoughts and updates

I have some pictures that may actually be in focus, but the thingy that I plug the memory card into to plug into the computer has finally given up the ghost.  Hubby says his dad sent it to him when he did the Korea rotation, and that was back in 2007, so I suppose we got our money's worth out it.  Now to find a replacement ...

The incubator was full-up by Sunday afternoon, so I went ahead and set it on the 20th instead of the 22nd (solstice).  If this batch follows the same timeline as the previous one (even though I lowered the set temp another half degree because they were still hatching a bit too early) ... then I will have the first chicks hatching on my birthday, January 9th!  I tried for birthday chicks last year, but they had to bump my order back to my brother's birthday due to a poor hatch rate.  It happens.  I have fifteen Silkie eggs and 27 gold-laced Wyandotte eggs from Azar and the Pretties.

I now have three Silkie pullets out there setting nests.  The first one has five Silkie eggs under her, set on Sunday also.  The second had three Wyandotte eggs under her from Tiny and the Flashy Girls, but she kicked two of them out - twice.  So she has one Wyandotte egg under her, and will get some Silkie chicks from the incubator when they hatch.  The third, a black pullet I got at the auction a few months ago, just decided to set yesterday, so I am only letting her have golf balls until the eggs in the incubator hatch, at which point she'll have Silkie chicks also.  I'll start Pollux out with eight of the Wyandotte chicks, and see if he can nanny more than that or not.

From the October hatch of GLWs (Tiny x Flashy Girls), I will only grow out one cockerel, nicknamed Bigfoot, and caponize the rest.  I have more pullets than I originally thought, and at least two are in the current cockerel tractor (supervised by Pollux) because they have large feet and shanks and I mistook them for boys a few weeks ago.  I also suspect there are two effeminate cockerels hiding in the pullet tractor - I'll know for certain when I try to caponize them.

We will be eating one of the pied guineas, as the rest of the flock has rejected it.  This is the one I had to separate out last month due to an open sore pecked on its wing and back.  We had all the guineas out to see if the pieds could mingle back into the flock, and this one was chased away by whichever guinea was closest.

19 December 2015

Chilly morning

It got chilly overnight, with a low of either 40F or 41F.  The sky was clear as a bell when the dog woke us up to go out and pee before dawn.  It gave hubby a good excuse to fire up the new wood burning stove, which will be fueled by trees from the property in subsequent winters (what passes for winter down here).  He has a nice pile tucked under the back of the house already from the tree he is still cutting up in back.
new wood burning stove
Now that the sun is up, the living room in particular is toasty warm.  The brickwork and hole in the ceiling and roof were here when we bought this place, and was one of the things we really liked.  It just took a couple years to find the right one, as we did not want to rush into buying something as permanent as a cast iron wood burning stove.

17 December 2015

A wonderful dinner.

Home made Pizza!
Some might call it the food of the gods.

And they'd be right!

A wonderful pizza dinner tonight. The crust came out really well, another one from a certain bread magazine. 
Topped with ground beef home made sausage and bacon.
Served with a side of home made pizza sauce.
Getting hungry? 
Thanks for looking!

16 December 2015

More canning and some planting

I managed to wrestle one pic from the digicam's card: the previous canning party involving chicken harvested at the end of last month.  I am finishing up more canning today, after having a 100% seal rate yesterday on the four quarts of meat and three quarts of stock.  Today I finish up the stock (four more quarts) plus a quart and pint of stock from the time before last that didn't seal at room temperature but sealed at refrigerator temperature.  Pretty pic:
pints of chicken meat
and quarts of chicken stock
I do need to go out and put garlic cloves into the dirt - they sprouted on the table after I had given them a mild baking soda solution soak.  At least I know they are viable!  And yes, that is a correct usage for the often overused word viable ... able to live.  I have two cloves of elephant garlic, and two bulbs of regular garlic cloves.

It's supposed to rain today, but the sun is out and right now there are only a few wisps of clouds in the sky.  That could always change in under an hour though.  We kind of wish it would, as it is close to 80F again today.  Cold front is coming ... Friday's forecast low is in the 40s.

15 December 2015

Update and early resolution

Bad me ... I am really slacking on both blogs here.  We've been doing stuff - lots of stuff - I just haven't felt much like posting or fighting the digicam for pics.  So, I will make an early resolution ... I will update at least weekly here, pics or no pics.  This morning will be pic-less.

  • Eggs: All the splash Silkie pullets started to lay, and two more black Silkie pullets have started about a week ago.  This makes for some tiny eggs!  I decided to just go ahead and work my plan for these tiny pullet bullets: hard-boil then put them in pickled beet brine, which I had been saving up to either put eggs in, or to dye the tablecloth to match the stains.
  • Canning up more chicken meat, as I have slaughtered all but two of the slips, and they are only alive because we couldn't fit them into the refrigerator until I do more canning.  I have four quarts of meat, and haven't done up the stock just yet.
  • I am collecting eggs for hatching now, from all three breeding groups of Wyandottes plus the older Silkies.  One splash Silkie pullet is camped out in a cubbyhole, tucking any and all eggs she can reach under her.  I take them from her each evening, leaving the poor thing with only two golf balls to set on.  If she's still wanting to set when I go to start the incubator, I'll tuck some eggs back under her to hatch.  This way, if she quits like Bossy did in October, I can pop the eggs into the incubator without losing them.
  • Hubby took down a tree in the middle of the back so we will hopefully have enough sunlight to power the fence charger back there.  Large pieces of wood will be next year's heating plan, as hubby got all the needed parts to install the chimney for the wood burning stove.
  • I have a rabbit now.  He'll get his own post when I feel like fussing with pics.  I have named him George.
  • I am definitely on a list to get a dairy goat in the spring, and her kids as well, so we will be having fresh goat milk soon.  I am pretty jazzed, although not nearly as jazzed as my friend Lynn, who has already volunteered to goat-sit when I go to my son's college graduation in May.
  • I have broccoli out in my garden!  This is actually the first time I've managed to grow my own broccoli, and when the rain passes in a couple days, I'll be making a lovely little broccoli and cheddar quiche for brunch on the first cool day.
  • The red cabbage ain't doing enough to justify watering it anymore ... I'll pull those and toss to the chickens.  I am going to try Pak Choi seeds next.  I also need to reclaim the greenhouse(s) from those industrious vine plants, and get tomato and pepper seeds starting.  I did get a bag of seed starting dirt from Lynn, so this ought to be doable.
I think that's everything for now.