Very exciting week for us at Happy Hills Homestead! Brian got his first deer bow hunting. We have done a lot of work to get a food plot set up in the woods behind our field for hunting. There is still a lot of work to do but we have a good start and it paid off this week. We have great neighbors that helped us get deer out of the woods and quartered up, thanks Mike and Deb. Luckily the deer did not travel far after it was struck and only ended up about 100 yards from where it was hit.
Both Piper (American) and Rose (Rex) kindled. Piper had 13 kits which is her largest litter yet. There were three very small kits in the litter and those three did not survive. So far it looks like she will have all black kits. She usually has a mix of blue and black but we are not seeing any blue at this point. Rose is a first time momma and so far is taking good care of all 8 kits. She also looks like she will have a couple of blue kits and we are excited to see how those color out. Ed, one of our bucks, broke the bottom out of his cage a few weeks ago. Luckily we had a spare cage on hand to transfer him into. This week he broke bottom out of the “new” cage. With a little homestead punting we repaired it with an old dog kennel panel. So far the repair is holding up nicely. Gracie’s kits came out of the nesting box. They are now roaming around the cage with her.
Our chickens in the tractor have started laying eggs! This is good news because before winter we plan to cull some of our older egg layers and replace them with these younger chickens. Every week we sell out of eggs and did not want to disappoint our customers by running short on eggs. The three baby chicks that we hatched are no longer under the heat lamp. We discovered that one of our barred rock chickens has a deformed wing. She seems happy and healthy other than the wing. Even with the wing being smaller on one side than the other she is still able to get on and off the roost without problems. This chicken greets us at the door when we go down to collect eggs and seems to have a body guard friend that accompanies her. We have started doing some research on incubators and are hoping to purchase a higher quality/larger capacity incubator next month.
Harvested 6.5 lbs cherry tomatoes, 2 tomatoes, 8 large zucchini, 28 cucumbers, 12 bell peppers, 1 onion, 3 ancho, 5 chili de arbol, 14 habanero, 30 serrano, 41 jalapeno, and 7 ears of corn. This is the first year that we have had a decent corn harvest. We have been freezing more cherry tomatoes that we were not able to sell. This week we also started cleaning out the garden beds for winter. The sunflower bed is empty just needs to be tilled and have compost added before snowfall.
Made another 6 quart sized jars of pickles. Caught the rat that we saw in the barn last week! I am sure there are more, at least we got one. Visited Gibly’s Orchard in Aitkin to get some apples and look at the set up for adding apple trees to our homestead. The apples are delicious. On our way home from the orchard we stopped at a few stores to get supplies to build three more double rabbit hutches and one single hutch for Ed (the one that keeps breaking the bottoms out of his cages). When we got home we started processing the deer meat from the deer that Brian shot. We ended up with 41 lbs ground, 2 roasts, 2 tenderloins and back straps. That night we did not get to bed until 2:30, which normally would not be an issue but we had family and friends coming up to goose hunt and had to wake up at 4:45. While the crew was out hunting, Kori stayed at the house and started fleshing the deer hide. After about 6.5 hours most of the flesh was off but still have more touching up to do. The hunters got a total of 5 geese.