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Homestead Journal 10/15/17

This was a very productive week for us. We had our first frost which reminded us that winter is on the way!

Rabbits:

With the temperature dropping down at night into the 20’s and 30’s we gave Piper’s kits a nesting box again so they could cuddle together and stay warm. I am sure that they would have been fine without one but they were all piling on top of one another to stay warm. After giving her the nesting box back we realized that we needed the nesting box for the other does. We designed a new “shelter box”, I don’t think we can call it a nesting box, and gave one to Piper and one to Rose to try out. This box has a shorter front so that the bunnies can easily get in and out of the shelter but the front is high enough that the straw will stay inside. So far they seem to be liking it.

New shelter boxes

This week we also finished a double hutch with a new door design. The new design will help with giving hay to large litters and accessing the cage without worrying if any babies got out.

New hutch design with dutch doors

Gracie is the first one to try out the new cage. Her kits are on the other side of the cage and she was bred with Ralph this week. Michelle, June, and Rachel all got nesting boxes and are due the beginning of next week.

In an effort to make chores go faster, we are trying to find ways to streamline the chores that need to be done everyday. All of the waterers on the doe and grow out cages are moved to the outside of the cages. They were previously on the doors of the cages which meant that we had to take more steps to change water bottles. By moving them all to the outside rows of the cages, and putting all of the bottles in a cart,  we can just walk down the isle with the bottles in the cart and change bottles instead of walking back and forth to the table.  We also plan to start tracking food consumption and will be moving the does all into the same row and the grow outs into the same row for ease of tracking at chores time.

Chickens:

More moving for the chickens this week. The 5 Delaware’s that we had in the upstairs brooder were moved out the chicken tractor and the three that were in the living room have moved to the upstairs brooder. All of the chickens that we moved last weekend are getting along great. They are all very friendly to us as well.

5 Delawares in the tractor

Garden:

Harvested 48 pumpkins. The numbers were good but the size was not what we were hoping for. Next years pumpkin goals are to use better soil (more compost) and better pruning. All of the annual plants in the garden have been pulled. Before our first frost this week we did our last harvest. We also did some planning for the 2018 garden season.

Pumpkins

Here are the harvest totals for the year:

Green Beans: 10 lbs

Peas: 5 lbs

Zucchini: 105

Onion: 11

Scallions: 5 gallon sized zip lock

Cucumber: 168

Cherry Tomatoes: 50 lbs

Beefsteak tomato: 5

Bell Peppers: 41

Serrano: 89

Chili: 31

Jalapenos: 91

Ancho: 21

Habanero: 25

Corn: 23 ears

Sunflowers: 1 bouquet

Pumpkins: 48

Projects/General:

Completed 14 rabbit foot key-chains from Michelle’s litter.

Rabbit foot key chains

Fleshed 8 rabbit hides. One American and the others were all mixed colors from Michelle’s litter.

Before, during, and after fleshing
All are fleshed and ready to soak again.

We added compost to the garlic beds and tilled it in so that we will be ready for planting next weekend. We also removed the hoop houses that were on the garlic beds since we don’t really need to have hoop houses on those plants.

Our compost on the garlic beds.

All of the tomato plants both from the garden bed and the buckets have been pulled and the zucchini plants were pulled this week too. We should be able to finish up the garden next weekend but we got a good start on it this week.

Last weekend we did the chicken coop clean out and this weekend we did the Bunny Barn clean out. All of the cages were cleaned out underneath and replaced with fresh clean straw.

Before and after cleaning out the bunny barn

With all of this additional compost material we decided to start another compost pile. This one is right outside the bunny barn for easy access to the garden.

New compost pile

A friend asked if we had any birch wood for a project so we cut down a small tree and loaded it into the back of the car.

Birch wood in the Subaru

Made chili from the ground venison and cherry tomatoes that we got this year. Since we were going to make a batch we thought we might as well make two.

Venison Chili with cherry tomatoes from the garden

Started a new excel spreadsheet to track costs around the homestead. This will allow us to split our costs into categories so we can easily see how we are doing.

Couldn’t finish this post without a few fall photos.