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Homestead Journal 10/22/17

We have been getting so much accomplished this week! Both Brian and Kori took a vacation day from our paying jobs to work on the homestead. Even though the homestead work is twice as hard it is so rewarding.

Rabbits: 

Michelle had 11 kits. The kits were all over the cage and none of them survived. Rachel and June both kindled 8 kits. Looks like we will have a couple that are light colored from each litter. Lucy was selected out of her litter as our last American Doe. After we have more data collected we will decide which breeds we want to continue using.

Lucy- American- DOB 7/23/17

Brian completed another double rabbit hutch this week. Margie is the resident in the new cage. When we moved her we also removed her nesting box and gave her a shelter box. We moved the cage that we purchased a few months ago into the bunny barn and put it in the buck row. We will use this cage for grow outs or just to have a spare cage. After cleaning out a spot for both of the new cages we got them both in the barn.

Bunny Barn

Made a new tracking sheet for the rabbits. The Does have a stats sheet and the grow out will have a separate stats sheet to track their weights. All of the Does have their new stat  sheets on their cages and we are still trying to figure out a template for the grow outs. The data will be entered into an excel spreadsheet so that we can easily find information on our litters. Each litter will be given a litter number. We will sex the rabbits and take weights starting at 4 weeks of age and then every two weeks after that.  Our rabbit tracking rows are officially complete. We have all bucks/does/grow outs in separate rows. Weighed all of the rabbits to get before and after processing weights on all of Pipers litter.  They averaged about 3 lbs each processed weight. We will start tracking the data more closely as we move to litter numbers.

Processed rabbits.
Our packaged rabbits.

While we were processing rabbits we started another batch of rabbit foot key chains. We sell the key chains and rabbit meat (Minnesota only for the meat) so let us know if you are interested in purchasing.

Chickens:

Egg production is improving on the layer side of the coop. The younger chickens are starting to have larger eggs and more of them. I cannot say the same thing for the layers on the meat side of the coop. The meat chickens are also eating eggs, naughty chickens. Brian’s chicken and “chicken little” were competing for my attention during chores this week. They were both at my feet the entire time I was in the coop.

Garden:

Weeded around the two garlic beds and the horseradish bed. We added straw around the outside edge of the beds to prevent the weeds from coming back. Pulled all of the plants and weeds out of the bell pepper bed, hot pepper, and tomato beds. Raked out all of the tomatoes that fell off the plant. Harvested horseradish – 8 lbs of crown and 2 lbs of root. Clean out around the horseradish bed and added compost. Replanted 21 horseradish with plans to expand again next year.

Horseradish harvest
Replanting horseradish.

Prepped and planted 315 cloves of garlic. We planted 63 of each of the following: Northern white Porcelain, German White porcelain, Asian Tempest, German extra hardy porcelain, Armenian porcelain. We had planned on just doing two beds (210 garlic cloves) but had enough extra so we thought we should do one more bed. With adding the third bed we had to prep with compost. We also make grid lines for planting with strings so that they are in close rows. Some advise from previous years… take out the nails after you plant. Weeding the spring is no fun when you put your knee or hand on a nail.

Grid lines for garlic planting.
Planting Garlic.

While we were out in the garden we also took down our two trellis’s and 4 hoop houses that were on beds that we won’t need them on next year.  We officially have four beds “put to sleep” for winter. Still hoping to get the remaining 12 done before it freezes/snows.

Picture is a little dark but this is before the trellis and hoop houses were removed.
Progress on the garden.

Projects/General:

Cooked one of our stewing hens that we processed a few weeks ago. We made it in the slow cooker with some chicken broth, salt and pepper. It turned out really good! We also added our Buffalo Goose Recipe and Rosemary Garlic Rabbit recipe to the website this week. The recipe’s are super easy. Made rabbit two different ways with the same recipe and it turned out great both baked and grilled. Even better was that we still had some left over to eat cold the next day. Started making venison nachos which are fantastic! Also planned the 2018 Garden plan layout. Processed 8 rabbits and have them all bagged, labeled, and in the freezer. The deer hide is coming along. It is in its second soak and did a little more fleshing in between soaks.

Built two winter water bowl stands for the chickens. In the winter we cannot use our nipple watering system because it freezes so we have to use heated water bowls. The stands should help with keeping the bowls clean and hopefully prevent them from spilling.

Heated water bowls and stands.

Another fall picture for this weeks post, with snow in the forecast I figure we should get as many fall photos as we can before everything turns white.

Fall photo on the property.