We have a new banner this week. Yep. It’s nowhere near a finished product but it’s a start. The rabbit is a little too white and open compared to the rest of it, and I may fiddle with making it that aged-photo brown instead of a strict black and white… But I think it’s better than my boggle board for now. If people hate it I’ll change it back.
We have two new chickens on the homestead. I recently slapped up an ad for people to buy chicken eggs from me CSA-style. They pay for three months of eggs in advance and pick them up on a pre-arranged day. But the response I got was a bit more than I was expecting and I found myself with dix dozen eggs worth of customers each month and only two hens properly producing still. (Copper hen is STILL brooding. I hope she decides to lay soon!) So we went out and bought two new hens. The four still laying should supply up with just over 6 dozen eggs a month, enough to easily get by on cereal instead of eggs until our broody girl finally breaks.
The new girls are Golden Buffs and they lay HUMUNGO eggs. The Australorp eggs were a wee bit on the small size, falling most commonly in the “medium” egg category by grocery standards. These new girls lay EXTRA JUMBO LARGE eggs. The lady we bought them from said they wouldn’t fit in the egg cartons. I thought she was just bragging or at least exhibiting a bit of hyperbole but they really WON’T fit in the egg cartons. The downside is that they are not as pretty, smart or sweet as the Australorps and may not lay well over the winter, although to lady we got them from said they did that too. I still like the old guard better, but I like the new girls as well. Their names are “Tender” and “Nugget”, and they are easy to tell apart from one-another. The chicken in the new banner was originally a sketch I did of one of them that I just couldn’t clean up properly for the life of me. I gave up and fiddled around until I got what’s up there now.
Six kits went home this week. We had two leftover from Purina’s last breeding; “red”, one that was never picked up and was re-sold and “purple”, the doe we are keeping for future breeding. The rest of the rabbits from that litter were processed giving me a whopping %80 dressage ratio! We were getting carcass weights of 3.2lbs out of a 4lb rabbit, not including edible organs.
Red went home along with two Rex cross does, one NZW doe out of Evo and two bucks, a Rex cross and a NZW. They have traveled all the way to PA for their new home where they’ll become a nice lady’s new healthy home-raised meat suppliers. The Rex crosses are amazing little kits weighing a whole POUND more than their NZW half-siblings at only four days older. They’re packing on the weight and I hope it translates into carcass value as well as the NZW rabbits do.
Six bucks and “Purple” the doe still remain. The bucks, however may serve a purpose other than simply meat yet… I was recently contacted by a community college near Toledo asking me to do a demonstration for them on processing rabbits for their urban livestock class. This could be a field trip to my house, or done streaming through something like Skype. If it’s done online, I may do a “livestream” of it or post a recording so people on the blog can see as well. This would be very exciting if it went through and could be the most official thing I can put on my resume in regards to farming to date. And those bucks may go towards teaching a group of people, probably very close to my own age, how to grow their own food.
On Sunday, Purina gave us a new litter, our biggest yet at nine kits! Go, Purina, go! I hope there are lots of ladies in this one! This is wonderful to see so many kits! I also re-bred Kibbles today. It’s a little early (only by about a week) but the schedule was thrown off by breeding both she and Evo at the same time. Also, because she is a young, new mom still, it is important for her to get as experienced as she can be as soon as she can.
Some of my plants, like my peas and beets are growing strong and hardy! Others like my arugula, less so. I think I need to re-think where I have what planted in future years, especially now that I know my lawn a little better. I think that the arugula may be getting too much sun even for it’s “full sun” taste. The spinach simply bolted and died, and the tomatoes need more sun than where they are allows. Next year the garden will be in reverse, the arugula in a bit of shade and the tomatoes in the sunniest spot I can get! It’s hard to know where to plant before the trees come in full leaf.
End of next month I’ll be adding 15 meat chickens to my pile of critters here on the homestead. We’ll see how THAT goes! Wish me luck!