Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Friday, April 24, 2015

27* and New chicks! Creepy Meat Update #4

How low did she go????? 27* this morning at least. Yikes! Yesterday I brought in most of the trays of seedlings that were still outside. I'm hoping for the best for the rest of the greenhouse. Of course, now we are out of the danger zone and I have to carry all these trays back upstairs and outside. I'm thinking of it as an opportunity for better organization.

The new box of little buddies.

But the big news is that TSC has their chicks on sale! Quick! Run right down and get yourself a deal. We couldn't resist so we got 10 more meat chicks for $1.49 each! What a great price and no shipping. I asked them for an even BETTER deal... but no dice. It never hurts to ask.

About this time the TSC employees are really tired of the incessant peeping so I'm hoping they might be willing to go even lower on their price. We'll see what happens.

The 2nd batch are showing the newest chicks how to chicken.

If you are keeping track we need to get another bag of chick starter - my hubs will bring one home today after work. That will be a total of 4 bags at $15 each. For everyone wondering if it's "worth it" to raise your own chickens.... yes... yes it is. Good luck, suckers. This story is both heart breaking and scary.

Our total count is 10 first batch meats, 5 barred rocks, 10 second meat batch,  5 Buff Orpingtons, 1 weird, sad story one that could be a roo, and now 10 more for the 3rd batch meats. When you look at it all written down it kind of... looks worse than it sounds... hum... That's a lot of chickens. Yay!

I'll have to get some pix of the first batch meats so you can see how big they are. Still holding off on butchering as they are not big enough for us. They are just over six weeks old. Many people butcher at 7 weeks but we usually do not.

Won't they flop over dead? Not necessarily. Remember we've had meat hens live long enough to actually lay eggs! So we aren't worried about creepy meat heart attacks just yet.

However I am very very hungry for chicken. I mighta been inspired to go back up to Mrs. Yoders after I saw this article and that they were voted one of America's Top 12 buffets. And yeah, I put the hurt on that buffet real good... so much chicken. But more on that later.

I need to get to work on hauling all my seedling flats out of the basement and work on being better organized outside.

Happy Friday everyone! Did you run right down to the chick sale? Or were you too worried about the freeze last nite?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Frost today - freeze tomorrow?

I can't believe I had to turn on the heat this morning! Baby, it's cold out there. Good thing I moved all the plants and seedlings to protected spots.

Frost bud. 

What is the difference between a frost and a freeze? Here is a very boring explanation. Here is a slightly less boring explanation. The most important thing is how it affects your plants. A freeze is much worse.

Do you rush the gardening season? Sure, I do too. I figure the worst thing that is going to happen is that I'll waste some time and a little money. At most I'll be out $11 for a flat of broccoli and a couple bucks for some seeds I already put out there - but if it pays off then I'll be a couple of weeks ahead for home grown salad. I'm dying for fresh salad. I'm sick of store-bought salad. I'll take the risk.

To me it's not much of a gamble... I've been to Vegas. In fact, you could say that I've almost burned Vegas down.... so I've lost a lot more money than what I paid for a flat of broccoli.

I'm hoping this apple blossom will be ok.

I'm not sure why some gardeners are so critical about us "season rushers." I'm excited to get out there and work and if it pays off then great. If not, that's fine too. We just take some precautions and hope for the best.

Yesterday we moved a bunch of trays of seedlings into the basement and a bunch of potted up veg into the greenhouse. Then I covered up the stuff in the greenhouse with sheets, blankets, and row covers for extra protection. I also covered up the broccoli and onions in the garden.

Tonite will be even colder so I'll take even more of the flats into the basement. Then it looks like we will be back on track.

Happy Thursday everyone! Are you getting  frost? Or a freeze? Did you get everything covered up?

Will it work? I dunno... I hope so. If not then I'll just shrug and start over.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I think I figured out why the tiller wasn't doing such a great job.

Mighta run over some stuff that caused the till not to work so well.....

It could be that all this twine and stuff may have impacted the performance.

I think the wire was probably also a contributing factor.

I am the reason we don't have nice things. For those of you who are following along with The Great Mower War.... I am prohibited from using the mower and someone was just a little too smug about how he mowed the other day without bending the blade.

I think he just wasn't trying hard enough.

Happy Tuesday everyone! Are you making sure your tiller is at peak performance?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Tater planting

I need to get some garden notes in here.... sorry for a boring post. Later this summer someone please remind me that the potatoes I planted yesterday were from the sprouted buckets in the basement.

These were some of our taters from last year.

I also had some from the grocery store that look to be from the Norkotah variety.

I think this will totally work.

I had two half-to-mostly-full, 3-gallon buckets of the sprouted taters. They had already started growing so I had to get them in the ground quick. I put them by the pear tree and the garlic in the newly cleared area.  I will never remember this.

 I think these were $1.99 or so. Fun and easy!

I plant these little onion starts closely together then thin them out as the growing season goes along to be used in salads and such. The remaining ones will then be properly spaced and grow to full size. That's the plan anyway.

I also put in a bunch of white onion sets, and some starts of purple and sweet/candy onions by the broccoli. This is going to be an onion-o-rific year!

Planting potatoes is easier than falling off a log. Seriously. You can read about it here. You can read more about it here. After I made shallow trench for them and then covered the sprouted taters with dirt, we went and got some fresh straw and bedded them down deeply.

Potatoes are great for new garden areas because the straw will improve the soil and help smother out any pesky weeds. I found some poison ivy in this new area so I hope I can be rid of that. *absently scratches arm.....*

Someone asked me if seed potatoes were different than regular potatoes? Nope. But sometimes they will treat eating potatoes to keep them from sprouting. (ew!)  So yes, if you have taters from the store and they sprout you can plant them! Might as well try, right?

Our favorite taters are the Yukon Golds. I think they are pretty and they are a good, all around use tater. So we got a 50lbs bag of them. You'll remember what happened the last time I got a 50lbs bag of seed potatoes, right? The never ending potato harvest. Of doom.  Oh boy. Potatoes for everyone!

Happy Monday everyone! Are you planting potatoes and onions?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Deviled Eggs

The chickens are firing on all cylinders lately so we have a lot of eggs.... like.... a LOT... many many eggs. So we've been making deviled eggs.

Deviled eggs. Old school. No fancy stuff. There is no way I'm piping in the filling. I use a fork.

For a while there we fell into the trap of only making them on certain holidays but that is crazy - deviled eggs are great any time. And they are a terrific breakfast food.

The thing that revolutionized our deviled egg consumption was learning how to steam hard cooked eggs. Completely life changing. One of the problems with fresh hard boiled eggs is that they are hard to peel... the struggle is real for us chicken owners. Before I learned how to steam hard cooked eggs I'd have to put some eggs aside for several days so they would be easier to peel. Nope. No longer!

Five minutes in ice water. No more. No less. Perfect. At the most these eggs were 2 days old.

I'm not sure what the steaming does - but it works....however the trick is to make sure that you chill the eggs in ice water for 5 minutes. For whatever reason - no more or no less. Five minutes. Then peel them.

We make old school deviled eggs without any of that fancy stuff. Helman's, yellow mustard, a splash of pickle juice, and salt n pepper.... dusted with paprika. Sometimes I'll sprinkle a little curry powder on a few.

The beet eggs are just lovely.

However, now that I've discovered beet deviled eggs... we've veered off course a little. Have you had these? Just beet up some eggs - they only have to soak in the pickled beet juice for a couple hours to turn color - and then make good old fashioned deviled eggs. Some of my beet eggs had been pickled for several days - and this makes the yolks a beautiful pink-orange color. They were spectacular.

Today I'll be steaming up another round of hard cooked eggs....and then we'll have deviled eggs for every meal!

Little Mo photobombing the pix. Thanks Mo-Zee.

Happy Saturday everyone! What are you waiting for? Go and steam some eggs - it will change your life.

Friday, April 17, 2015

More little buddies: Creepy Meat Update #3

Two of my goals for this year were to do a better job with the housework and also to get down to a more reasonable number of chickens. Apparently neither of those things are going to happen. I can't find a matching pair of sox and this happened yesterday....

Next batch of little buddies.

Technically I went back to the feedstore to get dog food and came out with more little buddies. You'll remember that we intended to get another round of meat chickens - which was always the plan - but you know how it goes. I also got 5 Buff Orpingtons and one, lone singleton of ambiguous origins.

When I looked into the bin of Buff's I saw one bigger, weirder looking chick and I thought, "Gosh I hope I don't get THAT one...." But then the gal who handles the chicks at TSC gave me his sad tale....and I ended up with one weird chick. He is probably an Americauna... and may be a rooster. We'll see what happens. But I was glad to give him a home.

We love the Buff Orp's for their beautiful shape and coloring, their easy going nature, and their laying abilities. We haven't had them in a while so I'm super excited to have them back in the barnyard. 

Around here TSC will only have chicks until about the 28th. They will probably have a last ditch blow out sale on or about the 26th so keep your eyes open. Be sure to compare prices also. The first TSC I went into had meat chicks or $2.99... the second had the better price of $1.99. I do not know why they are priced differently.

If you are keeping track I also purchased our third bag of chick food at about $15. Tracking costs will not get kind of dicey because we have the second group - but I'll keep you posted.

The first group are doing great. They still want the heat lamp on which seems weird but we've had fluctuating temperatures. While I'm going to do some moving around today I don't think the first group will be outside yet - especially with that owl that has been hanging around. And we've heard at least 4 hawks as well.

Big and creepy.

The meats have outdistances the "normal" chicks by a mile - and at about 5 weeks they are closer to the recommended butcher age of 7 weeks. But we'll keep them going for a while yet.

If you'd like to follow along, here is the progress of this meat project:

Initial purchase - March 10
Update #1 - March 20
Update #2  April 1

Happy Friday everyone! Do you have a matching pair of socks and a reasonable number of chickens? If not, friend, you are not alone.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Duck in a truck.

So, this happened the other day....

Nothing to see here... just a duck in a truck.....

This is our limpiest, lamest, little duck. Mostly she just hangs around in the garage and peeps a lot. She doesn't like to be with the other ducks because she is a dwarf variety and they pick on her. Plus she is kind of a goose - she was once brutally mauled by a the lawn mower. I should point out that the mowers wasn't even on.... or moving.... she just got her foot tangled up in it. I can't believe she lived but she did.

So we baby her and make sure she is safe.

She is very adorable.

We had a big rain the other day and the back of the truck filled up with water. So I let her have her own bathtub while I was doing chores. After she splashed around a while I called her over to the side of the truck and a put her down on the ground gently. She peeped and waddled back to the garage to preen.

Happy Tuesday everyone! Do you have a duck in your truck?

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