This summer has been a wild ride! Our gardens are currently in full swing which means if I don’t pick something daily or I blink, I’ll have a zucchini or cucumber the size of Jonah’s whale. If you garden, you know exactly what I mean!
The Farmer’s Market season has been rocking along at an increased volume. The ever present zucchini, cucumbers and sweet corn are perhaps the most prevent produce we have right now. Tomatoes and melons aren’t too far behind but it seems they never ripen fast enough! Raspberries are tapering off, while cabbage, broccoli & beets have been harvested. AND…oddly enough, I’m thankful my green beans are finished for the season – pulled out completely – they were so much work harvest!
Between pickings I am busy canning, blanching/freezing and dehydrating for our personal use. This year I was wise enough to slim down the amount of preserved goods going on the shelf and in the freezer. This frees up a bit more of my time than in previous years and will hopefully clear up some of the backlog of abundance.
Honestly, with our meat production this year, freezer space is at an all time low. It’s amazing how fast 20 parted out chickens can fill a freezer and we still have 3 amazingly huge turkeys set for butcher this weekend.
With this processing round we are also thinning the herd a bit. A rooster past his genetic usefulness and a handful of old hens have seen their last summer with us. Although I’m a little emotional about a few of the birds, I know it’s best for my flock and future egg production. Not to mention, this will cut down on the number of ‘non-production’ mouths to feed.
On a more positive note, we do have a few 2-month old hens who are doing well. By summer’s end I’m hoping for a few more feathered siblings if the broody hen stays on top of things.
It is our first time with a broody hen and she’s taking well to eggs I procured from a neighboring farm. I was even slick enough to slide in some Guinea Fowl eggs – if successful, they will be another ‘first’ here on 25 Acres! Once I clean the turkey coop, she will be relocated to her own quiet, floor-level shangrala, where she can set undisturbed to raise her young.
Between the 2 coops we should have decent egg production over the winter. While some girls will slow down and take part of the winter off, the young ones will be towing the line and producing well. My egg customers will be happy!
We’ve had good luck with some of our experimental personal-use crops in the greenhouse. The first of our artichokes were super tasty and welcomed with open arms. We do have a few more on the way which means my husband will likely find himself in heaven with a buttery meal made up of both chokes & fresh sweet corn.
For now, that’s the gist of it. The rest of the gardens are simply something we need to be patient for. Melons, tomatoes, pumpkins, squash, sweet potatoes, apples and even the 2nd planting of sweet corn can’t be rushed. As always, we have plenty to keep us busy in the meantime.