Sunday, February 2, 2014

Kids, geese and summer dreaming

 A couple weeks ago, during our warm spell I was going about my chores and looked up to see the kids sitting side by side watching the geese play in their pool of fresh water. I grabbed the camera quick here are three of the resulting pictures. I thought to myself, what a great form of entertainment - so much healthier than the television. We had at least seven days where the roof dripped into baby pools and there was no ice on the top in the mornings. It was a mini vacation in the middle of what is usually our coldest month of the year. Of course the roads were terrible, but I almost always enjoy an excuse to stay home for several days straight.

Each morning we hauled buckets of fresh cold water that had melted off the roof the night before. The geese were in mid winter heaven. We are pretty certain we have a pair of Geese. For the longest time we thought we had two females because they were so much friendlier than our Toulouse geese. We've heard that the males are more vocal and have a higher pitched voice. Our smaller goose is much more vocal and higher pitched. He also puts himself between us and the other goose, who is bigger, much quieter with a deeper voice. I am already envisioning Daisy and Dilly leading a troupe of goslings around the property this summer!

I placed my seed order with Fedco last night. As usual I really didn't NEED much. I needed carrot, cucumber and kale seed and that's about it. I ate six bunches of kale this week in the form of kale chips. I am sooo addicted to kale chips that I'm beginning to think I need a garden of kale - way more than the six plants I usually grow. I'm excited about a couple new hot pepper varieties, and more of a diversity of heirloom flowers that I have never grown. We are going to attempt musk melons this year, as I've heard farmers say that they have much better luck with musk melons here than watermelons.

Yesterday I sat and looked at old issues of Backwoods Home, and other various homesteading/Hobby Farming magazines. I was mostly interested in the articles about Heritage Turkey and Chicken varieties. We are thinking about turning one of our two chicken coops into a place for some Bourbon Red or other Heritage Turkeys to winter over. Certainly not as productive as chickens - but we really don't need thirty some layers. I'm interested in diversity. I like turkey personalities. Dustin is able to butcher them easier than ducks and geese. We like the darker meat and having a variety of poultry meat. I'm also looking for a chicken breed that is a decent layer and has a meatier carcass. Anyone have some recommendations? I think we usually keep the higher egg layers which is nice until we hatch our own eggs and end up with 70% roosters.

We are gaining light daily and it is noticeable. We've been having clear sunny weather. The kids and I are skating with friend weekly on a local outdoor skating rink. This week it was sunny out whereas the last couple times we'd been it had been so dim even in the middle of the day. The house is not filled with sunlight yet, but soon. For now we are reveling in the the change of light. The humidity is higher than usual as well, which makes for frosty everything, frost covered hillside, frost covered trees and shrubs; making for a picture perfect Winter Wonderland.


marigold jam said...

Lovely post - it's so good to learn about how it is being self sufficient in Alaska as opposed to UK. What a wonderful upbringing your children are getting and as you say so much better than television.

Ngo Family Farm said...

Oh, I adore the personality of turkeys, too! They are so great, and so hard to let go of come butchering time.

We had a light brahma hen who was very cold hardy, a good layer, and had beautiful meat - even her fat was this gorgeous healthy yellow color. I think the brahmas make great dual purpose breeds, and ours was an excellent forager as well.

Anonymous said...

I did an experiment last year with all heritage breed cockerels to see which ones grew out the fastest and had the nicest carcass. I don't remember exact time frames and weights at the moment, but I do remember that the winner, hands-down, was the Naked Neck (Turken) breed. The boys grew out faster than the others and they plumped up faster too, they were nice and round little birds. I also preferred their skin over the other breeds, thinner and a nicer texture. The females lay well and they are surprisingly cold hardy. I don't think they will grow as fat as an Australorp, but they will grow faster and are very proportionate once slaughtered.