What’s up on the farm?
10 June 2012 Schleitheim Farm
I wanted to publish a simple post on what is going on at Schleitheim Farm right now. Again, this is all still in the infancy stages. We have not even owned the property for a year yet, and we’re still learning a lot about getting a small scale farm going. While in the (hopefully very) near future we will be putting together a real history behind how we got to where we are, and most importantly why, we want to keep you all updated on the blog as well as the Facebook page.
We came to the property with 3 ducks: 2 Khaki Campbells and an Indian Runner; we raised them from ducklings, and they are over 3 years old now. We’ve expanded that to 10 ducks, adding several Rouens and Cayugas. We’ve gotten a good number of eggs from them, and those of you who’ve tried them know how excellent they are.
We then decided to add some chickens. We have 41, at least at the time this was written–funny that I have to say that, but you’ll see why. We ordered a bunch of chicks from Murray McMurray Hatchery. I think 8 died within the first 2 days. We picked up a few more from a local feed store. From that first-batch we have Wyandottes, a Leghorn rooster (that must go…now), Hamburgs, a New Hampshire Red, a Cochin, couple of Langshans, a Turken (a.k.a. Naked Neck), and many other various breeds (some of which we still can’t nail down). Around 6 weeks later we purchased 6 Silkies from some great folks just north of us; they’ll serve as excellent brooders if we want them to sit on some eggs (even duck eggs). That same day, while waiting, we picked up 3 more Turkens from Tractor Supply.
The day I finished building the 8′ x 12′ Chicken House for the majority of them, we received two more mature, already laying hens. And then a couple of days ago we obtained two Phoenixes; a male and a female.
At some point during all of that, we obtained 4 Toulouse Geese. They are one of the nice breeds. These 4 are very timid with people. They are finally starting to stay a little closer a little longer, so long as you have food. They’ll squeak at you if you’ve got a hand full of green weeds.
We received some sage advise to start with the orchard. They take the longest to mature, so get trees in the ground. So, when we had the money we swung over to the best nursery in town, White Forest, and made a few purchases. We have planted a fairly diverse orchard so far: limes, lemons, nectarines, pluots, apricots, etrogs, tangelos, asian pears, pomegranates, persimmons, cherrys, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, olives. There was already an apple tree here; we’ve kept it going.
As for the garden and the produce side of things, that has been a struggle. We purchased a truck load of compost and it turned out to be extremely hydrophobic. We used it for our potatoes, and we lost every last one; all rotten. Turned out the water was never getting through the compost. When I checked around the seeds, it was bone dry despite what we thought was a pretty good watering. Pumpkins and squash and anything else that was sprouting from the ground became ground squirrel kibble. They ravished it all. Our seedlings in the trays are all doing quite well.
The problem, though, is we have no place as of yet to transplant them in the ground because of the blasted squirrels.
And I am currently trying to get our grape vines planted. Running into a materials issue; don’t have all we need for the trellises. I’ll have to do what I’ve done with so many other farm projects and Frankenstein it.
Well. That’s it for now. More to come. There is something new every day out here. We thank God all the time.