Saturday, March 23, 2013

March 2013

 Front pasture 
Next month we reseed pastures- and watch green take over again. YEAH!
K. Scratching "Mama Pig's" back with a stick.
 and behind her ears, too. She loves it! We will be rebreeding her soon!

The root cellar.  We just planted ivy starts around the edges. I am imagining it after the grass grows and the ivy trails over the walls.  :-)
Fenced in garden area and D's office.
A few of last falls garlic plants and the new chard, and kale plants that went out last week, along with 52 broccoli plants and a whole bunch of onions. Can't wait to plant the tomatoes after the projected frost next week.
Ducks and the fruit trees just bursting into bloom. 
A few of the chickens and a rooster
Nesting boxes 

Heaps of freshly laid eggs, waiting to be sorted and boxed. 
Wild plums in bloom.

"Jasmine smells good, Mom. See!" Haha!

I can hardly wait for the green to take over all this wintery brown!  Sunny yellow Jasmine is a promise of spring each year. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ducks, Duckpond, and an Old Billboard Sign

What do billboard signs have to do with ducks or ponds? 

Billboards signs material is tough, rugged and waterproof and measures 14'x48'.  The best part,  old billboard signs are FREE!   This makes it a great liner for a shallow pond. This idea did not originate with us, so we really can't claim any credit, but we are very happy to utilize this great concept and repurpose some "trash".

The dimensions of this pond were determined by two factors.  The size of the billboard/liner and the dimensions of the bucket on our tractor.  Beneath the rather shallow layer of topsoil lies some very solid clay and digging this by hand wasn't an option.
You can see that when these photos were taken, only one side has the edges finished.  This has been completed now and the pond filled.  We added a good portion of water from our aquaponics system to jump start the proper bacterias and last week we stocked it with Bream from a small local fish farm.

We will be growing duck weed, kangkong and some other water vegetables/plants to work as a natural biofilter and uptake the waste produced by the fish.  These items will either be fed to animals, or we will harvest it for ourselves.  What you see floating in the pond now is some kangkong starter plants.

Kangkong is a very mild water spinach and we all love it!  Rabbits, goats, ducks, chickens, and pigs think it is quite a tasty treat, as well.  I doubt that we will ever be able to grow too much.

Our next plan is to fence in this back area around the pond and then open up the smaller duck pen which will attach to the new fenced in portion.  This area will include the the new pond, the five fruit trees we already have planted and we hope to add additional fruit trees in the coming months. The ducks will work as a natural insect/pest control for our small orchard.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's Fishy Around Here

 Among other things, we have been doing FISH......FISH and more FISH here on Farrago Acres.

The weather quickly turned colder in the last week, too cold for the warm water Tilapia in our aquaponic/ barrelponic system.  Last year about this time we built a greenhouse and heated our tank in order to overwintered the fish. This year we decided that this option is to expensive, unless we create a more cost effective heating option. (We have considered building a rocket stove heated fish tank.  It theoretically sounds like a good plan.) Since our time right now is rather limited, our only other option seems to be Fish Harvesting.

Some of the fish were a bit smaller than we hoped.

Duane is awesome with this sort of thing.  Sometimes I actually think he really enjoys butchering.  I, on the other hand, dutifully help him.  Saturday afternoon Steve helped Duane out for a few hours and I certainly didn't complain.

  I have come a long way, but I still don't like meat processing all that well.  Fish is better than some things, mainly because it isn't warm, THAT is good.  But it still quivers and it is............well... it is still meat.  I might be a vegetarian if I hadn't married a MEAT lover. 

But I love to cook so in the end, not working with meats would actually crimp my style.   I am much happier working with already processed meat. Meat in it's supermarket form, nicely removed from the reality of what it is and where it's been and what it just ate last.

It's worth it though,  I LOVE the end results.  It is fabulous to prepare fish that was swimming just 20 min earlier.  It just doesn't get any fresher or closer to the source. I promise you can taste the difference.

 The end results were gratifying, 25 frozen meal size packs of Tilapia fillets and 14 quarts of canned fish stock - made from the heads and tails. 

Then of course, there are all the fish related meals we have eaten fresh during the last two weeks

Tilapia en Papillote w/fresh Rosemary and Butter Sauce
Fish Tacos with Wild Mushroom Rice
Tilapia Poached in White Wine with Fresh Herbs
Simple Cornmeal Encrusted Tilapia  Panfried in Butter

 and 2 gallons of stock that we also used fresh for

Asian Coconut Fish Soup
Tilapia Chowder - think Clam Chowder (sort of)
Wild Rice and Tilapia Soup

It is a good life, it really is! 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Snapshots from Spring/Summer 2011

I have posted quite a few farm related picture posts from the 2011  on my otherblog.  Here are links for a  few of these posts:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Summer Projects 2010 & New Farm Arrivals

In June we decided to spend the little stash that we had set aside for adoption on several farm projects that we had been dreaming about.  It had been a year and a half and several disappointments and our adoption paperwork had all expired.  We decided that maybe now wasn't the time and we would set aside this dream of adding a baby girl to our home and move on with life. If God wanted us to have a girl He could still arrange it in His own way, we were done "knocking on doors"

June 2010 the root cellar area was dug out and we started fencing in the whole front left portion of our land in preparation for animal pasture. It was July when we finished the fencing, and we learned that there may be better times of the year to set up fencing than during the very hottest months.

Our friends, Garin and Lani heard that we were interested in getting some goats and they  gave us their  two does, and two newborn kids. Our friends were relocating because of his  job and could no longer keep goats in their new suburban area.  We also got three additional goats from a neighbor lady who had used them to clear out her horse pasture but didn't intend to keep them.  So for a grand total of $40.00 we now had a a small herd of 4 full grown does and 1 yearling and two newborn wethers. Sweetness!

The three goats from our neighbor lady were very skiddish and we found them un-tameable. In the spring they would all become sausage, but what can you expect for $40, right?  Of the two does given to us by our friends, we discovered that the one who had just kidded, "Bean", was a horrible milker. The most milk I ever got from her at a milking was 1 pint of milk and she averaged more like a 1 1/2 cups per milking.  The Black and white goat, "Mulks" had potential promise, since she was 50% Saanen.  We hoped that breeding her with another friend's Nubian buck might yield good quality kids in the spring and maybe she would be a better milker, too.

As you can see, the boys loved the kids!

And after our money was all spent............guess what?  Yup, we got that call about our baby girl.  You can read all about that on my other blog by clicking on the link below.

Itty Bitty Alexis

July 2010