Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy 2012!

It's a new year, which always gives a chance for new beginnings. As always, we learn new things each year, sometimes the hard way. Some things we learned this past year
  • Tylan treats Mycoplasma, no other medicine does the trick.
  • Turkeys don't lay very many eggs and when they do...
  • They like to lay them in strange places where you can't find them, leading me to understanding that...
  • Hatching my own turkey babies is going to be difficult.
  • Ducks are messy, unless they have their own natural pond
  • Ducks and greenhouses don't mix, either.
  • Skunks are persistent
  • Great Pyrenees need to work in teams. It's too much work for one pup and they need to rest sometimes.
  • When our dogs are not working, we lose a LOT of birds!
  • I know now what a hawk/eagle attack looks like vs. a skunk attack vs. a coyote attack. All can be lethal. All can be avoided with good guard dogs who are on duty. And a tired guard dog is not a good guard dog.
  • Hopper bin boots for augers have horizontal flanged attachments, and hopper bin boots for manual slides have vertical flanged attachments thus the parts are not interchangeable (someone from the auto industry needs to give these guys a lesson on complexity reduction)
  • Birds like to sleep in the trees, until it gets cold and snowy, then they will sleep in the nicely made housing we made for them, with the exception of ducks...
  • Who like to sleep on the pond ALL THE TIME unless we kick them out, then they will choose to sleep in their nicely made house.
  • Processing water fowl doesn't get easier. But that doesn't mean ducks and geese aren't tasty!
  • Lambs are always cute.
  • Colorado wind can be truly wicked at times.
  • That plant that grew like mad in the greenhouse and had a bajillion flowers but NEVER grew fruit was a tomatillo. I would have enjoyed those!
  • I can grow lettuce like no one's business
  • Irrigation is key, we must make it simpler.
  • Chickens and turkeys should not be allowed access to your strawberry patch.
  • Sheep will eat anything but junipers, and will learn to jump fences when they are hungry.
  • I need to adjust, once again, my turkey poult timing to get the right variation in sizes to make all my customers happy
  • We need to raise more meat chickens next year!
  • It's good to have a back up freezer.
  • People want to eat duck, but we don't like processing them in large batches!
  • Don't raise baby birds before March, or after September. It's too cold and their growth rate is too slow.
  • I can grow a lot of basil and it prefers direct seeding.
  • Mice can be very destructive, and my cats do not care to patrol the greenhouse.
  • Don't attempt to harvest cherry tomatoes with a toddler, most of them will end up in her tummy.
  • We actually enjoy processing birds (as long as the weather is not below freezing) and we are relatively good at it. I think that's why we enjoy it.

So we are still in a bit of a hiatus for the winter. Getting some much-needed downtime before the fury starts all over again. I have already ordered all my turkey poults for this coming year, as well as my first few months of baby chicks. We'll see how those batches go before I put in the rest of the orders and decide whether we need more or less. I am hoping for more.

I've been poking around in my seed catalogs, trying to keep myself restrained from ordering one of everything. I know I can order more lettuce, and more tomatoes, since we were successful with those. With the new irrigation system, and with our fenced in raised beds, I can try some other products again that require more water and warmer soils. So here's to hoping we have some corn, pumpkins, squashes and everything else this year. I'm hungry just thinking about what we can bring in from the garden and from the barn, and I am wondering if this is the year we get into home brewing, just to make the whole mealtime complete!