Monday, November 9, 2009

Keeping Busy

A few weeks ago we had some amazing 70 degree weather, which we put to good use by finally getting out to the garden. We planted about 80 cloves of the Romanian Red garlic that we harvested this summer, and about 50 cloves of German Extra Hardy, which we ordered from Seed Savers Exchange, and which had some of the biggest cloves I have ever seen! I hope we can grow ours just as big! We also planted eight blueberry bushes which were a gift from our amazing real estate agent. Unfortunately, we haven't had a chance to do a soil test, so we didn't add any amendments when we planted them, but we did mulch them very heavily with pine needles.

On the chicken front, we're still waiting for our first eggs. We kept hearing that 20 weeks of age is the magic time when hens start to lay, and right now we're at 25 weeks and still no sign. Upon doing some further research, it seems that we may have to wait until at least the end of December. You see, if you get your chickens late, and they don't start laying before fall when the nights come earlier, there may be a delay until at least the winter solstice when the days start getting longer again. So we'll either be getting eggs any day now, or we won't have anything until closer to spring. Either way, we've located a supplier of straw from Craigslist, and got a delivery of 10 bales. With it we've made a nice nest inside the coop for laying eggs, and spread a layer of it on the ground to keep things clean now that the grass is no longer growing. We're also thinking about ordering some scratch feed for the winter, because it will help them gain weight and give them something to occupy themselves with. We're still trying to figure out some solar solution to keeping their water from freezing.

We're also in the middle of a batch of beer. We had a lovely afternoon where we invited friends over to spend time, eat, chat, and help us brew a batch of British Farmhouse Ale. We improvised an all-grain recipe made with Maris Otter barley, Fuggles and Kent Goldings hops, and Whitbread yeast. Saturday we racked it over to the secondary fermenter and it looks and smells quite tasty. We pretty much have no idea what it will be like when it's done, but hopefully it'll be a pleasant surprise. Our next alcohol experiment is going to be a holiday pea pod wine!