Tuesday, June 24, 2014

What's new from My Happy Acres: Berries and Beasties

So much has been happening lately, I don't quite know where to begin.  Let's take a walk.

The chicken tractor has been a big hit with the chicks, providing them with a safe place to call home.  There are so many critters out there that would love to call the chicks 'snacks' that I've been very cautious about where the tractor is moved.  I've also been giving a lot of thought to how to expand their yard and still keep them safe from predators (on the ground and from above).  They're finally big enough that most of the local snakes will leave them alone.  The turtles, cats, and raccoons are still a problem.

It's astounding how fast babies grow up.  A month ago, they were little fuzzballs.  Within a week they had their pin feathers.  By the time they reached three weeks old they were flapping about making little chick flight trips around their playpen and the mudroom.  Always curious about what's going on, as soon as they hear the rattle of the doorlatch, they stand ready at the tractor door, poised to come tumbling out to see what new adventure mom has instore for them.

Recently we added four more girls to our farm family.  Big Fluffy, Franny, Dorothy, and little Jellybean are boer goats.  We're hoping that they will be the beginnings of our foundation herd.

This is what I have learned so far: if a goat can get her head into something, she will try to get the rest of herself into it.  Where ever you go, they want to go.  What possibly could be more fun than jumping on top of and jumping off  big stuff (this includes overturned buckets, apple boxes, pallets, goat housing, piles of dirt, big rocks, etc).  Anything can be a toy (this includes everything from the previous list plus frogs hopping across the pasture and any items hanging from the side of the barn or my belt loop).  They're still babies, so we'll need to keep a close watch over them to keep them out of trouble.  (Is it just me or do you notice a theme here?)

Meanwhile, berry time is starting at My Happy Acres.  Wild strawberries are everywhere.  Try as we may, we can't keep ahead of the harvest.  Sweet and delicious, wild berries are the perfect size to sprinkle on one's breakfast cereal.
So far we're seeing a bumper crop of blueberries ripening over on Blueberry hill.  Last fall we took a few minutes out to place rabbit wire around a number of the bushes.  This kept the bunnies and voles at bay.  we are now being rewarded with large clusters of blue/green berries.  These should be ready to pick in about a week, just in time for Fourth of July celebrations.

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