April 19th, 2006

I'll try to avoid my usual love of prose and just get to the details….as of tonight, we have 18 turkey chicks under 4 hens. Temperance has 6 Narragansetts and 2 crossbreeds (we're calling them Palmagansetts, but that's meant to be a joke). Prudence has 8 Narragansetts with as many eggs still underneath her. There are 2 chicks hatched by the Beltsville hen (who has no name yet). One Royal Palm chick was found dead, but with something like 15 eggs under the hen. There is still time to go on the first hatch, but so far so good.
Thirty nine heriloom tomatoes were planted over the weekend at Drew's farm down the road, in the terraced garden. There were also 8 or so white cucumber starts with that. The "red plastic" experiment (red plastic on the ground under the plants, supposedly increases the growth rate and fruit set) is underway on about half the tomatoes. This week the second wave of tomato seedlings will be going. I guess I'm heading for about 80 tomato plants. What am I thinking?? I hope the collective of Arbuckle farm workers likes tomatoes, that's what.  Even for a market garden the tomatoes are getting scary. There are pepper starts on my dining room table but they are coming along very slowly. I am waiting for slightly highter soil temperatures before those go in the ground. Tonight we went to Redwood Barn nursery in Davis and bought 6 hybrids and 4 other heirloom tomatoes, plus some basil seed. I read their sign warning people from planting their tomatoes yet….oh well, we'll see.
The new lemon and orange trees were planted tonight.
We contacted a peafowl breeder in Redding and have made arrangements to purchase some white peachicks in the upcoming months.
Drew gave us 250 lbs of wheat for poultry feed–we are going to try a 25% substitution of wheat into the layer feed for the adult birds and see how that goes.
The fruit orchard is, in my opinion,  a sad state of affairs. The mature peaches look like hell. So does the Wickson plum. The mature nectarine is uninspiring. I don't know what to think, this wet weather has been very hard on everything. Hopefully it will be a good year for…..something.
No potatoes have sprouted yet. The fava beans are doing well in this weather and are about 6" tall now. The artichokes have been exceptional. The asparagus is….growing.
This weekend it will be necessary to mow or otherwise abate the weeds out front. It's a hard job because it is delicate weeding in and among the many, many flowers. I'm hoping to have a bright idea on how to do this with efficiency, hopefully the next three days will provide some inspiration.
Ken is completing work on the large feeder huts he has been building. They are large wooden pods designed to keep sun, rain and wild birds away from the poultry feeders.
We hope everyone had a good Easter with friends and family. We attended an Easter barbecue/picnic hosted by a local farm family, and met some really great people. The food was delicious, and we ate in a large agricultural shop building on account of some rather inclement weather.  Lamb and forklifts….why not?
That's all for now, everyone think sunny thoughts……

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