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Showing posts with label corn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label corn. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Murder at Hedgeapple Creek

...or was it?


1. Law. the killing of another human being under conditions specifically covered in law. In the U.S., special statutory definitions include murder committed with malice aforethought, characterized by deliberation or premeditation or occurring during the commission of another serious crime, as robbery or arson (first-degree murder), and murder by intent but without deliberation or premeditation (second-degree murder).
2. Slang. something extremely difficult or perilous: That final exam was murder!
3. a group or flock of crows.
–verb (used with object)
4. Law. to kill by an act constituting murder.
5. to kill or slaughter inhumanly or barbarously.

Depends on how much you want to stretch the definition. OK, it wasn't a human being, but it was calculated, and it was extremely difficult. Well, no... it was physically easy; but it was mentally difficult. It's always difficult, but it's part of life on a farm. It was not a flock of crows. Yet, it was definitely not inhumane or barbarous!

If you don't want to read about the downside of life with farm animals, then stop here; but if you've ever fancied having a mini-farm with a few chickens, then you might as well be prepared.

'Angel Wings' is what I called the chick. She was so beautiful - light red changing to brilliant white. When her wings were spread in the sunlight, she looked as though she was ready to soar through the heavens. If ever a chicken was beautiful, it was Angel Wings. (dirty, nasty birds)
She was one of the tamer birds. Angel Wings stood out from the others, as she grew more beautiful every day. She stood out in another way though, that wasn't a good thing...

Hubby was out gathering eggs when we heard a ruckus. One of the black hens was screeching. Hubby looked to see Angel Wings' rear sticking up from a nest. She sat up and looked at him with egg dripping from her beak. She was eating the egg. She had already acquired the taste. According to the books Hubby has studied, once a hen acquires the taste for eggs, there's no turning back. It must be destroyed. I'm not going to tell about that.

Reality isn't always pretty on a farm. You must keep in mind the purpose of raising chicks. If you want them as pets, then have them. Fine. On the other hand, if you want them for eggs, then it's a whole different thing. Luckily, I'm not fond of birds. Oh sure, the finches at the feeder are pretty and fun to watch; but as pets?

My mom has parakeets. They're nasty. When I'm over there, I do let them hop onto my finger and I talk to them. I'm not an animal hater... but I would never have them in my house. If something happens to Mom, someone else better take the birds. OK, I've gotten off track...

We have a lot invested in the chickens. Selling eggs will never pay for it all. (Hubby went a little overboard on the chicken house. He tends to do that.) We do hope that selling the extra eggs will pay for the daily expense of keeping the chickens. We prefer to eat things that are not tainted with hormones and pesticides. Aside from dusting for mites, our chickens are all natural and cage free. That's the ironic part...

Chances are, if our birds were caged on a big poultry farm, Angel Wings would have never had the chance to taste an egg. She wouldn't have access to them. I imagine there is a mechanism to roll the eggs away from the cage as soon as it is laid. Nobody's going to reach under thousands of chickens all day long checking for eggs!

With free range chickens, they share nests. Even with empty nests available, we've watched one hen wait until the other hen is finished and vacates the nest; then she jumps in for her turn. Then go in and out as they please. They roam the fenced area looking for bugs in the ground and whatever else chickens do. We feel they must be satisfied with the size of the area, since we know they can fly out anytime they please. (No, we haven't clipped their wings.) The entire area under the ten-by-twenty house is elevated and open, so they can go under for shade or to get out of the rain without having to go back inside. We feel our chickens have it pretty good; but like I said, in a caged environment, Angel Wings would still be with us.

So, if you've thought about raising a few chickens in order to enjoy your own fresh eggs, does this make you reconsider?

On a much happier note... Hubby's final count on the corn: 250 ears in the freezer!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Today at Hedgeapple Creek Farm

That's what Hubby calls the farm... Well, that's what he calls it for the present time. First it was Triple Creek because technically you can count three creeks. Then he called it Crooked Creek. I liked that name. We have absolutely the most winding creek you ever saw. You probably cover several miles if you walk it vs 1000 feet as the crow flies. It flows all four compass directions! Depending on his mood, he's had many names for the place. Someday I'll paint a sign.

Anyway, today he picked corn with his dad. Good corn! Last year he switched and planted some type that didn't have as much silk, so was easier to husk. Yeah, so! It didn't have much flavor and the kernels were tough. Now that he's back to growing Golden Jubilee, I can speak to him again. A lot of people love Silver Queen corn, but not me. He used to grow both... Golden Jubilee for me, Silver Queen for himself and his folks. However, when I'd cook the Golden, they'd all remark about how much better it tasted. Well, yeah... That's why I like it.

They're not finished picking yet, but there's already over a hundred ears in the freezer... and we had some for supper tonight. Here's a picture of the corn from the kitchen door. They're in there somewhere.
They didn't do as much weeding this year as normal. There was quite a bit of morning glory vines growing through the corn. This ear had a vine wrapped around it as it grew. Makes for an interesting pattern.
I thought I'd check on the Tennessee Muskmelon patch. Hubby raises them in a raised bed. (Pardon the pun.) Sadie decided to inspect them a little closer. These melons grow oblong, like a watermelon. The strange weather we're having might interfere with the melon harvest.

Today was a beautiful day for stretching out on the deck for a little sun. That's what Little Bear thought anyway...
Here is some vary rare footage. Chubs and Squeaky are partners in crime (chasing off Mickey), but I've never seen Chubs do this before...

Background: Chubs and Little Bear are siblings. Squeaky is LB' s son.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

This Farmer's Market... Part I

This is my first herb. I planted this beside the new steps to the pool. Ali and I love to much the onion chives in the evening while sitting on the steps looking into the woods. Yum. I plan on adding garlic chives to the other side of the steps. This is where we 'buy' our fresh eggs. It will take eating the eggs for 200 years to really break even on the deal.
Here's a sample of the eggs. Notice the twins in the background?

This is our vegetable garden. Well, I should say, this is Hubby's and his dad's garden. You remember the old saying, two's company, three's a crowd?
These first rows are FIL's white half-runners. Yuck! Strings!

Aw, aren't the baby zucchini cute!

From left to right: FIL's beans, whole row of tomatoes (I don't know how many varieties this year), Hubby's beans (Kentucky bush beans - no strings!), sweet potatoes, and corn. Across the back, climbing the fence, are cucumbers.

The zucchini would be in the bottom of the picture if I hadn't cut them off! I see a stray plant next to the corn. The gardener's bench marks the spot where Hubby left off picking beans.

This raised bed is away from the garden so the melons don't mix. These are Tennessee Muskmelon. My FIL told Hubby about them a few years ago. I went online and found some heirloom seeds. They get long like a watermelon. The best I've ever eaten!

I tried to find some babies, but they hide... So here are some blossoms, and if you look closely... Do you see it? I'm soooo excited! It's a honey bee! While I was holding the blossoms, it came and visited them. (Stupid camera won't let me capture 'the' moment.) I saw another one this morning on the clover! These are the first honey bees I've spotted this year. Our area is one of those you hear about where the bees are disappearing. Seeing them made my day!

Back in the garden... Here are some of the bush beans yet to be picked. I like them young and tender. FIL likes them to get big beans inside. So we pick some early, some late.

Well, I must have reached the maximum for photo uploads on this post.
Check out Part II for the actual market...

To see more farmer's markets, check out Squirrel Queen's challenge.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Grace in the Garden

Since I'm still 'under the weather' (I wonder where that expression came from) I don't have any new news to blog about, so here's a farm-fresh oldie but goodie...

Gotta love that Gracie (Grand #3).

She was trying to be a farm girl and bring in

a bucket of corn and green beans for dinner.

She is quite the drama queen!