Above all, try something. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Thursday, July 29, 2010

July ~ WHOAH.

So, Yeah. This month has been one hundred percent, out of control, crazy busy. In a good way.
Since my last post, June 27th ish...we have had THIRTEEN out of state visitors. Yup. No joke.
From everywhere including: Colorado, Connecticut, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
And the month rides on....tomorrow we have two more friends arriving from Utah and Oregon. Woohoo, Party Time!
It has been awesome to see everyone.
Above we have a photo of my friend Marcella, a college roommate from Keene State and her boyfriend Chris, who also incidentally went to Keene State but we didn't know him. Strange.
Any who, Marcy came out for the fourth of July weekend and although it wasn't QUITE warm out yet, we had a blast and did ALOT of stuff. We visited Yellowstone National Park, saw a rodeo, went to a parade, and floated the Madison River (see photo). They are threatening to come back again this winter, and I will hold them to it!
A few weeks later we had 7 crazy dudes from nashvegas crash the pad.
I hadn't done that much laughing in a long time. My cheeks were definitely sore. Not to mention my legs from the epic hike a bunch of us went on. Whew! Hiking with a bunch of boys is NOT easy work.
In the photo above you can spy them at work putting on a show at Big Sky Resort.
I'm told I had a great time.
We look forward to www. thefesty.com in October!

Despite giving himself a major ice-cream-headache-three-day-migraine by washing his hair in Jack Creek, the doctor kills it on the soundboard at Big Sky.

You'll never believe it, but our garden is sort of kicking ass these days!
It's all about the short season veggies...
I also figured out that since our soil is SOO SOOOOOO clay, that it holds water quite well and needs much less of it.
Above we have some baby bush bean plants, some lettuce, and the beginnings of some basil plants.

These are just the tall ones (almost four feet tall). We have a ton of successful pea plants, it makes me happy.

Here is some of our mammoth sunflowers and a row of potatoes! I have never grown either plant, so it is exciting to watch the daily transformations for sure.
Some Thoughts on the Garden
It has been a very bumpy road thus far. But, as I have learned from living in the West, bumpy roads usually lead to something VERY cool, so you just have to commit, sit back, relax, and go with the flow sometimes.
I have learned that, YES, our soil sucks right now. But I also know that because of the amount of manure we produce through our animals, there is only one direction our soil can go from here. And that direction is AWESOME. Is awesome even a direction? hmmmm....
I digress.
I have also figured out that, YES, we live in a canyon and canyons are windy.
Sprinklers? Not so much.
It's all about the hose and hand watering.
Next year: drip hose system.
Weeds? I'm not a big weed puller (Ed can attest to this). I would rather gnaw my own arm off in fact. This year I threw down clean straw between my rows of plants to cut down on random crap sprouting. It seems to be working. Not only this, but it holds in moisture nicely.
I don't know a lot about what I'm doing yet, but I do know this: a plate full of food you grew yourself tastes SO good. YUM!
Janet: a tribute to the anniversary of Jerry Garcia's death.
Since being forced to listen to Classic Rock each night (I blast a clock radio in the goat shed to keep nosey bears and bobcats away), the goats have gained a sincere appreciation for Nirvana, Grateful Dead, Billy Joel, and the Beach Boys.
Who knew?
With our recent chick order from June, the hatchery threw in a free random rare breed chick because we ordered so many....
I have no idea WHAT this rare breed is, but I'm pretty sure it's a rooster, and I'm pretty sure those fancy feathered feet were made for dancing.
Love this chick!
Anyone have a good name for mr. fluffy feet?
Only time will tell if it's a he or a she, so keep that in mind!
Delilah Jones, my very favorite, four-year-old (one of the originals) barred rock henny penny.
She now lets me pick her up and walk around with her in my arms.
Not to mention she is laying like a champion and loves to chit chat.
Barred Rocks are the shit, I'm tellin ya. Git one.
Look who is finally walking around outside!
The FREAKIN meatbirds.
God they're fat.
It's seriously ridiculous.
These 17 birds are now 6 weeks old! 6 weeks to go!!! (can't go fast enough let me tell you)
* The buff orpington chick you see in the background is the same age as these behemoths!
Above you can see the little door that leads to the outside world from their shed. That little door has caused big trouble for these fatties! Only about half of them can actually navigate the exit or entry themselves, the rest of them get shoved in or out by us each morning and evening. It's actually pretty funny. Lots of squawking.
I do feel better about having them outside during the day now however. They are finally getting some sunlight for vitamin D production and they seem to be getting around more since they love to eat grass and chase bugs. There was definitely a 'Sweatin to the Oldies' period for them though where they would just collapse exhausted after walking two feet. Now they are getting 'in shape'....ha ha ha. riiiiight.

This is what the inside of chick world looks like these days.
* notice the ramp I had to construct for the fatties since they couldn't bear to make the six inch leap through the door. *sigh*

Thoughts on Meat Birds: Week 6
Well, we are halfway there! Oh man, really???? THAT'S IT???
These birds are FLYING through feed right now. No pun intended. And it's not cheap.
The good thing is that our friend Joe, who will help us with butchering these bad boys, has been supplementing a good portion of our feed with used grains from his beer brewing. He brings over about 15 pounds of wet, stinky, grains (malt? rye? not sure. I should probably know this.) every other week, which I then dry in the sun and feed to the chickens.
They seem to love it....although I'm pretty sure I could fill their feed bin with rocks or sand and they would still scarf it all down in the blink of an eye.
Now that they are outside during the day, they are also foraging a little bit, which helps cut down on food costs.
An upside to these meat birds (yes, there is actually an upside) is that I don't worry about them being carried off by a flying predator (hawk, osprey, eagle, owl) while outside during the day. You would need a FORKLIFT to get these things off the ground.
Trust me.
They also aren't getting picked on by my adult egg layers (which is a first for me to see), I'm guessing due to their size. The hens actually seem to be a little bit petrified of the beasts. It's nice to know I don't have to worry about any pecking order which is usually a major concern with introducing new birds to an established flock.
Well...I think that may be all for now folks.
Life is good in Jack Creek.
In the coming weeks we have more visitors to play with, a serious bluegrass festival in Idaho to attend, a wedding to watch, and many veggies to eat!
Hugs and dog hair.