Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Years!

2010 has been quite the year to remember. We've learned a lot this past year and look forward to learning more and sharing what we've learned with our friends.

Happy New Year from your friends here at Weksny Acres

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

From all of us here on the farm,

Merry Christmas

To all of our friends, followers and customers, may you have a very blessed and Merry Christmas!!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Jack of Many Trades

Ever wondered what farmers do during the winter?

Answer: Whatever it takes to keep the family warm.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Homemade apple butter

I guess it was time for another first here on the farm. Since we found our heirloom apple tree loaded this year, we've been coming up with all kinds of ways to use the apples.

So at some point, it would be time to try our hands at making apple butter. Well that time came today. We found a crock pot recipe for it and have been cooking the apple butter, for what seems like all day. We've got about 45 minutes before it's time to jar it up. Sorry, I don't have any pictures to post yet. But I will try to get something up tomorrow.

I do know this..
It looks like apple butter; it smells like apple butter; it tastes like apple butter.. It must be turning into apple butter.

I'll be conducting the "official" taste test in the morning, so check back for the results.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Over my head in brush

I took a walk out into the back section that we are currently not using to look around today, and boy has it grown up. The section was clear cut before we moved here last year, and the weeds, brush, and junk have really taken off. So...

tomorrow I am going to start clearing it. Since we do things the "old-fashioned" way here, I'll be doing it by hand, a chain saw and machete. No tractors or bush hogs here. It will eventually be an acre and a half pasture for the additional livestock that we want to put on the farm. So there is a lot of work to do. But at least the weather is cooling off now so it won't be quite so hot out there.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Herbal Update

Just came back in from transplanting some perennial herbs in a couple of the beds. It's a good start on next years crop. we transplanted 6 Lemon Balm plants planted, 6 Boxwood Basil, 9 Thai Basil, and 1 Rosemary. All of them were propagated from cuttings, so I'm feeling pretty good, since it's my first time propagating by cutting. Will be making a few more cutting this weekend to start some more.

The Dill is about ready to harvest, and the Genovese Basil isn't too far behind.

Monday I get the Bee Balm and Echinacea started.

Now if I can just keep the chickens at bay until the plants are big enough that they won't bother them.

Thought of the day

I got this off of twitter this morning and wanted to share with you.

Your thoughts become your words.
Your words become your actions.
Your actions become your legacy.

That is so true on so many levels. something I need to remember, not only as a farmer, but as a husband and father.
Great insight Steve !!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New things on the horizon

We have started a new phase of our work here on the farm. So far we have 5 new growing beds dug and started for our expansion into the selling of fresh, dried, and potted herbs, along with cut flowers. In our area, I haven't seen anyone selling these items outside of the grocery store where freshness is normally lacking.

We already have some of the herbs well established and are doing well enough that we can market some of them this fall. We're working on preparing the rest for early spring sales.

The herbs we are growing or working on starting are, 3 kinds of basil (Genovese, Boxwood, and Tia), along with Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary, Dill, Sage, and Parsley.
We will also be growing and offering tea herbs, five different varieties ranging from Mints to Chamomile.

If you were going to purchase fresh herbs grown locally, what kinds would you be looking for? Give us some ideas!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thems Good Eatin'

This morning we finished another round of chicken butchering here at Weksny Acres.
My darling wife cooked a nice 4 pounder in the crock pot this evening, and BOY was it good!!!!.
It could have made Alton Brown's "Good Eats".

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Growing big...and fast

On May 21st received a shipment of 25 broiler chickens to raise and sell as 4-6 lb broilers. We got these birds as "day old chicks" and when they arrived, it was just in time to add them to the chicks we had just hatched out. We are talking a couple of days difference between them. At the rate they are growing, they should be ready in another 3 to 4 weeks. Just in time for the 4th of July feasting.

I'll get a picture of them posted tomorrow.

Friday, May 28, 2010

How Far We've Come

This week at Weksny, we've been working hard in the vegetable garden.

It's a lot of garden to care for, but I think you'll agree that our efforts are well worth it.

Was it really just a few weeks ago that these gorgeous celery plants were just spindly-looking little stalks?

I think the cabbages are simply beautiful, don't you?

We've really struggled with getting beans to take hold, but I think this bush variety is doing the job just fine.

Our broccoli and cauliflower bed. They're so huge now!

Speaking of huge...have you ever seen such a large squash plant? The kids think it looks like it belongs in a jungle somewhere!

This is our third or fourth radish crop (I've lost count). Fastest growing vegetable I've seen yet.

And there's still the tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, potatoes, carrots, corn, okra...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The hatch has begun

Good Morning all...
The long awaited hatch has begun. We started hearing some pipping yesterday evening, and actually had 2 cracked eggs when we went to bed last night. I got up about 3:30 this morning and checked on them, and got to see our first chick hatch out. Needless to say, there is too much excitement going on here to go back to bed.

I'll post the hatch results as soon as the hatch is completed.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Broody Hen

An interesting thing happened today. We finally have a hen go broody. She is one of our RIR hens. She has been playing at it for about 2 weeks, but finally stayed on the nest all day today. In fact she is still on it. She has about 5 eggs underneath her as far as I can tell. So we'll see what she does. What is making this interesting is ..,,,
I have a clutch of eggs finishing up in the incubator, They started pipping today and one of them is starting to crack through the shell. So it is a really fun time here at weksny acres. I'll keep you posted on the hen and the incubator progress.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Farmer's Market update

It was a slow day at the farmer's market today, even though it was a beautiful day.
I heard there was a "spring thing" in two of the neighboring towns and some convention going on in town today also.
Even so we did manage to sell 3 dozen eggs, about a pound and a half of salad lettuce, and two bars of soap. we made enough to repair the tiller tire. But that's another story.
We keep working hard and hope for a better day next week.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

First try at incubating eggs

We are trying our first round of incubating some of our chicken eggs here at Weksny acres. It's day 7 today so Wendy, the girls and I just finished candling the eggs. Out of the 25 eggs that we started with, we still have 18 in the incubator. 2 were showing cracks in the shells, and the other 5 didn't look like they were fertile.

It sure is an interesting thing to watch. We are already wondering what kind of chicks we will see in 2 weeks.

I'll keep you posted on the little peeps progress.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Farmer's market update 4-17-10

It was a slow Saturday at the farmer's market for some reason.
We only sold 3 dozen eggs and 4 bunches of radish.

On the brighter side though, we did sell 3 bars of pure soap, and got an order for some beeswax candles for next week.

Every little bit helps.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Prepping for Farmer's Market

One of the things we at Weksny Acres anticipate the most about spring is the start of Farmer's Market. Over the next weeks and months, I'll be posting about the various goods we'll be selling (like homemade soap, bath salts, and candles) and how well we do in sales.

Tomorrow, Doc will set up early with a good supply of fresh eggs, bath soap, and the first of our lovely radish crop.

There's a good several pounds worth in that container, and still plenty more not yet harvested from the garden. We'll get this babies washed up and packaged tonight, ready for sale in the morning. I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Gardening, Weksny Style

It's still early in April, and temps have been in the low 90s here at Weksny Acres. Which means that Doc has been too busy outdoors to update the blog. Looks like it's up to me. (Shouldn't I really just add this to my on-going list of "indoor responsibilities"?)

We spent a lot of time over the winter getting the soil in the vegetable garden up to snuff. (I can honestly tell you now from personal experience that turkey manure has nowhere near the overwhelmingly bad aroma that horse manure does. And there's still a smidgen of city-girl left in me that hangs her head with sadness at the fact that I know this information.) Anyhow, I think, at least I hope, that we did a good enough job, because we're going for broke on variety this year.

This isn't a full shot of the veg garden. I would have had to back up another 50 feet or so to show all of it. What you don't see in this shot, that missing 50 feet, are the corn, green beans, butternut squash, hubbard sqaush and pumpkins, but since there isn't much happening with those yet, I wanted to concentrate on showing you where the green is. Down there in the far end by Doc is celery, peas and some tomatoes. (Those tee-pee poles are for the peas to climb up.) Elsewhere inside the fencing you can find spinach, head lettuce, leaf lettuce, onions, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, peppers, yellow squash, zuchinni and potatoes. It's hard to tell from this photo, but most of it's looking pretty good.

But the most impressive performers in our garden so far are the garlic and radish beds.

Mmmm, just look at those garlic plants. I use garlic so much in my cooking, it only makes good sense to try growing it ourselves. If this year's crop is as successful as I expect it to be, we'll plant a larger plot next year and sell the excess at Farmer's market.

In case you're wondering, that's red and green leaf lettuce framing the garlic bed. We'll probably be picking it in the next couple of weeks (if not sooner). It doesn't grow very large, but it does give an interesting crunch to salads.

Speaking of salads, check out our ruby-red radishes. These beauties are pretty much ready for picking, which totally works for me because I'm pretty much ready to eat them!

These didn't take very long to grow, much to my surprise, so after we're finished with the hundred or so plants we've got now, we'll re-seed for another crop before the season ends.

Aside from all the veggie-garden work, Doc has also been putting in a lot of time on fence-building for our herb garden and strawberry patch.

Rustic, charming and functional. Doc's been scouring our treelines for limbs that will make good fence posts. Next to keeping our vegetables well watered, this fence is currently the highest priority on the farm. We'll never be able to keep the chickens from eating everything we try to grow there without it.

So, now you know what Doc's been doing. Me? I'm still tackling some of those "indoor responsibilities".

That's a whole lot of coupon-clipping to catch up on. But if you know me, you know I'll put it all to good use.

Monday, March 15, 2010

There's a New Sheriff Rooster in Town

A little history of the chicken raising side of Weksny Acres...

We have been raising chickens for a little over seven months. We got our day old chicks from a very reputable hatchery. Of the 25 chicks (3 different breeds), we had 24 arrive alive and well. I must add that we ordered the chicks as straight run, so we expected about a 50/50 mix of future hens and roosters. Since then we've added 6 more hens to the flock, and lost 3 to hawks or coyotes. So as of this writing we have 27 chickens enjoying their home here at Weksny Acres.

Over the course of the last few weeks and months, Wendy and I have realized that out of 27 chickens, we did not have a single male in the bunch. How do you receive an order of straight run chicks and not have one male? That's just our luck.

This was unacceptable to us, knowing what our plans and goals are for the chickens, so I started shopping for a few roosters. One for each of our main breeds.

Our Dominique girls are the first "lucky" ones. I found a good looking Rooster in our area, and went and got him yesterday.
Here he is....

Wendy, upon seeing him, called him Buck. I liked the sound of that, so the name Buck stuck. He has since fit in nicely with the ladies. It was interesting to watch the first few hours as Buck started establishing himself as the "King of the Roost". But after a while things settled down, and he started fitting into his role.

On Tuesday, I'll be picking up a Rhode Island Red roo, so the fun will start all over again. Not only will we get to introduce him to the girls, but he and Buck will have to figure out who the head cock is. I'll keep their progress posted here.

If anyone knows where I can find a good Delaware rooster in the Carolinas, please let me know. We'd hate for any of the ladies to feel left out. :wink:

Friday, March 5, 2010

Freezer camp for the Egg-Eaters

The other day I went out to check on the chickens and collect eggs, What I found was two of my chickens were helping themselves to a fresh laid egg. Of course when I walked into the coop they bolted out the door into the yard. It's happened a couple of of times before and I could never find out who did it. We always have been collecting the eggs throughout the day, but on this day, I wad there at the right time.

Now I have a good idea who the culpits are. Back during the fall we were given 6 New Hampshire Red hens from a fellow I worked with. They integrated themselves into out flock pretty well.

I've read that in early spring some chickens will do this for the extra calcium and protein and then they go back to leaving them alone. But it can cause quite the problem if other chickens decide they like the taste of fresh eggs.

So I have two choices to get them to stop.
1) Give it some time and hope that they stop eating the eggs, or
2) Send the egg eaters to freezer camp.

Me, I opt for freezer camp!
I am keeping a very close eye on things out there now, and the moment I catch one of those 2 eating an egg, they are getting their one way ticket to the freezer.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Great Chicken Mystery

Wendy and I went to put the chickens in tonight and discovered that 3 of them were missing.
Problem is one of them was Wendy's favorite Dominique. Don't get me wrong, we've lost a chicken to a hawk and one to what I believe is a coyote. So we expect to lose one here or there, but 3 at one shot?

I couldn't find a sign of them anywhere, not even where something might had got them and left some feathers. Just nothing.

We are hoping that the three of them are holed up somewhere in the woods and will come home tomorrow.

In any event, my shotgun will be going with me when I work on the pig pen tomorrow, and I dare whatever it was to come back and visit.

Just got back in from taking my shotgun for a walk. I wanted to see if any of the missing birds came home. Lo and behold, there were 2 of them roosting on one of my step ladders that are leaning against the barn. The best part was that one of the was Wendy's little friend, the Dominque. I will sleep better tonight now. The Dominiques and Delawares are like my "prize" chickens.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Future Farmer or Daddy's Girl?

I'm not sure which one our Princess is enjoying more...the latest edition of Hobby Farms, or the quality time with Daddy?

Yeah, I think it's both, too.

Join in the WW fun here and here.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Busy Winter

It's been a busy winter around here. Evverything from vehicles breaking down to the heat going out in the house. Our propane heating system hasn't worked right since we bought the house this past spring, and after this last time, I got fed up with it and put a good old fashioned wood heater in the living room. That old jewel does a good enough job that it heasts the whole down stairs and does a decent job up stairs. It gets nice and warm on the landing. The other week during the ice storm, it was a balmy 84 degrees in the house.

The chickens are doing a good job for us. We are averaging 18 eggs a day and are developing some good customers.