Friday, October 10, 2014

Moving into fall

Ahh Fall...
Contrary to many of my friends, I love LOVE the cool, crisp fall days. I love being outside enjoying both the sunshine and the cool breeze. I love all the smells associated with fall: the scent of the leaves crunching underneath your feet, the scent of a fire in the fire pit on the deck or inside in the fireplace, and of course the scent of fall baking. Apples, cinnamon, pumpkin and brown sugar.

Fall can be a great time to slow down, take stock and plan. I have always been more of a Fall clean-up person than Spring. Fall is when I want to clean out the closets, the coop, the shed and the garden. A clean pallet, a blank canvas on which I can dream of new garden adventures come Spring.

I also want to organize to the nth degree before the madness of the holidays begins. 

Life and loss...
The new chickens are just about the same size as the old chickens. The Black Jersey Giants are getting huge. Our son found some soft eggs in the grass near the duck house. I'm not sure if they are from the ducks or if some of the young chicks are about to start laying. Chickens start laying eggs between 20-24 weeks old. The bigger the bird, the longer it takes for them to start. These chicks are about 18 weeks and both are large breed - so we probably won't see any real eggs until mid-November.

Early morning - looking for bugs

Since our post in August, we've lost two birds - a chick and one of the older chickens.  The chick seemed listless in the morning and by the afternoon she was gone. The older chicken was one of the Dominques. She had a hard time walking and was just standing in one place for extended periods of time. This particular chicken had feet issues (bumblefoot) for a while. I am always amazed at other backyard farmers who seem to be able to diagnose and prevent everything in their flocks. So many chickens diseases start with the same symptoms (flu like or death). Avian vets are hard to find, and so some chicken farmers do their own surgery too.  We have a hard time just catching them let alone administer medical treatment.

Duck Eggs-a-plenty
There's a whole lotta love in the fall air as well.  Mr. Sprinkles seems to be a very happy drake indeed!  The round-the-clock ducky love is resulting in 1-3 eggs everyday from his little harem.  

The eggs range from gray to off-white.  Everything I had read so far has stated that the eggs would be so much larger than chicken eggs.  Right now they are the same size but with a much harder shell.  It definitely take a bit more effort to crack open a duck egg.

I scrambled some last week for a quick dinner of huevos rancheros.  They do have a different taste than chicken eggs.  Still good - just different.  I'm eager to try them in baking.  I've read many other blogs and everyone seems to rave about their quality and performance in baked goods.

It all comes back to baking.

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