Well, I have to say that May has been sheer crazy at our farm here in East Tennessee. It has been quite warm recently with a great deal of seasonal rain and thunderstorms. The climate has given way to lush green grass which has been perfect for our new lawns we just planted in April. And, it has been superb for our garden that is now completely planted as of this last week.
So, what have we been doing the month of May so far at the farm?
As you know from previous spring posts, we have had a bounty of baby animals born at the farm. This month we have weaned them all. The baby goats are off their mamas and I am now milking out about one to one and a half gallons of milk a day from our does. All of our lambs are out to pasture now to fatten up. Our beef cattle are getting big bellies now that the grass is in as well.
In terms of other babies, we have moved our ducklings, pheasants, chicks and turkey poults outside into a secondary yard next to our older chickens and chicks that hatched out in January. It was nice to finally reclaim the garage.
We also added another super to our bee hives this last week as the bees are furiously being productive now.
We had a big push in our garden to get it all planted. It is now doing great and all our trellises are in so that every thing grows vertical for maximum productivity.
We also did our own first hatch of ducklings in our incubator. The larger ducklings that have moved outside, we purchased. Our three we have hatched ourselves from our own incubator so far – USS Intrepid who goes by Trep, Cruiser and The Donald are all doing well in the garage.
Also, we have a very large hatch today of more Chocolate turkeys and Muscovy ducks.
So, all in all, we are making progress shifting from spring activities to preparing for summer. Sometimes I feel like we aren’t so productive when the work around the farm involves prepping versus producing. May is one of those months like April. But, if you get these months right, the rest of the season is truly extraordinary.
Some of the more frustrating elements of May have been jailbreaks — we had a rogue pheasant who flew the coop in the garage. We decided to name him Coop, as in Flew The Coop….we have banded his leg and will write some childrens books about him.
We also had a rogue cow from our neighbor who mastered the fence jailbreak and really liked our new grass.
Other “gone wild” animals harrassing the farm of late are rats and mice. We are looking for organic solutions now to tend to the increasing problems we are witnessing on this front. And, I just read an article today that in East Tennessee land owners are noticing more snakes enter their house. Uggghhhhhh! Having recently moved here from a place where there were not many snakes, the thought of snakes entering my house is a terrible one. We will have to address the varments quite quickly to assure the rodents do not draw snakes as we have Copperheads here.
The weeks are full. We are tired. But, we are happy. That is the truth about homesteading and farm life. It is just about the most rewarding work we can imagine.
On our list of to dos for the rest of the week are getting 100s of bales of hay as first cut is here, our alpaca get sheared tomorrow which is always a treat to have more fiber for cleaning, carding and spinning and I am writing an article on why so many folks are moving to Tennessee, which will be the July cover story for a major publication. Additionally, our horses just got back from being trained so it is clean up the tack time as we prepare for horse back riding season here in the Smokies.
This is a blessed way of life. We hope you too enjoy your journeys and think about reconnecting with the land, the old ways and that personal freedom that was so essential to our forefathers before.
The indigenous ways are wonderful. Enjoy them!
God Bless! L. Davis