2015 in Review
I always get a bit nostalgic at the end of the year, and looking back at 2015 it was quite a memorable year at the farm. Without a doubt, the most exciting thing to happen at the farm was the addition of turkeys to our flock. We bought four turkey poults from the farm store in April and soon fell in love with their curious and adorable ways (Turkey Lurkey). We had a very enjoyable three weeks of raising them in the house before they became so big and adventurous that they had to move outside to their coop. All four of the turkey poults grew up to be Turkey Boys, and although they were truly a stunning sight to behold when they were all strutting at the same time, by the time they were three months old they had started to fight, so I rehomed three of the four boys. I bought two young turkey hens from a farm a couple of hours away, and now we have what will hopefully be a happy trio of breeding turkeys consisting of Ringo, Dear Prudence, and Eleanor. The turkeys have quickly become among my favorites of the farm family.
We had our hearts broken a few times this year when we lost Coco Puff, Ramona, Squeeky, and Lil’ Red Rooster. I think Coco Puff died from a reproductive disorder (Farewell Funny Lady) as seems to happen all too often with pet chickens. Squeeky died in a freak choking accident while we struggled to help her but were unable to. I’m not exactly sure what the cause of Ramona’s death was, but something seemed to have been ailing her for a while, and one morning I found her dead in the coop. Lil’ Red Rooster went missing in November, and we assume he was taken by a hawk. We went into Lockdown mode on the farm after Lil’ Red’s disappearance and a coyote sighting on the trail camera. We implemented extra security measures including installing automatic chicken coop doors on the two coops in the front pasture, so now everyone is locked into their coops safe and sound at night whether we are here at dusk to close the doors or not. We bought two silver laced cochin banty hens (Little Ones) to be Millie’s new coopmates after we lost Coco, and I’m glad we did or else Millie would have been quite lonely after having lost both Coco and Lil’ Red. Next year I am planning to get a silkie banty rooster, the same breed as Millie, and maybe we’ll let her raise up a batch of banty chicks.
We had a productive year in the garden (Garden Goodness), preserved lots of food for the winter (Putting Food By), learned how to use the pressure canner (Eat Your Veggies), and had our best squash season ever (Squash-a-rama). The ladies supplied us with plenty of eggs throughout the spring and summer for ourselves, our family, friends, and neighbors, laying an all time record of 20 eggs a day on several occassions! Our two bee hives also had a very productive year, and we harvested several pounds of honey (Honey Days). I bought myself a third bee hive for my birthday present this year, and next spring we will do a hive split to establish a colony in the new beehive. We undertook a major pasture renovation project this fall (Fall at the Farm), by rototilling, seeding, and moving the girls off of the upper pasture. By next spring, the upper pasture should be fully revegetated with grass and nutritious legumes for the ladies. Amidst all that happened this year at the farm, we also tried to remember to take some time to enjoy the Simple Pleasures.