Monthly Archives: March 2013

What’s up wit dat?

Spring has sprung and my incubator is cranking, 20 of the first 24 I set hatched. I did lose one after the hatch, no clue about why, so there are 19 little fluffy butts eatin, drinkin, poopin, and growin in my new-found brooder.

What a mess of chicks

What a mess of chicks

Lexi waiting for her new favorite chicken to hatch

Lexi waiting for her new favorite chicken to hatch

Lexi swears that this little guy looked right at her when he popped out of the egg and said "momma"

Lexi swears that this little guy looked right at her when he popped out of the egg and said “momma”

The new brooder is working out great!

The new brooder is working out great!

So far my list of barnyard critters is limited to chickens and ducks, I have wanted to branch out into bees but my sweety Karen is adamant that ain’t gonna happen. It always gets pointed out how many chickens I have, in fact just last week I got asked “what in the world are you gonna do with all of those baby chickens?” See if you can spot the irony in the situation when you look at the following pictures taken at the time that silly question was being asked.

Tuey's new baby "Gooey"

Tuey’s new baby “Gooey”

Gooey and her bottle

Gooey and her bottle

Gooey and Annabelle

Gooey and Annabelle

Karen says that Gooey is the foundation of her new venture into making goat cheese and goat soap. Gooey is now two weeks old, walks on a leash, lives in a kennel in the living room, drinks her milk from a 2 liter pepsi bottle with a nipple on it, runs to karen when she hears her voice, head butts the fridge to tell you it’s time for her bottle, and goes for car rides “just for fun”. Yeah goats are so much more practical than bees.

Gooey a week ago

Gooey a week ago

Gooey Yesterday

Gooey Yesterday

Isn’t it amazing how much Gooey has grown in just one week? She drinks about a third of that 2 liter bottle three times a day along with eating hay and weeds in the front yard. Lest you think “Tuey” just went off half cocked on this goat thing she did do a pretty good job of researching and choosing the proper breed of goat. Gooey is a Nigerian Dwarf Goat, she should only get about 20″ tall and weigh somewhere around 75 pounds when fully grown. From what I have read the “dwarf” part of their name is just a label that has been hung on them because they are small. They weren’t bred specifically for size but just turned out that way as a result of breeding for good milk production in a harsh environment. Nigerian Goats are one of the best goats for feed to milk conversion and have sweet milk that is very high in butter fat. Obviously Tuey weighed these factors and made a rational decision rather than falling in love with a “cute little goat” at a feed store in Escondido. Tuey would never track down a breeder of “cute little goats” and convince them that she was an expert at bottle feeding animals and could be trusted with a week old baby. Additionally Tuey would never pester a breeder of “cute little goats” so much that he made he regular phone calls to update her on the status of her becoming a “goat momma”. Yeeeeeaaaah Tuey would never do something like that…..would she? Of course she did! Thats what Tuey does, and in truth one of the things I love so much about her. So you would think with my indulgence of Karens fascination with Nigerian Goats and African Grey Parrots (last count was 10) a few little bees wouldn’t be such a big deal.

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There is Funk in the Orchard

A few weeks ago i made a post, There is Fungus Among Usin which I outlined my entry into the world of Korean Natural Farming. About a week later my post, IMO aka Indigenous Micro Organismsoutlined the second step in creating microbial rich preparations for application. Today’s post is about the final step of stabilizing the two microbial cultures, Lacto-Baccilus & IMO, that I initially collected/captured then refined.

The Milk/Lacto serum mixture after two weeks in the closet

The Milk/Lacto serum mixture after two weeks in the closet

You can clearly see the separation of the curdled milk solids from the refined Lacto-Bacillus serum. This process grows the Lacto in an environment friendly to them and less friendly to the other microbes that were caught in the initial rice-wash water phase.

Separating out the milk solids

Separating out the milk solids

This stuff STINKS!!!! Bryan McGrath in his YouTube video, Korean Natural Farming-Lacto Bacillusmentions that he once tasted this “cheese” and it wasn’t bad. I’m calling Bullshit on that! My chickens gobbled the stuff up but the reek was/is horrid. The serum got mixed 1 to 1 with unsulphured molasses to create a shelf stable liquid that is supposed to be good for a couple of years.

The inoculated rice mixed with brown sugar after fermenting for 2 weeks

The inoculated rice mixed with brown sugar after fermenting for 2 weeks

The IMO stuff was heaven compared to that stinking Lacto concoction. The above mixture was combined with water at a rate of 10 to 1 then the solids strained out.

10 to 1 mixture

10 to 1 mixture

The solids from the IMO fermenting process

The solids from the IMO fermenting process

Again the chickens gobbled the dregs down, all of this funky stuff the girls are gobbling down should be good for them in that it really is just probiotics for the farm.

The ingredients of my pulsing spray

The ingredients of my pulsing spray

I applied my first full-bore pulsing spray to my orchard, garden beds, and coop area today. The ingredients were 5 ounces of my recently stabilized IMO/Lacto concoction, 2 ounces pure cold pressed Neem oil with a dash of organic dish soap to emulsify it, and 4 ounces cold processed liquid fish.

Sprayer

All of this was mixed with enough chlorine free water to fill my 2 gallon sprayer and applied to my fruit trees thoroughly. After the trees were soaked to the point of runoff the garden beds and coop areas were sprayed with what was left of the second sprayer full.IMO10

One of the Comfrey plants I thought I had lost

One of the Comfrey plants I thought I had lost

IMO13

Look at the worms in the roots of this Comfrey plant I'm relocating

Look at the worms in the roots of this Comfrey plant I’m relocating

All of the microbes in this mixture are going to fed and energized by the fatty acids in both the Neem oil and Liquid Fish and hit the ground running, breaking down organic material into compounds less smelly and more useful to my plants. Additionally these beneficial microbes should colonize the bark, leaves, and mulch crowding out harmful microbes. I’m looking forward to blogging about the results both positive and negative. Initially I have one negative that I will have corrected before my next application, that little 2 gallon sprayer killed my back bending over to pump it up. There is definitely a 4 gallon back pack sprayer coming to my tool shed soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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F2 Olive Egger

What I hope is an F2 Olive Egger next to the shell she just hatched out of

What I hope is an F2 Olive Egger next to the shell she just hatched out of

abc2

El Huevo Gato!!

El Huevo Gato!!

2013’s First Chicks

3 weeks ago I set 6 eggs in the incubator, they r second row up from the bottom in the picture below.

Two dozen eggs in the incubator.

Two dozen eggs in the incubator.

They started hatching last night and as of now I have 5 cute little fluffy-butts.

Newbs

Newbs

The 5 newest members of The Fruity Chicken flock

The 5 newest members of The Fruity Chicken flock

One egg still hasn’t pipped but I’ll give it a couple more days just to be sure. So far it appears that I have two Golden Cuckoo Marans (the light colored ones) one Black Copper Marans (on the left in the upper picture) one F1 Olive Egger (came out of the one green egg) and a mutt (BCM daddy and Red Sex Link momma).

These next 6 are due Friday

These next 6 are due Friday

Pictured above are the next batch of eggs that went in the hatcher tonite and should Friday. From left to right is a Golden Cuckoo Marans, then Two Easter Egger X BCM crosses (should yield F1 Olive Eggers). Bottom row is Olive Egger X BCM( should yield F2 Olive Egger) on either end with another EE x BCM in the middle.

That leaves the outer two rows in the incubator that go into the hatcher on Sunday. Maybe next week my sweety Karen will make a run to Utah to pick up those Cream Legbars and Basque hatching eggs she’s been promising me.

Check out the latest Critter to be caught in the act of egg thievery!

Check out the latest Critter to be caught in the act of egg thievery!

 

It's Lexi!

It’s Lexi!

 

 

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Look what I found!

Digging around in the barn for something I decided to see what was in the loft and lo & behold look what I found!

What is this thingy?

What is this thingy?

It's a brooder!

It’s a brooder!

And it works!!

And it works!!

I had been using my Sweety, Karen’s, bird hospital cubicles as both hatcher and brooder. This practice had led me to rush my chicks into the juvenile pen after 2 or 3 weeks in order to avoid complaints about the odor. Now I can set up this brooder in the office of the new house for this season and then find it a permanent location when we move up the hill. I do need to figure out exactly how to set it up properly, temperature I get but this has a curtain that I ain’t quite sure what purpose it serves.

Two dozen eggs in the incubator.

Two dozen eggs in the incubator.

This find couldn’t have come at a better time. The half dozen eggs in the second row up from the bottom go into lockdown this friday, the next half dozen just above go into lockdown 3 days later, and finally the outer two rows go in a 4 days later. Hopefully within the next 2 weeks I’ll have a brooder full of fluffy butts and an empty incubator ready for the Cream Legbar’s and Basque hatching eggs Karen is teasing me with AGAIN.

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IMO aka Indigenous Micro Organisms

Last week I chronicled my first baby steps into “Natural” farming or maybe more properly “Korean Natural Farming“. I actually like the term my new favorite non-fiction book, “The Holistic Orchard” uses right in its title. Holistic . For me that word summarizes the approach I’m going to use in my orchard/garden/chicken ranch, not only looking at the whole system but investigating the whole world of agriculture practices. The goal is to keep an open mind and be inclusive not exclusive, if after thorough research I come to the conclusion that an application of petro-chemical based pesticide, herbicide or fertilizer is the right choice that option, while not being the preferred option, will be included.

Back to my funky stuff! The fungus/bacteria/yeast culturing project went off successfully. Karen did find my fungus bin but didn’t throw it out (Lorri did you snitch me out?) Your going to be spared pictures of furry, fluffy, multi colored spotted rice only because I forgot to take a picture before I processed the goo.

Rice Wash water after a week of culturing.

Rice Wash water after a week of culturing.

IMO3

Pulling out 8 ounces of serum with a turkey baster

Pulling out 8 ounces of serum with a turkey baster

The Lacto-Baccillus serum mixed with milk to grow out the preferred Lacto cultures

The Lacto-Baccillus serum mixed with milk to grow out the preferred  Lactobacillus cultures

In 2 weeks time this 80 ounces of milk inoculated with 8 ounces of Lacto-Bacillus serum should curdle and separate leaving me with a crude curd to feed to the chickens and Lacto-Baccilus rich whey to be stabilized and used in the orchard.

The funky rice mixed with brown sugar to make IMO-2

The funky rice mixed with brown sugar to make IMO-2

 

IMO-2 ready to ferment

IMO-2 ready to ferment

The IMO-2 along with the milk concoction will now go in a dark closet to ferment for a couple of weeks in preparation for stabilizing and then use.

 

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