Harvesting and putting-up activities have continued on the homestead this week. Plus, some sheep farm fun and chicken shuffling.
We canned 12 more quarts whole peaches, 2 more quarts dill pickle spears, and 7 more half-pints of peach jam. We also added strawberry jam to the mix, canning 10 half-pints and 3 pints of that.
The pantry is filling up with all these home-canned goodies!
We harvested more green and purple bush beans this week. We harvested 4 lbs, which made for 16 cups frozen after snapping. We freeze them in 2-cup portions using our vacuum sealer because that is a good amount for pretty much anything we use them for.
More of the outside tomatoes are beginning to ripen, and we picked our first three ripe tomatoes from out there this week as well.
It was time for more butchering of cockerels and selection of pullets to sell or keep. Thus we moved around a bunch of the chickens to different housing and different flocks. The integration went very well. We even were able to do something we have never done before – put a 16-week-old cockerel in with a couple of adult cockerels (along with a lot of hens) and have it work out.
He has been sharing wire with the flock for a few weeks as we waited to see if he turned out well enough to be a potential breeding roo for us. He is turning out great and we really wanted to get him integrated with the entire flock so that if he is chosen to be one of the final two roosters we keep he can live harmoniously with the other rooster we choose to keep. We have two potential roosters right now that are about 6 months old, plus Olaf, our Silkie roo (just a pet) all living with the flock of hens and pullets. We needed to get Rusty (the 16-week-old) moved into the flock, but figured he was too old for it to work out without injury. We always integrate our roosters together while at least one of them is 14 weeks or younger; older than that has caused bad fights. We were hopeful that sharing the wire wall for a few weeks would make it possible – and it did! It also helped that the flock as a whole is at about 30 birds right now. If it had just been a few hens with the roos, or no hens at all, we don’t think it would have worked well. Plus, Rusty has a very submissive personality and was more than happy to take the position of low roo on the totem pole.
We finished our chicken breeding season in May, but we had another person approach us about running and incubation for them and selling them the newly hatched chicks. So we have been collecting eggs for the last several days and have started another incubation.
It will be interesting to see how the fertility is with the younger roosters in charge of the flock since Boaz had to be butchered.
Sheep Farm Fun
We spent Saturday on a sheep farm helping with shearing. We helped move the sheep from here to there, kept records of which sheep were sheared, and bagged and labeled the fleeces. It was a fun (but exhausting) day working together. Duncan was shorn while there in preparation for his butchering in late September. This way we will get a fleece from him as well as a wooly pelt.
The busy autumn(ish) season continues on the homestead!