Week in Review: Oct 12/15

This Week in Review is late due to the amazing Thanksgiving turkey dinner last night which, by all accounts, was a raging success. It was described many times as the best turkey dinner we’ve ever had and it absolutely was delicious. The turkey was brined in salt water for 12 hours and the breast meat turned out to be very moist and tender. Turkeys are definitely in the plans again for next year! There are still six out back waiting to board the bus to Freezer Camp and will likely be done before the snow hits.

We passed the 1500 egg mark since keeping official records on July 10. Egg production is starting to vary wildly these days, from a peak of around 17-18 eggs a day back in July to anywhere from 10-16 eggs a day now in October, not unexpected with the shorter days and colder temperatures. There is one hen that went broody more than three weeks ago who still insists on sitting in an empty nest. She changes from one of two nests that are side by side, likely if there are eggs laid in that particular nest, but any eggs she happens to be sitting on are taken out from under her. It’s a bit late in the year to be hatching chicks out in the coop as they would still be very small when the snow and freezing temperatures hit. Hopefully her broodiness will break at some point or more drastic steps will have to be taken.

Rats are new to The Homestead this year, not the kind that are raised inside and make good pets but the wild ones that live outside and apparently have the feed shed under siege. This is not a good development as rats can carry disease and will eat baby rabbits and likely eggs and small chicks, not to mention the mess they’re making with the torn open feed bags. Rat traps are used here, exactly the same as the snap mouse traps but about three times the size. They also catch the odd unlucky chipmunk that happens to have the misfortune to wander into the shed. Chipmunks are generally welcome here but we can’t have them getting into the feed. There are plans in the future to secure all the feed in bins instead of the bags and maybe build a cage wire protection area for them so the traps may not be necessary but, for the time being, traps will have to be the way to go. At that point live traps may be used so there is a choice about which critters to release or destroy. It’s always a disappointment to see a chipmunk in the trap but quite satisfying when another rat is eliminated.

We had a large mountain ash tree fall on Wednesday, it fell over the north fence and into the field which, fortunately, already had the crop of soybeans harvested a couple of days before. It’s not the best wood in the world but it will be cut up and stacked and will make great wood for the fire pit out back next year.

All the animals are doing fine although the rabbits seem to be having difficulty breeding. Lucille built what looked like the beginnings of a nest, pulling some fur and digging out a hollow in the straw inside a nest box but no kits next. It’s quite puzzling because she started off with two litters of 11 back in the winter, followed by one of nine and then a litter of three of which only two survived. Hopefully she can get back into solid production soon.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

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