Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring is here!

Well it is April now and we are well under way with the season. We started our first CSA delivery on Monday and it feels good to be delivering veggies once again. I love the Spring and the beautiful greens that are predominant in the garden right now. Nothing looks better to me than the soft dark green leaves of a spinach plant. Yummy!

The heat is coming on fairly fast and I am a bit worried about the spring veggies. They are not especially fond of the heat. We sure have had a warm winter. It was really nice to work in but the heat makes the plants mature faster and they bolt or go to seed. I need these plants to last a few more weeks without bolting, so I pray for the cool nights and the not too hot weather.

On the up side of the hot weather we are getting our summer plants in the ground quicker than usual. The peach and wild plum trees are loaded with fruit! Yea! it has been a couple of years since we enjoyed any fruit off our trees. The late freezes have been preventing the trees from producing their precious fruit.

I am wondering about the summer weather since we did not get much of a winter. We are still leary and weary from last years drought and intense heat. Gosh I sure hope we don't see that again too soon! We lost quite a few fruit trees and bushes. We could not keep everything watered.

Well we are growing our first batch of Freedom Ranger chicks on a non-GMO feed. I have been wanting to do this for a while and I am so excited to be finally able to do it. The freedom ranger chicks are a fast growing meat bird and a good forager on the pasture. They are supposed to be ready to process in 9 to 12 weeks. I can tell you this is about half the time it takes to raise a heritage breed bird on the pasture and I am not sure of the weight you would end up with. We did it and we averaged 3 to 5 lb birds. Mostly on the low weight side. Quite a long time to get them big enough to eat. So I am really excited about the Freedom Rangers.

Commercially they raise a white dutch cross breed that is genetically bred to be ready to be processed in 6 weeks. This bird grows so fast that it has problems with it's legs because of the rate of growth. They can't get around much and I don't think they look that healthy. The freedom ranger are supposed to be great foragers and do really well running around and chasing insects. They get lots of sun and plenty of room to be a happy chicken. The non-GMO feed has been the problem to get here in our area. No one carried it locally and we had to drive 5 hours south to get some. We now have a couple of other farmer friends to go in together and purch on a bigger scale. Still very expensive to feed and we are hoping we can still get the cost down more as our order gets larger from the mill.