Another Typical Spring week on the Farm

Ever notice how Nature never procrastinates? Other than a siesta during the heat of August, and a short breather in winter, Nature is in an explosive sprint to eat or be eaten, to reproduce or die out, and to otherwise keep farmers and gardeners scrambling to keep up.

It’s the last week in May at Big Branch Apiary and we have been scrambling.

Best news ever: the rain finally stopped. Average rainfall for May is 4.6″ but by mid month the area had already seen double that amount. Our ground has been like pudding since March and the road through the bayou, which leads to the berry field, was often under water. The first thing we did when the rain stopped was to repair the road and replace gravel that is probably now in Lake Pontchartrain.

On Thursday the first of seven new home grown chicks joined the flock. Many chicken varieties have had the instinct to set, known as going broody, bred out of them in order to increase egg production (broody hens quit laying). Our blue Wyandottes and one bantam of dubious lineage, are determined setters. Three more hens are on the nest and should hatch out chicks in the next few weeks.

One of the Wyandotte hens and her new chicks.
Same hen with two of her gray chicks. About half are light gray, half black, all adorable.

In spite of having a bunch of broody hens egg production has been good. Every Tuesday we deliver a rainbow selection of eggs to Recirculating Farms for inclusion in their produce delivery subscription. Recirc is doing exciting work bringing fresh food to folks who otherwise would have limited access.

We started mulching the blueberries this past week, getting it laid down before Nature’s little soldiers (weeds) take over the battlefield. A shout out to Lowe’s for quoting a great price on pine bark.

Parker, great help and an avid fisherman, hauling mulch up to the berry field.

For those who saw the recent post about our tentative turkey travails, you’ll share our grief over the loss of all but one chick. Turkeys are not as domesticated as chickens which may be why the hen kept trying to lead her babies off to the “safety” of the woods. We couldn’t always find and cage her. One morning, at daybreak, we saw her with half her feathers pulled out and a huge wound on her right hip. She limped around calling for her young in a muted and plaintive little voice. Sadly, all but one had been eaten. She’s recuperating and will live but she has been in a lot of pain. Her surviving chick was given to her mother who had hatched out two more turkey poults.

Healing up after a close call with becoming dinner.

The final news for the week is that the berries are just starting to ripen–gathered a small handful yesterday. This year’s crop will be small but it looks like we may soon have berries to pick.

Looks like a bird taste tested this one.

Fingers crossed for lots of sun, happy hens, and ripe berries.

Published by c ben-iesau

From L.A. to LA... I'm a New Orleans based artist and writer.

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