Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What kind of bird is this?

Does anyone know what kind of bird this is? It has white tips to it's tail feathers and no other color that I can see. I know it will be a standard bird that I should recognize but I don't.

What am I?

Never before Turkeys

We have never raised turkeys before. And when I say we, I mean my whole family. I don't believe my grandparents even raised turkeys. I never heard any turkey stories. And wouldn't there be turkey stories? I am waiting for stories of my own. I have duck and chicken stories. But would these stories stand the test of time? Will my grandchildren (when I have some) remember the stories to pass on? Maybe these stories are only important to me. And my guess is that is the way of it. But I am having a great time collecting stories.

Well, I was told to keep the turkeys in a small cage until they are about 4 months old because they are very delicate creatures. I lost 4 turkeys during the big storm a couple weeks ago due to the rain and cold. I did not expect such a cold night after the rains. But I also lost 4 turkeys in the brood box.  And the ones that I let out to the large pen are having a blast. They get on top of their "coop" and roost. They fly down and then run and chase each other. They hunt for bugs and scratch in the hay. I can't see how a cage would be better than that. So like everything I do on the farm, this too will be trial and error. And the poor animals will suffer through my learning about them.

I have three kinds of turkeys, Standard Brown, Bourbon Red, and Royal Palm. The Reds are the light brown ones in the pictures and Royal Palm are the white ones.  They will actually be white with scattering of black. I believe they are all heritage breeds, which means they have been around a long time. They are not "Butterball" turkeys. They are more like wild turkeys.

I hope you will like my turkey stories as they develop.

Turkeys-Brown, Bourbon Red and Royal Palm
Loving the sun after a big rain storm

Finally figs

My mother's parents, Granny and Gramps, had a farm when I was young.
They raised 7 children and a very large garden.
Gramps worked at a local factory and farmed.
Granny ran the house and the garden.
Gramps had apple and pear trees, strawberries and blackberries.

My father's parents lived in the city.
But like most folks back then, they had a small kitchen garden.
Grandpa was a barber.
Grandma was secretary of the First Baptist Church.
Grandpa had plum and pecan trees, muscadines, grapes, and watermelons.

We ate fruit in season.
Strawberry ice cream in the summer.
Pear cobblers in the fall.
Apple butter all year round.

And my Grandma had figs.
I loved figs...warm from the sun...tasted just like honey.
I would break one in half to see if the ants had gotten to it first.
But I would pick them off and eat it anyway.

I have wanted to grow figs of my own since I was young.
I have tried to raise figs for years.
I tried in town and for the past five years, on the farm.
So last summer, a good friend, Katie, introduced me to a great nursery.

I got three fig bushes. (two Brown Turkey and one Celesta).
Eva told me where to plant them. (northeast side of house).
John said they looked fine. (he accepted them!)
And they have grown like crazy!

Finally Figs!!

Brown Turkey Figs

Spring hay for winter feed

This has been a good year so far for hay production and grazing. Just enough water and sunshine to produce very nice fields. We have been excited to see all the hay being cut and baled. The countryside is just littered with all these big bales of hay. Looks like beautiful pastural paintings. We hayed all but three of our pastures. The cows were on two and the sheep had part of another. We hayed and baled 114 round bales. It will take more than that to make it through the winter but it is a great start. We will hope the drought doesn't return this year and everyone can get another cutting. It was so dry last year that everyone was feeding hay in August and selling off their herds. But that was last year....we will hope for a better summer.

Hay in field five

Luna and Odin playing

I try to let Luna and Odin out twice a day to just play with each other. They come up to the house and play on the porch where it is shady and cool. Odin starts out pretty white and by the end of the time his neck is wet and dirty. She is very easy with him but like I have said before he is just a stinker. He growls and grabs her fur and hangs on and she bites at his neck and paws him. I think they shall be good friends. Neither of them is food agressive, even when they get kitchen scraps. They both like to chase the chickens and lick the bottle as I feed the calf.