Funny Guinea Fowl

The guinea fowl are getting very big. They are also starting to get curious about their environment. Every time I open the lid of the brooder box, the four pearl guineas perform their flying jump up to the ledge to check the sunroom out. Today, Mo, our royal purple guinea and one of our lavender guineas decided to join them for a peek. I should have taken a picture of them, but of course, I forgot the camera in the house. But I do have some great pics of them from the past couple of weeks

Guinea Eggs in the Incubator

Guinea Eggs in the Incubator

 

Crazy Sleeping Guinea Fowl

Crazy Sleeping Guinea Fowl

Mo and the gang

Mo and the gang

Can you tell which one Mo is? If not, here’s a hint…
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New Set of Farm Toys

All is well on the farm so far. Lots of rain which has good points and bad. We were fortunate that we didn’t get any flooding of our crops. The rain has actually caused them to flourish. I have seen other farms in the area that have flooded fields. Mostly corn fields. We will definitely be keeping the flood areas in mind when we start expanding our crop area.  The one possible loss we have faced is the potato crop. The hail that fell flattened most of the potato plants. They are still green so far and we are hoping they will recover. We are thinking about how to prevent this next year. Any suggestions are welcome!

The eggs are doing great. We candled them a week ago (held flashight under them in a dark room) to see how they were developing. It looks like 30 of the 36 eggs are developing. We couldn’t really see much in the other 6 but they weren’t smelly so we’ve kept them in the incubator. Only a week to go before we have some keets running around. In honor of our soon to be additions to the family and because I got a bit motivated on one of the rainy days, I made some new toys.

Guinea

Guinea

 
 
Dog

Dog

Goat

Goat

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Serviceberries are in Season

It’s serviceberry season again.

Serviceberries

Serviceberries

Serviceberries, also known as Juneberries, Saskatoons, or Shadbush berries are not really berries. They are actually a pome fruit and are more closely related to apples than berries. They have a unique taste, sweet and fruity but with a hint of an almond like nuttiness that comes from the seeds. They are indigenous to North America and were popular commercially in the past but have become another of those long forgotten fruits. Traditionally, they were dried and used in stews, pemmican, jams, and pies.

Serviceberries make a great substitute in berry recipes. They are a very interesting and tasty addition to muffins and pancakes. Also, their pectin level is high so you don’t need much thickener when making jams and pie filling.

We just started harvesting our serviceberries this year. I can’t wait to make some Serviceberry pie. If you have a serviceberry tree and need a good recipe, try this one.

 

Serviceberry Pie

Filling:
4 cups of Serviceberries (Juneberries, Saskatoons, Shadbush berries)
3/4 cups sugar
3 tbs flour
1/4cup water
2 tbs lemon juice 

Crust:
3  cups White wheat flour
1 tsp salt
12 tbspns chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 tbspns chilled vegetable shortening cut into small pieces
about 8 tbsns ice water

For Crust: Preheat oven to 400F. Mix the flour and salt. Add butter and shortening and mix until mixture is crumbly. Mix in enough ice water to form moist clumps (no more than 4tbspns though-any more than that and you will end up with goo). Split the dough into 2 balls. Roll out the dough on a floured surface and transfer to a pie pan. Trim overhanging dough. Roll out the 2nd dough ball to be used as the covering after you place the filling in the pie pan. Set aside.

Pierce crust in the pie tin all over with a fork. Bake crust in oven til golden, about 10 to 15 minutes.

For Filling: Preheat oven to 375F. Cook berries in water until boiling. Reduce water if using frozen berries. Add cornstarch and sugar and boil until clear, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add lemon juice, butter and almond extract. Cool. This filling can be used for single or double crust pie, tarts, or on a cheesecake. Transfer mixture to the pie tin. Place remaining dough on top of mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes till top is golden brown.

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Hatching Eggs

What are we getting ourselves into? We have decided an excellent way to rid the new farm of ticks was to get Guinea Fowl. Our hope is they will not only eat the ticks, but they will also help with insect control all around and become a great additon to our organic farm.

I spent two weeks researching and reading everything I could on Guinea Fowl. The next step was to shop around searching for keats (day old guinea fowl). Unfortunately, they are becoming quite popular and sell out quickly. So we came up with the brilliant idea that we would hatch them ourselves. So now, the adventure begins.

We found a reliable seller on Ebay and my dear husband won us the eggs by bidding as he usually does. In the last few seconds of the auction, he bid a penny over the highest amount we were willing to pay . And that was the exact price we paid for the eggs. They arrived yesterday and we let them sit at room temperature for 18 hours, small end down in egg cartons.

Guinea Fowl Eggs

Guinea Fowl Eggs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The eggs are pretty small compared to a chicken egg.

Egg Comparison

Egg Comparison

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the eggs sat on the counter, we made some adjustments to the incubator. Being married to an all around knowledgeable computer guy has its merits. He hooked up an extra computer fan he had in the basement to the still air incubator we bought in order to make it a circulating air incubator.  We also purchased an indoor/outdoor thermometer that also gives a humidity reading. So, with all of the electronic parts working, we added water and addjusted the temperature until we were between 99F and 100F and 45% humidity.

Incubator

Incubator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At six thirty this morning, I put all the eggs into the incubator after marking one side with an X (eggs have to be turned 3 to 5 times a day). 

So now, we sit and wait and turn eggs for 28 days.   

 Eggs in Incubator

Eggs in Incubator

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The Norbury Farm Is Born

So, we have become farmers. We were already gardening our 1/3 acre back yard and had extended the garden this year but we have recently leased a 4.1 acre parcel of land. The land is mostly covered with multiflora brambles but there were some bare spots


and a small stream on the back end of the property.
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We tilled about 2,500 square feet of the property so far

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and will start growing vegetables on that. After we’ve planted this area, we’ll start clearing some more of the land.

Tomorrow, we’ll put up the deer fencing and start planting on the new property but today was a relaxed evening. I transplanted some plants that were outgrowing the seed starters and started some new seeds while the menfolk mowed the lawn.

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One Potato, Two Potato

Flowers are blooming and my heart is constantly overjoyed to see my garden growing. I am also excited about our plans to expand the garden this year. We started some seeds and we finally planted the potatoes today.

We dug four 8 inch deep trenches and spread  the potatoes 15 inches apart with about 1 1/2  feet between each row. This is our first year growing potatoes so we started out with a small amount to see how it goes.

Potatoes

Potatoes

We also put up the deer fencing to prevent these four intruders from munching on our fruits and vegetables.

Visiting Deer

Visiting Deer

 The deer fencing is temporary but next year we’re planning to put up something a bit more permanent.

Before

Before

After

After

 We already have some things growing in the garden. Strawberry plants, rhubarb, parsley, lemon balm, raspberries and the garlic that we planted this past Fall.

Raspberry Cane in Bloom

Raspberry Cane in Bloom

Garlic

Garlic

 Just a few more weeks and we’ll be transplanting tomatoes and some of our other vegetables. For now, we’re trying to take advantage of the few warm and sunny days that we are getting.

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In the Garden

Spring is finally here, and I am so excited. This weekend, we will be planting seeds in the garden and clearing out those last remnants of leaves that helped protect the perennials from frost. Our vegetable list for this year has grown.

 

Vegetables & Herbs:

Artichoke (if I can finally get them to grow)
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Beans, Bush – 2 types
Beans, Pole – 2 types
Brussels Sprout
Carrots
Corn
Cucumber
Eggplant
Peas
Leeks
Lettuce – Romaine and looseleaf
Peppers – Green, jalapeno, orange
Pumpkins
Radishes
Scallions
Tomatoes – grape, heirloom vine, paste
Watermelon
Strawberries
Basil
Chives
Cilantro
Mint
Oregano
Thyme

 

Flowers:
Nasturtiums
Marigolds
Zinnias
Hollyhocks
Echinacea

Mallow

Calendula

Bells of Ireland

Sunflowers

 

We already have these planted (We put the asparagus and rhubarb in last year and the house came with tons of raspberries):
Asparagus
Raspberries
Rhubarb

 

We are planning on expanding our edible landscaping this year too. All of those horrid prickly bushes are coming out and will hopefully be replaced by blueberry bushes. Also, we will be adding more herbs, strawberries and maybe some ground cranberries to the landscape.

Of course this list will change over time as we see what grows, what doesn’t and as we run out of time and space. But for now, this is our  plan for the spring planting. 

 

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