Red Wicket Market Farm is a small farm 25 minutes from downtown Columbus, Ohio, near Slate Run Metropark. Breeding Black Copper and Blue Copper Marans to the Standard of Perfection.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Busy week at Red Wicket

I'm sorry that I didn't update the blog last week. I just didn't feel like much was going on. I'll make up for it this week though, with a super-duper (as my daughter would say) double-length post!

Hawk attack!

We had a sharp-shinned hawk that took one chicken and tried to come back for seconds. Bruce stood up to him this time, and seems to have fought him off. What a good boy! He's not without battle scars, though. Look at his poor tail, and the feathers missing from his throat. Doesn't he look proud of himself, though?

We've been mostly lucky with predators this year. After a "learning experience" with a fox or coyote this spring we reinforced everything with hardware cloth (chicken wire keeps chickens in, but will not keep predators out) and so far, so good. The aerial invaders, though--those are more difficult to avoid.

The pullets have finally grown up

The baby chicks we ordered this spring are finally five months old--old enough to join the big girls in the main flock. We opened the fence on Monday and let them all mix for the first time. No major fights, just the older hens letting the pullets know who's at the top of the pecking order. Poor Bruce was a bit overwhelmed, though. One rooster can't keep up with 60 hens. On Saturday, I am supposed to meet a woman from down South who's passing through on her way to Cleveland to visit family. She's bringing me a Wheaten Ameraucana rooster from her flock. That should help Bruce out, but he won't be happy about the interloper, either. We'll have to make sure both boys have their spurs trimmed.

Now begins the waiting for the first eggs. We haven't had any hens that lay blue or green eggs on the farm for about a year now, and I really miss them! Watch for the first colored eggs in the cartons sometime in the next month or so.

Fall gardening

I've been slowly planting things in my fall garden, and the green shoots are starting to come up. I love planting short-season crops in the fall. We get better use out of the garden and some wonderful veggies that would otherwise be tricky to plant here in the spring. Planting seeds in the fall also helps re-energize me for working in the garden. It's easy this time of year to feel like the garden is done, as you harvest the last of the melons and watch powdery mildew start to set in on the squashes. Those little green shoots poking out of the ground in a place where just a week ago there was a wreck of used-up cucumber vines really make me smile.

I planted sugar snap peas, spinach, kohlrabi, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, beets, basil, cilantro, and two experimental zucchini plants. I want to see if I can keep getting zucchini all through fall. What do you plant in your fall garden?