The Dark Season

It’s been almost a year since I last posted. We have continued on in much the same vein…. chickens, gardens, herbals and nature. There have been some changes to share.

DSCF9155This summer I built a low fence to hide my garden area (and to hide things behind ~ helps keep the landlords happy). It was simple, quick and ~ I think~ quite effective.  Decorated with metal figures from the dollar store.DSCF9156

I also built a “compound” at the bottom of the hill to hide all our machines and containers inside. It is also where the burn barrel and the garden compost is located.

DSCF9175This fall I lost several chicks and a few of my older chickens to what I thought was a respiratory disease. So I took one over to the lab to get tested. (Yes, they have to euthanize).  I have Marek’s disease in my flock, a viral disease transmitted in dander and dust. Can live in the soil for YEARS!! Darn!

GOOD NEWS: Marek’s is not transmitted to eggs, nor does it affect the meat.  So we can continue to eat what we produce.  If I keep things quite clean, chances are that young birds I bring in (or hatch here) would remain resistant and be able to lay and produce for me… for a while anyways.  And… I can sell hatching eggs ($10-50/dozen depending on the breed).

BAD NEWS: I can no longer ~ in good conscience ~ sell any live stock off the farm.  So much for selling chicks and breeding stock. I also need to be very careful when I attend any poultry shows or sales that I don’t wear anything that might have any dander or dust on it.  Clean shoes and clothing are CRITICAL.

It is a disappointment, because I have invested a fair bit to get some unique breeds (and was hoping to do more this next year).  However, other folks spend lots of money on hobbies (golfing, skiing, etc.) and at least I can get something out of my expenditures.

Gardens weren’t hugely successful this year. Didn’t get my aquaponic filter fully functional this summer, but the bog filter I did set up seemed to grow HUGE roots and the pond stayed very clean looking. So hopefully I can complete that for next spring.

20151006_123038We’ve had a very mild (and snow-free) fall this year.  It was actually quite colourful for Alberta.I have the ponds put to bed and the container plants that need burying are under, but I still have some clean-up work to do in the pond bed. We’ll see if it happens before snow flies or becomes an early spring project. DSCF9267

This month I will be away a fair bit (for work), but my goal is to get some additional pens/divisions completed in the barn so that all the chickens can move inside once we get snow. That is my priority for the next weekend or two. After that… we’ll see!!

DSCF9370Close off with pictures of our Mabon hike (Sept 23 ~ Autumn Equinox). This is in the back 40 in the grazing lease behind our home. (Well… the property that we rent!!)