Thursday, August 7, 2014

Unity Farm Journal - First Week of August 2014

We continue to be on cria watch, as our last pregnant alpaca, Mint, waddles around the paddock.   The alpaca gestation period is 11.5 months and Mint is just about there.

Just as 17 keets (baby guineas) appeared from the forest last week, 10 appeared this week.   One of the teenage keets that was raised by ducks disappeared into the forest and likely was eaten by a coyote.    That means our current guinea inventory is

27 adults
3 keets born June 9 - will be released to the barnyard on August 17
9 keets born on July 4 - will be released to the barnyard on September 12
17 keets born on July 27 will be released to the barnyard at October 5
10 keets born on August 4 will be released to the barnyard on October 12

giving us a total of 66 at the farm.   We can overwinter about 40, so we’ll be placing 26 to other farms before the snow falls.

If you are in the New England area and are interested in Guinea Fowl (great tick hunters), let me know.

We continue to harvest cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, eggplant, and peppers from the hoop house.   Our homemade cider vinegar is the base for our fermented dill pickles, our refrigerator sweet pickles, and our even our homemade ketchup.

The mushrooms are fruiting the warmth and moisture of summer rains.   Here’s a typical day’s picking of Shitake from the shade house.   We delivered these to 3 local farm stands.

The Terex front loader is back from repair and the hydraulic fluid leak is fixed.  I was able to move 120 cubic feet of chips to trails, and 60 cubic feet of manure to our windrows.    It’s great to have the right tools available again.

The bees continue to build out their honey stores and each of the 12 hives has a healthy queen, a high population of workers, and plenty of local pollen sources.  Here’s a view of the bee yard after a recent hive inspection.

This weekend may include the birth of a new alpaca and we’ll continue all our forest/trail maintenance while the weather is good in preparation for the winter weather that is just around the corner.

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