July slide by me like a zephyr—long before I knew it. Was really busy trying to stay ahead of the weeds and trying to get some fencing done for my turkeys. They are getting pretty big and needed more running room. Hope nothing happens to them in this hot muggy weather like it did last year. I’d like them all to be plump and ready for people for Thanksgiving. I have both the big breasted ones and heritage turkey this time. I asked for a variety and got several kinds. Also have changed the kind of broiler/fryers we raise. Now have Red Ranger type which grow slower but are more survivable. have red ones that will be ready to harvest in September and have now received 130 white ones that we will harvest in November before we do turkeys.
Was fun to have six baby ducks hatch this summer, four white Pekin and two brown ones. Also had four gray goslings hatch. One died. Have three goose females and each one of them claims a baby to care for. They are very protective too. Was able to get five guinea keets from a neighbor so hope they grow up. My last guineas disappeared this summer and I like having them around. They love ticks and other bugs! My pullets of several colors are nearly grown and will be laying in a couple of months.
Wish you could see our calves this summer. About half of them have a Longhorn father and are so pretty. They are very well muscled and will make great butcher calves. We plan to keep the heifers and put them in the herd. Longhorns tend not to have as many health problems as our red and black cattle. When the heifers grow up we will breed them to a red bull as we don’t want or need full blood Longhorns. Longhorn meat is very fine grained and they do put fat cover on so they taste great as steaks and roasts. Since our cattle are totally grass fed and no medications (unless they get sick–which we don’t want) their health is of utmost importance to us and to whomever buys our meat.
Lost my Jersey milk cow this week. She was ready to calve and I was looking forward to her rich cream for butter and ice cream. Sad Day. Still have a Guernsey that will calve soon. She has not been milked before but will be if I can convince some boys to make me a tight fence for my pasture. I’ll have to be patient with her.
We are still in the hay fields. More hay this year than we’ve ever put up! Most of it is good hay with a lot of legume as well as grass. Some has weed but we cropped the tops off them earlier to prevent them going to seed and that helped to thicken the grass underneath. Will small square bale the last hay in September as the people who own the land want it clean and nice going into winter. Small square bales are always handy to have. We mostly bale big round ones and feed them rolled out on the ground they came off of. That and the manure puts nutrients back into the soil We try not to use commercial fertilizer.
Th farm is not all work and no time off. When we finished the chicken in July we had a get together with family and friends The boys roasted a whole pig in a pit in the ground for nearly 24 hours. Most who came brought something to add to the table. We provided the bread and drinks. There was a live band and the kids had a water slide and bounce house. As things would be, of course, it was the hottest day of the month. There was a big tent set up outside and great big fans so it turned out not to be stifling. Some stayed until nearly midnight. The music was a grand mix of everything and some was really good! We plan to do it again the end of September and will add drive in style movies for as long as anyone wants to stay.
I’m really proud of my gardens this year. We got them in so late I wasn’t sure what to expect. But because we have had a lot of rain everything is growing like crazy now. I pulled the first roasting ears yesterday, August 12th. Will have them until frost probably, since I made three successive plantings Green beans are ready to can. Will have lots of them too because I made several plantings. Melons should begin ripening soon. The cantaloupe are netted. Many tomatoes setting on but not rip yet. Can’t wait since the best way to eat a mater is while you are in the garden with juice dribbling down your chin. We have frozen many quarts of grated zucchini for bread and muffins. And cucumber and onion rings in vinegar are so delicious this time of year. Apples are about ready to pick also. Will have some pis from that tree. Pears will be later but look delicious now.
Guess I’ve rattled on long enough. Need to order mineral for the cows and get ready for evening chores after my husband and I say our daily prayers together for our family and country.
Thank you for spending time with us. Virginia Missouri Gems-Toole Farms