October on the Farm

town_683IS IT REALLY OCTOBER?

I swear to the gods, there has to be a cosmic joke going on.  It can’t possibly be October already.  I need to make a deal with the devil and slow up the passage of time.

Kidding about the devil, of course!

It’s been awhile since I wrote on this blog.  My fault and nobody else’s.  I’m so busy trying to finish a novel, and keep my writing blog going strong, that I simply let this blog sink slowly under the weight of disinterest.  Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

SO, WHAT DOES OCTOBER MEAN ON AN URBAN FARM?

There is no end to the work on an urban farm, or for that matter, for any gardener.

I just finished planting the garlic and spreading mulch over it, and just in time I might add, because I had no sooner planted it and we had our first frost of the year.  For once I timed something correctly.town_642

I still have to clean the garden tools and put them away for the winter. The quail enclosures seem to be critter-proof, so no work necessary there, but I do need to put up some plastic on the south side of one of them to block off the majority of wind and rain coming soon.  The remnants of some tropical typhoon are approaching, so I think my work tomorrow is already decided.

The quail are all fine.  We are thinning out our flock for the winter.  They don’t lay eggs over the winter, so there is no economic sense in feeding so many birds for the next five months.  We’ll butcher off about twenty of them and sell them to people who like game birds for meat, and sell some others to people who like to ground them up for dog or cat food.  Not a particularly lovely thing to write about, but it is the reality of raising so many birds.  Then next spring we’ll buy about six dozen fertilized eggs and we’ll incubate them….and in seventeen days we’ll have a new flock for the spring and summer.

CHICKENS

Bev has fantasized about having a brooding chicken which will raise chicks and by golly she found one.  A friend had a brooder, so we got four new chicks and put them in with the hen and she has turned out to be the perfect mother.  For the past two weeks she has taken care of those chicks like they were her own, and Bev is beaming like a new mother.

The chickens will be fine this winter.  They are hardy birds, and as long as they have a waterproof coop that has a little ventilation, they perfectly adapt to winter weather. They have already molted and have their new feathers, so bring on the rain, wind, and snow.  Our ladies are ready for it.town_142

By the way, we choose not to provide artificial light for our chickens, so they don’t lay eggs over the winter and have, in fact, stopped laying eggs for the year. That’s a choice any chicken farmer has to make…provide artificial sunlight and have them lay the entire year, which also shortens their laying-lives, or give them the winter off and prolong their lives.  We choose the latter.

ODDS AND ENDS

I still have to spread more mulch around the berries and grapes, and I have to plant a cover crop over the garden to add nutrients to the soil before spring, so that will happen this weekend.  The leaves are falling at a pretty good clip now, so I’ll probably just gather up leaves from around the neighborhood and use those for the mulch.

And that’s about it.  Bev works part-time at the local nursery/urban farm supply center, so she comes home with new ideas constantly, and we get a 20% discount on everything there, so that’s a win-win in anyone’s book.

AND THAT’S IT

So, how are things on your farm/garden?  Any tips you’d like to share? Thoughts?

Enjoy October, my friend.  The changing leaves, the brisk mornings, it all means slumber for the earth, the precursor to new birth in the spring.

And the wheel goes round and round…..

Bill