Well there have been a few major changes around the farm I suppose. For starters I woke up one morning to a dead guinea (not sure how it died) and the stench of the guinea pen in general was becoming too much to bear. I made the decision to let the guineas free range completely and let the garden fall where it may...
Some people say that the birds will just walk through the garden and eat the bugs right off your plants, but as I learned a few month back, guineas love onions apparently. Other than that, the free ranging guinea program has been a pretty good success. To the best of my knowledge we haven't lost one, but it is hard to count 20ish guineas swarming the feed pan at dusk.
They have for the most part walked right through my garden fence and eaten only bugs. I am very happy with that. Every evening they come back and pile up close to the guinea pen where they lived for so long.
The chicken tractor that I made for the chicks and geese has been moved to the garden where i drag it up and down in between rows letting them eat grass, weeds, and bugs. I am going to have to let the geese out soon and I hope that goes as well as the guinea freeing has.
Saturday Josh went to pick up some free chickens a co-worker's friend was trying to get rid of: two roosters, 7 hens, and one chick. We put them straight into the guinea pen that was vacant for them to get used to the place. Not sure what went wrong exactly, but when I got up the next day 3 hens were dead in the little converted doghouse. I don't know if they died from a combined stress/heat problem, or if they were killed by the rest... We had to dispose of one of the other hens prior to putting them in the pen because it was severely wounded (which Josh didn't notice beforehand) and I didn't want to deal with first-aid/cannibalism issues.
So that left 3 hens and two roosters. I took two of the hens and put with our other chickens in case the deaths were caused by bird on bird violence. One has assimilated fairly well; the other went MIA the first day when I let them out to free range. I assume it is gone for good, but I guess it could come back. I left the 3rd hen in with the roosters. It was squirrely looking and had lost all the feathers on its head and kind of resembled a vulture. I might move it out with the other chickens, but haven't decided yet.
I like our rooster but it seems like he and the others are going to fight if I let them. One of the new roosters is a Dominique and very handsome. I might try to keep it if I can keep them from killing each other. The other rooster is big, mean, and has spurs bigger than my index fingers. It is destined for the stew pot when bird processing day rolls around soon. I am waiting til the chick roosters are a ripe age and then we'll process all of them and the new roosters and a few male guineas.
So yep, out of all the free chickens we got one good hen, a Dominique (and I put the chick in with the other chicks which has worked out okay since it happened to be a black jersey as well). But we also got 3 bags of hen scratch feed with them and a few future Sunday dinners for Josh, Finn, and I (Lindsay has resumed vegetarianism).
Other news: Josh's FHA loan was denied on the house next door (because too many repairs were needed) and he hit mounds of red tape with the banks and they initiated foreclosure on the property, so he will either have to give up on buying the house or wait for it to go to auction.
The garden is doing okay. We are getting squash and zucchini already. Tomatoes are growing, but a few still need staking, and I am afraid I am going to have to fertilize them a little more. The garden looks decent for the most part. I have been using the weedeater and my extreme precision to keep it in shape for the most part.
Things we have planted: Corn, beans, peas, sunflowers, carrots, okra, tomatoes, summer squash(crooked, straight, and zucchini), winter squash, pumpkins, peppers (hot and bell), sweet potatoes, volunteer gourds, eggplant, and that is all I can think of at the moment.
Started painting the front porch. Pictures to come. Mainly just have it 96% primed, but it already is looking good.
Still have one puppy to give away: Rocketship. Named by Finn. We are going to keep Ole Toby. Daisy is living at the neighbors because she doesn't like the puppies. I need to go get her; it isn't fair to them... Also need to get her fixed where this doesn't happen again.
Lindsay and I are going to Nashville on Thursday for a Tom Russell concert and a trip to all the area bookstores and such. Should be fun. She is super excited. I just hope I get to hear Tonight We Ride!