Today my daughter, grandson and I went to Ideal Poultry in Cameron, TX to pick up the geese my daughter ordered a couple of months ago. The first time we drove to Ideal Poultry was when she was a little girl, around the same age that her son is now. Over the last few years I made it a point to go to the Livestock Conservancy site and chose an appropriate breed for my site and situation and then go to the Ideal Poultry site, which is just over an hour’s drive from where I live now, and order chicks that both needed preserving and could be obtained from a local breeder. When the chicks were hatched we made a day of it and drove out to pick up the new chicks. Now she has a child of her own and the three of us drive out to Cameron a few times each spring to pick up new stock for the farm. I am so very, very grateful that she has chosen to do a similar thing with her son that I did with her. I am truly blessed.
It was dreary and drizzly here on Friday. I finally found a good answer to my predator problems of the past many years by getting a Livestock Guard Dog about three years ago. Chevy is a Great Pyrenees and the smartest dog I have ever had and I love him dearly. Great Pyrenees are often found in Central Texas out in the fields with Angora goats but they are also useful as general farm guard dogs. That is his current role as he is good at deterring the packs of coyotes that we hear every night as well as skunks, raccoons and opossums from from attacking and eating the chickens, ducks, geese, sheep, goats and piglets. He’s good at barking when the goose alerts him to a flying object overhead, although he doesn’t seem to know the difference between a red shouldered or red tailed hawk, both of which eat the chickens, and buzzards, which only eat dead things. I don’t suppose it really matters. It seems like the buzzard is fully aware that Chevy can’t reach him up on that post and Chevy seems happy that he is protecting his flock!
Since it’s now winter and not excruciatingly hot, I can spend the next couple of months working on the non-wooded side of my property. The land I purchased two years ago was burned in the Bastrop Complex Fires of 2011. As a result of the deforestation from the fires, the subsequent floods the following Spring and the recent floods from hurricane Harvey, I have a significant erosion problem. After reading many permaculture books, and specifically Brad Lancaster’s books, Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, I have decided to start at the top of my watershed and slow, spread and sink the rainwater that falls on the ground. This is the very top portion of the property that I used a rake just to move the surface rocks on contour and then I seeded the bare ground. This is my first step in building good soil.
Yesterday afternoon, as I was feeding the pigs from last year’s litter I noticed that the pregnant pig, Hickory, wasn’t around. For the last couple of days she had been looking like she was ready to deliver at any moment. I decided that I should go look for her. Sure enough, there she was, in the woods with eight little piggies! My daughter gathered them from the woods, and now mom and babies are safe and warm in the hay in a shed in the paddock. They are so cute!
In the next few posts I’ll write about the other oh-so-cool things I learned!!!
This last weekend I went to the Mother Earth News Fair in Belton, TX. I learned so much that I almost fainted, twice, from excitement. There were so many presentations that I had to make some difficult choices about which ones to take. I think my favorite part was hanging around the Ploughshare Institute Institute for Sustainable Culture booth and watching them spin and weave and make baskets and woodworking…I think I’m going to faint again…
Down here in Central Texas the biggest growing season is in the fall and very early spring. Things die from heat and drought over the summer, but when the fall returns things come alive again and plants start to bloom. Since the weather has turned cooler (under I can finally start the seeds for the garden that I have (not so patiently) been waiting to plant.
I checked the internet for the last frost date for Smithville, TX and I found this very useful chart.
Since my garden is on the south side of my house I have decided that I will take a chance that the first frost date will be around Thanksgiving. That’s pretty close to 60 days from now. So I’m going to plant seeds that mature 60 days from the time I plant them.
I have seed packets left over from last season, so I will compare what I already have to what I want to grow and make a seed order tomorrow.
I’m so excited to be starting this new season in my life.
I’m sitting outside on a patio now and it’s only 76F! I’m feeling a little chilly. This cool weather is the start of my working season for the year, from the end of September through the end of April. It’s a perfect time to start the blog posts. We’ve had rain here for the past week with rain scheduled for at least the next week. This is very unusual here as it hasn’t rained this much since hurricane Harvey came through last year and dropped 20″ in the space of a couple of days. We really needed the rain this week. This cool weather is the signal to start the working season!!!