Archive | September 2015

Fall = football and deer hunting

I so look forward to fall!  I love to watch football and deer hunt.  When I say football I mean Nebraska Cornhusker football.  Go Big Red!  Being born in Omaha and raised on Nebraska football by my dad’s side of the family it is in my blood.  Whether they are doing good or bad I wear my red “N” covered clothing with pride.  While I am not so much a NFL fan I will occasionally watch and specifically the Super Bowl because it comes with good food and funny commercials.

Deer hunting is a whole other deal.  For me it is really about spending time in the woods.  For example it is opening day and I am actually writing this from my tree stand.  The sun is just coming up and filtering through the trees, the birds and squirrels are active, my rooster is crowing in the distance, just a wonderful time of day.  The truth is I am not very good at deer hunting.  In the over 30 years of trying I have only bagged two deer.  My son did that in his first two years.  I really do enjoying just being out in the woods.  Then there is the little adrenaline rush you get when you hear something that might be a deer, but never is.  I am hoping for greater future success now that we own the land and I can hunt literally in my own back yard.  Once the leaves fall I will be able to see the house from here. I am hoping I can see and recognize the patterns of the deer and use them to my advantage.  If not, well I will still enjoy the time spent in the great outdoors.   Here is a shot of my view this morning!

 

Fall 2015 Update

So I wanted to post a quick update on all the things around here as Fall begins.

Bees
The hive without a queen seems to have settled in, too new to all this to say who won the three way queen death match since I cant find the queen. There is brood and lots of bees in the hive over a month later. They are bringing in pollen like crazy. We get a late flow, mostly goldenrod per my local bee chapter, that is great for winter reserves. Everyone in the chapter and online it seems says goldenrod honey taste fine, but smells funny so it is hard to sell. They leave it for the bees to overwinter.

Chickens
The flock remains at 12 (11 hens and 1 kazooster) and 2 guinea fowl. I am considering “getting rid” of the guinea fowl. They are loud, annoying, and beginning to bully my hens. So far my lovely wife keeps me from taking action against them. Everyone is laying well, with 12 layers I get at least 10 eggs a day. Actually it is almost too well, I have 11 dozen in the fridge right now, so time to give some away. I may cook a bunch of them up and feed back to the girls.

Rabbits
I have thinned herd down to winter numbers, i.e. seven. I have kept three of the new three blue eye white (BEW) bunnies to mature over the winter for spring time breeding and sales. I may do one final breeding of the larger meat rabbits next week to be ready to butcher just before winter really sets in.

Gardening
So no post on this so far because all we have so far is rocks and woods. We recently had 2 yards of top soil delivered and we are clearing a hill in the front yard of trees and rocks to build a garden area. It is a little bit of an experiment. From the bottom of the hill going up, I am building a row of rocks as a mini-stone wall. I back fill that with dirt to use as a garden area. We finally planted the 5 blue berry bushes purchased in the spring into the first row. Behind the planting area I am building a mini-hugelkultur mound to act as a water reserve and a nutrient source that runs down into each garden bed. The main idea is water run off protection. When we get a heavy run the water gushes off the hillside, I am hoping this layout will soak in the water and save the garden beds from erosion. The basic idea on how we are building the hugelkultur row is we have branches and leaves from the trees we cut down to clear the area as a base. To that I am adding grass clippings and waste from cleaning the chicken coop. This is all covered with dirt and wood chips (again from cut trees) to hold it all together. We should end up with 4-5 rows up the hill ready to plant in the spring. Finally the rest of the removed trees is going to fire wood. Waste nothing!

Maple Syrup
Another area I haven’t posted about yet. Last year we collected maple sap and boiled it down to syrup, mmmmmmm. I will be posting all the details and pictures of that process soon. Mean time we are going to make a pass through the woods this weekend to tag the rest of the maple trees. Last year (out first year here) we tapped the ones we could FOR SURE identify since it was winter time and all we could go by was the bark. Our plan this weekend is to mark others now that we can see the leaves and try to make a plan to tap the ones closer to the road for ease of access.

River
Our property boarders the river. I was originally overly excited since I love to fish. Soon all hope was dashed as we realized our river access was basically a muddy swamp that my wife referrers to as quick-mud. It will suck you and your boots down fast. I think our winter project (last year it was the chicken coop) will be a deck/dock over the mud bank to have better fishing access. I’ll post something if this materializes.

I hope everyone has a great long Labor Day weekend!