Wednesday, April 24, 2013

It's A Weird Spring

    It's been quite awhile since I've done an update on our place here at EarthSong Retreat. This is a pretty strange Spring season we're having this year. Temperatures swinging from near 90 degrees (F) to mid 30's and back again. We have had a few nice but light rains and I've been expanding the garden. 
    I've finally gotten another scythe from Ebay. I enjoyed my old one, but it was lost several moves ago. It works really well on the giant ragweed and other grasses that I need to cut here and there. We try not to mow at all, especially while we have wildflowers for the bees. 
    Speaking of the bees. We're looking forward to our first honey harvest.
    We also added some more chickens to our small flock. Six pullets were purchased a few weeks back, three Rhode Island Red and three Ameracauna. My personal favorite breed is the Rhode Islands, but we have some diversity. That will bring our flock to 18.
    The free-ranging chickens are a valuable part of pest control, as well as composting.
    The compost system is simple. I have a pair of bins made from pallets.
    We add kitchen scraps, garden and yard trimmings, to either bin. We also add newspaper from the macaws' cages and other compostable material. As you can see, the bins are open and accessible to our free-ranging chickens. They do an excellent job of further shredding the paper and mixing it all together. I rarely turn the piles, but do add water to help decompose the paper if needed. Before long, I have usable compost!
    I select a pile, it really doesn't matter much which one. I move the top layers over to the adjacent pile until I reach the good compost. It goes through a mesh screen into the wheelbarrow. Whatever doesn't go through the screen goes back on the pile.
   The compost goes straight to wherever it's needed. 
   I like this system!

I'll leave with a picture of Cooper the Wonder Dog and his footbaths. He likes our rainwater collection efforts.