Transitioning

After my last post about the horrifying rate of chicken attrition (Note to self, new band name: Chicken Attrition), we lost two more, bringing our total number of hens down to two. (One had her neck broken by the geese; one died of general failure to thrive…Chickens now have their own separate sleeping area, because geese are assholes and their time is limited*.) We’re getting more hens in a couple of days. Makes me happy!!! My little Rhodie and her buddy CM are doing their job, but two eggs a day just ain’t cuttin’ it.

Up yours, Bitch Grass.

Future home of raised beds

Garden transition from summer to fall has been slightly painful. See all that grass? That’s my garden, overtaken by Bermuda grass, or as we call it, Bitch grass. It started to seriously make a move about two months ago, I didn’t get on it fast enough and now I have watermelons, winter squash, bush beans, and carrots all competing for life. I have weeded around them, but I just don’t care anymore because they’re thriving anyway AND! Transitions. We’re moving to a raised bed system**, and giving that yard over to ducks.

Seriously. *Ducks in the big garden area, geese in the back two acres, because DUNH DUNH DUNNNNH…We’re starting an ethical foie gras business. I’m not jinxing it by giving it a name yet (I have several AWESOME candidates in a spreadsheet, awaiting availability checks and a Facebook popularity poll) or describing all of our proposed production methods. But I will say that we’d be the only ones doing it in this country (based on a model by this badass, Eduardo Sousa of La Pateria de Sousa), we’ll have around 100 birds, and the Texas A&M Poultry Sciences Department has expressed an interest in helping us develop the concept. So booyah! Come on, grant money!! (Maybe. Hopefully.) No gavage, no cruelty. Just a bunch of chattering, happy buttheads eating whatever they want for 18 weeks, then eating as much corn and yellow lupine that their little faces can gorge on for four weeks in the fall. Then, a truck ride to their final reward and the Brazos Valley and Houston suddenly become a lot more delicious!

Come spring, this is going to be one noisy joint. This winter: planning, cross fencing, building of shelters, repair of existing outbuildings, installation of Nite Guards, and dreaming of creamy foie gras on toast and duck confit next fall.

Diaper of Shame

In other news, Ursa the puppy has attained her majority. So to speak. Two weeks shy of her big operation, she jumped the shark. Again, so to speak. Anyway, lots of cleaning, lots of Doggy Depends, lots of worrying about coyotes trying to break through our windows to get at the lovely Miss Ursa. (Not really, but that’s where my brain goes when I hear them in the surrounding fields.) We have three weeks to wait until she gets to see the vet again. Yay. *sigh*

Scorpions are back with a vengeance. We’re hitting the perimeter with spray and a borax/DE mixture because it’s gotten so bad that the husband literally hallucinated one in our bed last night. He screamed, “Holy shit! Look at that!” and I was looking and looking and said, “I don’t see anything!” and he started flipping the blanket around and there was nothing there. Well played, scorpions.

**Raised beds, YES PLEASE! I just can’t keep on top of the weeding and mulching required to beat back Texas Bermuda grass. We had originally chosen that

Mulberry thinks it’s spring. What up, nature?

yard because it has 7′ deer fencing and we wanted the protection. Lessons learned? NO DEER IN THIS PART OF THE WORLD. The farmers shoot them, they got the memo…Whatever. They’re not here. I’ve seen two in a year. Also, Bitch grass will always win. Always.

So, eight 4×8′ cedar raised bed boxes will be built this winter, lasagna layering installed in each, and come spring? Let’s just say I’m really excited about not weeding, having the gardens closer to the house and the water supply, and the boom that is going to be our production. We’ll also have a large in-ground bed for the spreaders (melons, winter squash, etc.), but I at least can handle weeding one 4×12′ bed.

Jesus Christ, I just realized: That’s a busy fucking winter. What have I done?

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5 thoughts on “Transitioning

  1. trase says:

    Excellent idea to get some critters on that Bermuda grass. Why fight it? Use it to your advantage and move the beds – well played on that!

    I still have to watch that video. Hoping to have time today. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Trase! It was a lightbulb moment, you know? I just thought, “Man, I can hand that back to nature (permaculture), make it easier on us, and give ducks what they want: Bugs and grass seed. Win-win.”

  2. I agree about putting animals on the grass. Ducks and geese love to graze grass. They even do over here in Sweden at the lake behind our house. Of course now almost everything is gone. Man this is a sucky time of year. Not ever use to short growing seasons or rather sometimes none at all.

    I use to curse Bermuda, but now in this freezing cold I’d welcome the warm challenge to weed Bermuda. It’s tough as it has so many strategies like Stolons, Rhizomes and seed for thriving. I finally eradicated everything from my mum’s third of an acre. It hates shade for one. But mostly is was creating other habitat a little at a time.

    The animals are a great solution. Chickens will have a deeper yellow, almost orange egg yoke as a result.

    Good luck.

    • My current chickens and geese are super happy in their grassy, weedy yard. I expect more geese and new ducks will be equally happy eating the Bermuda grass. Those crazy runners on that grass are unstoppable. Go poultry!! πŸ™‚

  3. Natasha Show says:

    That sounds great!! I’ve never eaten fois gras, but I’m glad to hear there’s a humane way to achieve the desired result.

    We had four days of amazing weather here and I did nothing towards bed prep for the spring. I think next summer might be a bust for me, too, with all of the maintenance and stuff we have going on here. I will live vicariously through you!

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