Fall at Raggedy Hen Farm

Molting Mavis

Mavis chilling among the falling fig leaves.

Now that it’s November, things are definitely winding down here on our little urban farm. Well, perhaps, it isn’t so much of a winding down as it is a different sort of activity. All six of the older hens are in various stages of molt. You may recall, this means that they are losing their old feathers and growing new ones. This causes them to look pretty raggedy and to cease laying eggs. As they days get shorter, the hens stop laying too.

Our three youngest gals are still laying, so we are getting a little under 2 dozen eggs a week, on average. We are crossing our fingers this will continue until the older gals get going again in January, but only time will tell!

Brussels sprouts

Meanwhile, we are still eating out of the garden! We’ve fenced off a few garden beds closest to the house to protect them from the chickens and the gals now have free range of the rest of the yard. They’ve been doing a great job tilling up the other garden beds: eating the remaining plants, scratching for bugs, and turning in the leaves, straw, and compost we’ve been adding to build up the beds. We still wanted to have a few safe places for the fall and winter garden, however, so we build a bit of fence this past September.

Believe it or not, we are still getting some tomatoes, although as we look ahead to the cooling temperatures, those days are likely coming to an end. We’ve planted carrots, broccoli, cabbage, and mustard greens in the winter beds and we are starting to eat the Brussels sprouts that have been growing all season. With the kale, sorrel, and collards, we’re still doing just fine for fresh veggies. We may not have the variety we see in the summer months, but it still feels so fantastic to be able to harvest food for supper!

parsnips_and_brussels

Parsnips and Brussels sprouts ready to be roasted up with some squash.

Our larder is full of potatoes, onions, garlic, and squash that we harvested at the end of summer and we’ve already planted next year’s garlic crop in the protected beds. There’s still plenty of leaves to rake, maintenance to do, and, as soon as it gets colder, we’ll tackle the pruning!

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