This has been a very productive week at JustPicked Farms. On Thursday morning, I got a call at 5:30 am from the postoffice saying my chicks had arrived and I needed to pick them up. When I got there, they handed me a box about the size of a shoe box. “Is this all?” I asked. I peeked inside the box and saw that it included only the 25 barred rock chicks, but not the 50 cornish cross chicks and 6 turkeys that I was also expecting that day. They assured me that was the only box that had come for me. I took the chicks home and got them situated in the brooder house, and then went to work. At 8:00 I called the hatchery to see if the rest of the chicks had been delayed. “No,” they assured me, “they all shipped yesterday morning.” The rest of the morning I worried that they had been lost by the postoffice. I went home for lunch and found a message on the answering machine from the postoffice – the rest of the chicks had arrived on a later truck. I went back into town, picked up the chicks, went back home again, and began unpacking the chicks.
For those of you who have never purchased chicks, there are two steps to unpacking them. The first step is to count the chicks as you are taking them out of the box. Of course, you want to make sure the hatchery didn’t short you (although I’ve never had a hatchery short me), but also because hatcheries generally throw in a couple of extra chicks just in case of losses during the trip or first few days. In this case, there were 52 chicks, and 6 turkey poults. The second step after counting each chick is to dip its beak in the waterer, so it knows where the water is. That gets them drinking quickly after they’re unpacked.
On Saturday, Japheth and I went to Spring Hill to pick up a package of bees. When we got them home he helped me put them in the hive. They come in a wooden box with screened sides, with the queen in a separate cage inside. There are about 10,000 bees in a three pound package. We took the queen cage out, removed the cork that kept the queen inside, and placed the cage inside the hive. Then we turned the box with the rest of the bees upside down and set it on top of the bars, leaving a space so they could crawl down inside. We left them alone for an hour or so, and then we took the box off the top, put the lid back on the hive, and left the box leaning up against the side of the hive so any remaining bees could crawl out and find their way into the hive. Nobody got stung during this process, and we weren’t wearing gloves or veils.
We also rented the small tractor and tiller from Waters, and tilled the corn patch, the melon patch, Japheth’s patch, and inside the greenhouse. I was able to get some tomatoes transplanted, and some carrots and broccoli planted.
There’s always something to do on the farm. It keeps us from being couch potatoes.
Until next week…