Wheat Harvest

I have been so busy this summer that I have not blogged very often. So I am trying to catch up.

We harvested our wheat in July, then baled the straw and sold most of the bales. The wheat grew well and we had a great abundant crop.

“Life on the farm is kinda laid back…” song by John Denver

Raising Chicks in the Autumn

I have raised several groups of chicks over the past 20+ years but always in the Spring. The feed stores and hatcheries advertise the chicks and that is when I have always gotten them. But this year I ordered chicks in August from My Pet Chicken. No, my chickens are not pets. They are farm chickens that are raised for eggs. Anyway, the timing was right to buy chicks so I did.

In the Spring in the northern U.S. the weather is always unpredictable and sometimes the power goes out and when you are trying to keep your brooder warm that can be a challenge, to say the least. So I set up a brooder in the garage with my Brinsea in August and all went well.

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I used a wire dog kennel that has a solid floor that I lined with shelf liner to prevent them from slipping. I attached cardboard on the sides with zip ties to reduce drafts even though the garage stayed at 75 – 80 degrees. They got under the Brinsea when they needed to during the first few weeks until their feathers came in. Once they had feathered out I removed the Brinsea brooder since they never got under it anymore. Remember, it was August and the garage was 75+ degrees. They never were cold. They also appreciated having more room to jump onto the roost and fly off it to the other end of the kennel.

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As they grew they needed a roost. I used a utility knife and cut a slot in the cardboard and slid in a stick that rested on the wires of the kennel. The chicks love the occasional treat of dandelion leaves and grass shown in the picture above.

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After six weeks in the kennel they were ready to move to the chicken house. I was ready too as they get soooo active and bored so you cannot open the cage without them wanting to fly out and they are chickens and chickens are messy!

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Here they are in the chicken coop.

They should start laying by late January to early February. I’m not sure how the molting process will go in their first year. Normally they molt after their first full year in the Autumn when they are hatched in the Spring. Anyone have any experience with an Autumn hatch?

I have two Marans, one Red Star, one Sussex, and two Easter Eggers. Should be a colorful egg basket!

In Love with Scones

I love scones. Not those hockey pucks you find in some coffee houses but tender scones fresh from my oven. I’ve made scones with dried fruit added, pumpkin scones, frozen blueberry/huckleberry scones and oat scones. Sometime back a fellow blogger (therufffarm.wordpress.com) and I were discussing scones. I mentioned oat scones to her and she asked for the recipe. Sorry Debbie that it took so long to get the recipe published.

TOASTED OAT SCONES

1 1/2 cups oats, old-fashioned or quick

1/4 cup whole milk

1/4 cup cream

1 large egg

1 1/2 cups flour

1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons butter, sliced and chilled

Preheat oven to 375 degrees with the rack in the middle position of the oven. Place oats on baking sheet and toast in the oven 7 – 9 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside to cool. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.

Mix milk, cream and egg in bowl. Using a food processor pulse flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until combined. Scatter cold butter slices over dry ingredients and pulse until it resembles cornmeal. Transfer mixture to a bowl and add cooled oats. Fold in liquid ingredients until large clumps form. Using your hand continue to mix until the dough comes together.

Cut a parchment paper circle to fit an 8 or 9-inch round pan. Place into the round pan. Place dough in pan. Gently pat to fit pan. Score top into wedges. Brush top lightly with an egg and water mixture then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes depending on your oven. Let scones cool in pan on wire rack 5 minutes then remove from pan. Let cool to room temperature about 30 minutes if you can wait. 🙂    Serve warm with butter, your favorite jam or traditional clotted cream.

A day ahead of the scones make the clotted cream.

Clotted Cream

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup buttermilk

Combine cream and buttermilk in a jar. Stir and cover. Let stand at room temperature until mixture thickens, 12 to 24 hours. Refrigerate. Cream will continue to thicken in the refrigerator.