Monday, May 25, 2009

Bringing Armenia Home

Although we are not in Armenia right now, I, Kalem, continue to incorporate Armenian village life into our "county island" city life.  We have increased our chickens from 10 before Armenia to about 20 now.  Recently, we got a mother sheep with two baby girl lambs that were born on Easter.  This was in exchange for butchering services (of which I learned in Armenia) of this same mother's offspring from last year.  Actually, the son impregnated both the mother and the sister!  Our son Frank when explaining how we have a mother and babies with out a father, he gladly offers, "we ate the dad!"  This mother will probably also fall under my knife in about a month or two, once the lambs are properly weaned (let me know if anyone is interested in watching).  

There are a few of the older and fatter chicken that I think I would like to kill as well.  One especially the alpha hen of the group, manages to get into the neighbors yard but can't get back into ours.  Pretty much the list for being slaughter ready on our egg farm is as follows: 1. turning out to be a rooster (12 chickens died this way that we raised from chicks, in addition to the two quail we had), 2. segregation, not mixing with the other hens (2 this way) 3. being of age and not producing eggs. (same two) 4. Having some disease (3 this way, but we didn't eat these), and 5. For causing general problems in the chicken coup, having a bad attitude, or escaping regularly (the alpha chicken will die for this).  

We have also started composting with worms.  We take food garbage, minus meat and fat, plus napkins and paper towels, and mix it with shredded newspaper, and yard waste like straw leaves or grass clippings, and bury it.  I take a hand full of worms, from the established area (I mail ordered them originally from the worm dude), and mix the worms in with the compost, add a thin layer of dirt on top to keep the flies away, and then I put an old window screen on top to keep the chickens out, and I have a sprinkler that keeps the area moist.  The castings, dark, rich, fertilizer is then great natural organic fertilizer for our garden, lawn, trees and other plants.  The worm population will double every 2 to 3 months in ideal conditions, the worms also become a protein treat for the chickens. 

When we want to get rid of harmful bugs or do some light tilling around the garden plants we let the chickens in for natural pest control.  It is an age old cycle that we are glad to be incorporating into our lives.  Some times the animals get out and cause more harm than good, but we are learning to deal with this.