What a month!
We have had guests in the Casita (some friends, some partners, some travelers) all but one day this month! Its been fun having company to hike with, fish with, paint with, and build with.
But having pleasant distractions hasn't slowed the farm down any.
The frye in the hatchery tanks have officially become fingerlings. They still require ground up food, but theyve definitely grown in size.
They will soon be ready to move to the hatchery pond. The advantage to this is that our ponds are mud bottom. This adds a degree of health to the fish as they have access to natural growing nutrients versus the concrete walls of a hatchery tank. It also allows the fingerlings to grow bigger, faster, with more room to spread out and get some swimming space.
The disadvantage is- though the pond is empty, there is a reason for it.
We have been having an issue with a Blue Heron the past few months. She has been shopping the Hatchery pond for every meal. Unfortunately, fingerlings are very friendly. They flock to whatever visitor they can see on the bank, thinking they are going to be fed, not that they will be the food.
We have tried using a fake owl, a scarecrow, and poles hung with empty bags. This heron is tenacious.
Finally, we found a simple deterrent. The incoming water was supplied by a culvert, into a low waterfall directly into the hatchery pond. We added a two inch pipe, lifted, so that the incoming water would continuously break up any surface tension and obscure the view of the Heron. Herons are wading fish that spear their prey with their long bills, but they have to see the fish to catch them. This change up worked.. for about two days.
The heron then just moved on to the hatchery tanks. She figured out out to spear the fish through the mesh covers we had, but she couldn't get the speared fingerlings out of the small hole she had fit her bill into. We were finding a dozen or so fish per day, dead in the tank with holes in their sides.
A simple changeover to a smaller mesh was completed and we have seen less Heron action since. Of course, now there is a small hawk watching the 'teenagers' in the Cedro pond.
Its always an adventure.
The fish aren't the only things growing.
The chicks we got in the last week of October, are huge! In ten weeks, they have outgrown the red laying hens we have.
Dave and I have incubated chicks in the past, and had successful hatches with generations of chickens. But neither of us have ever seen such awkward, hungry, fast growing chicks. They literally sit at the feeder all day, everyday, and eat. So we decided to do some checking on their breed. .
One very distinguishing trait is, they have massive feet and legs. It sort of explains their awkwardness, but it doesn't really explain their mental deficits. They aren't smart. At all. The red hens are rather crafty, and seem to have it together, but these big white ones..just don't. After a quick internet search, it appears they are meat hens, not laying hens as we had anticipated. A hybrid Cornish hen cross. Unlikely they will lay normal sized eggs, if at all. They grown fast and are basically ready to butcher now, which is great, but we aren't really chicken killers.
We will need to get a fresh batch of hatchlings, as we are now ten weeks behind for new layers.
The gardens are getting big too! The tomatoes and corn have flowered, melons and zucchini are growing, and we have already harvested peas and green beans. There is a healthy amount of onions, leeks, and herbs ready too.
We are readying two more beds for planting now, Hopefully, they should be ready to go when these current plants are exhausted.
This week, we adopted two cats about 4 months old. They are still getting acquainted with their new home, and Bobbie, but will be nice working additions to the farm.
Casita season is in full swing now, though our spring break week booking, did just cancel. Anyone needing a bit of summer in their lives?
Happy New Year to all of our valued clients, neighbors and friends. May 2018 be exactly what we all aspire it to be.
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Dave and Krista are a couple from the Pacific Northwest that led overwhelmingly busy lives.
Click here to pick up your copy of Anne's book! It's all about their adventure and the establishment of Hush Valley Lodge: from leaving their middle-class suburban lifestyle in Canada to reinventing themselvess in the beautiful mountains of Costa Rica. Check it out and if you enjoy it, please spread the word! Thanks!