Big fish, little fish
Kevin has been monitoring the baby trout (the first batch of 1,500 bought in January) over the last few months and he's noticed that some are growing faster than others. The optimal scenario is the have the same size trout (or close) in each pond. The bigger fish are greedy and eat more leaving the smaller trout at a disadvantage. Kevin decided to drain the pond and separate the larger ones from the smaller ones.
After counting them, we have 1,000 larger fish! Interesting because a few months ago, this was the same pond where we lost 720 fish... it appears the men at the institute gifted us with more fish than we thought all along... nice! The smaller fish were put into the pond with the other 4,000 baby fish (the second batch bought six weeks or so ago).
Martin added a bucket of salt water to kill any bacteria on the fish to keep them all healthy. This process was new for us... always learning.
The larger fish were transferred into a completely different pond... the one beside the hatchery. This is a first for us. We've never used this pond before now. It feels like we're expanding.
Oh, this tiny fellow flew into the house for a little visit today... Kevin caught him in the loft and when he came down to show me outside, we were amazed at his blue forehead. Just gorgeous!
Considering it's the rainy season, we've had some beautiful sunny days this week and raining only at night, but today it was a cold, damp November-ish kind of day. It happens. Everything is so lush and green though, it's hard to see a down side.
We have another booking at the end of the month with a family of 4 from California. I know California is suffering a severe drought right now so maybe the moisture will be a welcome change for them.
Just look at these peppers!!
As promised from last post, I wanted to share our sweet pepper progress. We have two varieties, one that are long cylindrical-ish shape and the other round tomato shape. I'm pretty sure I only had one pack of seeds, so imagine my surprise when two different types appeared. I had no idea peppers grew on short plants like this (they can't be more than 3 feet tall... probably closer to 2 feet). Anyway, before I harvested them, I thought I'd show you our bounty.
We also hosted a young honeymooning couple, Monica and Brandon, from Idaho. They were super nice. Here they are showing off their catch. Monica did particularly well, catching a whopper... the biggest fish so far this year.
And here's a pic of our backyard after a light shower. This is what we wake up to every morning... pretty nice, eh?
Rocky and other projects
Oh, where do I begin? When I leave two weeks between writing, I forget all the juicy stuff we've done since the last post.
Let's see, we acquired another baby bull. His name is Rocky Balboa and he's about three or four weeks. He's pretty young, but he's strong and has a will of his own. Because he's so young, Kevin has to feed him milk to supplement his grass grazing. It's only been a week and a half and Kevin thinks he might be ready to be weaned. Rocky doesn't seemed too fussed with the milk now. Interesting, because Redford was drinking milk for at least 3 months and he was a bit miffed when Kevin weaned him off it. Having said that, Redford had a much tougher start in life. Rocky was going around stealing milk from five of our neighbour's cows. He knows a good thing when he sees it.
And Bobbie McGee continues to be a great farm dog. She loves to hang out with the bulls. She's learning to herd (somewhat). Sometimes, she just lounges around.
Last week, Kevin was doing the night rounds, putting the bulls away in their shelter, closing up the ponds and so forth and as he was walking by the lemon trees, he found a dead rabbit. There were claw marks on its side, so we're assuming something chased it and killed it (pumas are known to hunt rabbit), but we're not sure why it wasn't eaten. We know our forests are full of rabbits, but we rarely seen them. They're quick and hide in the thick brush. This one, however, was not so lucky.
We're looking to buy more trout. We've been told if we increase our stock, we will get more clients ("if you build it, he will come" sort of thing). But before we go crazy, we need to make sure the ponds are running as efficiently as possible, especially during the rainy season. Most of our ponds are connected with a pipe that runs from one pond to another. This allows any overflow water to move through the pipe and fall into the next pond, creating a waterfall and providing more oxygenated water. This is a good thing... imperative really. Anyway, there are two ponds that are not connected. Kevin always wondered why the original owner never bothered to connect them. There's no rational reason for it as far as we can tell. So, this week, Kevin decided it was high time he rectified the situation. (Both Frankie and Bobbie were supervising this project to make sure the boys were doing it right.)
Kevin and Martin had to dig deep enough to reach the highest level of the pond on the left (they dropped the level of water to get the work done, but once everything was done, the water level rose high enough to submerge the pipe. The water flows through the pipe into our biggest pond. The more oxygenated water, the better.
Once the pipe was in position, Kevin and Martin covered it with dirt. They then replaced the sod they had removed earlier and with the rain, it won't take long for the grass to grow, leaving little evidence. Clever boys!
We've been harvesting lots of tomatoes lately. Something that perplexes me is how on the same vine there are big tomatoes and small tomatoes growing. They're red and ripe, but the sizes differ greatly. I've never seen that before. But they're delicious so I'm not complaining.
And last but not least, I made my very first pie crust. I've never before baked pie. Something about making pie dough intimidated me. It always felt like one needed special magic powers to create the perfect pie crust. Baking has always felt like science to me, and I'm horrible at science, so I shied away. But the British Bake-Off inspired me to give it a try with the fresh blackberries I had in the fridge.
The filling was yummy – not too sweet, not too tart – but it was a little too liquid. It bubbled over and made a real mess. The crust turned out well... I was pleasantly surprised. Since baking this one, I baked another one yesterday, but mixed blackberries and strawberries together. I added just a bit of cornstarch this time and the filling had a better consistency. To top it off, I made homemade custard, too.
Kevin seems happy that we can add a new and different dessert on the roster (he says he doesn't mind if I have to practice often and be my tester. Bless him).
I also need to send a shout-out to both my amazing kids. Jude celebrated his 19th birthday last Sunday and Phoenix turned 25 yesterday! They're both doing well and finding their way in the world. I'm a very proud mama!
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Dave and Krista are a couple from the Pacific Northwest that led overwhelmingly busy lives.
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