There is many a day here at Olive Tree Farm when at least one of us finds there are not enough hours in the day! At this time of year as we move into summer and the nights get longer however, it enables extra jobs to be done due to the extra light.
Some of the things we have been concentrating on are fixing animal pens, fences and gates. One of the goats, Molly, does like to use her head and horns wherever possible. She doesn’t care whether it’s a gate, fence, us, or even one of the dogs which are on the receiving end of her rather solid head, but as long as she can butt something or someone she is happy. Over the last few weeks though, the gate on the goat pen was looking slightly worse for wear, so Nick has made a new one using old pallet wood … how long this one will last who knows, but it is excellent butting material for a cheeky goat!
Greg has also been busy in the vegetable patches. The tomatoes are now growing rapidly, as are onions, garlic and a few other things that we use regularly, but the second lot of lettuces yet again have succumbed to escapee ducks. We don’t know what it is about ducks and lettuce. There are many other green goodies they could go for, but somehow, they manage to find a spot in the fence they can get through and lettuce is the target. Whilst they are not expensive to buy, costing 1€ for 20 plantlets at the local market, when we haven’t managed to get any onto a plate yet, we are thinking of giving them a miss and buying from the supermarket … It’s not really being very organic though is it?
Our rabbit breeding programme has worked well over the past couple of years and have been the most successful meat for the table. We have 4 females which are rotated and rested between putting with a male for the next breeding session. We did have an upsetting experience last week though, when for some reason mother rabbit decided she didn’t want to feed her babies. We found one already dead in the morning which alerted us to a problem. Despite our best attempts, we couldn’t get her to accept them and Ben and Liz took the other 4 away and syringe fed them. At only a week old, we had to take a trip to the farm store to buy a special tiny teat which was attached to the syringe. They were up with them almost all night, but sadly one by one we lost them all. It’s a strange situation when you think we are growing them on for food, but at the end of the day you also want them to live a healthy happy life, and this time it wasn’t to be!
If you read last months’ article you may remember we had put duck eggs into the incubator. Initially there were 18, but only 8 looked fertile. It was a long wait to hatch date but after 37 days hatching began. One hatched just before we all went to bed for the night, and the following morning there were another two. That was it though, so after over a month of waiting, three fluffy chirping yellow ducks were the sum total of all our efforts. We had a few people that have asked us for ducklings so the first in the queue, by the time this is published, will have already taken them. We will try again though and hopefully have a better result next time.
On a positive note, Emma and her herbs, creams, beeswax and healing oils for people and pets, have been a huge success. She has worked hard doing a lot of research along the way and her range of products is doing well. She has spent hour upon hour, melting wax, making some beautiful candles and using the wax in her moisturisers. She has invested in a range of lovely scents to add to her various creations, all are 100% organic and she is now planning on growing many more of her own herbs so she can produce her own scented oils. It’s a long journey, but so far is looking positive. Although we no longer attend the Los Llanos Saturday market, Emma is going to try to take part in as many local events and craft fairs as she can, so watch out for our Face Book updates and hopefully you will be able to see her products first hand. If you are organising any craft events, do please let us know the details and we will see if we can attend!
So that’s about it for this month, all we have to do now is keep cool …