Little Farm’s Little Guide to Duck Eggs

How are different mammal species similar with each other_ What makes mammals unique from other classes of animals_Well, it’s a foggy, grey day and we have snow in the forecast…again…for later on today. This just has been the winter that never ends! I received a sign that perhaps spring may be around the corner, though, when yesterday we got our first duck egg of the year. Our ducks are seasonal layers; we get eggs from our 6 ducks hens from about late March/early April until August. Much like chickens, ducks’ laying schedule is largely dependent on the hours of daylight we receive and not the weather we are experiencing. More hours of light signal the birds’ bodies to start laying (or in the case of chickens, who tend to lay year-round, to lay more frequently). This is because the longest days occur in spring and summer –  which happens to be the best time to raise young! In this post I will discuss duck eggs and share a little bit of my own knowledge, plus some research gleaned from my favourite books. Chickens and geese tend to be the stars of the show on my blog and social media accounts, and I think it’s time we give ducks the spotlight! Continue reading

February Farm Update

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I think it’s time for a blog update! We are currently buried under snow here in our neck of the woods, so there is not a whole lot going on around Willow Lane Farm – other than braving the almost daily chilly temperatures to slog through ice and snow to complete the daily chores. Though it’s pretty wintery around here still, I do know that spring will be just around the corner (or if not, maybe around several more corners after that…!)

It’s never too soon to start planning for the busy spring and summer months. (For some tips on setting homesteading goals, check out this post.) I have to admit, I haven’t begun my 2018 homestead planning as early as I have the past several years, so it’s about time I follow my own advice and officially start making some lists and goals. I definitely have an idea of what I’d like to prioritize this year and I do have a little bit of a vision in mind. It’s going to be a bit of an infrastructure and building year again, both with new projects and completing some from last season. I’ve included in my post a few areas that we will be focusing on this year, as well as some updates. Continue reading

Little Farm’s Tex-Mex Crustless Quiche Recipe

Copy of Copy of Copy of hikingIn my last post I wrote about laying hens and egg production. So what happens when your hens start to produce so many eggs that your fridge is so full of them that you have no room for anything else? Well, you could start a little egg business. You could also trade your eggs with other “backyard homesteaders” – ie. your eggs for their fresh veggies. Or you could freeze your eggs for later use (yes, you can!) Also don’t forget that refrigerated eggs are perfectly edible for several weeks (at least a month, if not longer). When in doubt, don’t forget about the old “egg freshness float test” – place your egg in question in a glass of water. If it sinks, it is still fresh enough to eat. If it floats, throw it out! And finally, you can always try using more eggs in your own cooking – which leads us to today’s post! Continue reading

Everything I Know About Laying Hens & Egg Production

Copy of Copy of Copy of hikingHens, especially young hens (commonly called “pullets”) will lay eggs. Just how many eggs and how often depends on a number of factors. In addition to age, the breed, environment, diet, health, and time of year all affect a hen’s egg laying potential. This post is content heavy so I’ll get straight to the point – I will share what I know in a nutshell (or eggshell?), and remember: there is always lots to learn! Continue reading

Get Growing! A Guide to Vegetable Garden Planning & Prep

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Gardening! Gardening is what’s on my brain this week. I can’t wait to get my hands in the dirt and get some seeds into the ground! It’s hard to wait when we start getting these warm spring days, but necessary since unfortunately winter in western Canada is not truly done until… well, is it ever truly over? Ha ha, I’m kidding – sort of. This spring I feel slightly less prepared as I am only just starting to plan my garden now. In previous years I had my garden plan, planting schedule, and seeds all ready and waiting to go by early March. This year I am taking a much more chilled out approach and I feel that I am ready to “go with the flow” of spring in an effort to stay relaxed and enjoy the experience. Continue reading

Weekend Project: Build Your Own Raised Garden Bed (Part 2 of 2)

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Welcome to part 2 of Little Farm in the Alberta Foothills’ raised bed garden box feature! You can find part 1 here. In this post we will discuss the logistics of building the raised bed garden boxes and give you the details and specifics of how you can follow our design and what you will need. This straightforward plan can be started and completed in just a couple of days, making it the perfect weekend project! Let’s get started! Continue reading

Little Farm’s Guide to Raised Bed Gardening (Part 1 of 2)

hikingWelcome back! Today’s post will focus on one of my favourite homesteading topics…. gardening! While many of  our friends in more temperate climates are on the cusp on planting season, here in the Canadian foothills we are still a couple months away from spring. However, it is never too early for planning ahead and getting a head start on some of your homestead building projects! This post is part one of two about our raised bed gardens, and will discuss why we chose raised bed gardening over the more tradition in-ground style of garden. A follow up post will detail how we built our raised bed garden boxes, and how you can build one (or two, or three!) of your own! Continue reading