Posts Tagged chickens

Winter Storm Cleanup in the Garden

For the last couple of weeks we have had some pretty constant days of rain and blowing wind. The garden looks terrible. Leaves are everywhere, and weeds are starting to show their ugly faces. So, with Saturday afternoon came some nicer weather and I decided to try to tackle some long overdue garden chores. I mainly worked on the grape vines which needed to be pruned back and the leaves raked and put into the compost bin. That took a little bit of time. I debated on saving the vines and wrapping them into a wreath, but in the end, they ended up in the garden waste pile.

I have been thinking vaguely about purchasing a wood chipper, but I am not sure I will have enough use for it to justify buying one. And, my husband, wasn’t too keen on the idea when I mentioned it in passing one day.

The peas, which are “Mammoth Melting” variety, are huge. I haven’t really had them get so big that they are tumbling over the supports. I put up some small supports because I usually don’t have them grow over about 4 feet. These vines are probably pushing 6 feet right now. I am just starting to get some snow peas off them, and they are very fresh and lovely.

As you can barely see in the bottom of the picture, the broccoli is ready for picking. We have oodles of broccoli right now, which my family does really like, so that is good. Out of the garden, for some reason, I have decided it tastes so much more tender. Yum!

My bell pepper plants really suffered this past month, because for a couple of days we actually had freezing temps. I know! Can you believe it? Anyway, I forgot to cover them and they just look pathetic. I am trying to decide whether to pull them out or not. If you look closely, you can just make out some new leaves that are popping out.

Bell Pepper - frozen back

Be that as it may, I am starting some others from seed inside under a grow light. YAY! I got myself a grow light! I wanted one for my birthday, but my husband said that if I did, the government would track it and come to check that I wasn’t growing marijuana! Right! So, I purchased one for myself a couple of weeks ago.

New seedlings under grow light on kitchen counter

It is actually working wonderfully. I just put a couple of hooks under the cabinet and suspended it from them with some wire. I leave it on for about 14 hours a day, and after 1 week they were already getting their second leaves. So exciting. I am trying to grow enough extras for my mom and father-in-law also. One day at a time. The only downside to having this light right in my kitchen is that my husband says he needs to wear sunglasses to watch TV because it is too bright on his poor little eyes. ūüôā

Above you can see on the right, one of my brussel sprout plants that I started from seed back in Oct. On the left, the little seedlings are celery. I am trying that as an experiment. I am not too sure they are going to have enough time to grow before it gets too warm. We will see. They are definately slow growers!

My father-in-law is just putting up an awesome chicken coop. Here is a picture of it. It isn’t quite finished yet, but when it is, it will be really great. He has about 38 chickens which include 8 babies. On Saturday, we found 2 more hens roosting. I love to see those babies following after the mothers scratching for bugs.

New chicken coop

Baby chicks

This one is a rooster.

I am hopefully getting a couple of new hens today from a friend of mine. We had one of ours die a couple of weeks ago and now we have 4 hens. I am not quite sure what happened. It is possible she was egg bound because she had not yet started laying and was due any time to begin. I went out there and she was just dead. So sad. I really hate that, but it is part of having animals. My son always has a hard time.

Other random things happening in the garden right now:

– strawberry plants are starting to set fruit

-lots of carrots (By the way, I had planted some carrots of the variety “Tonda di Parigi” which are small round carrots similar looking to a radish. They are a little sweeter and very good raw. Interesting to taste the difference when compared to a regular baby carrot – “Little Finger” variety.)

-some tomatoes are starting to ripen and for some reason the starter plants that I purchased from the local garden center were labeled wrong and I have 3 cherry tomato plants. (Although, there is no where near the amount that I get in the spring/summer, even with a greenhouse type effect of growing them.)

-the eggplant are still producing the dreaded eggplant. I am definately pulling them out in a couple of weeks. I have just left them really because the little sparrows sit inside the plants and I feel sorry for them.

Happy Gardening!

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It’s been a while…

So it’s been a while since I last posted. So much has been happening in the garden. Everything is growing and getting larger and starting to set fruit. It’s so funny, because every day I check the eggplant for new fruit, and have seen a few but yesterday, oh my gosh, found these ginormous eggplants that I didn’t even realize were there. That’s what I love about the garden. There is always something new happening. So, guess what we are having for dinner tonite? That’s right. Eggplant.

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Notice the double eggplant on the left. It probably had a double bloom that was fertilized.

Notice the double eggplant on the left. It probably had a double bloom that was fertilized.

Anyway, there are tons of tomatoes which is good, because soon it will be getting hot. I have been so happy with these tomatoes this year. I have several varieties, and it will be interesting to see which does the best. I just recently read an article about tomatoes and it did say that if you water them too much, they become tasteless. So, I guess there is a happy medium to watering…not too much, not too little, but just right.

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The snap peas are just setting blossoms, which is just in time. The bunching onions are some that a friend of mine gave me out of her garden last year. They have done so amazing, I can’t even believe it. I just chop some off the top and use them in salsa, kind of like chives, and let them keep growing. However, some of them are starting to flower and need to be used up, even though we have been eating salsa about twice a week and are starting to small like garlic.¬†You know you’ve had too much, when several of your kids reek like garlic when they¬†come to kiss you goodnight, or good bye to go to school. Not good, but delicious!

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The peas are growing like crazy!

The peas are growing like crazy!

And just for fun, I love this little guy. I have him set at from front door, but I think now that Easter is over, I am going to move him into the garden for a while!

The mantra of every gardener!

The mantra of every gardener!

The baby chickens are now 6 weeks old, and it¬†is starting to stay warmer at night,¬†so I thought I would introduce them to the other hens. Unfortunately,¬†it has become very apparent that 2 of them are roosters, so only one will be staying,¬†but I¬†feel so bad for her and don’t want that little hen to be alone with the bigger hens, that I have decided to leave the roosters with her until they get a little bigger. Or, at least until they start crowing, in¬†which case, they will be out of here. But they seem to be doing ok.

The new babies with the hens.

The new babies with the hens.

On a side note, the chicken in the middle, went to chicken heaven yesterday. She had been eating all my eggs and was starting to pull feathers off one of the other chickens. It was a sad day yesterday. Very sad.

I have noticed some little birdies at the bird feeder that are very pretty. I don’t know what they are, but they have red all over their head and chest. Check them out!

The birdies have found the bird house!

The birdies have found the bird house!

The potatoes are doing amazing.

The potatoes are doing amazing.

Zucchini are starting to flower.

Zucchini are starting to flower.

Just a side note. It looks like finally the black eyed susan¬†vine might be finally starting to germinate and sprout. I think it has been about¬†2 weeks since I planted those seeds. I’m not entirely sure that that is what¬†it is, so we shall see. According to the literature I have read, they only last for 3 years,¬†and they you have to replant.

I so love this time of year.

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The new baby chickies at 2.5 weeks

The new baby chickies at 2.5 weeks

The birdhouse my son & I built a couple of years ago for scouts now has it's permanent home.

The birdhouse my son & I built a couple of years ago for scouts now has it's permanent home.

It is a gorgeous day! I am so loving this weather. It’s too bad we can’t have this all day, every day. Because life would be just about perfect as far as I’m concerned.

First off, the little chickies are getting pretty cute. I was over at my father-in-laws yesterday, and he only has 3 little ones left out of the 5 I left him with. I do think he has 2 baby hens, & 1 rooster. Of course, it is hard to tell. We’ll have to see if I am right.

And the garden is coming right along. I really love to put a seed in the ground and watch for that first little disturbance of soil with a little peep of green shooting through. I hate to admit it, but sometimes I just can’t stand it and I did a little to see if the seed is sprouting.

A couple of years ago, my then 9yr old son was needing to make a birdhouse for display at a pack meeting. We looked for a while online for a good design. He wanted to do something cool. Finally, I just told him that while he was at school, I would design it out and them he could help cut it and put it together. So, when he got home, that’s what we did. He actually did all the putting together and them also painted it. We hunted all over for something to do the roof with and then came up with cutting thin aluminum flashing and fashioning a roof from that. So, he & I cut the pieces and I held them while he nailed them to the birdhouse. It even has a hinged door so it can be cleaned out if needed. Then he painted the whole thing himself. When we took it to pack meeting that nite, of course, all the other birdhouses were ones that were not quite as ornate.¬† And no one believed that he did so much of it himself. However, I am very proud of him and the birdhouse we made together. I think it looks amazing in the yard. The tray around it is for bird seed. It just needs an occupant…

I finally got the hen house painted. I love the green color. Yesterday, I was in the car with my daughter and I had the idea that what it needs is some shutters to each side of the window with a rooster cut-out. I found a picture of some today and I might start work on those this afternoon if I have time. I can hardly wait. It will be so cute! My husband & I built this last year with some help from some of the kids. We bought the plans online. Then this winter, he and my brother put the shingles on the roof. He loves to talk about how much it costs, but I think the best thing is that even in the summer, those chickens have some glorious shade, as well as the fact that I can walk into it and clean it out. The chickens seem to like it but of course, they love to come out of it just as much.

Front view of hen house.

Front view of hen house.

Back view of hen house.

Back view of hen house.

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An Awesome Book

A Slice of Organic Life

A Slice of Organic Life

I recently checked this book out from the local library and found it to be very interesting with ideas on “green” things to do around your home. Although I did try their idea of killing grass with vinegar and found that on bermuda, which is so much like a weed around here,¬†the remedy didn’t work well, the rest of the book seemed to be very informative. I would even consider purchasing this book for myself.

My little baby chicks are coming along nicely and doing well under their little heat lamp. I’ll have to post a pic soon. I strongly suspect 2 of the 3 are roosters. We shall see…

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They’re here!

Freckles had babies!

Freckles had babies!

I got a phone call! She had 8 little chicks. So cute! These two mothers were both nesting right next to each other in one of the horses stall, cozy down into the hay. The horse wasn’t too bothered by having to share his area. And now that Freckles’ little chicks have hatched, the little white hen thinks they are hers as well and leaves her nest to go around the barn with Freckles and the babies. So, needless to say, her little eggs probably will not hatch. Sad…

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Things are springing up!

This is one of my little chickens, Gloria. We have 3 bantams and they lay a little brown egg or two a day. We are hoping to get a few more. My father-in-law has a bantam that is the cutest and is nesting right now. So, every day I keep thinking I will get a phone call that freckles has had baby chicks!

This is one of my little chickens, Gloria. We have 3 bantams and they lay a little brown egg or two a day. We are hoping to get a few more. My father-in-law has a bantam that is the cutest and is nesting right now. So, every day I keep thinking I will get a phone call that freckles has had baby chicks!

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These are the baby chicks that just hatched at my father-in-law's place.

These are the baby chicks that just hatched at my father-in-law's place.

They hide under the mother hen and peek out through the feathers!

They hide under the mother hen and peek out through the feathers!

Things are definately shaping up to look like spring. A few things that are sprouting are: zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, okra, pepin cukes, armenian cukes, pole beans, more lettuce, and then there are the tomatoes and cilantro that have actually doubled in size in 10 days!

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