Saturday, May 28, 2011

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Another surprise flowering bush

5/26/11, back yard
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Drawer bed success

The drawer beds are doing well. Harvesting greens in the morning helps keep them crisp. So, this saturday morning I'll collect enough for a big salad.
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Garden update: almost everything planted

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90% of the garden is finished, meaning all purchased seedlings are planted.  Only bush beans need to be seeded.  Above, in my first in-ground garden, I've got the following:
  • 5 Yellow squash plants (from seed)
  • 10 Sun flowers (from seed)
  • 3 white pumpkins (from seed)
  • 1 cilantro seedling & 2 small sungella tomato seedlings that I don't expect to make it (from seed)
  • 2 cornflower seedlings (from seed)
  • 3 zinnia flowers (from seed)
  • 9 corn plants (from seed)

  • a flowering grassy plant, overwintered from last year
  • 1 Best boy hybrid tomato plant (starter purchased at last weekend's plant sale)
  • 1 mortgage lifter tomato (plant sale)
  • 1 sungold sweet tomato (plant sale)
  • 1 mammoth sunflower (plant sale)
  • 1 verde pueblos tomatillos (plant sale)
  • 1 Matchbox hot pepper plant (plant sale)
  • 1 Early jalapeno hot pepper seedling (plant sale)
  • 5 genovese basil plants (plant sale)
  • 1 Tall Climbing nasturtium (plant sale)
  • 9 white onions (plant sale)
  • 1 oregano (plant sale)
Corn seedlings, 5/21/11.
Outside of the garden, the love goes on and on.  In the raised "drawer" garden (above): 4 kinds of lettuce, arugula, kale, spinach, and carrots.
 Thyme (from Elizabeth's community garden, gifted and planted in a hanging planter) well as 2 sweet peas (from seed) and 6 climbing morning glories (from seed) in a hanging planter & a row box, an unknown squash plant in a blue bin (volunteer), and 3 more white pumpkin seedlings in a round planter on the deck.

    Sunday, May 22, 2011

    The roof is caving in...

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    It wasn't a major disaster.  We had torrential rain on and off for an afternoon last week, and the weight of the water on the tarp tore through the chicken wire ceiling of the run.  We've had lots of leaking into the coop itself, as well.  With a week of rain, the pine shavings that cover the floor of the coop were continually soaked in one corner of the coop. 

    The leaks in the coop probably need a different solution, but for the immediate, we've changed the tarp and re-rigged how the two tarps overlap. Chris cleaned house in the coop.  This gave us the opportunity to lay down mite prevention dust to lay under the wood shavings.  Our chickens' previous owners passed it along to us, and I imagine it's like getting a flea & tick collar for an ourdoor cat.  I climbed in and e-stapled the wire to the side of the coop to close the hole, and we'll add reinforcements there soon.

    Saturday, May 14, 2011

    plant sale pics

    Quick drive by to the southside community landtrust this morning. A few tomatoes, peppers, and basil--the things I haven't had luck with growing from seed.

    Down for the count with a bad cold, and a big day tomorrow. Terrible timing.
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    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    Sunday, May 8, 2011

    Morning chatter from Coach

    Every morning when I check on Coach and Spicy, they chatter up a storm--Spicy with her high pitched whistling/cooing and coach with her angry-Marge impersonation.
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    Thursday, May 5, 2011

    Broodiness Over

    Coach has officially been broken of her broodiness.  We had her in the cage for 2 1/2 days, and when she went back in the run/coop on Monday, she spent entire day outside of the coop (as opposed to nesting inside).  

    We've been letting Spicy out of the pen to poke around the backyard here and there, and we gave Coach a chance to explore as well.  They're both very easy to guide back into the pen.

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    Eggs Eggs and More Eggs

    Every morning one of us checks on the birds.  It's getting me up earlier and I'm loving the process of easing into the day with coffee outside on the porch, and checking to see if Spicy/fluffy-butt has laid an egg.
    Here's what I found this morning.  We're up to 4 eggs in 4 days!  And that's from only one hen.  I keep saying "amazing".  Here it is again.  Amazing. 

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011


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    Breaking Broody of her broodiness

    Coach came to us broody.  She sits in her nest (above), has to be booted out so that she'll come out and eat/drink, and she's a little snippy.  Hens are broody when they're trying to hatch an egg and some breeds (like Coach's) are more likely to go broody.  Their body temperature rises and they fluff up their feathers to keep up the heat.  They also stop laying eggs.  This goes on for about 2 months unless you break the broodiness.

    So we moved Coach into this wire cage two days ago.  She's on her third day today and we'll let her out this afternoon.  The wire cage prevents her from nestling in comfortably--instead she stands or roosts, and the air flow around her keeps her body temperature cooler.  The environment gets her back up on the roost where she should be sleeping, as well.  I think she's pissed.

    At first we had the cage in the yard next to the coop, but she made such a racket, we moved her into the garage.  It may be legal in Providence to have chickens, but I'd rather not make the neighbors mad only 2 months after moving in.
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    Sunday, May 1, 2011

    first egg

    Saturday morning, before Chris or my parents (who are visiting) were awake, I went out to sit with the birds. Coach has "gone broody" and I found her sitting in the nest, which is where she'll stay the entire day, if we don't bump her out. She's trying to hatch an egg, even when there isn't one to hatch. The key is to get her back up on the roost to sleep there instead of in the nest. Not an easy task.

    That morning I bumped Coach out of the nest, to find the first egg sitting perfectly in the pine shavings. The egg wasn't hers-it was Spicy's egg (pale blue), and it was perfectly clean and almost hot. I brought the egg in and woke Chris up just to show him. I couldn't believe she had started laying again so quickly after the stress of the move.

    I wrapped the egg in saran wrap and put it in the fridge. Rinsing a fresh egg removes the "bloom" that preserves freshness. An egg can actually stay fresh for 3 months if it doesn't dry out. Refrigerators tend to dry things out, so you've got about 5 weeks in there. (Of all of the chicken books I own, I'd be lost without Story's Guide).
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