It's been awhile since I posted last, but I have been busy. We bought four more chickens - these are Barred Rocks. We got them from a farm that had a couple thousand chickens. It seemed a little silly for us just to get four, but that brings our flock up to 15. They were missing most of their feathers off their backs. Now, a mere two weeks later, their feathers are growing back nicely. Egg production is a lot less because we suddenly have been experiencing 85 degree temperatures. We went from getting back up to 7 eggs per day to 4, and yesterday we hit an all-time low of 2. Pathetic! I hope they get used to the heat soon. I'm glad we have 15 chickens right now. I'd hate to come home to no eggs at all. The hens are just really starting to get along with eachother. That has been tough as well.
Now, to talk about my gardening ... My brother had my rototiller for a couple of weeks. He got it running rather well for me. I need a new gas cap as mine has a big hole in it and is letting dirt get in and run through my little engine. It's been clogging up my carbuerator (how do you spell that?). But now it runs rather well. The evening i got it back, I rototilled up the expansion of my herb garden. With all the little herbs in it it looks like crap, but that will soon change. I have dill, cilantro, baptisia, lavender, mints (3 varieties - apple, chocolate and peppermint), yarrow, oregano, tarragon and rosemary. I also have columbine and purple coneflower that I started from seed. I can't wait to see how this looks next year. That was a Thursday ... the following Sunday, My daughter and I finished planting the main garden with beans, kohlrabi, tomatoes (I seed-started all those as well), broccoli (seed-started) and cauliflower. Yesterday, a mere week later, I noticed that my beans are up already. I have 4 varieties of beans: wax, green, purple and dragon's tongue. Yesterday I also dragged the rototiller out to the field because my neighbor finished planting his field corn this past Thursday and left a nice raked up spot for me to plant my viney stuff. So I broke a bit more ground and planted my potatoes, sweet potatoes, lemon cucumbers, Japanese long cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, spaghetti squash, buttercup squash, gourds and pumpkins. It's being watered right now ... as I write this!
We've already eaten some strawberries out of my garden. I have to go build a cage to keep the birds out. Fortunately, I have enough chicken wire and old pallets to do this with. We also have eaten some spinach, and will probably have more spinach for dinner tonight ... or perhaps I should scramble up some eggs with some spinach and ham for lunch? mmmmmmmmmmmmm ... I'm getting hungry already!
Sunday, May 9, 2010
I let my 8 hens roam around the backyard a couple times this week. Tonight I had them in the backyard, and they would go back and forth from one side of the yard to the other, pecking at the grass the whole way there and back. Then I herded them all back into their coop and opened up the door to the garden. My strawberries are very established, my peas, lettuce, spinach and onions are doing well, so I thought if I stayed in the garden with them I wouldn't have to worry about them destroying my new vegetables. I didn't have to worry. They cultivated my strawberries and even ate some of the eggshell I put in with the strawberries to keep the slugs off the berries when they grow (eggshells are sharp on the slug's skin and are therefore harmful to slugs so they stay away). I watched one chicken carefully make her way between the row of romaine and spinach, scratching up the dirt the entire way looking for worms. I had to tell only one hen (I believe it was Stoogy) to stop eating the spinach. Finally, I shut them all in their own coop. Later this evening I scrolled through Craigslist and found 3 more free hens. They are 4 years old, and Ameraucaunas. I just returned from picking them up, so now we have 11 hens. They may be older, but if they remain healthy and happy, they will continue to lay well until they die. Right now, the one Ameraucauna is puffing herself up and establishing herself as high up the pecking order as she can. For tonight the light in the hen house will remain off so they can at least get some sleep.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Thursday, May 6, 2010
I am amazed at how quickly my peas, spinach, romaine and onions are growing! They are growing just as fast as the weeds in the rest of the garden. I'm hoping to have a chance to rototill the rest of the garden this weekend (the weather is supposed to be bad) and get the rest planted. I also have to work on the herb garden part 2 and get that section rototilled as well. Then, next week, I have to buy some mulch to put on both herb gardens to help keep the weeds out.