Wednesday, March 20, 2013

in the garden week 5


This week I have started separating my starts and transplanting them into bigger pots.  I still have a lot to do, and I really need to get on the ball starting peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes.


The cuttings have bloomed in the house making a very pretty arrangement.  Some of the branches have started rooting, while others have yet to do anything.  I remain hopeful that I'll get more of these.

I moved the chicks purchased last week into the back half of the green house.  They have much more room, and seem to be having a lot of fun with the cinder block and perches.

You may be wondering what is happening in the front half of the greenhouse.  Well, that's where A's rabbit is currently residing.  Rex had to give up some of her room to the chicks, but she seems pretty entertained by their antics and has been watching them curiously.

Soon (hopefully by this weekend), I'll have shelving set up above all these creatures in the greenhouse and actually use the building for growing plants.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

in the garden week 4

This past weekend the boys gave me a very special birthday gift.  Big J. had been listening to me talk about my new design scheme for the front of the house, and implemented it with J. and A.'s help while I was out and about with my mom and brother D.

I had mentioned that while I love flowers, I don't love the front looking like a mud pit for several months of the year.  I decided I wanted to turn the entire 40 feet into an herb bed.  And that's just what they did!  In order to accomplish this they:

  1. dug up and transplanted all plants that were already there ( lots of plants!)
  2. made the bed wider to accommodate my plan
  3. rototilled
  4. laid down weed barrier
  5. put up a fence to keep dog, ducks, chickens and cats out
  6. planted!!!

Although sparse looking now, this will fill in to be solid rows of herbs within a few years.

Here is the design plan from right to left:
1) Tuscan Blue Rosemary - will get about 4-6 feet tall, and will make a beautiful backdrop hedge
2) French Lavender -  I will need to get some more to fill in between the plants
3) Onion Chives
4) Walla Walla sweet onions - this will be a good annual until the plants get big enough to take over.

What hasn't been planted yet, but needs addressing is:
1) Golden Oregano, Greek Oregano - I think I'll be putting these where the onions are now
2) various thyme - French, Winter, Lemon. - we may move the boarder out a bit more to get in this final row, or I may place them elsewhere.

This was amazing to come home to at the end of the night.  Thanks guys for all the hard work you put in to make one of my garden dreams a reality!  I am a very, very lucky lady.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

super spoon

How cool is this spoon?  This was handmade (handmade!) by Grandpa J. and mailed to me as a surprise.  And what a surprise it was!  You may not be able to tell from the picture, but the spoon is like a ladle, smooth as butter, and fits in your hand perfectly.

I have yet to use it - feeling very much like Adam Lambsbreath with his "liddle mop" being too nice to wash dishes in Cold Comfort Farm.  Right now, I am simply enjoying the beauty of the piece.

Friday, March 8, 2013

in the garden week 3

 More appropriately - in the house!  As all the pictures are taken from inside.

 My starts are doing great! In fact, soon I will have to separate and pot the individual plants.  Some of the seeds used were pretty old - like 2007 old, so I planted extra thick for potential germination issues.

This past week we planted:

  • kale - Red Russian and Improved Dwarf Siberian (second sowing)
  • collards - Top Bunch
  • broccoli - Pac Man and Premium Crop
  • leeks - lancelot
  • onion - winter bunching (second sowing), Walla Walla Sweet

Outside I mulched the rhubarb and raspberries with rabbit manure, and did some weeding.

That's pretty much it on the garden side of things.  But the chicken side is gearing up!

Mrs. Java decided to go broody on my recently, and I wanted to give her some chicks.  Now, we are hatching chicks ourselves, but the current batch wouldn't be ready for how long she's been sitting, and I wanted a specific type of bird that I am not hatching - Americauna.  So, I went and picked up 6 chicks for her to adopt.  The adoptions have been incredibly successful over the past two years.  The moms' do all the work feeding, protecting, and keeping the chicks warm and safe, making my job much easier.

My great plan went belly-up this time around.  When I tried to stick some chicks under her at night, I found she had hoarded some more eggs I didn't know she had (all our flocks egg's are sterile due to no rooster - we get the fertile eggs to hatch from my mother).  So as I tried to remove them to make room for the babies, she got scared and ran away.  Big J. caught her, but she was so upset, she wouldn't go back to the nest where the chicks were.  We officially broke her from feeling broody.

It was a very cold night and the chicks needed warmth quickly.  So, we slapped a cage with a heat lamp on in our living room and stuck the wee babies in it.  And there they still are.  The kids are thrilled that the momma didn't want them and they get to hold and raise them.  It has been really fun watching them and seeing their antics, but I'm looking forward to some time on Sunday to make a more permanent outside arrangement for them.

We have 40 eggs in the incubator that should be hatching at the end of this month.  This is the second batch we have incubated this year (first was a bust for various reasons) and we have pre-purchase orders waiting to be fulfilled.  We will be doing 3 more batches after this and then we will be done for the season.  A. is heading up this endeavor and will be getting 100% of the profits.

On a sad note - we lost three of our ducks Wednesday morning.  They laid their eggs (I was getting 3 a day!), and then completely disappeared.  No feathers, no sounds, no Snow Bear barking.  Our guess is they went down by the creek (they seem to be crazy for the sound of running water) and got snatched up outside of Snow Bear's radar.  The two remaining ducks seem to be sticking very close to home.