Saturday, October 18, 2008

Is it Spring yet? And selling eggs...

This photo was taken in mid-April in California. So at least 6 months before anything green even thinks of poking its head up out of the sand here in Nevada.

There are some advantages to winter, though. First off, it isn't so doggoned hot. Of course, that probably means it is freezing cold. We do get a few weeks where it is actually nice, though. Maybe one in April, maybe a few in May, a few in September. If we're lucky, a few in October.

Another advantage of winter is that the winds die down, meaning there is less dust in the air. On a cold, clear November night, you can see stars beyond imagination. Those of you who live your lives in the city miss one of the joys of rural life - turning off all the lights and sitting on the porch with a good dog at your feet and counting stars. In November, there are no blood-thirsty bugs to feast on you at night. I think even if you were a hard-core atheist, at a moment like that, you would be tempted to Believe.

Peas were planted two days before the sub-20°F night. So far, none have peaked up from the ground. Perhaps I was too late in planting them? I was hoping for pea vines for the chickies to munch on in winter, even if we didn't get any peas.

Garlic is here and ready to plant out. My living room smells so yummy with the bulbs waiting for me there - waiting for me to

  • get off my duff
  • build them a cage to protect them from marauding chickens
  • put them in the ground

The basil, of course, died with the first 30°F night, but the oregano keeps on as well as the sweet marjoram. Surprisingly, the rosemary also still survives. The tips are a little frost-killed, but I think if I mulch it well, perhaps it will come back in the Spring. Gardeners, I am sure, are eternal optimists. Even after we are dead and buried, there is always Next Spring.

About selling chicken eggs...

Of course, one must count one's eggs before the chickens actually start laying. It's the way it is done! So even though no one is laying yet... with 25 hens, and 2 of 3 laying an egg every day, we could have 18-20 eggs or so during peak season. That could mean that I have 10 dozen eggs a week to sell at the farmer's market. Enough to beak even in cost of driving expenses and almost a weeks worth of chicken feed. An added bonus is that my granddaughter lives in the same town as the little farmer's market that I would attend. So it would just be another excuse to see her every week. Any eggs that didn't sell I could give to my daughter.

But to really make it worth it from a dollar perspective, I think I would need 100 hens... but that is starting to sound like work. I have to remember, the chickens are for therapy and entertainment, not work! ...and maybe I can sell some garlic, too...

With the idea that I might have a very small egg business, here are some resources I have found...on the other hand, I have not been able to find anything useful on the laws that I need to comply with...


seth said...

Hi my name is Seth and i just wanted to say that i enjoy your posts on gardening in the desert. I have property in the high plains desert of west texas that i will be moving to and it is encouraging to know that i'll be able to grow some of my own food. Water is the issue there, will have to be rainwater and some will have to be trucked in. Thanks and i look forward to your posts.

KMU said...

Gardening certainly is more challenging in the desert. On the up side, don't have to deal with all those "black spot mouldy" kinds of diseases! Getting wind-blasted isn't necessarily fun, though!

A 5 gal bucket in the shower will collect a good amount of not-very-soapy water and I have used it on trees and non-edibles with success - and I am growing muscles! When we first moved here, there is no way I could carry a 5 gal bucket even half full! Now, if I don't have to worry about sloshing too much, I can haul 5 gal buckets of warm water 100 feet to the dogs' pen in the winter! Amazing what you can do with the proper motivation. And those desert sun-sets sure are motivating. I don't think I could ever go back to city or suburb living ever again.

Don't forget to water the compost! Bath and shower water are good for that, too.

Good luck and many blessings as you head towards the High Desert!

Anonymous said...

I love this blog! Just found it and it's already got a ton of info I need...I just got off the phone ordering my first day old chicks.

No coop yet (they'll look good in that old guest bath's an icky yellow anyway), and only a perimeter fence which the coyotes and jackrabbits laugh at.

But hey, I just got this property late spring.

I stuck some Home Depot tomato/Japanese eggplants into 5 gallon buckets and got lucky so I'm wondering if that isn't 'tall' enough to discourage the rabbits? I dunno.

I'd like to build a rock planter raised bed as I would think that would be:
1. easier on my aching back
2. discourage all but my dumbest dog
3. keep my soon to arrive chickens out of the veggies.

It takes time. And patience.

Where do I buy that?


KMU said...

Hi, glad you like my blog. Still amazes me that people other than my Mom actually read it!

5 gallon buckets are tall enough to keep out cotton tails, but not a determined jack rabbit.

Must be warm where you live - or Spring comes a lot sooner than where I am in Nevada! Winter shipped chickies have a higher mortality rate than spring ones because they get shipped when it's cold - so the hatchery will probably send some extras, but don't be surprised if a few are either dead on arrival or die shortly after arrival. If they catch a chill at that age, it's hard for them to recover. Not a reflection on the hatchery, other than a good one will know that may happen and will send extras.

You will surely want to put them outside by March. You'll need to net your tub or you'll have small, flying objects and their droppings all over your bathroom at that point!

I highly recommend as a resource. Their forum is fabulous. Even though they are geared towards "backyard" chicken keepers, the info there is wonderful for anyone who isn't a "high production, commercial" chicken farmer. Very friendly and knowlegible.

Good luck and many blessings on your rural adventures! And congrats on getting your little piece of land and your bit of The American Dream.