Monday, September 27, 2010

Random Autumn Flashbacks From My Garden Journal

No, not from my garden - I took this picture in the Tennessee Smoky Mountains. The edge of the field was filled with two dozen or so of these butterflies flitting from place to place. They did not sit still long, being much preoccupied with eating! Out of 100 photos taken over the course of an hour, I think I got 4 that are pretty good. This is probably the best photo I've ever taken.

Some old journal entries - in order by day of the month. My current comments in [brackets]. Spelling is as written in my journal - no spell check when writing with a pen!

2007-09-30 7:03 a.m. Well, I guess one cannot argue with 25*F - That is a killing frost with no ambiguity. The sun is up - I am not looking forward to seeing the damage.

On the up side, this will mean that I can procrastinate no further on ripping out marginal items and planting out garlic.

Soaked peas last night - 150 are ready to go. I guess I shall find out if they can germinate this cold. [No, they didn't]

Trees have been full of rich, green leaves - will the frost signal them to change color? So far, just a very few yellow leaves on the apple tree and only 2 orange ones on the nectarine.

Days will hopefully warm up. no wind, but cold right now. I should go do something useful in the garden or yard.

2006-10-01 Bought a wireless indoor/outdoor thermometer last week - need to set it up and start checking highs and lows [presumably to help predict frost].

Funny how much you can get done when you are motivated - D. got a job offer for a job in Iraq, so this weekend we got
  • 5 posts for enclosing my garden up
  • concreted the edges of the dogs' pen (one more side to go, but I can do that side)
Things to do
  • Move the 1/2 barrels to the garden area and use for garlic - make drainage holes [There's a notation that this did not get done.]
  • Plant plant gifts from James W. of Dave's Garden [www.DavesGarden.com]
  • Top dress bulbs with low nitrogen fert. (bonemeal)
  • Look at the weather report (definately fall, but no hard frosts yet)

2005-10-05 The sweet gums [trees] are looking decidedly perky this morning. I was concerned that yesterday's dry winds would have been hard on them, but I guess the cooler temps and deep watering helped them. Of course, I took pictures yesterday. Need to add them to my [photo] database. 2006-10-05
  • Watered back yard & fruit trees
  • Watered most east sweet gum [presumably the sweet gum tree to the East of the group]
  • Watered front poplars (south)
  • Irises from Dave's Garden arrived today - about 20 lbs worth
  • 1300 bulbs to go into the ground
All this and David leaves for South Carolina in less than two weeks and then on to Iraq 4 weeks or so later. So much to do. So little time left to be together. A year apart - with the chance of it being permanent. So I plant and plant and grow babies to fill the emptiness.

2007-10-06 21:00 ish After a good nap...This year was the first year in a long, long time that I had a real garden. I am totally so very blessed. To be able to come home from work and eat a few cherry toms from the garden, water the trees, take photos of a sunflower, spy on a lizard. What a joy. To have hopes and dreams. To feel, smell, taste the cycle of life. Delicate yellow tomato flowers, lush green growth, baby tomes smaller than a finger nail, sweet yellow fruit bursting in your mouth, frost blackened leaves and deep roots chopped for the compost pile...seeds for next year. The dance of rain and cloud and wind and sun. Birds, lizzards, tiny spiders, giant grasshoppers - if you build it, they will come. Butterflies, catterpillars and ants. If you grow it, they will come. Solitary bees, irridescent wasps, tiny flies. If it blooms, they will come. There is not lack of life in the desert, although conditions are harsh and existance is tenuous. If you provide an oasis, it will be recognized far and wide, and the denizines of the high desert, they will come. I have no idea where they hail from, but across sand and arid winds, they find this tiny island of green and in droves, they come. If 3 4[foot] x 8 [foot] beds - not even 100 sq ft out of 180,000 sq ft of our land - brought such diversity to our land, what might I expect with a garden twice as large [as those three beds]? And if I add more flowers, will that increase the draw? If I spied a dozen wasps and one hawk moth at one of 7 sunflowers, who and how many will visit if I grow 20 sunflowers, 50, 100 or more? If I grow a veritable forest of sunflowers, what will happen to the insect population? And will lizzards take up household there to dine on some of them [I can say that yes, the lizards are in the garden to stay]

Sunday, September 26, 2010

September Garden Status


The last sunflower is blooming, along with oregano, sweet marjoram, yellow squash and desert mallow.
 

Well, some days I actually feel like I had a real garden this year with an actual harvest.  A review of some of the crops:
  • Birds and everything else will pluck out newly sprouted sunflower seeds and peas - must rig up some protection for them. At least a dozen sunflower sprouts and 100 pea sprouts were donated to the local wildlife.
  • Garlic beds dug up a month or more in advance worked out very well - nice, soft, easy to plant beds. Ones not made up early are not nearly as easy to plant out. Now I am looking at planting some directly in unprepared beds, and that will be even worse, probably inhibiting good bulbing up in the spring.
  • Sunflower seed heads need to be well protected or the wildlings will eat them all - even before they are mature. Chickies got very few this year, and there are none for the wild things for the winter. Sunflower leaves,however, made excellent chicken greens all summer long. And after the sunflower seeds had been consumed by the wild things, I pulled the stalks out and the chickens had a riotous good time eating up the leaves and pecking at the seed head itself.
  • Collards grew very well under the shade of the large, yellow squash leaves. Next year, need to grow more. The chickies really like collards, and I added some to our salads.
  • Spinach was a great success. I only half-hearted saved seeds. Some of the ones I saved did sprout when planted in the fall, but I don't know if Matador is open pollinated, so I didn't really work at it. Chickies and Granddaughter indulged in much spring spinach.
  • No matter how many edible pod peas that I grow, there is never enough! I like to eat them right off the vine. The chickies like the peas, the pods (from ones that have grown too old to eat more than the peas themselves), and the leaves.
  • Peas sown in September will probably not ripen before the first hard frost - still, at least they will make some nice greens for the chickens.
  • Bi-colored corn was stunted as usual, but flood watering them produced a significantly higher number of ears of corn this year. Pollination was spotty, so most ears were missing kernels here and there - not pretty, but still very sweet and yummy. I ate several raw, right off the stalk - and happy chickies got to peck at the resulting cob. The bright red stalks and leaves of this variety is beautiful - need to look up what type I planted so that I can order that type of seed again.
  • Yellow squash was a great success in bed no. 3. The ones in the ground, however, were eaten the moment they sprung forth from the earth.
  • My garden blessed me with any wild things in the garden this year. I saw my first and only humming bird while sitting quietly in the garden before work one summer day. Lizards lapped water from the herbs in bed no. 1 all through the summer. Pigeons nested in the chicken coop (although Old Biddy kept destroying their nests, so they did not raise a brood). Chipmunks and mice raided the garden from time to time, and red tailed hawks (or so I believe them to be), soared overhead. Rabbits, luckily, are well-fenced out!
Well, I am sure there is more, but if I am ever to get this posted, I shall have to stop for the moment.
Chickies and Hungry Jack (the rooster) enjoying sunflower stalks for a late afternoon snack.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Garlic Planting Season


The gathering of the Canadian Geese at the lake and the arrival of crisp, Autumn mornings indicate that Garlic Planting Season has arrived in the High Desert.  In years past, I have planted Bogatyr, Polish, Georgia Crystal, Korean Red, Siberian, Music and Kettle River.  With the exception of the Kettle River, all have been hard necks that enjoy a good, freezing winter.  Over and over, Siberian has been the best grower, with the rest of the hard necks being one slight step below and about equal.  The soft neck was still good and quite edible, but did not produce as large a bulb as it might have with a milder winter.  It has been a few years since I have grown garlic, and the most I've ever grown was about 100.

This year, I decided to plant enough to perhaps sell a few and give away some... so far, 316 cloves are in the ground.  I waited until the last minute to order garlic as I wasn't sure I would have time to plant out so many, due to school and other obligations; however, the urge to plant garlic was irresistible, and I succumbed at the last moment.  Alas, this meant that my favorite garlic supplier, The Garlic Store (http://www.thegarlicstore.com/) , was out of all of the varieties that I wished for.  So instead, I ordered from Two Sisters Garlic (http://www.2sistersgarlic.com/).  I am somewhat disappointed that they also ended up not having Siberian and ended up making a substitution; however, I understand I ordered late.  I also understand that the biggest and best bulbs had already been sold.  Still, the varieties I have should make plenty of wonderfully stinky garlic.


This year I am growing only 4 varieties.  One of the reasons I limited myself to four varieties was not simply because I ordered late and choices were limited, but also because it is difficult to keep track of the different varieties.  Many look similar in clove color, skin color, shape and size.  Planting maps need to be carefully kept and the bulbs must be tagged at harvest if there is going to be any chance of knowing which variety you have.  The four varieties I chose for this year are all different in appearance, so even if some are confused at harvest time, there is a middling fair chance I will be able to tell them apart.

The varieties I am planting this year include Inchilium Red (soft neck), Fireball, Music, and German Red. Planted so far - 316 cloves. 281 main crop and 35 small cloves to let flower or to eat the scapes from.
  • 29 Inchilium Red
  • 126 Fireball
  • 99 Music
  • 27 German Red
  • 35 very small cloves Fireball
Main Bed North 56 Music, 27 German Red, 42 Fireball
Main Bed South 43 Music, 70 Fireball
Raised Bed No. 2 10 Inchilium Red along the south board
West Sunflower Bed 14 Fireball, 19 Inchilium Red, 35 small Fireball for scapes or flowers

Still left to plant - about 100 cloves of planting size and 100 small cloves for chive, scape or flower use. And somewhere along the way, in a totally unrelated drive to plant flowering spring bulbs, I also now have 45 daffodil bulbs to plant out!

Monday, August 30, 2010

It Starts with Chickie Poo


Several months ago, I cleaned out the chicken coop and piled the chickie poo filled bedding of pine shavings into a pile about 5 feet long, 4 feet wide and 3 feet tall. For 3 or 4 weeks, the amonia that was released by Billions and Billions (use Carl Sagan's voice, please) of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria totally stank! I watered and turned it diligently, keeping the temperatures down to between 140*F and 150*F, enabling the aerobic bacteria to flourish and pathogens to perish. Around the second month, the temperatures did not climb so dramatically, and the main nitrogen burn off was complete. Still, the pile would rise to the E. Coli and Salmonela killing range of 140*F a day or two after turning and watering. So I continued turning the pile every few days when it started cooling down. And day by day, the pile was getting darker and darker, and smelling less and less.

I had read that the compost would "smell sweet" when it was done, but I had no previous experience with "hot" composting, and I was not sure what the authors meant. So one day, the pile did not heat up after watering and turning. So I watered and turned the pile again. And still, the temperature barely rose to 120*F. So per the advice of the compost mages, I ignored it and let the pile sit for several weeks. And low and behold, after that time, I put my hands into soft, barely warm, sweet smelling compost.

I spread the compost where I will plant garlic in late September or early October (depending when the bulbs get here). I sprinkled some goodies for the chickies on it, and they tilled it into the sand for me. The cycle is complete - they will have chopped garlic leaves in the late spring to help clean them of parasites. ...And now, it's time to clean the coop again and make more desert gold.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Determination

The corn is stunted, heat and drought stressed - but life is resilient and determined. Even though they barely grew to 3 feet tall this year, the corn is now bravely shedding pollen and setting fruit.
Likewise, one small, solitary apple ripens in defiance of relentless desert winds and a hard winter that froze most apple buds to death.

Sometimes I think, I should just let Mother Nature win and take back this small plot of desert. And then I see chickens sneaking into the corn, chickadees stealing sunflower seeds, and a rosemary bush that continues to defy odds - and I think, if they can persevere, so can I.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

August Harvest and General Notes

Harvest
August is one of my favorite months in my High Desert Garden. The mornings are staying cooler all the way up to 9 am as the 60*F by 6 am, 70*F by 7 am, 80*F by 8 am and 90* by 9 am pattern breaks up. During August, the temps may still be below 80 by 10 am. These cooler temps spur the garden veggies into accelerated growth and production - bringing the first of the autumn harvests.

Sunflowers have been blooming for nearly a month, but their seeds are not yet ripened. So, for the fall harvest, yellow crook neck summer squash is the first to produce something edible. Above is one of my plants with a co-joined twin squash. I've never had a squash like that before. Also, note, I think the ants are my primary pollinator here. Of course, I also hand pollinate when I have time - but I don't always have time to help Mother Nature out. Probably the ants are good for Mother Nature's purposes - she merely wishes to produce a goodly amount of seed for next year's plants. Me, I want enough to eat and feed chickies. That requires additional pollination here in the desert.


The last of the sunflower buds have committed to pointing East, so I know they will be blooming soon. Blooms staggered over two months - that is about the same as years past. I mix types and when birds eat seedlings, I plant another seed - so one never knows what type one will get.

I am convinced that if you grow it, they will come. And that includes birds, insects, lizards and spiders. Here, a grey black widow patrols one of the ripening sunflower seed heads.
Although I planted Mammoth sunflowers, none of the plants were taller than 3 feet this year. Looking around the roadsides, it seems that none of the wild or cultivated sunflowers attained much height this year. I can tell which are the Mammoth sunflowers, however, as their flowers were still more than eight inches in diameter.
General Notes
First Frost Dates from Years Past
  • 2005-10-15 Light Frost
  • 2006-10-26 Killing Frost
  • 2007-10-18 Light Frost
  • 2007-10-20 Killing Frost
  • 2008 - not recorded
  • 2009 - not recorded
Bed No. One
  • Bearded Irises - starting to fade; tips are browning and some of the leaves are dying down. Although only the blue and white ones bloomed this year, it appears that all varieties actually survived and sent up leaves for the summer. Hopefully they will all bloom next year.
  • Rosemary - Looking very healthy. It has doubled in size from last year (which is double in size from the year before). It was a 97 cent Walmart unknown cultivar of rosemary. It was not rated for negative 10 degree winters and I fully expect it to die each winter. But here it is, several years later, and it is taking over. Need to harvest the nice young leaves, coat in olive oil and freeze.
  • Unknown Day Lilies - 3 out of 6 survive. One had one bloom before the temperatures became scorching. It was a burnt orange color, and while lovely, was certainly not the bright pink of the cultivar New Toy. Still, if it survives winter, I will be more than happy to keep it!
  • Oregano - harvested a few zip lock bags full before the summer heat made the plants get leggy and slightly bitter. I cut it back until it was only 6 inches tall, so it is not as bushy as it could normally be by this time. Still, I am thinking there will be a flush of new growth as the weather cools, so I may get a small second harvest.
  • Sweet Marjoram - is Oregano's wilder sister, generally having a milder flavor than oregano, and having a more open growth pattern. In the Spring, when growth is young, you can't easily tell them apart - but later in the season, you will see Sweet Marjoram becoming leggy, and growing tall spikes of small white flowers that arch over and sway gracefully in the breeze.
  • Desert Mallow - bright orange and somewhat weedy looking, this one has come back year after year. Her blooms are pretty stinky, but the attract pollinators by the droves. And, though stinky, the bright orange blooms are lovely and prolific. I cut her back after she matured a set of seed pods, and she is blooming again, although a little less than the first bloom set. I have scattered her seed pods around, hoping I can get a few more to personalise in the garden.
  • Lemon Balm - Does not like the heat of summer. The plant grows leggy and the edges of the leaves that are not shaded by the Oregano become small and burnt on the edges. Definitely need to harvest this one in the early Spring when it is sending out large, pretty leaves by the bunches. It self-sowed quite happily this year, so I doubt I will ever have to plant more, even though this is the second year the original two plants have come back.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Autumn is here

It's the beginning of August and although the daytime temperatures are still in the mid- to high- 90's (*F), the nights are dipping into the 50's and low 60's - signifying the beginning of autumn. 

Sunflowers are in full bloom - ones blooming at the beginning of July still holding their petals, but showing signs that the heads are now filling with seed.  4 or 5 buds are still tracking the sun across the sky, but most have now made a commitment to point east in preparation for unfolding their petals.  4 young seedlings, barely 3 inches tall, battle time and the elements - will they bloom before the end of the season?

Collards have germinated in bed number 3.  They are limping along in the heat, but they will grow through light frosts, so hopefully they will begin to flourish as the days cool.

Okra in the ground has been plucked, presumably by the birds.  Three survive in bed number three, however.  They are supposed to only take 60 days or less to harvest.  They are all still small - stunted, I am guessing, by the harsh desert sun and wind.  But if we are lucky, there are still 40 - 60 more frost free days and I may hope to at least see them bloom.

Three delicata squash on the original vine - and the vine is just now starting to take off, with leaf and flower buds soaking up the sun. 

The unknown squash in bed three has female buds that show them to be yellow crook neck.  They haven't been fertilized yet, so I can't say that we will get a harvest - but the ants are working hard, crawling all over them and spreading yellow-orange pollen all around.  Yellow squash planted in the ground barely survives.

I ordered garlic for this fall's planting.  This year's planting includes 2 lbs of German Red and 5 lbs of Siberian - both hard necks that enjoy a cold winter.  I also ordered 1 lb of the softneck, Inchelium Red.  That should yield close to 70 hardnecks and a similar number of softnecks - although the softnecks might not survive if we have as brutal a winter as last year.  Normally I order from The Garlic Store, but they indicate they will not be shipping until October. As it looks like winter will be arriving early this year, I ordered from a place that will ship in mid-August: 2 Sister's Garlic. They did not have the top sized Siberian, but the medium sized will have more cloves per pound, so it may be that my harvest is actually bigger that way.

Speaking of garlic, the composted chicken poo is just about ready to dig into the sand. It will sit a few weeks, and then it should be ready for planting out the garlic. I still haven't decided exactly where to plant, but I better figure it out soon.

Planted out crook neck squash seeds that got rained on - placed them among the corn. One has germinated so far. I also placed some in bed number two, but I haven't seen any there, yet.

Busy week in the garden. Wish I had more time to hang out there. Work and school have taken their toll on my free time.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Herbs

All of my herbs love the desert.  Maybe the heat and the sharply draining sand reminds them of the Mediterranean heritage.  Above are garlic scapes (flower buds), rosemary, oregano, sweet marjoram and silver thyme.
Below, some of the garlic from bed no. 3. Bulbs were small this year due to a number of reasons - they were "volunteers" from cast offs, the winter was long and extra cold, spring was wet and cool - nothing to make them want to "bulb up." Still, an unexpected harvest of volunteers is never a bad thing.
Silver Thyme with Rosemary backdrop.
Oregano and Bearded Iris.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hens, Nests and Eggs

These photos and the video at the end of this post were collected in the late spring/early summer of 2010. The photos taken inside the coop are a little hazy since they were taken with an iPhone3G with only indirect lighting.
A pigeon has decided to build her nest on top of the chicken nest box in the hen house. This pair of eggs are white and about 1 1/2 inch long.
Here, in the actual nest box below, are a clutch of chicken eggs. By the end of June, about half the hens are laying every day and about half are laying every third day or so. Not nearly the production as when they were younger, but not bad for 3 year old hens. The Marans are still out-laying everyone by a large margin.
Hens checking out the next box when it was first built. My husband and son did a nice job, and the hens started laying in the new nest box the day it was built.
My dust-bathing beauties. This is their favorite place to bath. It's in the garden where we once burned a big pile of brush. I had raked the leftover ashes into the sand so it wouldn't blow around - and they love it.
And, of course, what Mama Hen would be worth her salt without a video of her babies!
video

Monday, July 12, 2010

Spinach

I grew spinach for the first time this year. I planted "Matador" in the berry bed. Only three strawberry plants survived our winter this year, but three is enough to send 15 - 20 runners by summer, so I figured I fill the empty spaces with fast growing spinach.

Baby Matador Spinach

I am convinced that if children were introduced to spinach from their grandma's garden at an early age, then they would both love eating spinach and have a better foundation with which to face the world.


I am not quite at the point where I will be saving seeds, but I am heading that way. Observing this season's spinach bolting is the first step in that process. And who knows, maybe the chickens won't get all the bolting spinach and blooms, and I'll save a few seeds "just to see what happens."

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Early June

I am happy to report that there were no posts for June 2010 because my husband is home from Afghanistan, I am enjoying having him back home, and I was out in the garden actually gardening! Goodness and blessings all around me!

Early June is the time of mouthwatering peas! None of them actually made it into the house this year. Granddaughter and I grazed them in the garden and fed the shells and vines to the chickens. At the end of the season, over the course of a week, the vines were cut and tossed into the chicken run for chickie entertainment and nutrition.



Early June also foreshadows the bounty of Deep Summer and Autumn. The sunflowers in bed two that looked lonely and far apart are a dark green and foot tall in Early June. The promise of giant, golden globes in a few more months.



I have successfully murdered 4 raspberry bushes to date. Young, Innocent things, bought as bare root plants ready to leap forth and take over the world. But alas, dogs, searing heat, and early neglect and other abuse led to all of their demise. But this year, it appears, that I may finally be successful. A Walmart plant, supposedly of "thornless black raspberry" parentage, thrives and began flowering in June. My keys to finally having some success? Plant early - before the searing heat of summer. Water daily this first year. Mulch heavily. Feed lightly.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Spring is Tentatively Here

The Desert Mallow is tentatively blooming. Most of the buds are still tightly furled, but a few brave buds have burst open in all their orange glory. This is a wild flower here in Northern Nevada, although this one has decided to become a permanent resident of my herb bed. I thought they re-seeded every year, but, apparently, given water and food, they can become a perennial. I wish they smelled as pretty as their little one inch blooms look, but, alas, they pretty much stink. But the bugs love them, and when the winds are calm, bees, flies, and wasps of all kinds flock to these flowers in droves. If there are any volunteers this year, I should plant them where I would like to grow squash. So far, to get any fruit set, I've had to hand pollinate both zukes and yellow squash.Hand pollinating can be relaxing and enjoyable, but sometimes, I'd just rather have Mother Nature take care of it.

This second photo depicts some of the still tightly curled Desert Mallow buds. In a few more weeks, there could be hundreds of bright orange flowers - but for the moment, there are less than a dozen of them.

Other plants that are growing and even blooming, in spite of a long, cold, dreary spring include my upright rosemary and the tough as nails bearded irises. Herbs are also doing well - especially the oregano, its cousin, sweet marjoram, and the lemon balm. The lemon balm enjoys this weather so much that many seeds from last year have germinated and are working on their first and second set of leaves.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Wishing for the Weather to Settle

Although the apple trees survived our extra brutal winter this year, only the two Fuji's bloomed with any vigor. The Gala had less than one dozen flowers. Since the Gala is the cross-pollinator for the Fuji's, and visa versa, there chances are pretty slim that we will have apples this year. Add to the fact that they bloomed during a cold, windy week at the beginning of May when the bees were still sleepy means the chances are really about none. Inspection of the trees confirm this. At least the three young trees seem to have survived the winter. The old tree of unknown parentage that my husband saved from the house-builder's bulldozer, however, does not look like it will survive this brutal spring season. I continue to water her as if she were going to live - but if not, then this summer she will become something else. I recently saw a book on wooden buttons. Maybe some of her branches will be reincarnated that way. And her gnarled trunk might warm our house as firewood. And, of course, I have my photos of her. But for now, I encourage her with water, food and words.

Still, as the matron apple tree appears to decline, there are young, fresh plants just beginning their journey. Seven sunflowers in Bed 2 are up and about with large leaves patiently waiting for the hot summer sun. 15 more are barely out of the ground on the west side of the garden - planted under chicken wire, and hidden by dried weeds to thwart the hungry birds. They are planted on the west side, because, invariably, a sunflower will face the morning sun when it prepares to set seed.

Other Garden Status

  • Peas - over 30 of them, ranging from just sprouted to 4 inches tall
  • Spinach - var. "Matador" - 39, some with their first set of true leaves
  • "New Toy" Day Lilies - 3 sets, barely out of the ground and only a few inches high - hoping their bright pink blooms will add color to the garden all season long
  • Rosemary - continues to bloom
  • Lemon Balm - self seeded babies are launching their first true leaves
  • Bearded Irises - Deep maroon tips peak out of lengthening scapes
  • Garlic - waits for the summer heat to spur them to bulk up their bulbs
  • Hens - Acquiring 8-12 eggs a day


Enjoying the blessings of the season - in spite of snow last week and the chance of freezing night temperatures still in the forecast.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Henhouse News

The boys build me a nest box for Mother's Day. I thought it would be too open and that the hens wouldn't use it, but that has not been the case. "Old Biddy," the largest of the Maran hens, lays her single egg every day on top of the nest box. She's always laid her eggs on hard surfaces, so I suppose that is not too surprising.

These eggs were an acumulation of leftovers - some are several days old. They became snacks for the dogs along with about a dozen more "old" eggs. The people are way more spoiled - we eat only "same day" eggs. Sometimes they are less than an hour old.

I can't believe that "Hungry Jack" is now several years old. This is a photo from two weeks ago where he is watching over his bathing beauties. He very rarely partakes in the dust baths himself, but he likes to strut around the flock when the ladies are bathing.

On a sad note, one of my Silver Laced Wyandotes has passed away. It looks like she died in the night on her roost. There appears to be no sign of foul play. She was a little over two years old. My son took her out and burried her.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Spring Is Here!


It's been a long, cold, bitter winter here in the high desert, but warm temps and rain instead of snow, announce that Spring is finally here!

Small Miracles!

The rosemary pictured above, is not supposed to be winter hardy around here. Especially in an unusually cold winter where we received temperatures as low as negative ten! Other amazing survivors include 3 out of 4 apple trees, the nectarine and the cherry. Oregano, sweet marjoram, lemon balm and earded irises didn't bat an eye - and the irises are now budding. Hens (and rooster) also survived unscathed and are now ramping up egg production. Yes, the miracle of Spring is here!


New In the Ground!
  • "Matador" spinach is in the ground and sprouting
  • Peas are 2 - 3 inches tall
  • 6 Silver Thyme plants are in the herb bed
  • Sunflowers are sprouting (and with them, this year's the battle with the birds and chipmonks)
  • Two tomato plants are in the ground - still pretty chancy for this time of year