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.