Monday, May 30, 2011

Weed-eaters are growing up!

Started integrating them with the chickens this week. 
I still don't trustmy rooster with them yet,
so they had to spend the rainy day
in their dog crate and not in the snug chicken coop.
The weather doesn't seem to bother them nearly
as much as it seems to bother me, though.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Random Photos

My son is helping me paint the chicken coop so that it looks like a "Red Barn."  Next payday I'll buy the white paint for the trim.  You might recognize this photo as a sepia-tint photo from a recent post.  Notice how the weeds between the garlic and the chicken coop are not nearly as prominent looking in the sepia-tinted photo!  The weeds keep the sand from blowing around, so even though they harbor bugs, I keep them around until I am ready to plant - which means most of them will make it to viable seed production.  That's ok, though - as the weeds also add valuable green matter to my compost pile.
I will likely never see fruit from my hardy nectarine.  It seems to always burst into bloom shortly after the first 70*F day - never learning that here in the High Desert, that a day like that invariably is followed by a 20*F night later in the week.  Still, it's a beautiful tree all covered in pink.  And it survived two winters where we got into the negative temps for a week or more each.  So I can't complain at all.
Oregano is growing like crazy, tender and strong smelling amid last year's woody flower stalks.
This photo is from a few months ago - a Maran and an Easter Egger hen - my organic weed-eaters. They chickens don't like garlic at all, and are very dainty about not stepping on it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Springtime Ramblings

It's amazing what one can do on their phone these days.  This photo was taken and edited on my phone.  I suppose I can also blog via my phone, but haven't spent the time figuring it out because - I have been spending every spare moment in the garden! As you can see, the garlic planted last fall is doing well.
And, I have finally found the solution to the birds and other critters eating my sunflower and other seedlings - row covers.  Duh.  I bought about $30 worth of them this spring, and in stead of losing half (or more) of my seedlings to the voracious wildlings, out of 50 sunflower seedlings, I've only lost 5 (ok, I stepped on two additional ones, but that is a separate issue!).  In this photo is the first bush bean planting - all under wraps.
Rows are about 5 ft long.  Top set includes 4 rows, right to left, one row each of: Ferry Morse "Royal Burgundy" Purple Bean (Ferry Morse Seeds from Home Harvest Seeds) (2011 seed), Pinetree Garden "Pencil Pod Yellow (wax) Bush Bean" (Pinetree Gardens) (2008 seed), Park Seed "True Blue" Green Bean (Park Seed) (2011 seed) and Park Seed "Velour" Purple Bean (2011 seed).  The row on the bottom left has a mixture of them - just figured it would look nice.  I dropped a bunch of the pencil pod yellow wax bean seeds in a puddle, though, so there is a higher percent of them than I originally planned.  The row on the bottom left has radishes.  It's a little early for both beans and  blackeye peas, but I couldn't help but plant a 15 ft double row of Ferry Morse "California Blackeye."  Also planted them under row covers.
A note about the row covers in this photo - right now they are plastered to the sand because I have just heavily watered in the seeds.  They do "float" when they are dry.


My granddaughter gave me a trio of unknown ducklings for Easter - falling for their cuteness as the feed store so hoped. They have turned out to be three boys of a white, "Peking" type.

As with all the fowl in our little micro-farm, they started life out in my bath tub.
In the picture below, their feathers are just starting to come in.  Their wings are so tiny compared to their bodies.  I don't recall the chickies' wings appearing so small.  They are starting to lose their yellow coloring here, too.  Their beaks are also turning from a pale peach color to the more yellow-orange color that we associate with duck bills. 

Once their feathers started coming in, we set up a little wire enclosure in the garden. They share a woven wire fence with the chickens, so they can see each other. Eventually, the ducks will move into the chicken run/coop with the chickies. We put duct tape over the ventilation holes in one of our dog crates for a shelter; however, they still prefer to sleep in the open if it is not windy. I guess that's why they have more fat than chickens - at the first hint of the possibility of coolness, the chickies head for home.

They currently use their water tub for bathing.  As soon as I put fresh water in it, they rush to see who will be the first one to get in.  Whomever gets there first defends their right to the water with much to do.  When the little kiddie pools start showing up at the store, I shall have to get them one. They muddy up the water pretty good, though, so for sanitation, it will need to be rinsed at least daily. The chickens hate water, so there won't be any competition there.

Favorite duckie food right now is chopped up spinach leaves floated in their water. They get the leaves that are too tough for people or that are bug-eaten. They are also getting all of the immature seed stalks as the spinach that overwintered is trying its best to bolt now.