Gardening in the Blind


Chicken Update – Part One
June 30, 2010, 8:32 pm
Filed under: animals, chickens

I have been very busy at work, leaving blogging behind for a brief time.  So to catch you up on the chickens progression, I am going to break this up into two parts.  This part will feature a HUGE event in chicken life.  

My portable coop without the lids

 

They have been growing like a weed.  By the 18th they were pushing it fitting into the cage indoors.  So I decided I was going to do something about it.  Driving my husband to drink – literally, I hopped into the car and purchased some wood and hardware cloth.  I had an image in my mind, but had not figured out how much of what I needed.  I just grabbed a handful of 1x3x8 lumber (I think 10 of so) and a roll of hardware cloth.  I came home and set out to build my girls what is commonly called a chicken tractor.  That simple means a portable coop you can move around.  After building it I am learning more that will need to change, but as always I view it as a great work in progress. 

Enjoying the great outdoors for the first time

 

So on Friday, June 18th the chickens had a huge day.  They were able to go play in the grass for the first time.  But not only that, I purchased big girl food and water for them.  It was a true sign of growing up.  Boy it has been super fast!  At first they were very scared and just huddled in a corner, but then it was play time.  They would all run from one end to the other.  It was really cute to watch.  The first carpenter ant that dared to climb on the wood I am happy to report was foraged by Helen first then the rest of them.  Each took turns nipping at it.  

Deron holding Allie

They are feathering nicely.  I swear overnight 2 got feathers on the head.  They are growing leaps and bounds making it harder to hold with one hand.  Here is Deron holding Allie on the 18th.  She is and still remains the most feathered of the bunch!  Not to mention the most mischievous.  Her new-found love is sitting in the food (It has no top) and eating all around her.



Rue
June 17, 2010, 6:53 am
Filed under: Herbs, Pest control

Rue

Rue has been around a long time.  It is one of the most popular herbs mentioned in literature.  Derived from the old English word hreow meaning to be sorry for, rue has been symbolic of repentance.  It had such a reputation as a disinfectant that in Elizabethan England it was strewn on the floors of the courts before prisoners were taken in so the justices would not catch “gaol fever.”  At Sturbridge Village the herbalist stated that the book he just completed had over 89 remedies using rue.

This all sounds great, but there is one more thing that is not mentioned here.  The oil of rue is on the surface of the leaves.  Some people are very sensitive and can get what only can be described as poison ivy rash.  The difference is that it needs the sun to create the rash on your skin.  The longer you are in the sun after placing the rue oil (which is known to be a great bug repellant as well) the worse your rash will be.

Deron's rue rash

I would like to say this is why husbands should listen to wives and what they have to say.  If they don’t they might end up with a nasty rash after walking in the beds and compacting the soil which they should know better – weeding or not weeding.  So, Deron learned the hard way.  Thank goodness it was after we had worked all day so the rash wasn’t really that bad…Ok, I admit, a little guilt set in, but he will think twice about where he walks next time!  It has been over a week and it is still there.  On both calves.  The picture is taken on day 2.

So I took to doing a little more research on this herb.  It seems it also can cause you to have a miscarriage,  it exceeds any known bug repellant on the market.  It can cause the rash – but I have never gotten it.  I don’t test it either.  But with all this, it is a darn pretty plant that people use to eat in salads…



Planting is done! (for now)
June 15, 2010, 8:12 am
Filed under: Garden Planning, Herbs, outdoor gardening, Squash, Tomatoes, Uncategorized

Left side of yard - Beds 1,2,3 from roof

Just what am I growing this year?  Curious?  I was very surprised when I got the final list together.  Below is the list, without quantities.  I will blog more about tomatoes a little later discussing the final count.  But until then, here it is:

Last 2 beds from roof

Herbs: Winter Savory, mint, lemon balm, thyme and lemon thyme, horehound, oregano, lavender, camomile, bee balm, borage, rosemary, eucalyptus, mallow, marshmallow, soapwort, rue, feverfew, wormwood, tarragon, many different basils, chives, garlic chives, parsley, dill, and marjaram.

Vegetables: 4 types of cucumbers Boston pickling, red, lemon and climbing; garlic, over 19 different varieties of tomatoes, 2 eggplants- fairytale and ping tong long; white acorn squash, zucchini, pumpkin, 5 types of carrots, mini red bell pepper, tomatillos, many varieties of cut and grow lettuce, kale, kohlrabi, cabbage, 5 types of hot peppers-2 different cayenne, red lantern, jalapeno and a mystery; 3 types of pole beans-Wren’s egg, Kentucky wonder and scarlet runner; 4 types of bush beans-dragon, cranberry, blue lake and Jacobs cattle; 2 types of onions-candy and mars; shallots, peas, Nicotiana, broccoli, turnips and parsnips.

Fruit: Blueberries, Glenora Grapes

I think I got everything.  I might need to update again if I run across something not listed.  But it is nice and green and lush.  I am looking forward to a great season hopefully.  I just know the rain is going to stop!



Day 23 – New Feathers, New Attitudes
June 12, 2010, 6:51 pm
Filed under: chickens

Helen with wings spanned open over the food

It has been a little over 2 weeks that I have been owners of chickens.  I have survived and love every minute of it.  I can’t believe the changes in them everyday.  Helen shown in this picture is still super scared and shy of me, but is starting every once and a while that she can stand up for herself.  She is as large if not larger than most of the chickens.  It is weird how she doesn’t quite know how big she is yet.  I hope she does.  She has feathers on her wings, tail and back.  I don’t think she has started feathering the front yet.

Amelia in her awkward stage with Henrietta looking on

Amelia on the other hand is going through a bit of an awkward stage.  She has developed a stripe of feathers on each side of her chest.  It looks really funny.  But it isn’t stopping her at all.  She is still liking to fly around the crate and be a little forceful to the others.  When she wants to be boss for that moment, she lets them all know.  I put a couple of sticks for them to use for perching and she was the first one on both of them.  She Dixie and Allie are the furthest along.  They are the worst attitudes as well as the picking order still hasn’t been made yet.  I keep telling Henrietta that she is going to grow up and surpass them all!  I am happy to report that Henrietta is now getting her tail feathers!

Allie on one of the sticks for roosting.

Allie loves to roost.  She will roost on the sticks I have in cage, but her favorite is on top of the water bottle.  This sounds innocent enough, but the poop falls right into the drinking area.  She has also tipped the water over twice now.  When will she learn….I have a sneaky feeling that she will never learn not to do that.  She is one actively fighting for the pecking order leader.  I have to say she has the best balance and can get the highest in the cage.  She should use that to her advantage.  Though the only thing I see her doing is pecking at Amelia’s tail when Amelia in on the stick.

I leave you with this…My little rut with a look of what’s happening….My blond of the chickens..

Can I help you???



What is a friend for…
June 10, 2010, 8:08 am
Filed under: Herbs, outdoor gardening

When I moved into my house three years ago, my friend Gwen brought me my best house warming gift.  She gave me four plants.  Well three different ones as she gave me two iris’.  I thought I would talk about the gifts and where they are now.

Iris in full bloom

My favorite time of year is when my Iris’ bloom.  They are delicate and beautiful.  I glow with pride seeing them.  The coloring is a bit purplish with small blooms.  Any way you look at it, I’m smitten.  They are the envy of all who come to see them.  I just wish the flower lasted longer so I could show them off more.  But the long green stocks look quite nice alone in the garden bed.

My large collection of mint

Gwen was nice enough to give me a mint plant.  Now I am a big lover of mint.  It calms the stomach and smells intoxicating to me.  I knew I wanted to have a fair amount.  I set aside approximately 4 feet of space for it.  The first year I was a little concerned as it seemed to not really fill the space.  The second year I was out in the spring pulling the runners up.  Again, I thought maybe I hurt the plant, but at last I found I didn’t and it was filling in.  Fall came around and I again pulled the runners.  This year the runners were found over 10 feet away.  I laugh at the thought that I was afraid it would not fill the space.  I use large handfuls for making sun tea.  It is also great for mojitos – virgin and non.

Sage in bloom

The last plant Gwen gave me was sage.  Although I don’t cook with it very often, it is a beautiful plant.  I have found that I love the way it dries in my window.  It still looks pretty even dry.  I give a lot of dried sage away for the holidays.  Last year the plant divided.  So now I have a much larger plant right next to the mint.  I call it the Gwen corner. I always think of her when I see that section.  I hope someday I can repay her for it and give her the same.



My front garden
June 8, 2010, 12:13 pm
Filed under: Garden Planning, outdoor gardening, Squash, Tomatoes

My entire front garden

As in past years, one of my favorite things is to plant out my little victory garden patch in the front side yard.  This year I increased the size just slightly.  It has made a delightful patch to come home to every day.  I planted the beautiful scarlet red pole beans, tomatillos, an eggplant, 10 tomato plants, one japanese eggplant and two white acorn squash.  Everything is looking healthy so far.  I can’t wait to see everything producing.  It should be really nice to see.

tomatillos

What makes this extra special is that it has everything that I grew by seed with the exception of the japanese eggplant that my friend Gwen grew for me.  It makes me smile every time I pull into the driveway to know I grew everything planted.  Wow I am growing leaps and bounds with my knowledge of plants.  I have to admit, I love it!



Chicks 18 days
June 7, 2010, 7:36 pm
Filed under: chickens

I know I just posted pictures, but tonight I captured one that was well worth sharing.  Click to enlarge the photo to see more detail on the feathers.  Enjoy!

Love is in the air....