Friday, September 30, 2011

All the girls are laying now.

Although, Alice hasn't quite got the nest figured out yet.

To back up.

Our children are sleeping in the guest room tonight as I try to organize their play/craft area. (A trip to IKEA today ended with some white shelving with an attached desk.) If I haven't mentioned it before, the hen/duck yard has a window into the basement. The ducks don't like to go into the chicken house at night, choosing instead to sleep by said window. They get really upset and noisy when the motion detector light by the back door comes on over their heads. Apparently, light from where I was working was also bothersome, as they were quacking and attacking the window with their beaks while I was sorting through endless amounts of craft paper.

Envisioning hairline cracks in the window I decided to chase them into the hen house so I could continue to work in peace.

There are 3 ways to do this:
1. bang on the fence with a stick, following them until they go in
2. chase them with a flashlight over the fence until they go in
3. go in and chase them in

Option 1 only got them 1/2 way before they stopped in defiance.

Option 2 meant going in and finding said flashlight.

Option 3 was successful. And the above egg was found in the yard. I am surprised it was not crushed in the mayhem.

Hubby said she had been trying to use the nest the last few days, but Pippa would race her to it, hop in and not get out until Alice gave up and went back outside.

UPDATE: After posting this I went back downstairs to work - to find the ducks outside, quacking loudly at the light again.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

This morning's gather

I definitely need 2 more hens.

The Ameraucana hasn't started laying yet, but I would like white shelled also. Maybe an olive egger also.

I'm chasing the rainbow.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dream Farm

Because this should be written down somewhere . . .

3-5 acres
all buildings (and gardens) fully wheelchair accessible
small orchard
pond (fish?)
Chicken, ducks, turkey and whatever other fowl catches our fancy
Rabbits - meat & fiber
a cow
green house
able to be off the grid (solar, well, masonry stove, cold cellar)
grey water irrigation system

oh yeah . . .
walking distance to
library, thrift store, 7-11 and coffee shop
biking distance to
work, school, farmers market, wine bar, Target

Sunday, September 25, 2011



The difference

I read regularly about "them that's doing" on various blogs. Mostly these are neo-rural farmers making a go. I read about how while coffee is percolating at 5 am they are doing chores and coming in for a welcome cup of joe an hour or so later.

I get up at 6 - and I get my coffee before chores.

Although my favorite NPR mug fell recently and I have not yet found a new favorite. It is strange not having coffee with Bob Edwards.

It's the little things.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My favorite pepper

The chocolate peppers have been by far the most prolific. Even these days, when the nighttime temperatures demand we cover them at dusk they still produce (I picked these all yesterday)

On top of this they are thick walled and sweet. Juju likes taking them in her lunch - the color grosses out the other kids at the table who have only seen the green, red, yellow and orange ones available at the local store.

They are sliced up and in the freezer, awaiting salsa canning day.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Official Naming

The voting is in, and Harley (the duck) and Quinn (the drake) are the winners. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

where has the time gone?

I would like to spin yarns about how busy I have been that I couldn't find time to share my experiences.

But I honestly don't know what I have been doing - other than avoiding the computer in general.

The weather has cooled into the 70's instead of the 90's and we have been taking advantage. Not in any real productive manner, mind you, but spending time on the back porch listening to the poultry, reading a book. Maybe with a beer.

We had one night dip into the lower 50's a week or so ago, killing the watermelon. Juju fed the vines to the hens and after mixing in rabbit manure tea I planted my first fall garden. Lettuce, peas, radish, kale, carrots, spinach and a few cabbages. There are actual markers and everything.

For S&G I planted some in soil and covered with straw mulch and others in straw mulch and covered with soil. No reason really - other than to see what happens and the lovely stripes keeping my rows separate.

The snow peas are planted under a couple trellises I "borrowed" from our roses - they never really used them anyway.

On a side note - I have a single asparagus frond from the 10 crowns I planted. I'm not really sure what that means - I wasn't expecting to see any growth this year.

Since planting we have had rain periodically, so I haven't even watered it very much. (Note to self: check soil tomorrow)

Another side note - both apple trees I picked from last year are bare of fruit this year. I am not sure how I will make applesauce since I refuse to buy fruit to can. The grapes in the alley, however, seem to be doing well.

Cooler weather has also meant Hubby ("The Lone Rooster" here on Urban Chicks Farm) has been able to do some metalwork again.

I found this and this online and started thinking about the cast iron columns that a neighbor had removed from his back porch that we gleefully scavenged earlier this summer.

He built this:

Possibly the coolest log storage I have ever seen. Below will be hardwood and above, softwood. (If, of course, I get around to ordering a cord before it gets cold) The basket on top is paper. The floor baskets have kindling and color cones (for extra entertainment)

I cut a worn out foam kitchen mat to fit under, protecting the floor.

He has been spending spare time in his shed these days - I am not yet sure what is next, but it involves horseshoes.

Finally, this week brings us the fall equinox, so we had our annual Last BBQ of Summer this past Saturday. It was a great blend of neighbors, work people and school people. There were about 25 kids running around the backyard catching grasshoppers (of which there has been many) and dropping them into the chicken yard with a squeal. That alone made it the best one yet of the last 8? 10? 12? years (I've lost track) We also had a duck naming contest, of sorts. Here are the suggestions, feel free to vote.

1. Joe & Sarah
2. Harley & Quinn
3. Cookies & Cream
4. Klondike & Snow
5. Cream & Puff
6. Gabriella & Rodrigo
7. Frick & Frack
8. Nepturne & Aphrodite
9. Dick & Jane
10. Jack & Jill
11. Jane & Mr. Darcy
12. Hansel & Gretel
13. Shrek & Fiona
14. Clark & Lois
15. Ralph & Alice
16. Mickey & Minnie
17. Kelp & Ocean
18. Quackmire & Quacken
19. Aflac
20. Gizmo
21. China Girl

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mother Natue is Weird

I dug up my potato bins.

I got ZERO potatoes.

There was no roots along the stems - hell there were no roots anywhere. It's not like I have never grown potatoes before. Our neighbor who gave us the seed is thrilled with how well his plants are producing, so I know that what ever it was, the problem was me. Too much shade? Not enough Water? Needed more humus?

on the flip side

At the P-patch on an unused hill I planted corn. Twice actually, because germination was horrible. Mostly this year I ignored it. It was hard to get too because both paths that lead towards it had piles of weeds at the end from the surrounding gardens. I rarely watered it. It was stunted and brown and of the 2 packets I planted I only got a dozen stalks.

But I harvested 4 good + 5 meh cobs. We grilled them. Heavy on the starch, but good flavor.

Our same neighbor, who babied his corn, had the plants dry up and produce nothing.