Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Moving day

We are leaving on vac (save hubby who will be holding down the "farm") so I had to get it done today. Except for hardware the new hutch is made from leftovers from other projects. 5 of the quail are in the top, 4 in the bottom. I hope they are happier than in their rubbermaid tub. It was quite an adventure moving them one by one from the hen yard to their new home - they are not tame birds and tried to fly away - one nearly made it out the 2x4 openings near the top of the pen, I barely caught one of its legs in time as it was squeezing through.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hubby's garden

Hubby has a couple of raised beds in the local p-patch. It gives him a chance to meet other people and get out of the house, sometimes alone. Almost of the fresh food we have been eating is from there.

His beds stop people in their tracks who are walking by. Because they are raised and filled (mostly) with sand there is no weeding. He tries to get there at least once a day to
water/thin/visit and the time and
attention show.

He is using the squarefoot method, and has a little of everything.

Monday, June 27, 2011

hatch and release

All of the painted lady butterflies emerged from their chrysalis in the last couple days. The pink spotted ladybugs also grew into their adult form so we set them outside for release. It took only a couple seconds for them to disappear into the sky (butterflies) or crawl into the vegetation below (ladybugs) But the girls found it very thrilling to watch them go out into the world.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

progress of sorts

As the girls and I prepare for a vacation in Mn this week, there is much to do before our flight leaves. . . here is a rundown of what is growing.

tomatoes that need cages. . .and more tomatoes

. . . and more tomatoes . . . lima beans by raspberries . . . potatoes

Chicken coop and nearly done quail hutch

Australian butter squash seed vs transplant

one too many pumpkin . . .Wild flower area

purple Brussels sprouts. . .romanesco broccoli

Mesha's own garden . . .Lady Godiva squash bed

Peppers . . . Snow Peas

Front yard flowers and backyard hens (the Cornish are still there)

Friday, June 24, 2011

I'll be there with bells on my toes

I will actually be volunteering for the Littleton History Museum booth (and 1800s fashion show) This is the first of hopefully a long standing annual event. From the info I have seen this is not your traditional country fair (Best "County Fair" Drag Queen Competition - Friday, July 29th at 8pm!) but a celebration of the new "urban farming" movement. No cow or pig shows - only animals legal in Denver (Chickens, waterfowl, goats, rabbits, cats & dogs)

The picture is the link if you are interested.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

well said

Faking it by Ben Hewitt

This essay(?) sums it up for me. I am uninterested in being a "real" farmer.

Science for the Garden

This last Christmas Costco had Bug kits in stock and in my usual way when they got marked down to under $10 I got one. (checking a children's' educational toy catalog these would have retailed for $40. Score!)

We got our pink ladybug larva and Painted Lady Butterfly Catterpillars a couple weeks ago in the mail. Each day the girls have checked them, adding a little water to the ladybug pool. (the Caterpillars are self sufficient at this point)

But now they are Chrysalis!! They will be moved into a netted container to hatch soon before all of our "bugs" are released in the yard.

We have been talking a lot about the importance of insects in the world. Even paper wasps, which are irritating to us, have a roll as predators of bugs that do damage to our vegetables and flowers. (We still knock down any nest we find around the back deck.) We are learning the difference between the bumblebees, honeybees, and leafcutter bees - and how they are different than yellow jackets, wasps and mud dobbers.

decision made

Hubby & I were up late cleaning a flooded basement, so when 5 am rolled around and the adolescent crowing started we were not pleased.

Granted it was 70 out, so all the windows were open. Our fan, which would usually block any noises not in our room, was downstairs encouraging the carpet to dry.

But if The Rooster formerly known as Heather woke us, he probably woke the neighbors too.

He would have made a good male for the flock. I told him so as he sat quietly on my hand. Oh for an old timer to teach me the art (and major surgery) of caponing.

I had more than a couple people suggest I toss him over the fence at the Littleton Museum.

But he is my problem and I found my solution.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The name game

Tweedle Dee

Tweedle Dum


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Juju has a story to tell

It was 4:11 AM when I woke up to a loud crashing noise. Thinking that someone had dropped a bunch of pots and pans I thought "What on Earth is mom doing in the kitchen this early?" So I put on my glasses and went into the living room, planning on investigating the kitchen. As I approached the door to the upstairs I saw what was actually making all the commotion.

Quail were everywhere!

It was a Quail Break!!

(Okay we don't have very many but they are usually in their extra large Rubbermaid tub, not all over the room!)

First I closed all the doors to the room to keep them from venturing to the rest of the house, then I checked out what had happened.

One of the little birds was kind enough to stay inside the bin. But how had they escaped? One section of the wire caged lid had come off. But how?

Anyway, I caught 4 quail and while looking for another one I heard the crashing noise again!

I looked over to the bin and saw the quail jumping up and down, knocking off the lid.

We need to clip their wings again I think.

I instantly ran upstairs to get Mom. After I woke her I ran back down and caught one more by the time Mom got there. We caught 3 more quail together.

We could tell they were tired (or scared) cause they settled down in their tub this time.

We counted them.

8. We counted them again.

Still 8.

We started looking for the last bird. Under the couch. In the fireplace. Under the bookshelf. In the closet (it had been ajar)

Then I spotted it - perched on a canning jar on the counter. I grabbed the little bird from behind (Mom had been about to try from the side, but I stopped her) With a final sequence of protesting peeps it went into the bin. Immediately it snuggled into the pile of already sleeping quail.

We put the top back on - Mom placed a space heater (not plugged in of course) on top to weight it down and we went back to bed.

And overslept in the morning.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

raspberries CHECK

After weeks of procrastination the girls and I finally drove the 3 miles to dig up a few plants from a friend's raspberry patch. Including the drive it took a total of 15 minutes. (my excuse of we don't have time once again shot down. This putting things off is just not jiving with logic anymore) We now have 6 canes planted - some new wood, but a couple with berries already started - in theory we will have fruit this fall!!

He also let us try some home cured bacon that he had done in the last few weeks. Both girls informed me, after the sample, that store bought bacon was no longer good enough for them.

After planting the canes I planted Christmas Lima Beans along the wall behind them. Hey, they need to go somewhere!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gender Confusion

This is the Rooster formerly known as Heather.

I really don't know what to do with him. He seems to be a polite gentleman, keeps an eye on the girls, doesn't crow incessantly or loudly. (at least I don't think so) And he is going to be gorgeous as an adult.

But Littleton doesn't allow roosters.

I am reluctant to eat him though - partly cause he is so small.

A conundrum for sure.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Petticoats and bees

Today I had volunteer orientation as an interpreter for the 1860/1890 farms at Littleton Historical Museum. To say I am excited at the prospect of doing chores this summer in period clothing is an understatement.

Although "my" dress is being mended - hopefully in time for my first official day next week - I got to bring boots home.

The cabin shown is original. Shades of Laura Ingalls Wilder! There is even an outhouse! (Including contraband toilet paper) I hope to spend time learning about the bees and the surrounding orchard. But I am thrilled to be learning anything of this style of self sufficiency.

Friday, June 10, 2011

#43 on the list of things that make me smile

New feeder

Only Caccitore is brave enough to check out the new hanging feeder I got today - or is it pure gluttony?

The quail needed the small jar feeder, so there was my excuse to hit Valley Feed down the street and bag up (free) loose straw/hay mix from the shed floor - and buy a hanging feeder, and a new steel spade, and some top soil/sheep manure/peat moss mix for my container potatoes.

That free bedding sure costs alot.

Now I need to use the extra plastic garbage can lid to make an umbrella of sorts to keep the feed dry. Hopefully it won't rain before I get around to it.

And I need more organic feed.

No wonder small farmers go broke.