Saturday, May 26, 2012

new obligation

We made our deadline.  On Thursday before work I planted the corn and the last of tomatoes. Also Hubby went up in the afternoon to seed the last of the perennials.

Then yesterday the Ppatch office called to say that someone had opted out their box - did we want to use it since it was already paid for?

So today I bought yellow and red onion sets, 3 paste tomatoes and some nasturtium.

We plan to have the 4x8 box planted before the girls get up in the morning.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


 Well one deadline - Friday.  Everything needs to be planted and marked in both the Ppatch and at home by then.

As a result the last couple days have been a rush when I get home from work to get something ANYTHING done.

I was sidetracked by the home front yesterday, but today the Ppatch got some love.

The bales, as you can see, have been placed.  The plan is Mammoth Sunflowers along the fence with Greek amaranth on the top tier.  Strawberry Popcorn on the lower, with (already planted) nasturtiums cascading over the straw.

Most of the bell peppers are planted (I still need to acquire a mild chili) as are a majority of the tomatoes.  The straw paths are to help Hubby wheel through the rows (and show the children where the rows are)  I brought the cucumber plants to the garden but had just started setting up the climbing dome over a trench for irrigation when Juju reminded us they had gymnastics.

While we were gone, Hubby planted his flower garden - he wants to attract pollinators he says.  He left the right side by the metal fence for irises and the top of the hill for me to continue the sunflower theme and the left side for us to dig in some steps (the final thing on our to do list.

On our last visit the girls planted their boxes, a bewildering mix of flowers, herbs, and begrudgingly carrots and radishes and a tomato.


The trellis is a dismantled plant shelf that the neighbors offered to us.  It was either us or the trash man.  I planted trombetta squash(this was not their idea either) on it and we will connect the top somehow to make an arbor.

But now it is dark and I need to start the indoor work that the weather did not allow me to take care of before.

Monday, May 21, 2012

A manly clothspin holder

We have been using my Grandma Lundborg's holder - it was made to look like a toddler dress, but I had not yet had a chance to patch the holes in it so Hubby improvised.

This is more appropriate for a stay at home Dad/homemaker/blacksmith/builder/handyman/landscape designer and all around Lone Rooster of Urban Chicks Farm.

Everybody has a job

Mesha painting 2x2s we got for free to make garden markers for the gardens.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Wonders of spring

The yard is full of surprises this year.

This peach colored iris is a nice change from the usual purple and yellow we have seen so far.
There is also now a red rose by the old apple tree that I had found smothered under the vinca.

We have a white rose on the fence.  The bush has never bloomed in the 2 years we have been here.  I started singing "Painting the roses red" from Disney's Alice in Wonderland as soon as I saw it.

 But by a landslide this is the best surprise so far: 

We didn't even know we had a peach tree.  This is the first year it bloomed.  I guess clearing out the weeds and pruning most of the dead branches was a good idea.  Now we just have to get a ladder up and thin the small fruit.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


This is my favorite sound - narrowly beating out the contented clucks of the hens.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


The female quail did not make it.

The dominant male has been calling all day.  Often enough that the roofers across the alley started calling back.  It seems to me like he is calling for the lost member of his flock.

Monday, May 14, 2012


One morning back in early April we found the quail agitated and bloody.  One of the females had a severely  injured leg and many others had toes missing (where most of the blood came from).  We knew a fox had been around  - checking out the new duck digs, but being that the hutch has 1/2 inch hardware cloth on the bottom we figured they had been spooked and caught their toes in the mesh.

They were much more sedate after that, rarely making their signature sound we (and a few neighbors) had grown to enjoy.

Today was worse.

One pair was missing a leg each.  The top male was pacing around the hutch with all his feathers standing on end and the other 3 were huddled in the corner.  I checked online to find that a predator can hook a claw through the hardware cloth and pull the leg through then bite it off.  Luckily a solution was also given. A second layer of hardware cloth.

So off to Murdoch's I went.  The new 1/4 inch cloth is 2 inches below the first.  Hubby worked on the other, currently unused, hutch that we will use for the injured birds.  Quail are hardy and tenacious birds and these 2 may well survive this.  If they survive tonight, I think we can keep them.  I am reluctant to butcher them as the female just started laying eggs.  If we find some other adult birds for a reasonable price I will replace these two, but for now I want Mesha to be able to have eggs. 

I had had other plans for the afternoon - mainly finishing the driveway garden so I can plant it this week, but that's life.  We finished up around dusk (thanx Mesha for the photo) and spent the last hour of daylight doing our own projects (Hubby had metal to cut and I wood)

Now on to the indoor work (dishes, laundry etc.)

I saw an ad for 4-wheelers the other day.  It showed stereotypical farmers doing early morning and late night chores and had the tag line "Out here 9to5 is usually 5to10.

I need to get with the program.

Mesha sized breakfast

1/2 a Polish sausage, 1 small chicken egg, & 2 (bite sized) quail eggs

Sunday, May 13, 2012

They are all grown up

Mesha is a tad bit excited.
I went out to check the animals when I got home.  The Noms had eaten 2 qts of feed and drank a gallon of water since the morning.  They are monsters.

I then stopped at the quail hutch and realized they had no food.  While filling their hopper I noticed something in their nesting box.

Yes, we have quail eggs.

The bobwhite have been very quiet lately.  We thought it was because the fox had spooked them, but maybe it was to protect their females.

The girls will be having these for breakfast.  Scrambled, as we will blow them and keep the shells.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

DIY chicken feeders

The Noms (otherwise known as the cornish cross meat chicks) have moved into the big coop.  I don't know who is more scared the 11 of them or the 6 hens. 

Anyway they eat . . . . a lot.  Their food is the flock raiser chow that I also use for the ducks and quail, but even if it was the same crumbles the hens eat I would need a separate feeder since they have segregated themselves in or just outside the coop.  They only really investigate the coop yard when the hens have gone to roost for the night but there is still daylight.

But we are saving for vacation and I did not feel like spending $30 on another galvanized hanging feeder.

What I did have was empty #10 cans and google.

I found these directions with a quick search.  I could do this, I thought, it only involves a hammer, a nail and some wire, all things that I could find in the shop at home and should only take me an hour.  Although the dollar store had only teflon coated pans at $4 each - the thrift store had steel cake pans for $2.  I headed to Hubby's shop.

He followed me.

I didn't  follow the directions.

I didn't make them at all.

Hubby was happy to have a small project that could involve welding, a cordless screwdriver, and a vise.  Not to mention done in 15 minutes.

So for $4 there is a 2nd feeder in the coop and also one in the duck house (to be mounted on the fence with a cover, if it ever stops raining)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

For those of you on facebook

I processed an old hen in the 1860's outdoor kitchen at the museum today.

Pictures here

Hubby helped me with the butchering so the others could observe.  For this he was paid with a turkey egg.  For dinner he and the girls had scrambled eggs and toast.  They compared chicken, duck, and turkey side by side.  They agreed that all 3 tasted good, but different.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The internet has been down, so I went outside . . .

Not really, but spring has brought with it such a glut of work that the computer has been largely ignored.  Hubby and I got the Ppatch weeded, tilled, and the retaining straw walls put in.  But mostly we have just been hanging with the kids and enjoying the spring weather.

And waiting impatiently for it to be warm enough so we don't have to bring the plants in every night.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The last straw

Word came through the grapevine that the local arboretum was giving away the straw bales that had been used for last year's harvest maze.  So I took out the back seat of the van and picked up 4.

Then I went back a few days later and did 2 more loads and took them to the Ppatch.

We waited a few more days, not wanting to be greedy, and picked up 2 more loads, some for our Ppatch neighbor.

Then we, showing great restraint, waited another week, took out all the seats and fit 11 bales in our minivan.  That we delivered to a friend's house. (truck? we don't need no stinkin' truck!)

That is a total of  31 bales.  New (and of course unmildewed) that would have been $186.

 What will we do with our bounty you ask?

Most of them will be used to terrace the 35x12 ft slope at our Ppatch, to make level and therefore more easily used space.  A couple bales will become paths for Hubby's chair also at the Ppatch.  The remaining 4 will be used as mulch at home. 
We will check back next week to see if there are any left.