Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How Does My Garden Grow

Summer is upon us, at least with the temperatures... hot and humid 90s.  Though I'd rather have 80 degrees, I'll take what we've got, after that long, hard, and very cold winter!

Here are a few shots from our current garden scene.  First, fruits; next, flowers; then, veggies; and a few  accessories.

June Apples



Daddy Long Legs



Hostas behind the house 

Lettuce and Snow Peas under a shade cloth

Green Beans and Tomatoes

Snow Pea Blossoms

Yellow Squash 


Four Rows of Corn 


Old Bones in the Flower Garden

So far, we've been enjoying wonderful fresh greens and snow peas in our almost-daily salads, and we're really looking forward to fresh tomato sandwiches!!  Of course, with luck, good weather, and diligence, there will be much canning to be done.  Our motto: eat what you grow, grow what you eat.  Not a bad way to live.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Girls Have a New Home

After three weeks of having chicks living in the big bucket in our utility closet, and after a long week of coop-building, we finally moved our four girls into the new home, located within the fence of our garden.  The coop features the first stained glass window I ever made, as well as an elevated nesting box for when the chickens are old enough to lay eggs.  They have a roosting bar, which you can see in the photo, and their feed and water are served in elevated dog dishes under the nesting box.  Chickens are not the cleanest of critters, so this way, their feed stays a little cleaner, as does their water.  On May 12, John finished the wiring around the coop, and the next morning, we maneuvered this rather heavy home into the confines of our garden space.  The chicks lived inside their new cozy home for a week in order to get adjusted to this space before we let them venture out into their own little yard.  We kept a light on for warmth at night, and they always huddled under it.  Now, it seems that it will finally be warm enough in the evenings and they are big enough that they will no longer need the lamp.  I will, however, miss that light because it made the stained glass window glow which looked very cool indeed out there in the garden at night.

Last Thursday, on May 19, I opened the little door leading from the home to the ramp and the outer yard.  They were curious, but not sure what to do.  The ramp proved a little steep for them, and they did a little sliding around and there was much flapping of wings.  I added some grass to the ramp, thinking that it would perhaps help them make their way down.  I quickly discovered that they liked eating it.


Finally, with some hands-on help, they made it to the ground.  It took them a couple days to get use to making the trip outside, but now they do it with ease, all on their own.  So they spend the better part of the day outside, and I often visit them, sometimes sitting in a chair parked next to the coop where I will pass some time reading and enjoying the sun and the antics of my girls.  Foster also likes to visit.

Now that I have been out amongst the chickens on a daily basis and they have grown enough to develop certain characteristics and even personalities, I have chosen names for them.

Lucy is the reddest of our girls, and she is also the most adventurous.  She's usually the first one out of the coop, anxious to get into the daylight and explore what might be new in the yard.

Ethel is right behind Lucy when it comes to getting out in the morning or going in at dusk. She's a little ragged around her head feathers, but she has a very fine set of tail feathers.

Flo is our only girl with black legs and feet.  She's not as red as Lucy and Ethel, and she has beautiful coloring on her beak, orange at the top, with a pretty black triangle on the bottom point.

Alice is our darkest girl, with the least amount of red in her feathers, and her beak is almost entirely black. She also has rather blue eyes.  And does she ever love kale!  She's usually the last one to venture out in the morning, and the last one left in the yard at dusk.  I usually end up helping her back into the house.

So you won't find me online too often these days.  I'm loving the warmer weather and I'm usually outside soaking in the sunshine, spending time in the garden, and enjoying our new family members.