Archive for the ‘Chickens’ Category

Okay, not HERE, exactly, but they are three doors down at my neighbor Mel’s place. If you recall, she’s an angel kind of neighbor, and agreed to keep our babies until after OUR baby gets here. I know, we have the best neighbors ever.

Anyway, I waddled my way over there to snap a couple pictures and cuddle a few fluffy little fuzz balls. They’re so darn cute. And just think in 4 months or so, they’ll be providing a whole bunch of families with fresh, healthy eggs! We ended up with 13, (a bakers dozen, if you will), because the hatchery has a “meal maker” deal that they give you an extra chick for free if you agree to donate eggs or meat to a local food shelter. I have the contact information for an emergency food pantry not too far from here, so I hope to arrange a weekly donation of extra produce and a dozen (or more) eggs once things are in full swing.

So, without further ado, enjoy these pictures of the babies! πŸ™‚

Baby Chicks, 1 day old

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-Linde

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Let me start by saying, I can’t wait for my baby to get here!! πŸ™‚

The nursery is prepped, I’m big, partially immobile, and baby is kicking like a champ! We can’t wait to meet him!

Then I’ll say, I’m feeling stifled, and a tad frustrated today. Normally, I sail through this time of year cleaning seedling trays, organizing seeds, and generally being excited about the upcoming season. This year, I’m 8 months pregnant, and all that business requires energy that I just don’t have. *harumph* So I’m pouty.

I’m told it’s totally normal to feel like a big, ol’ lump during this time of pregnancy. What I wasn’t prepared for was the weird brain numbness you get. I just can’t remember anything! And then there’s the cold, and the snow, and the inability to get up off the couch without assistance. For a Type-A, usually-has-it-all-together, always-on-the-move type of gal, this whole business is a tough pill to swallow.

So, I laid in bed last night ruminating on all the things I need to do in preparation for the spring. There’s a ton, and I’m certain I won’t remember them all. But, for therapeutic reasons, I figured I would share some of them here, and perhaps my readers might have suggestions and tips on ways of reducing my workload prior to and just after Baby gets here. So here goes!

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1. Separate Rhubarb Crowns: I have beautiful rhubarb that’s been here, probably as long as the house has. Unfortunately, when we had our roof put on, the roofers didn’t seem to care about the crowns, and trampled them….seriously trampled them…I’m praying not to death. The soil needs re-worked because it’s now compacted, and the crowns are large and over-stuffed, so as soon as they start to come out of dormancy, I’d like to split the crowns, and rejuvenate the soil. *Fingers crossed there’s anything left of them*

2. Prepare chicken accessories for the high tunnel: I’ve been wracking my brain on the best way to accommodate all the new girls coming in a few months, that will be housed in one of our tunnels. It’s the perfect set up. They work the soil, kill the sod and bugs, and fertilize, while I recover. Come fall, we can move them to the other tunnel,Β  prep the soil, and plant cover crop. But, we need nesting boxes, waterers, roosts, etc., for them to be able to stay in there. As today is my day off, I’ve spent a significant time googling, and here’s what I’ve come up with:

Nesting boxes:

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Feeders:

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Roosts:

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All portable, and temporary. Perfect for high tunnel chickens! Now, just to come up with a clever watering system.

3. Figure out how to water plants in the high-tunnel: We have enough drip tape for one high tunnel, but the nearest water source is 300 feet away. That’s a lot of garden hose to stretch across the yard. So, I’m trying to figure out a rain catchment/watering system that doesn’t involve water from the faucet. Keeping in mind that we also don’t have electric run either. I’m thinking rain barrel, drip tape, solar-powered pump. I don’t have it quite together yet, though. Anyone have ideas?!

4. Usual chores: And of course, I won’t be able to run the tiller, shovel, bend over, or just be useful overall, until about June. Way too late in the season to start bed prep, and get seedlings planted. So, we either miss out on A LOT of things I like to grow, or I find volunteers/inexpensive help to take over where I can’t once the weather breaks. (I think this is the most nerve-wracking part for me!)

5. General prep: Regardless of how tired I am, I need to get off my hind-end and get the pots/trays washed up, the grow lights set up, and my seeds organized. Because, although I don’t have enough brain power to remember exactly when I’m supposed to start everything, I know there are a few things (onions, leeks, celery, eggplant) that will need started sooner, rather than later.

123Last year’s onion sprouts dated 2/29/12 *sigh*

Well, I think those are the most recent farm-related things weighing on my mind. And now I feel better. πŸ™‚ Thanks for humoring me.

*I’m open to suggestions for ways to reduce labor this coming growing season, so if you have any tips or tricks, please share!

**We’re also accepting volunteers!!

-Linde

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Welp. It’s January already! Seeding starting time is just around the corner. And I. Cant. Wait! I was quite spoiled this Christmas by Farmer Rich. I got a sampler pack of heirloom seeds from Baker Creek (my favorite GMO-free, heirloom seed provider.)

049There’s a little bit of everything in this can! 50 packets ranging from pumpkins to flowers. I can’t wait to get them started!

In other SUPER exciting news, we’ve placed our order for our high tunnels and they should be up by late March or early April. Wahoooooo! We decided to go with a small, up-and-coming, local company called TunnelVision Hoops. They do quality work. (We know, because we visited one of their tunnels, not knowing it was theirs, and Rich and I both started drooling! :)) And they’re really active in the sustainable, locally grown food movement, especially in the Cleveland area. We’re meeting with them on Tuesday to finalize the plans, so stay tuned. I can’t wait!!

We’ve also placed an order, along with our super supportive neighbor, Mel, for 13 chicks that will be hatched out February 4th. What are we getting, you ask? (The following pictures are all from Meyer Hatchery, where we ordered from. Click on the link to go directly to their info page about that chicken.)

australorpAustralorps: This is the variety of our Flo. She’s our best layer by far. She’s laid consistently, except for a few weeks while she molted. So, I figured you can’t go wrong withΒ  a few more strong layers! They lay brown eggs.

goldenwyan Golden Laced Wyandottes: Beautiful, hardy, and lay light brown eggs.

SLWS1 Silver Laced Wyandottes: Isn’t she gorgeous! Also hardy and a good layer of brown eggs.

AMAS1 Easter Eggers: These ladies are fun!Β  They come in all shapes, and colors, and lay various shades of blue and green eggs! (The egg is the same, just the shell is fun colored!)

Because OUR baby is due in March, Mel’s offered to raise our little chickadees until they’re big enough to be outside. At that point we’ll have the high tunnels up, and plan to use them in one of the tunnels to help turn the soil and fertilize, while we prep the other one. So, we should have eggs for sale, consistently, starting in August or September. I can’t even explain to you how giddy I am about all this. πŸ™‚ Thank you, neighbor Mel! You TRULY are the BEST!!

In other news, we’re in prep mode for our new little farm hand to arrive. I’m due at the end of March, but all signs point to me going earlier (fingers crossed!). I had my Ohio baby shower this weekend, and it was lovely. Everyone was so generous. We feel loved. But who knew such a tiny baby needed so much stuff!? Now the task is to find places to put it all in our tiny farm house. Regardless, we can’t wait for our little bean to get here. ❀  My parents came out for the weekend to attend the shower. My mom, the most talented woman I know, offered to paint something special in our nursery (appropriately green and woodland animal themed). So we decided on a tree with owls to go on the wall with the crib. Here’s a sneak-peek:

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I’ll be sure to give you the complete tour once it’s finished. In the meantime, a great, BIG, Thank you to my Momma! I know the baby will love it. πŸ™‚ We can’t wait until it’s done.

So, that about covers what we’ve been up to these days. We’ll just keep getting busier as the months pass, and the baby comes! If any of my readers in the Cleveland area like to get your hands dirty, we are happy to take volunteers, especially since I’ll be out of commission a few weeks into planting season. Comment, or send us a message if you think you might be interested! We’d be happy to reward you with yummy, fresh vegetables.

Check back soon!

Linde

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Hope all is well, and the holidays are festive for everyone! Just thought I’d share some updated shots of the old girls, enjoying (not really) our first “REAL” snow of the year! And 4 days before Christmas, too! Perfect!

I was doing some calculating, and I’ll be able to start seeds in about 3 months! Hoorah!

Happy Holidays, All!

-Linde

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Firstly, I’d like to say, sorry for the quality of photos included in today’s post. Days are a bit shorter than they used to be, so outside work with minimal light is common these days. But, I am excited to report we have just planted the first additions to our orchard! We ordered from the Arbor Day Foundation, and we received them in the mail this week. To us, it seems like a strange time to receive trees for planting, but luckily we are having unseasonably warm weather again this year. (No snow yet!) I’m mildly concerned that we won’t have a successful planting, purely because the ground is just saturated. Rich dug the holes, and they were filled with water before we even got the trees in. YIKES!Β But, for the ground to be even close to dry, we’d have to wait until June or July, so, we’ll keep our fingers crossed and see what Spring brings!

I sure hope it works out because we have 3 types of apple trees; Early Harvest, Red Jonathan, and Golden Delicious, 2 pears; bartlett and oriental, and a Golden Jubilee peach tree.Β  Oh, I can’t wait for the day I can home-can my own sweet fruit!!

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(Hard to see, but there are tiny trees there!)

 

In other news….

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Our little Flo-ster was feeling festive today. She must have been inspired, because she laid us our first egg since molting season began (and we lost Dot and Nettie) more than 2 months ago!

You Go Flo!!

Now, onto the nursery! (The baby kind, not the tree kind.) πŸ™‚ Check back soon!

-Linde

PS: For anyone who might be interested, we have fresh horseradish root available. Just let me know!

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Rich scoping out the new roof.

It’s one of those things that happens when you buy an old house. It’s inevitable.

The roof leaks.
Now, granted, our roof has leaked since we moved in. And it’s sprung a new leak every year since we’ve been here. But, of course things happen, and money and time ends up going to other things. Until now. A few weeks ago, Rich and I were moving furniture so we could start painting the nursery. The very next day the ceiling was covered in water damage. I called the roofer and was told he was 5 weeks out, but he would get to it before spring. *Whew* Then Sandy hit. Now, there is water damage and paint peeling from the ceiling and the wall.

I am ever so grateful for the patience of our roofer. When he heard this frazzled, crazy, rambling, pregnant lady’s phone message Monday morning, he called me right back and said they would have the roof finished by the end of the week. HOORAY! So, after less than a full day’s work, his team has most of the roof done, and will reportedly be finished by noon tomorrow.

πŸ™‚ THANK YOU MR. ROOFER

In appreciation of your understanding, and quick response, we have released the hens to protect your roofing supplies, and truck until you return tomorrow.

Enjoy.

Guarding the roofing supplies.

The Guard Chickens on Patrol

Our newest girl Dot bringing up the rear.

-Linde

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We’ve had a busy and productive weekend so far! It feels good to be able to get outside without getting soaked, even though the ground is awful soggy.Β  We finally got our garlic planted! Hooray! Not enough hours in the day, and lots of rain prevented us from getting it in any sooner, but I think it will work out perfectly.

We planted 4 varieties this year, for a total of about 40 cloves. They’re all organic. We ordered them from Hood River Garlic, out of Maine. We planted:

  • Susanville: a softneck, purple skinned variety, originating from California
  • Slovenian: a hardneck variety, originating from Slovenia
  • Chesnok Red: a hardneck variety, with purple stripes, originating from The Republic of Georgia
  • Romanian Red: a hardneck variety with light pink skins, originating from British Columbia

I never imagined I’d say it, but these garlic bulbs are beautiful! πŸ™‚ Looks like we’ll have garlic scapes available this summer, too!

In other bitter-sweet news, our neighbor, and one of our number 1 supporters, Mel, made an urgent call to us yesterday morning. She had 5 beautiful red chickens, (4 hens, and 1 rooster) that she raised from chicks, that had just started to lay. Well, they had been raised around her sweet, old dog Fred. Who, for the last 9 months or so, appeared to be a great chicken protector. But, apparently something changed, because Fred attacked and killed 4 of her 5 chickens, so all she had left was a hen. 😦 So, she asked if we would mind taking her, as she’s not safe around the old Fred-ster. And of course we said YES! (It seems odd to only have 5 hens, since we lost Nettie.) So after some fancy footwork of putting a coop within a coop (to keep the new hen safe, while the others adjust to her), we have inherited our 6th hen, Dot.

Meet Dot everybody!

And if THAT wasn’t enough, she donated all her chicken supplies to us! (Water heater, feed, containers, etc.) AND she gave baby RJ his first outfit, and it couldn’t be more fitting!

They’re little Carhartt overalls, with a farm animal onesie!

Aren’t they the cutest?!

So, thank you Mel, for your generosity! You can come and visit Dot anytime!

That’s all for now! Thanks for checking in!

-Linde

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