24 September 2013

So I planted green beans

The past couple weeks, I've been planting the last of the green bean seeds for a fall harvest.In three beds, green beans were all I planted, and in all three of those beds what I have growing is ... tomatoes.  In one of the beds, it can be explained by the tomato plant in the corner of that box, but the other beds either didn't exist or didn't have anything planted over the spring and summer, so these little tomatoes-who-could must be from the compost pile that I've started using now.

Talking to my mom this morning, she actually asked if I knew the difference between green bean seeds and tomato seeds!  LOL Yes, and yes I know the difference between the seedlings that sprouted as well.  This mainly means my compost isn't "cooking" on the inside, even though it both looks and smells like nice compost.  It should be interesting to see which varieties these volunteers are, as the volunteers tend to be the most vigorous tomato plants.

Now, for an actual recent picture of me for friends and family:
planting green beans for fall
That's my new straw work hat, as opposed to the "Florida tourist" straw hat I bought in St. Augustine's Old Town a good five years ago or so.  St. Aug is a lovely little tourist trap, and we plan to go in November when they have the pirate festival.  Yes, those are my old garrison BDU bottoms as well, and they are more comfortable to work in than they were back in the spring.

When the weather clears up again, I'll need to do up a post with pictures for my experiment along the fence line.

20 September 2013

Fall planting

Being this far south, gardening is a year-round sport.  That said, I didn't do so hot over the summer ... pun intended.  I'm down to about a handful of tomato plants left alive between the hornworms, the heat, and the sporadic rain.  I had thought I was doing pretty decent with my pepper plants, until I went next door and saw her three and four foot tall plants loaded up with ripening peppers.

So now I'll get a chance to do better with the fall and winter gardens.  So far I've planted green beans, snow peas, and carrots in the past couple weeks.

01 September 2013


I can't call them just tomato hornworms after the ghastly devastation overnight.  After supper last evening, I was admiring my ripening and soon-to-ripen peppers: cubanelles, gypsies, anaheims, and carmens.  I had lost one cubanelle pepper to an unknown varmint that took a big bite out of the middle of it before it had completely turned orange.

This morning, I woke to carnage.  I am now down to one gypsy sweet pepper, no cubanelles, no anaheims, and lost a good half-dozen carmens in addition to a handful of my beloved datils ... and the culprits were hornworms.  Big, fat, juicy hornworms ... yes, the chickens have had a great morning as I found hornworm after hornworm and put them through the chicken wire.

For the record, hornworms are even more difficult to spot on pepper plants than they are on tomato plants.  It took me four or five times hunting to find the one on the datil pepper plants.

Right now, I feel discouraged, as if I am simply growing hornworm bait in my garden boxes.

Don't even get me started on the battle to keep the lawn tamed.

11 June 2013

Another round of green beans

The green (bush) beans I planted in the 4th garden box are now ready for eating or preserving, along with more varieties of tomatoes.  Here's a quick picture in between search-and-destroy patrols for hornworms.
garden fresh green beans and tomatoes
Actually, that pic is from a day or two ago; I'm too busy hunting hornworms this morning.  I have noticed them early, and they are small ... but the white pullets seem to think they are 5-star gourmet.

New tomato varieties now that have ripened are the Mortgage Lifter and Black Prince.  I now have Marglobe and Mr. Stripey starting to turn color, and the German Johnson has definitely set at least one tomato, if the (*BLEEP!*)in' hornworms leave it alone.  I have at least three Cherokee Purples munched/ruined by hornworms already, and a couple of Black Prince tomatoes as well.  In fact ... between cracking from too much rain and now the hornworms, I still have yet to harvest a Cherokee Purple 'mater.

As for the green beans, I put four different bush varieties in the 4th garden box, and am pretty pleased with the results.  In fact, overall I am doing quite well with bush green beans.  Here are some notes on what I've planted.

  • Harvester (American Seed Co) - decent enough yield in the 2nd garden box, but I have run out of seeds and am waiting for the remaining plants and bean pods to give me more to try in another box.
  • Top Crop (American Seed Co) -so-so yield, also in the 2nd garden box, and also waiting for some pods to dry out on the plants as again I ran out of seeds from the pack.
  • Tendergreen Improved (Ferry-Morse) - absolutely impressive yield in the 2nd garden box ... yet very much less-than-impressive in the 3rd box.  The main difference between the two boxes is amount of sunlight, especially midday sun.  Looks like these need to be planted for morning and late evening sun, with midday shade.
  • Contender (Ferry-Morse) - excellent yield in the 4th garden box!  These make up most of the beans in the sieve pictured above.  Like the Tendergreen Improved, these bloom purple instead of white.
  • Kitchen King (Burpee) - also a great yield in the 4th box, although these are shorter and skinnier than the Contenders, they are also a shade or two darker/deeper green.
  • Heavyweight II (Burpee) - less than stellar sprout rate, so I had to resow and have not harvested much from them (in the 4th box).
  • Tenderpick (Burpee) - worst sprout rate in the 4th box of the four varieties.  I have harvested some beans off the two initial plants, but there are no qualities that were memorable.
I bought some more lumber to make a couple more boxes over the weekend, although the current build project is an add-on to the Rampart, making it into a duplex.  I am hoping to make green beans a year-round idea here.

03 June 2013

Tomato varieties ripening

A few quick pics of some of the tomato varieties ripening right now:
Black Prince heirloom tomato

Homestead heirloom tomato

Mortgage Lifter heirloom tomato

Rutgers heirloom tomato
Not yet ripening are Mr. Stripey, Cherokee Purple, and Marglobe (all heirloom varieties) while I am hoping the German Johnson has finally set a tomato.  One of my neighbors asked me, "Why so many varieties?"  I said I need to find out what works best for both my yard and my style of gardening ... and besides, we have not been able to try most of these until now.

I'll be saving seeds from all of these, of course.

16 May 2013

Rooster! and his lady's...

I wasn't sure If We had posted pic's of the birds we got from our neighbors..
Sorting out my pic's and videos. Nice update over the weekend! Stay tuned in!

Early cherry tomatoes

First up, the mea culpas: We have been bad bad bloggers.  Not just mediocre or even single-bad, but double bad since there is two of us doing this blog and it's gone over three weeks without an update.

Last week in sewing chat, Val asked if I had tomatoes yet.  She actually meant tomato plants, and I replied that the yellow pear (heirloom variety) cherry tomato was about to ripen.  Since then I had harvested four little yellow pear tomatoes off the vine.
yellow pear heirloom cherry tomato plant, about four foot tall
There are certainly many more, as this plant just keeps on setting new fruit.  I bought it as a started plant, in the Bonnie peat pots, from either Lowe's or Wal-Mart.  Along with having 100% success rate in rooting cuttings off it, I also plan to save seeds as this is obvious a strong specimen!

Now, for the only tomato plant I won't be saving seeds from, the husky red ("hybrid") cherry tomato.  "Hybrid" is in quotation marks because it is not a true hybrid like a rutabaga is, but more of a tomato-mutt/crossbreed.
Husky red "hybrid" cherry tomato plant that survived three hard frosts
This was the first tomato plant I put in the ground back in February, and it got frost-bitten pretty badly once (out of three hard frosts!) which seemed to serve as a pruning.  It may not be tall, but boy is it husky.  While an insect or worm got the first ripe tomato before I did, I did pick three lovely ripe ones off it this morning.

Well, we've both had our bowl of cereal, and the outdoors beckon.  Hubby is burning the fourth downed tree, which like the third one shattered before it even hit the ground due to insect and woodpecker damage.

21 April 2013

First homegrown chicken dinner

I cooked the first meal from our first homegrown chicken this evening, somewhat as planned.  Our grilling idea was pre-empted by more rain (and the fruit trees and garden boxes rejoice) so I cooked the white quarters in the cast iron with some bacon on top (since I skinned him) and the lid on with low heat for a good 45 minutes before taking the lid off and starting the rest of the meal - corn on the cob, salad, and dinner rolls.
1st homegrown chicken dinner
Hubby and I consider this to be a big milestone for us, as processing a chicken I had raised from a day-old chick seemed daunting.  We did it as a team, and tonight we both feel it is worth it (zombie chicken weird dreams aside).  While the meat is certainly superb - firm and flavorful without being too chewy - there is a certain satisfaction knowing that this one had opportunities to eat some grass and flap around the yard a couple times a day.  We are both well aware of how commercial broiler operations are done, and I have been inside a Tyson-contracted broiler house when I lived in Texas in the early '90s.

We kept saying he tasted good ... and I remarked about how novel it is to actually know our dinner.  Hubby will need to articulate his philosophical thoughts about responsibility and appreciation in his own post.

When I cook up a whole chicken, I try to stretch it as far as I can into multiple meals ... now that seems even more appropriate.  My plans for the rest of the first Nugget are to wrap the leg quarters in foil with potatoes and carrots and cook them in the coals Tuesday when we resume burning the third tree trunk (there were no limbs left on that one).  The heart and neck will go into chicken stock, along with any leftover meat from the quarters, and become chicken 'n' dumplin's, which usually makes two meals for us.

Even though he was the smallest, least feathered, and most heat stressed of the Nuggets, here he is next to a one gallon waterer.
smallest Cornish-Rock broiler next to 1g waterer
And, despite yet another focus disagreement with the digicam, here you can see how poorly feathered he was:
the pink is bare unfeathered skin
The pics of in between him turning his butt to the camera, and coming out of the skillet, are on hubby's camera and I am hogging the connection tonight.  He should get them posted soon along with his thoughts on this new experience for us.

19 April 2013

Sunday dinner

*WARNING* This subject may be graphic to some.

This afternoon, hubby and I processed the first Cornish/Rock broiler (aka one of the "Nuggets").  It was the first time for both of us, as neither of us were raised to hunt although we have both cleaned fish.  This was much more hands-on than cleaning fish.

I originally planned for the first broiler to be slaughtered two weeks from now, for hubby's birthday dinner in early May, but I had specific reasons for moving the date up and for selecting this particular Nugget.  The past week has been warm and humid, and he was not tolerating the heat as well as the other four even with soaked/fermented food and plenty of water available.  He started panting before the others, and was the last to stop panting in the evening, and yesterday I made the decision to take him earlier than planned rather than lose him to heat stress.  He was also noticeably the smallest of the five, and was not feathering like they have.

Even being the smallest of the Nuggets, he still dressed out to a decent sized bird, a little larger than the cornish rock "game" hens in the grocery.  For hubby and myself, this will probably work out to four meals total given the usual amount of sides I fix.

I now know what things I need to work on: the big one is separating the bile duct from the liver without bursting it.  That was a mighty fine looking liver I had to discard.  Another big point - the knives will need to be sharpened more, as this Nugget had firm skin and flesh and organs.  The other four Nuggets are healthier, more lively, and have better skin and feathers.

Hubby did take pictures, but the rain that is bringing us cooler temperatures tomorrow is also making uploading slower than molasses in an arctic January.  A garden update is also (past) due.

15 April 2013

Chicken antics

Another no-pics update really quickly.  I went outside a short bit ago to see the start of a game of "Calvin-ball" going in the bachelor pad(*), with Dirty finding a fat millipede.  Six small cockerels bouncing off the wire as they try to get the millipede from him!

It seems to be (dirt) bath day in the rampart - chicks, Betti (post-egg), and Armando ... with Armando providing the soundtrack as he rolled in the damp sand.  Betti has now laid six eggs in seven days.

Moola is in isolation as of yesterday.  She didn't quite look right, plus I caught her pulling tailfeathers off the chicks, so I caught her and put her in the old wire dog crate.  She has a bald spot at the base of her tail where Betti had pecked her, but that one isn't as bad as the larger bald spot on her lower breast.  I have her in solitary to see if Betti is the one picking on her, or if she is pulling her own feathers for some reason.  She did lay one egg on Saturday, but it landed in the food dish and cracked.  She had a membrane only yesterday that I had to wipe/pull - no shell and no yolk, just the membrane that is between the two.  She looks much perkier this morning, and sure was singing the poultry blues.  I suspect a chicken version of Humble Pie's "30 Days in the Hole."

(*) The bachelor pad ... now named because of the four Gold-Laced Wyandottes I got from TSC, all four are cockerels.  Add in two of the "golden girls," Dirty and Sandy, who are now looking very roo-ish.  If Sandy doesn't stop picking fights in all the coops, he'll end up with the Nuggets and share their fate as well.  I moved him last night after seeing him trying to pull Armando's sickle feathers, which earned him a grab by the scruff of his neck and a shaking from Armando.  About five minutes later, he did it again.

As for the Nuggets, they must be hitting another growth spurt.  They cleaned up their breakfast ration by the time I finished with the others, then lined up along the wire cheeping for more.  They even had that same "hope!" look on their faces as the dog does while watching me cook.  I gave them seconds, and they polished off most of that as well.

I have started some new things on the chicken feed, namely soaking the scratch either for a minimum of four hours or overnight, then serving that on top of the dry crumbles.  The Nuggets and Betti seem to love it the most.  We're still unpacking boxes, and hubby found the bulk seasonings yesterday to include garlic powder and crushed red pepper flakes ... both often recommended for sprinkling on chicken feed.  I joked this morning that I feel like I am cooking for the chickens, while hubby retorted that I will only be pre-seasoning!

Breakfast this morning was toast and fried eggs: one each of Betti's and Winn-Dixie's "Farm Fresh" for each of us.  Right now they are pretty much equivalent.

12 April 2013

The day will come

At some point in the future, the day WILL come when I am finished with planting.  Today just is not that day.  Tomorrow doesn't look like it either.  Garden box #3 is full of green things (and some purple basil - as if I could resist purple!) and now it's on to #4, which has two tomato plants as of yesterday.  I am also using the north fence on the property line for tomatoes and zucchini so far.

Betti the red hen has restarted her laying, and Armando the rooster was dancing around both hens this morning like a newly-21 private on the club dance floor in Korea.  Hubby had quite the laugh at that simile this morning.

Time for me to go play in the dirt some more.

08 April 2013

Quick update 8 Apr

I've been a bit too busy/tired to fuss with photo editing, so here is a quick text update:

  • Rampart Fowl is now complete - it's 9 ft by 6 ft by 6 ft and currently populated with the "golden girls" who have been renamed "the breakfast club" now, plus hubby's surprise/reward: one grown rooster and two adult hens, all red.
  • Three more garden boxes built: one filled and planted yesterday with Kennebec white potatoes, one partially filled but still needing more dirt, to be planted with more green beans and carrots, and the third still empty but also designated for potatoes (Yukon golds).
  • Spanish moss pulled off the north fence, and planting started: so far three zucchini plants (that were supposed to be green onions, but ...) and six Homestead variety tomatoes.  I have some Red Hot Cherry peppers and a couple regular jalapenos still to get into the ground.
  • Speaking of peppers, hubby requested I grow these also for his chili and whatever else strikes his fancy.  Varieties planted into various boxes are: TAM Mild jalapeno, regular jalapeno, mammoth hot jalapeno, Anaheim pepper, Carmen sweet Italian pepper, Cubanelle sweet pepper, sweet banana pepper, Cayenne pepper, and New Mexico Big Jim pepper.
  • A bit of purple!  I scored two good-sized Cherokee Purple tomato starts, plus some purple basil ... and to top it off, three purple colored coated tomato cages.
  • Along with the dozen flat of marigolds on clearance, I picked up a 4-cell variety flat of coleus and successfully separated out TEN plants.  Those are my two favorite pretties, and the marigolds pull double duty as insect-pest repellent.  Now to get them all placed around the front.
Pictures will be coming at some point.  I still have a bunch of planting to do, which takes priority.

28 March 2013

Frost advisory, again

It's almost the end of March, and we had yet another frost advisory for overnight.  The annoying part is I had just washed all but one of the blankets and beach towels from the frost earlier in the month.  Even more annoying, I had just bought a bunch more starts yesterday afternoon since the original forecast had us warming ... until it was revised sometime while we were up in town.  (*Sigh*)  So instead of planting all the new starts in the third garden box, I spent last evening putting all the potted plants into the shed and putting blankets and beach towels over the citrus trees and first two garden boxes.
blankets to protect from frost ... in late March
I suppose I ought to be grateful it isn't snow.

27 March 2013

Lemon blossom

We might not always feel like it, but we are still alive.  I caught the sinus crud from hubby, and with us both hacking up phlegm very little has been accomplished this past week.

One accomplishment I noticed last evening as we watered the fruit trees and garden boxes is: the little Eureka lemon tree from Mall-Wart has begun to bloom.
Eureka lemon bush blooming
It's much more a bush than a tree right now, as it was trained and shaped to be a potted houseplant, I think.  When it goes dormant, I will try to prune it into more of an outdoorsy orchard look.

First lemon blossom on the property here, though!

20 March 2013

Whole lot of growing goin' on

Not much new building or tree takedown or planting, as hubby has come down with the sinus crud and my back has been hurting since Monday.  There is a lot of growing going on though!  Along with new sprouts in the garden and salad boxes that are a bit too small to get decent pics of, the chicks are busy growing.  We did have to put together the pen kit yesterday for the littles, which are not quite so little as last week.
pen kit for the chick/rabbit hutch

broiler, Wyandote, and pullet chicks growing

the "golden girls" pullets playing hide-and-seek
The "golden girls" seem to be in a shy phase, especially since discovering the house portion of their little coop kit.  They are easily twice the size of the Wyandotes and other pullets, although the broilers are catching up quick.  The big surprise with the Cornish-Rock broilers is how active and curious and downright brave they are (for chickens, at least).  They have a reputation for basically laying by the food dish and eating or sleeping constantly, but at least two of my five are spending more time scratching the leaves and walking around in between naps.  It's a bit difficult to tell them apart from each other, although the golden pullet I bought at the same time as the broilers is now noticeably different looking - lighter build, more pronounced tail, and smaller.

We had planned to be building a medium-sized coop ("Rampart Fowl") this week, but still haven't made it up the highway to buy the lumber, wire, and roofing for it yet.  We've been putting it off and saying, "Hopefully tomorrow will be better," since Monday.  We need to get feeling better quick ... the county fair starts Saturday morning!

18 March 2013

Tree clean-up and homemade charcoal

Busy weekend, and we both sort-of overdid it yesterday, so today is a low-gear day.  I had intended to post last night, but just didn't have the motivation once we finished up.

First was the clean-up of the two trees we took down.  The smaller one I felled was healthy enough that hubby cut the trunk into sections to stack for firewood for the coming winter and the little wood-burning cast iron stove we intend to get.  The tree hubby felled though, was obviously unhealthy, and was rotting from the center out.  It may not be fit for the firewood stack, but there is another use!  We spent the weekend partially burning the trunk to make our own charcoal:

That wasn't the only project going, though.  While hubby attended to fire-making, I decided to fill up garden box #3 with the cardboard bottom, laves/dead grass raked up from around it, and the pile of bags of dirt.
There is one small problem with raking up a small area when it is obvious where you raked: then the raked patch sticks out like a sore thumb until you feel a need to grab the rake and rake up a larger area.  Then you need to ask your husband to construct a quick-and-easy compost area of the scrap lumber that braced the load on the 700 mile trip down plus some chicken wire.  Now we have a northeast compost pile!  I also have somewhere to put the Spanish moss that falls off the trees (usually still attached to the dead branch).

Finally, it just got a bit too dark to keep working on the yard, plus it began to drizzle in front of the forecasted rain.  We moved under the old carport to each enjoy a pipe and admire the progress.

16 March 2013

Garden box 3 built and more new chicks

OK, I overdid it yesterday.  That makes the second time, after Wednesday's little adventure with the chainsaw which resulted in my first tree being felled (with hubby's coaching).  Hubby didn't have the camera, as not only was it my first tree, but it was my first time feeling the power of the force of chainsaw.

Yesterday morning I took hubby into town to meet his dad so they could ride to Daytona to have a guys' day  during the annual Daytona Bike "Week" (which is apparently ten days).  It didn't take long after that for a strange feeling of boredom to hit ... the dog really is a poor conversationalist.  Since we had one of the little reddish-gold pullets die overnight, I called up Tractor Supply to ask what their policy on chicks and survival is.  Usually, there is no refund of replacement, but since the other five were (and still are this morning) fine and it was less than 24 hours, the manager on duty said if I brought in my receipt she'd replace the one chick.  Off to the little city I drove.

Considering it's about 25 miles each way, which uses about a gallon of gas each way, and I was going to replace a $3 chick ... it made perfect sense to me to buy a few more things while I was there.  Along with a window box style planter, I brought home five little Cornish-Rock chicks (aka "broilers").  Here is a pic of the littles staying warm in the shed:
eleven little chicks in the rabbit hutch
So the current census of chickens is:

  • Four unknown-breed pullets bought last weekend, nicknamed "the golden girls" since they are that cute pale yellow
  • Four Golden-Laced Wyandotes, genders unknown, bought Thursday and quite distinct with their dark brown "chipmunk" striping
  • One unknown-breed pullet, with reddish-gold striping bought Thursday
  • One unknown-breed pullet, pale yellow, to replace the dead one
  • Five Cornish Rock broiler chicks, gender unknown
So we are now up to fifteen little cheepers total.  That only kept me busy until about lunch time, so I decided to do up another project that has been percolating in my mind the past couple days.
garden box #3 in pieces

garden box #3 finally put together
It took me a lot longer than it should have to get the wood screws in this!  I must really out of practice ... it's actually a bit embarrassing.  By the time I finally got the last corner bracketed, I was sick of looking at it and went inside to vent my frustration on a couple more boxes to unpack.

The unpacking is probably the point where I hit the "overdone" mark, since the ones I chose contained cast iron, canned goods, and baking dishes.  It is a bit depressing to only move my glass bakeware from one box to another.  I do miss being able to use an oven!

Well, when I picked hubby back up in town, I decided to have little fun and not tell him everything I had done.  I did mention I had overdone it, so he asked where I'd like to be taken for dinner.  When I mentioned unpacking a couple more boxes, he said that sounded like a cheesecake dessert was in order (he strongly believes in positive reinforcement).  The real fun for me was when we pulled in to the driveway, and he immediately noticed the new garden box.  Then I mentioned we should check the baby chicks in the shed before we went into the house ... "Hey wait a minute!  There's more here than this morning!"

There is one more thing I accomplished yesterday, but it is a surprise for hubby and won't be revealed until he has built "Rampart Fowl" this week.  Fortress Fowl will need to wait for next month, plus we will need to do Rampart Fowl first to get an idea of how we want to scale up the basic design and what improvements we can make.  Goals and rewards ... it works both ways.

14 March 2013

2nd garden box planted

While talking to my son this evening, I realized I have not posted pics of the second garden box at all, and haven't done an updated pic of the salad box.  I grabbed the digicam before it got dark and remedied that:
3 kinds of mint: spearmint, peppermint, and orange mint
the veggie box:
tomatoes, green beans, carrots, zucchini, and cucumbers for pickles
the salad box:
4 varieties of lettuce, 2 kinds of spinach, 3 beets,  tomatoes, zucchini,  dill, basil

fresh-cut dill, basil, and parsley for scrambled eggs in the morning!

another round of fresh salads

The flock begins to grow!

We brought more chicks home today. Their was talk of broilers but we decided to build up the chicken faction. Seems better to have your producers. Broilers wont be counted as members of the chicken flock in most respects due in a large part that their lives are so short. Sure a tasty end to things but not exactly chicken family.

Please Enjoy more chicken TV, and meet the girls?

12 March 2013

This week's goal: Tree takedown

So this week's goal/project is to take down four trees in the area we want to build the (real!) chicken coop.  Not necessarily because we want to build where the trees are, but because these trees have been infested by insects, which attracts the attentions of the pileated woodpeckers, and then various fungi grow in the holes.  All four are up to the fungus stage, with dead limbs which could fall in a decent storm.

So, yesterday morning, the first one came down:
Me with the mini-Tracker hubby gave me
What ...?  Y'all don't believe that one?  How about this one:
Hubby and his full-sized Tracker knife
Ok, he can certainly get stubborn enough, but neither of us is the able-bodied, strong, and stupid private we each used to be.  No more pulling your leg, this is actually how it went down:
Notched the direction we wanted it to fall, then cut from the back side ...

Chainsaw and gravity did most of the work felling the tree
Hubby said this was the first tree he's actually cut down, and was pleased at how well it worked out.  He had wanted a pic of it falling, but once the trunk made the first cracking noise, gravity brought it down too fast for me to raise the digicam.  It is probably related to how damaged the tree was as well.  Oh, the pile behind hubby is made up of deadfall from the damaged trees on that side of the property.  There are three more piles of deadfall on the other cardinal points - that is only the north heap.

One down, three more to go ... and of course there is the clean-up after they are on the ground.  Felling the tree seems easy next to the clean-up and cutting it into manageable pieces to move.

10 March 2013

Hubby assembles the coop kit

I snapped a couple of pics yesterday afternoon as hubby put together the little chicken coop kit.  We were both feeling good yesterday morning, and the tax refund was burning a hole in our bank account ... and as I mentioned previously it took much willpower for us to walk out of TSC without the chicks or coop kit last time,  This time, that was the whole point of going back.
Hubby assembling the coop

a clearer pic, thanks to a Gimp filter called "cartoon" ...
 so now he looks like my live-in comic book hero!
Once it warmed up this morning, I brought the little girls out to the coop.  They were a bit timid at first, but now by mid-afternoon they are moving around like they hatched there.  Hubby set up his video camera for about 45 minutes this morning, which he says he'll edit in fast-forward just for amusement.

And I quote. Peep Peep Peep.

Yesterday we went into town and did some shopping .
As you can see we brought home some lively little ones.

I think they are a little camera shy.

02 March 2013

When we arrived, I started.

When we arrived I started to record what my day to day was like. Now Free and unemployed but what are my days going to be like? what will I do? will I be board?
As it turns out I will be working full time at homesteading and as a model painter. The second "job" will be self employment and a source of fun money. I am also working on my youtube channel, Hey every little bit helps.
 And this brings me back to what I have written about my days. Starting from the day the "mothership" landed.


We spent our first day home. We woke before noon and shortly went to lunch. Our day was spent out  looking for sheds and storage buildings. We have found two we want. At Lows we bought a small refrigerator for the house. We have an issue with the water heater, it runs out very fast . We are looking at an inline water heater. Lows will get far too much of our money. We ended the day with a small dinner and a nice chat about arranging the buildings and gardens. I fell asleep early shortly after 8:00 in the evening
Here's a little pic' I took one night looking at the moon.
 Thanks for looking!

First harvest - Salad Lunch!

Today marks a small but significant milestone here.  For today's lunch, I went out to the first garden box - aptly nicknamed the salad box - with an old wooden bowl and a pair of scissors to trim a bowlful of lettuce leaves for salads.  The romaine lettuce plants are bigger and more robust than the buttercrunch lettuce, so that made up the majority of leaves harvested, but I had two of the plastic cells in the buttercrunch flat that had two plants I could not separate (I did succeed at separating one other buttercrunch cluster for ten out of nine cells).

Since this is the first harvest (no matter how small) for this property, I simply had to snap a picture:
First romaine and buttercrunch lettuce harvest
While washing and tearing the leaves, I also grabbed the rest of the components for a good lunch salad out of the refrigerator: bacon, a hard-boiled egg, shredded mozzarella cheese, a slice of bread to make croutons, dried cranberries, baby carrots, and some store-bought spinach for the darker green we love.  Hubby asked if I intended to get a pic of the salads before we began to eat:
first salads from the garden box
Out in the seedling tray, waiting for this latest cold front to pass, are two varieties of spinach, two varieties of carrots, two more varieties of lettuce, and three varieties of beets.  We have already agreed to use part of our tax return on a chicken coop and some chicks ... especially considering how much will-power and self-discipline from both of us it took to leave Tractor Supply without a small coop kit and a handful of cheeping baby chicks.  As the season progresses, we plan (hope) to get more of our salads from just outside our front door!

25 February 2013

Garden box number one is done!

 We just got done with our first garden box. We built the box and later after marking the area dug it out.
  We had a few roots that were in the way but they weren't really a problem.
 So have a look at the work we have done!

The hole is nearly done! and thank goodness that was some work!
And we were only just getting started!
These logs have been sitting here just decomposing away for a while, were not sure how long.
In to the hole the will go!
They will get broken down to hole water for the growing plants.

All the digging is done!

The broken logs are buried under leaves and dirt.
We put in three layers of leaves and dirt.

She transplanted the veggies after adding topsoil
we are looking forward to seeing our work pay off.

Well enough from me for no, Back to work!
Thanks for looking!