Monthly Archives: March 2011

Baby chicks…

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We just recieved an email that said that our baby chicks which we ordered will be available on Friday! Apparently, the breeder had a customer cancel their order! Whoo-hooo! It is very neat to watch baby chicks grow! Can’t wait to see whether we get roosters or hens! Hopefully we will get all hens, with potentially one roo.

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Spring Disaster…

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What used to be our chicken run... repairs will be made as soon as possible!

That is the disaster that was a beautiful chicken run. We had stretched deer-fencing over the top to prevent the chicks from being eaten by flying predators. During the snow/ice storm earlier this week, a foot high coating of ice and snow clung to the netting. I went out the morning after the storm and was amazed at how low the netting was hanging. I turned the chickens out and fed them… a few hours later my husband said “Did you see what happened?”
My first thought, upon seeing the damage, was of whether or not any of the chickens had wandered back into the run and been subsequently squished. When we dug out the netting and removed it, I was happy to find that all of the chicks were fine! They were a bit puzzled and hung out underneath some of the nearby parked horse trailers for a bit before venturing back out to their feed pile.

Bill is counting to make sure all of the hens are there...

I was pleased to find that the chicken wire, which can be quite pricey, was only “torn” slightly in one area, where the center roof support had crashed down. I strongly believe that the center support failing is what caused the whole collapse. The image above does not do justice to the mess we came upon when it was discovered. This image was taken after we removed the collapsed boards and netting.

I'm not sure, but I think she was wondering where her safety pen went!

We are reconsidering how we might build the roof area to be sturdier. To be quite honest, I thought that the deer netting would surely have torn before yanking down out frame! I will have to find a “before” image to post. I love our chicken run and can’t wait to have it back up and functional!

Fun!

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Just placed an order with a relatively local breeder of Black Copper Maran chickens. Sometime in May we should be getting 4 adorable chickies who will grow up to lay beautiful dark, reddish-chocolate brown eggs. That is, if we get hens.

Black Maran Roo:

Pretty - not too spectacular, but pretty!

Black Copper Maran Hen:

Love the striping on her head and neck feathers!

 

Maran eggs:

Look at how gorgeous these eggs are!

 

Our current flock consists of one Comet Roo, two Comet Hens, four Barred Plymouth Rock hens, four Black Australorp hens, three Auracana hens, and two Rhode Island Red hens.

Speaking to the hubby today, we are considering replacing part of the coop ceiling with plexiglass to allow more light into the coop in the winter months without having to provide artificial light. Hmmm… it would also mean that we would only need to buy culk – not shingles! Also looking into other ways to improve upon our chicken-tending 🙂

Trouble in Tomato-land…

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Okay… so, last night I checked our bathroom jungle, only to discover that the tomato seedlings were bent over, as if their leaves were inspecting the soil. Uh oh! I feared that my seedlings were “leggy”, and I believe this confirms that worry!

I am going to try to rescue them! Tomatoes are one of the only common garden plants (or so I’ve heard) that will sprout new roots if you bury the stem deeper into the soil. So, this afternoon, I will be repotting them and doing just that, hopefully encouraging them to form sturdier stems!

The nice part about the tomato plants is that they are starting to get their true leaves! Yay!

No luck with the pepper plants, however.

Also – check out these awesome heirloom, organic seed companies! How fun!

http://seeds.soggycreek.com/catalogue/

http://www.heritageharvestseed.com/

We shall see how this progresses. Or not…

The bathroom jungle…

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All of the flower seedlings that were started seem to be doing well, and the stems seem very strong. I hope to find time in the next few days to start the colorful variety of Zinnias that I picked up – I’ve heard that those, like the Marigolds, help deter unwanted garden pests from destroying crops.

Our fun array of flower seeds! I love purples, pinks, greens, and whites!

 

Most of the tomatoes seem to be holding their own, except the Peacevine Cherry tomatoes. The baby leaf tips seem to be drying. Any ideas? I’m doing some research and see that it is likely due to too much nutrition in the soil (which is an organic seed starting mix). I hope they stop drying! All of the other plants have a second set of leaves starting to sprout. They are almost microscopic. Hopefully these tomatoes survive long enough for me to transplant them, setting the stem deeper into the soil to allow stronger stems to develop!

The peppers have yet to sprout. I have put them closer to a heat source, to no avail. The seeds that I started are a few years old, actually, so I took a few extras and wrapped them in a moist paper-towel and placed them in a ziplock bag to see if they will sprout. This is a good way to test seeds whose viability you are unsure of.

I already need to transplant the pumpkins to a larger pot. I typically would not have started pumpkins in a pot, and would have opted for direct sowing. These pumpkins are a large (300+ lb fruits) variety and I wanted to give them a maximum growing season. We will see how that idea turns out!

Day of rest?

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We had a fabulous day today. It started with lessons with Dorothy Mueller (www.ironwoodfarmequestrian.com), everyone did exceptionally well! My husband went to church while we were getting our morning work-outs out of the way – he came home and surprised us with fresh baked goods from the local bakery! Mmm…

Dorothy instructing Stacy and Misty...

The seedlings for this year’s garden seem to be doing very well! I am still crossing my fingers, however!

Aster, two varieties of ivory colored Marigolds, and Malva!

 

The Marigolds are a special attempt to beautifully and organically deter pests from entering and/or devouring the garden!

"Big Russian Roma", "Beefsteak" and "Peacevine Cherry" Tomato Seedlings

Little firecrackers

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The little horses thoroughly enjoyed their romp in the roundpen this morning and afternoon. They were both fired up. I hope to find time this summer to get Lucy started under harness… and one day start driving her!

Here is how we get to start our days…

Our beautiful little mini "tearin' it up"!

 

Frolicking about on a warm Spring day!

 

Anxiously, and not-so-patiently yearning to join the fun with Lucy!

 

Wheeeeeeee!

 

Today was a full day with Linda’s lesson students here. She does such a great job with all of the kids! Mollie, a beautiful little girl who is part of Horse for Hope’s program, www.horsesforhope.com, and her equally beautiful and horse-crazy friend Audrey, spent some additional time playing with the goats, ducks and chickens this afternoon! What fun we had! What a blessing, to be able to share “farm life” with such fantastic company!