Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Gidget gets chickens

Gidget celebrated her 3rd birthday recently and we decided it was finally time to get her the chickens she's always wanted. If you're a regular reader of this blog then you know that Gidget has been most unhappy about only being a vegetable gardener. She has always wanted to be a free range chicken farmer.

We got 7 Araucana pullets that were born on April 7th so they celebrated their 2 two weeks on the planet yesterday. At first they were so teeny that they were quite comfortable in this makeshift brooder. This type of chicken lays beautiful green eggs and we should start getting some in about 6 months.

Gidget can't even believe her biggest wish has finally come true.
We are feeding them Coyote Creek Organic Pullet starter and using pine shavings for their bedding. So far they are very low maintenance and thriving. I change their water a couple times a day and try to handle them often to get them used to it. We take them out for an adventure every day at this point and they are growing rapidly. They are already getting their true feathers and we can almost tell them apart.

Of course, they're adorable
They really enjoy their time outdoors

Farmer D tries to act like he's not affected by their extreme cuteness but they know better

Gidget wonders why they haven't mowed down the weeds yet, they're getting tall.
They're still too small to be out on a regular basis or to be in their coop but they're going to have a wonderful house and mobile chicken run once they're big enough, probably in a couple more weeks. For now, we are keeping them in our garage bathroom and they are doing just fine.

Don't worry or cringe, we have two other bathrooms and this one is not in the house. 

This shed not too far away from our house will be there permanent home. 
We hope you'll enjoy following Gidget's newest adventure!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Spring garden

Our garden is underway and we're getting excited about the wonderful things we'll be eating and potentially selling at the River Valley Farmers Market by the middle of June. I say potentially because I never like to count my crops before they mature but so far things are looking good.

The garden isn't as attractive as it could be yet because we're in need of some mulch but we'll get that taken care of soon.
Here's a look at the garden from the back.
We put in six raised garden beds, we are using the earthboxes that we brought from San Diego, we did a lasagna garden bed and the hugelkultur mound.  We're still in the process of planting but we have quite a bit growing on already.

We have about 25 various tomato plants including some very exciting small varieties, one of them is called a wapsinicon peach and actually has fuzzy skin.
Some of our tomatoes in one of the large beds. We won't plant tomatoes here again for 3 years.
We decided to try a 3 sisters garden in our lasagna bed and the corn seems happy. I planted provider beans next to the corn about a week after the corn started to emerge. I'm impatiently waiting for the beans to sprout. 
I'm working on creating a border by weaving some pruned vines together. It's an easy but time consuming project. 
We are finally growing our first ever potatoes and chose to do it in hardware cloth cylinders. There definitely won't be enough for us to sell at the market but we are very excited to have some of our own homegrown potatoes for ourselves for the first time.
You can't really tell from the photo but potato leaves are incredibly beautiful.
We also have some peas and carrots growing but do not plan to have enough for market.
I love that we have a little green lizard looking after the peas. 
We do plan to have peppers and cucumbers at market but the plants are still very small yet.

We decided to grow strawberries in the hugelkulter bed and depending on how they do, how long they produce and how many we get, there may be some at the market. 
Strawberries are some of the cutest little plants ever.
With the tomato guards in place I am feeling confident that we will have some tomatoes at the market. 
Gidget is still searching for the chickens we promised her.
We've actually decided that we aren't going to raise hens for eggs to sell. We still want to raise them for our own eggs but there are already so many great egg producers in our area that we don't see a need to try and compete. 

We will keep you posted but our hope is that by mid-June you will see us at the market with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, beans, eggplant, maybe some strawberries, possibly some corn and hopefully some cut flowers.

We can hardly wait.