Sunday, August 7, 2011

Farm Update!

I have been getting lots of questions about the status of the farm.  I'm a little ashamed to tell you that on the "growing things" front, we are at a stand still.  A lack of two days off in a row and a lack of pickup truck are making it impossible to get dirt for the beds.  So for the moment they still look like this: 

Empty, barren, full of dirty plastic (that had been spread out over them to help burn off the weeds).  As soon as we can afford about $300 worth of dirt, we can fill them.  But really unless that happens next weekend, we will likely miss the last summer planting season.  then we will have to wait til mid September to plant for the fall.  Not that that is so far away. just a bummer.  No tomatoes for us. =(

Basil: Purple and Sweet
Thyme in the foreground, Oreg in the background
In the mean time, we have been growing herbs in window boxes next to the house with mixed sucess.  The basil is doing very well.  We also have thyme, parsley and oregano that are doing well.  Our Cilantro, which used to occupy that lower orange box with the parsley all died off, this the bald spot on the edge of the parsley.  The three empty green boxes on the bottoms were just planted today in a mix of our compost and potting soil.  They contain cantaloupe, watermelon and pumpkins.  Im not sure which is which because i failed to label them! so it
will be a surprise when they show up.  I also threw some pumpkin seeds down on the ground next to this set up just to see if they would grow.  I'm told pumpkins will grow pretty much anywhere. So its just an experiment.  i'll let you know how it goes.

On the other hand, the chickens are doing lovely!  I hadnt posted many pictures of them because they were in their ugly phase.  Chickens have a very ugly phase between the time they are chicks and the time they are pullets.  They look like pigeons with chick heads.
See? This was Esther about 2 mo ago...

Sadly, Betsy did turn out to be a rooster so i sent her/him to live with a nice family on  a farm.  Literally.  Or at least i hope its literally.  More likely than not they are planning to eat him in a few weeks.  But that's better than the other crazy fear i have which is that they are using him in a cock fight.  Lets hope that's not it! I'll need to screen my applicants better in the future. Really i just freaked out when he started crowing.  I didn't want the police called and all my other girls forced to leave over one stupid rooster.  My neighbor was kind enough to haughtily tell me that its illegal to have roosters so she's very glad she hasn't heard any crowing coming from my yard. I tell you, if my ladies ever need lessons on how to be a cluck-y old hen, i'll send them to that lady. Sheesh.  

Anywho, the girls are big enough now to free range in the yard for a while.  so when i come home from work i let them out and they wander around eating weeds. 
That's Esther pecking the weed and Ruth behind her.  Dorothy's butt is behind them both
Since monsoons started its helpful to have some girls who are willing to eat the never ending supply of weeds in our yard.  Its also humorous to see them all around the kid's play things.

After it starts to get dark (or rain) they put themselves back into the coop and settle in for the night.  You know the expression "hens coming home to roost"?  That's a real thing.  With no prodding at all they will just walk back into the coop and roost.  Whats roosting?  you see that 2x4 in the picture of young Esther? That is a roost.  Its just a bar or plant that they can sit and balance on.  Chickens, for some reason, dont like their butts to touch the ground while the sleep.  Three of mine sleep on that bar (Polish, Ruth and Other White Chicken, not ironically the bottom three on the pecking order) while the other three (Esther, Dorothy and Talulah) roost in the window and like to stick their heads out and watch the rain.  They are funny girls.

I wish i had a picture of it, and maybe i should just do a whole post on it, but the sleeping habits of the girls are really very cute.  Dorothy, the second in command sleeps with her neck stretched out across Esther (top chicken)'s neck.  Their necks are longer than they appear when they stretch out and so if you look quickly it looks like Ether's striped body has a brown head and Dorothy's brown body has a black striped head.  Talulah just looks at them both like they are whacko's and shoves her head out of the chicken wire window and lets the rain drip off her beak.

So there you go, an update on the girls.  No eggs yet, but we suspect Talulah will start laying eggs at the end of this month or the beginning of next mother.  They've all been put on layer feed to help them produce healthy well shelled eggs!  

There is now talk in our household of a pair of pygmy goats for the milk. but that will require us to bulldoze our hen house and build a new structure, part hen house part "goat cave".  But first we need to get some dirt! what do you think? 


  1. What do I think? Go for the goats. You already know how to make cheese and the goats would give you a ready supply of the necessary ingredient for feta. The chicken update was interesting.

  2. ooh feta cheese! Good call Louise. the girls have gone from ugly ducklings to beautiful pullets! :)