Monday, July 4, 2011

Yes, I fell off the earth....

I know, I know that it's been an awful long time between blogs.  Really, I wasn't trying to avoid anyone or anything, I just ran out of steam...

I got busy with project after project around the house, and the next thing I knew, the chickens had grown, and so had my garden.  In spite of all my best efforts to ignore them as well.

First off the girls:

Here's Twinkie our Buff Orpington.  She is quite the individual.  She is the only one to like being picked up, and can often be found scratching and pecking away to her own tune...She seems like she doesn't need the rest of the flock, as she can take being with them or alone...

Here is Hayden, our Golden Laced Wyandotte.  She and Little Red our Silver Laced Wyandotte pal around like twins...and neither want to be picked up or handled.  

And speaking about Little Red...well, I no longer worry about HER being a roo...

And finally, Rosalina, our Welsummer.  She is the vocal one, and like Twinkie, doesn't mind being picked up.  In fact, Rosalina is usually chasing after Twinkie, trying to get her to join the others, or pairing up with her when that fails.

The chickens have had free reign of the backyard for the past week.  It has been wonderfully exciting to see them explore, and just be chickens.  Unfortunately, they in all their chicken-ness, have wrecked havoc on my wife's flower beds, and the free reign has been curtailed.  Basically they get supervised time out of the arc now.  Are they not so much, but this is an experiment in chicken keeping so I will keep adapting, and so will they.

The best part about the chickens is they see me and come running...guess that has something to do with I'm the one that feeds them...but who cares, seeing them come running up to me is too cool!

Now for a veggie update:

I harvested the spinach, and froze a bunch up, and ate spinach salad for almost a week.  We have also been harvesting Lettuce and Arrugala for salads every night.  We also harvested Parsley, Oregano and mint, and they are hanging in the garage to dry...cause we don't have a dehydrator, so it's old school for us.  The smell when the garage door opens is to die for...

The rest of the veg is still in the ground, and coming up at varying degrees as you will see in the following photos:

Some folks said I was optimistic when I built my Raspberry cage so tall...well, optimism or realism, either way, those canes are tall!  I had flowers earlier, now lots of little raspberries are beginning. 

The garlic is almost ready to stop watering...This bed will next up be used for Butternut Squash.

The bush beans are coming up!  I originally planted Tiger's eye and Yin Yang in the closer bed.  Germination rates weren't phenomenal, so I interspersed some Jacobs Cattle Beans I got from the Mother Earth News Fair.  The further bed, has Cranberry Beans, which came up fantastic, and Canelli Lingott, which only produce one measly plant...ugh!  So, in went Hidatsa Shield Beans, another Heirloom seed obtained from the Mother Earth News Fair.  As you can see they seem to like the bed they lay in.

Lettuce just waiting to become a heavenly salad.  I have to be honest though, I can't tell the difference between Salad Bowl and Pom left.  The Flashy Trout back top right is tasty.  The Mache bottom right is a sweet subtle addition, and you can just make out the lone Butterhead that came up...again, planted a gazillion little lettuce seeds, and only one!  Ugh.  The red lettuce is called Revolution.  It is a quiet revolution though...not much on the flavor dept. but does add color to a salad.

Here's my current favorite salad recipe.  Picked this up in Argentina, where the family down there eat it all summer long, and I get why.
1 Big bowl of leafy greens (I use all my lettuce's, mache and arugala)
1 - 2 tomatoes cut into small bites and sprinkled over the leafy greens
A pinch or two of salt sprinkled over the Toms and Greens
Canola oil sprinkled over the salt, toms and greens
Rice wine vinegar sprinkled over the oil, salt, toms and greens.
Mix and serve.
This salad is so simple and goes well on it's own or with anything off the grill.  

The peas are going like gang-busters.  I have a ton of flowers, and some have started to fruit!  Which is for the best as we are almost out of the peas we froze last year, and will need a new harvest soon.  Unfortunately the broccoli goes to flower as soon as the heads form.  It's just to warm for them now.  I will leave them to go to seed as I will need new seed for a late summer planting for fall harvest, as well as next year. Just to the left of the bed, you can see the mint invasion we have.  This is spearmint, and makes wonderful Mojitos which I make it a point to enjoy as often as possible!

Well, the experiment has continued.  I was told we couldn't grow melons here, but I had to try.  The first attempt with indoor starts failed miserably...the melons began to vine into my tomatoes, and broccoli, and the weather was still too ugly, but I put them out under a hoop house, and they simply withered away...just too cold.  So I re-planted in hills direct seeding.  This is what is up.  Not sure if they will make it before September brings wet weather again, but like I said, this is an experiment.

Here is the bed dedicated to Asparagus...amazingly even though I planted them late, I got 5 asparagus stalks!  This is whats up with the carrots we planted, not a great germination rate with the homemade seed tape, but decent.  I know we didn't use the freshest of seeds on this tape project, so not sure if it was the flour glue we used, the toilet paper being two-ply...or old seed.  Perhaps just the fickle finger of fate, who knows.  But we will have a few carrots this year.  

This bed has big hurkin Faba Beans bottom left, with cucumbers to their right.  Behind the beans is a mess of Arugala (great peppery flavor in salads) and to their right are Zucchini.  Behind all this climbing the trellis is the pole beans.  Need those to mature to harvest stage as we have only one meal left frozen from last year.

This bed is home to 4 surviving tomato plants, little pepper plants and the big leaves up front are Nasturtiums...they control aphids (a pesky problem here in the pacific nw, and if not aphid infested, are a tasty addition to a salad as well. Yes Nasturtium flowers are edible!

Is that, yes I believe it is, A tomato or two!  I thinned out some the the leaves, as the tomatoes were getting to bushy, and lo and behold, tomatoes were seen!  Come on warm weather, without tomatoes, salsa aint a happening...and we need salsa as only two or three pints remain in storage.

Well, that rounds out the growth in the garden.  So as you can see, in spite of all my hand wringing about the sorry weather, and feeling sorry for my self, the chickens and veg follow a different drummer; and are growing wonderfully.

I hope to blog more often, and hope that time will allow me to spend it amongst the chickens and veg.

Night all.


  1. Glad to see your garden growing! And the chickens now look all grown up. How long before they begin laying?

  2. Glad to see I kicked your tail into blogging again. Hehe. I got my tail kicked today about starting a fall garden (which I did).

    While out in my badly tended garden, I found my lack of pea trellis didn't hinder my production. I've got peas! They're tasty. We'd have eaten them if not for the broccoli trumping it tonight.

    Also, I've got a tiny ripe tomato! Yum. Sorry, not bragging. Your garden rocks man! Can I snag some arrugula or mache seeds to fill out my fall garden?

  3. GrafixMuse: Well, the chicks were hatched 3/22 and 3/ all the literature I've read said they start laying after 5 months...which would put my girls at late August to early September.

  4. Bro, I'll split what I've got. I may let the Arrugala go to seed, so I can have more of that. The Mache is not showing any sign of flowering yet, so may go through what I have before it can bolt...that would mean buying more seed.

    I'll talk more about seed with you tonight.

  5. Great blog! It's on our favorite list. Want to invite you to our new homestead blog.

  6. Great blog! It's on our favorite list. Want to invite you to our new homestead blog.