As we feel summer rapidly approaching, we have been working hard to finish our spring projects. There is so much to do around here, it is hard to know where to even get started. During a spell of nice weather we finally got some more things done outside.
The chicks were moved out of the back of the pickup in the garage and into their new home. They are getting ridiculously huge, some of them have bigger feet than our fully grown hens.
The garden bed project is partially done. Our tomato starts are officially in their forever home and seem to really enjoy it there. Paul put some permaculture principles to use and built a miniature Hugel mound on contour (for the unfamiliar, you can search either of these terms to learn more). He did the same for the raspberries by digging a garden bed, pilling a bunch of tree branches and wood chips on the “hole” and then adding the soil and compost on top. Our yard is on a fairly steep grade. We are hoping this design will fill the need to terrace the beds, while collecting and storing free water. Not only will the water drain to the last garden bed but the wood and the wood chips will keep the soil wet longer.
Along with the tomatoes, we planted Walla Walla sweet onions. We checked, tomatoes and onions make good companions.
The peppers and cucumber starts will go into pots. Last year they thrived in our pots so we decided to try it again, changing the soil of course. We find that bugs don’t pester the plants very much when planted in containers.
The potatoes are going nuts we can barely keep up with adding of the soil. Needless to say, we are very hopeful for a great harvest. Hash browns, here we come. We are excited at the prospect on relying on 100% homegrown potatoes to get us through this coming winter.
Oh our dear Debbie the broody hen!! She has not lost interest sitting on her “empty egg babies” and our egg production is down. After reading about getting broody hens back to laying-scavenging hens, the option that appealed to us was to isolate the hen and keep her away from the nest. A few nights ago Paul recreated the chicken suite in our garage. Debbie spent the whole night on a perch and was there for her breakfast but when I came home in the evening, she had flown over the netting and some how got into the chicks space. Naturally, the chicks were all huddled in one corner and Debbie in the other. We thought that she simply wanted babies and allowed her to stay there for a while, but before too long decided we had to pull her out. Once she was introduced back into the flock, she hung out with the other gals–we were happy (thinking that one day of isolation was enough for her) but later saddened to find her back on the nest for the night. So, an isolation box it will be for her–we tried to be nice, she made her choice. The five days she was broody, we were getting about 4-6 eggs per day. With her out of the box, we got nine. Egg production is not the only reason we are concerned. She does not eat or drink unless she is physically removed from the nest. She eats a bit and then rushes back on the eggs. We worry that she is not getting the resources that she needs. She is also not producing any eggs, most likely due to that.
Paul and I have been dreaming of an aquaponic system for some time now. We would love to raise our own fish for meat, but right now we have to much on our plate and not enough in our pocketbook. So we are using what we currently have and can afford– a 40 gallon fish tank with guppies and plecos. When I change their water for them, I use their dirty poopy and nutrient rich water to water tomatoes and other vegetables. This stuff is like liquid gold for the garden. We try to do this twice a week but honestly, as of lately I have been slacking. Right now is a good time to get on top of it as the garden is in need of all the fertilizer it can get.
The next few weeks we will focus on stocking our freezer with partially prepared meals, as we have been frequently running out of time for dinner during the week.
Also, Happy Memorial Day! Thank you to all the Veterans and their families for their service.
Thanks for reading!!