Friday, October 5, 2012

Garden 2012 Recap

We tore the garden out two weeks ago. I need to figure out the totals and then I'll get them posted.

The cocoa mulch I added at the beginning of the year has broken down nicely. It will add nutrients etc when it's tilled in. Due to the cost though, maybe do straw for rows next year.

All in all, I think the garden was successful this year. Not bad for the first time having a real garden here and hard as a rock, heavily compacted soil.

Next year -

Add a least one more plot
Maybe put pink pumpkins in the 3 Sisters Plot after/with zucchini
Spread out tomatoes, this year they were way too crowded
Black Krim tomatoes are a must
Cherry tomatoes are a NO


Zucchini: 151.51 lbs

Pumpkin: 0.65 lbs

Jalapenos: 5.8 lbs

Green Bell Pepper: 2.25 lbs

Red Bell Pepper: 0 lbs

Sweet Banana Pepper: 3.73 lbs

Beefmaster Tomato: 0 lbs

Plum Tomato: 0 lbs

Sweet 100 Cherry Tomato: 0 lbs

Black Krim Tomato: 0 lbs

Rutgers Tomato: 0 lbs

Carbon Tomato: 0 lbs

Pantano Romanesco Tomato: 0 lbs

Unfortunately I did not get a good measurement of my tomatoes. I had tons and tons though.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fishy Ishy pt 2

My local Petsmart got a fish delivery today, so we picked up some more male guppies. They got more Blue Wag platys but I didn't care for their color. I'll check back in a week or so. The $1 sale is on until 9/23.

Added 3 yellow guppies ($1 sale, Petsmart)

2 Tequila Sunrise guppies ($1 sale, Petsmart)

3 Turquoise guppies ($1 sale, Petsmart)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fishy Ishy

I've had a 55 gallon fish tank for about 7 years.

Currently we have:

1 pleco ("Mr Clean", about 5-6 years old, it's about 7 inches long)

1 upside down catfish ("Upsie", about 5-6 years old, has been missing fins/barbs for years)

6 homebred Sunset platys

I don't have pictures of these yet... it's very hard to photograph a moving school of fish!

Today we added:

2 Blue Wag platys ($1.99, Petsmart)
2 Blonde Delta fancy guppies (male, $1 sale, Petsmart)

I will be adding more fancy guppy males and different colored platys soon. I'm considering a small school of Julii or albino corydoras too.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - We Adopted!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tomatoes are Ready!

The purplish ones are Black Krim. They are heirloom and very tasty! Also shown are Beefsteak, Rutgers, Roma and Sweet 100 Cherry. Oh, and ever-present zucchini :)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Yay Sutton!

Sutton, the last hold out, is now laying eggs :) So all four of my girls are earning their keep!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Garden Planning 2013

I need to make some changes for the garden next year.

  1. Only 3-4 zucchini plants instead of 7. Way too much zucchini. Of course, this may change depending on how much I use of the freezer zucchin over winter.
  2. Don't do pole beans, or don't rely on corn to hold them up. The bean plants (no flowers yet, so can't blame the beans) are weighing down the sweet corn. And japanese beetles are feasting on the bean plants nonstop.
  3. No cherry tomatoes. Both plants are taking over everything.
  4. Space tomatoes better. They are overcrowded and I can't easily tell them apart.
  5. Get different bell peppers. These are growing funny and I just don't care for it.
  6. No banana peppers.
  7. Cage jalapenos when they are little.

Cherry tomato taking over everything.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Yay Sprinkles!

Sprinkles is officially a "hen" now! She laid her first egg over the weekend :) Right on schedule too. Most pullets start laying around 20 weeks old. I had her figured at 19 this week.

Sprinkles' first egg inbetween two from Ruby.

Her first one was laid in the nesting box. I found another one today, but it was laying next to the waterer.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Would someone please remind me next year that I do not need 7 zucchini plants... Not counting last night's harvest, I have harvested over 42 lbs of zucchini. Some has been given away, some has been made into zucchini relish, most is in the freezer and a few have been made into zucchini fries (yum).

I am getting a few peppers now, sweet banana peppers and one green bell pepper. It would have been two, but the one had a big hole in it. Jalapenos are almost ready. I cannot wait to make cowboy candy (candied jalapenos).

Sweet corn and pole beans. Can you see how the pole beans are climbing up the sweet corn?

Vegetable plot - Marigolds are doing well, tomatoes are almost as tall as I am.

Vegetable plot

Pumpkin is almost ready... This is the compost bin transplant. The seed came from one of those small decorator pumpkins. I never knew how much pumpkin spread... this thing is huge! Two pumpkins on it so far, but tons of flowers. I just hope we'll still have some for Halloween!

The chickens enjoyed some pen time while I checked out the garden.

Connor just loves his tractor...

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Garden June 26, 2012

I forgot to post these... Taken June 26, 2012

First sweet banana pepper

First green bell pepper 



Cute rain gauge

Sweet 100 cherry tomato is taking over the marigolds



So far, I've pulled 16.34 lbs of zucchini out of my garden.

This was from this morning -

I saw these half and full bushel baskets at Tractor Supply Co. I had to get one. They remind me of the bushels of potatoes my great-grandpa Meyer always had in the garage. These have not been processed yet. The others have been shredded. I have about 16 cups in the freezer waiting to be made into bread, muffins, relish or whatever else.

Speaking of relish - 
I made 4 half pints of Ball's zucchini relish. I kept out about a tablespoon and mixed it into tuna. Yummy! I will definitely be making more of this!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fruit Ice Pops

We're going through a heat wave right now and I want to do everything I can to make the chickens comfortable. Short of running fans because there is no electricity out there. I've been adding ice and electrolytes to their water.

I found this idea on Fresh Eggs Daily . I made fruit ice pops for the girls with mint, strawberries, blueberries and watermelon.

Ruby and Sprinkles were the first to check it out.

Then everyone kind of ignored it.

Ruby came back to check it out, finally drank some of the water melting off the cubes.

Sprinkles wants to know where the good stuff is.

When I went back a few hours later, the plate was empty. Sometimes chickens aren't too sure about new foods and act like you're trying to poison them. They'll get the hang of it!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Jam Session and Chicken Update

I went to the local strawberry farm and bought two buckets and one quart of strawberries. Each one is approximately 4 quarts. I ended up not using the second bucket after finding a few really bad ones in there...

I made 5 pints of strawberry lemonade concentrate, 10 half pints of strawberry rhubarb jam, 6 half pints of blueberry rhubarb jam, 3 half pints of strawberry vanilla jam, and 2 half pints of rhubarb sauce.

Chicken Update:

It's hard to believe the new girls have only been here for a week. Last night was the first night that Sutton wasn't put in a cage to sleep in. The others kept pecking at her, knocking her off the roost, etc. I was afraid of her getting cornered in the coop and getting hurt. However, last night, she actually knocked Sprinkles (same age as her, but Sprinkles is bigger) off the perch and fought for her spot. She came out this morning chirping, yay!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Garden - June

I added 5 bags of cocoa shell mulch to the vegetable plot. Smells great and can be tilled into the garden at the end of the season.

Trying to determine if this is powdery mildew starting on my zucchini.
And yes, I need to weed.

Pole beans are coming up in the 3 Sisters plot. I am going to have to get stakes though because corn didn't come up in some of the hills. I am considering getting a few more bags of cocoa mulch and doing this bed too. 

New Additions!

On Friday, I received a call from the woman I get my chickens from. She needed to find a home for one of her girls. She had a pen that was attacked by a dog and had spent around $100 to save this chicken's life. This chicken had just had stitches taken out and needed to go back outside. Here's the kicker... she was given a very strong antibiotic (Baytril)* and now her eggs cannot be eaten. Ever. My friend sells eggs, so that would not work. This chicken lays white eggs, all of mine will lay brown. So, I drove over and picked up that chicken and another.

This is Thea - She is a 2 1/2 year old Appenzeller. She is missing tail and back feathers from the dog attack, but they will grow back.

In the first pic, that is Ruby behind her. Ruby is only one year old and quite a bit bigger than Thea. However, Thea has experience on her side and stands up to Queen Ruby. She stares her and Sprinkles down, it's the funniest thing. She can nearly flatten her crest/bonnet and I think it freaks the others out.

And this is Sutton. She is a 13 week old Speckled Sussex. She is the same age as Sprinkles, the Barred Rock, but quite a bit smaller. Sutton gets chased quite a bit and hangs out in the coop most of the day. I lock her in a crate overnight in the coop because I don't want her to get cornered and attacked. Hopefully I won't have to do that much longer. She's very sweet!

Sprinkles, Thea, Ruby

Ruby, Sprinkles, Thea, Sutton

* Some people say that there is a withdrawal period for Baytril. However, it is banned in the US for meat and egg production birds because it's possible that it may cause resistance to human antibiotics. I cannot take that risk for myself or my family. She has not laid since the attack. If she does start laying again, her eggs will be discarded.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Garden - May 2012

May 30 -
Veg plot - No sign of the Mon Petit Cheri green beans, not even seeds. I think the birds got them. Scraped that row and put in 1 Rutgers tomato, 1 Black Krim tomato, 1 Pantano Romanesco tomato, 1 Carbon tomato (all heirlooms), 4 sweet basil plants, 1 thyme and 2 French tarragons. Added 4 more jalapenos.
3 Sisters plot - Sweet corn is coming up in most hills. One hill has nothing. Sowed Kentucky Wonder pole bean seeds. Transplanted pumpkin from compost bin. Planted 7 zucchini plants and 2 lemon balm.
Rhubarb plot - No sign of rhubarb or carrots. Onions coming in nicely.
South side chicken pen - No sign of anything but weeds.
North side chicken pen - No sign of sweet basil, planted 1 sweet basil plant and 1 lemon thyme.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Garden - May 2012

May 14 - My uncle came over and tilled a foot wide section on the long sides of the chicken pen, a plot for rhubarb and two 10x10ish plots.

May 15 -
North side chicken pen - sowed sweet basil seeds
South side chicken pen - sowed bird & butterfly seed mix
Rhubarb plot - planted three rhubarb crowns, about 15 yellow onions, carrots
3 Sisters plot - sowed sweet corn seeds in hills

May 18 -
Veg plot - planted 2 red bell peppers, 2 green bell peppers, 2 banana peppers, sowed a row of Mon Petit Cheri green beans, planted 2 Beefmaster tomatoes, 1 plum tomato, 2 cherry 100 tomatoes, 3 jalapeno peppers

Monday, May 14, 2012

Pics From The Weekend

New sign on the chicken pen:

I got it at Target on the Easter clearance. It had a stake for a yard sign, which I took off. It was originally $10, I got it for $2.50. I sprayed it with sealer and will remove it before winter. It's not quite what I wanted for the pen, but it's cute.

Surprise in the compost bin:

I checked out the compost bin this weekend and found a pumpkin vine. I plan on taking down the compost bin this week anyway. This just tells me that it's not getting hot enough. I threw in pumpkin hulls in the fall. It should have killed whatever seeds the chickens didn't eat. I will just throw the chicken manure across the back pasture. Rabbit manure can go right on the garden.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sprinkles, 9 weeks old

Sprinkles is settling in nicely now. I haven't seen any signs of more predators. We still don't know what it was that killed Splash.

The woman I get my chickens from has ordered 5 Speckled Sussex pullets and 5 Easter Egger pullets. They should be ready to come home around July so I will get one more of each to complete my flock.
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