Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Our chicken Choke

A couple of evenings ago, I went to put the chickens to bed only to find Choke dancing along our fence line, but in the neighbour's yard. This is the second time I've found her there.
I coaxed her back with some grapes, I'm not sure if that really worked or if the 'roosting' instinct is what brought her back because as soon as she jumped onto the fence, she flew into the cedar hedge. I grabbed a towel that happened to be outside and literally pushed her out of the hedge (don't worry, she wasn't injured - just really pissed off). Then, like a dog, I herded her back to the coop with her squawking all the way.
What a punk.
Sorry for the fuzziness. This is choke in the wrong yard

And here's her behind in the cedar hedge

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chicken Tuesday

Where the ladies like to hang out. The dirt pile.
This is 'Pecker'

From left: Nonny (or Cooper - depends on who you ask), Pecker and Choke. Choke is the trouble maker

Friday, June 17, 2011

Belated Mother's Day

I bought these posters awhile back. I love the look of them. You can find them on etsy.

For mother's day, Eric had them framed and hung them up in our mudroom.
They are a great reminder of my goals.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Garden Planning (or a lack thereof) and execution

The garden is in. Shocking isn't it?
I didn't get the plants in until a good week (or two) after the May long weekend, but considering the amount of rain we've had, that may not have been a bad thing. I also couldn't have done it without the help of Megan and Eric, who dug three of the plots in less than an hour.
The garden consists of three 3'x6' plots and one 2'x6' plot. I divided the 3x6 plots into square foot sections as per the 'square foot gardening technique'. You can garden with less space and get more yield - plus, you don't walk on the dirt so you don't get compacted soil. I had read a lot about what plants grow well with others (companion planting) and had intended on sitting down and figuring out what plants should go where but I just wanted to get the plants in so that didn't happen. I made sure to put onions in each plot for pest control - that's as far as I got.
Here is what the garden looks like. Some seeds have finally sprouted!! I'm most excited to see if the carrots are successful. I've been told by many neighbours that since the Peterborough flood, no one has had much success with carrots. I'm trying to prove them wrong.

The garden - or Fort Knox if you will. Protected from the chickens

First plot: tomatoes, peppers, radish, cucumber, snap pea, salad greens, onion, broccoli, carrot, beet

Plot 2: Cucumbers (two of which died - I didn't really harden them off), pepper, bush beans, snap peas, onion and salad greens

Plot 3: Tomatoes, pumpkin and cantaloupe

Plot 4: Raspberries, one red the other yellow

The yellow raspberry starting to fruit!!


I've also planted potatoes in a garbage can. I read about this technique in Gayla Trail's book "Grow Great Grub" ( and wanted to give it a try because I didn't want to dedicate a huge patch of garden for potatoes. They seem to be growing quite well. I've been 'mounding' them as the get taller - which is a little difficult since they are all at different heights. I got the seed potatoes from our co-op but I can't remember the name of them. They are 'blue' something. Suppossed to be good for everything you'd want to do with a potato.

Here's how I planted them:
Tools required: Garbage can, large guage nail and a hammer.

Punched holes in the bottom and around the can, about 6" from the bottom

Put approx 12" or soil into the can, put in seed potatoes, covered with a few inches or soil and watered. This growth took appox. 3 weeks.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

They're Here!

The girls are here! My three hens arrived on April 5th and have settled in (I'm a little late with this post....). I've been getting two to three eggs a day, which is a lot of eggs for a family of three. Friends, neighbours and people who I want to be friends with have all received our delicious eggs. I've also learned that fresh eggs are a great bartering tool (got myself a few pounds of beeswax in exchange for some eggs).
The Eglu is working out great. We move it to a fresh spot once a week or so and I love watching the girls scratch around the new grass. Recently, however, we've started letting them out of the run, and have full access to our yard when were home. I have to admit, I was terrified at first. My biggest fear was not that they would be eaten by a neighbour's dog or taken by a flying-by hawk (although...that would be awful), but that they would awkwardly fly (jump...really) into one of our 7 neighbour's yards. I am not prepared to chase a chicken. These hens are not used to being manhandled. They don't climb into my lap or wait to be pet...they are 'chicken' chickens. So I could just imagine trying to wrangle one back onto our property without officially being called the 'crazy chicken lady'. It would not be good for my image!
So, Pecker, Choke and Cooper (not very feminine names) love free-ranging in the backyard and I have to admit, I love watching them. Now, whenever I come into the backyard, they run towards me and follow me wherever I go. I like to think that this behaviour stems from their respect for me as their 'keeper' but I think it has to do with the food scraps I give them...
The Eglu

The nesting box (now full of straw) is on the left and the roosting racks on the left.

This is when they first arrived. It was freezing.

My first 'homegrown' egg