epsom salts bath recovers Ameraucana

I mentioned in my Jan 20 post the passing of Gimpie.  She and the Ameraucana were the two elders in the flock.  The Ameraucana observed a period of mourning and then began associating with the flock at a wary distance, cautious always of the rooster who had dispatched her comrade.  She is over 5 years old and in her waning years and at feeding time she is driven away by the younger hens, some of whom are her offspring.  So much so that I have a routine for her at evening time to eat separated Read more [...]

spring time catchup

My recent visit to the west coast set me back on my spring schedule and I have been catching up. Foremost was to get my tomato seeds going.  Last year I collected seed from good heirloom tomato plants and this year, for the first time, I did not purchase any tomato seed.  Though I did buy "Surround" (Kaolin clay) which I will spray on my apple trees when the blossoms have set fruit, and the supplier included gratis, seeds for  Rainbow and Cherry tomatoes.  Plus I had some 2014 and 2015 packets Read more [...]

what are “pasture raised” eggs, also chicken update

During the winter, short daylight months, our chickens cease egg production and we work our way through the eggs we saved until, around mid-December we are out of eggs.  And then the offerings in the local supermarket become more appealing.  Without including photos, since upsetting folks and triggering nastiness is unnecessary, I will describe the tempting labels. Carton A - "Fresh Eggs, No Antibiotics, Organic, Non-GMO Feed, Pasture Raised, Grade A One Dozen Large Eggs, Level 4 Pasture Raised" Carton Read more [...]

long hibernation ending

My last post was November 25.  As we moved into winter my growing activities were largely shelved. In November/December I cleared and weeded some beds and planted out, closely spaced, several 100 garlic cloves.  They are all descended from 3 varieties of garlic I purchased from California 4 years ago.  After harvesting last year I strung them together and hung them from joists in the carport.  Fewer rotted compared with previous years where I had stored them in laundry bags hung in the basement.  Read more [...]

sweet potato, pests, a broody hen

I had my best harvests this year.  Everything did well and while the weather, rains and fewer pests all helped, mostly I think is I am getting better at growing.  (I mention rains because all my irrigation is with rainwater).  Last year, my first with sweet potatoes, I produced finger sized specimens.  This year, tho I left it a bit late, they are big. Pest pressure has been minimal which I attribute to increased biodiversity and natural predators etc. tho this week I noticed two instances Read more [...]

dilemma unraveled

In my previous two posts I described Randa the flying chicken who established a nest containing 15 eggs in the bush and how, after much debate, I relocated Randa and her eggs to the safety of a spare coop.  The dilemma was what would I do if say half of the eggs hatched, since I have chicken enough and would wind down rather than expand my chicken operations. The potential dilemma dematerialized.  Although I had prevailed on Randa to sit on her  transferred eggs in the new nest box she quickly Read more [...]

dilemma – postponed

In y'days post I outlined the dilemma with Randa, the flying hen who established a nest beyond the pale (paddock) and my provisional decision to leave her there and let nature take its course.  Well my better half prevailed with the argument that once we take on pets (or chicken since they are not pets in our case) we assume responsibility for them and when we have domesticated them (select bred for egg productivity) they lose their instincts to survive in the wild.  Ergo, we could not leave little Read more [...]


I have a dilemma.  Since I retired I have had few dilemmas - no more the quandary of whether I should attend an important business meeting or pitch, vs a child's sporting event/concert performance or family function.  But now I have a dilemma! I mentioned in previous posts that we have 2 nimble chicken, Wanda and Randa, who easily fly over the paddock fence and that Randa had disappeared one evening but was there the next morning and we all celebrated with sunflower seeds.  But the next night Read more [...]

success with a broody hen

Our broody hen kept brooding.  Each night I would remove her from the eggs she was safeguarding and, after a quick sup, she would go back to the nesting box.  And so it continued night after night for a week.   Our research indicated that if she was kept in a place where her underside was cool, she might desist.  I located and positioned 6 cinder blocks on top of which I placed the wire cage we had used when they were newly born.  Since the bottom of the cage was a solid removable tray, which Read more [...]

late freeze, black locust, a broody hen, frass and swarm lure

The average date for last spring freeze where I grow  should be after March 30 and before April 10 based on a map provided by the National Weather Service.  On April 16 the temperature in our area fell to 30 deg F and caused some damage.  The potato plants suffered - the volunteers on the ground surface were almost wiped out - While the potatoes I had planted in a trench had less extensive damage - I was concerned about my apple trees some of which are in blossom but they seem fine Read more [...]