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 [...]

3 sisters, a new brush, problem = solution, food from the garden

3 sisters 3 sisters refers to the practice of growing corn, climbing beans and squash closely together with the corn providing scaffolding for the beans, the beans providing nitrogen fixing and their hairy stems dissuading insects, and the squash shading out weeds and enabling water retention by the soil.  My 3 sisters appear to be doing ok, though I now realize some fine tuning is needed for next year. You can see the beans wrapping round the stalks. But is the corn handy scaffolding, Read more [...]

2 simple lessons learned – garlic and the chicken coop

I first planted garlic in fall 2010 - 4 varieties 1) organic California Early White – softneck ($4.99 lb); 2) Elephant garlic – very mild like a leek ($4.99 lb);  3) organic Music Garlic – hardneck  ($12,99 lb.) – the only reason I bought this more expensive variety is because my family is into music; 4) organic Dujansky  – hardneck ($9.99 lb).   They grew well, I harvested them and each fall I planted out the cloves for the next year's harvest.  In fall 2014 I must have planted out Read more [...]

cold weather returns

I won't complain about the cold, not when I know what is going down in the north east, I will just comment on conditions and how I am responding.  We had freezing rain 2 days ago and the result was more aggravated where my farm is 50 miles north of Atlanta, than Atlanta itself.  The trees off the highway look normal as you head north on the 515 from Atlanta until you pass Canton and then you notice a silvery, icy sheen on the branches.  Georgia has lots of pine trees and the pine needles are adapt Read more [...]

growing update 0822

Good news - my squash have not (yet) been visited by the dreaded borer and are growing rampaciously. So I have a new pest to respond to and I have set a live trap with some enticing carrots to try catch the rabbit.  A more tedious, though inevitable response will be to better secure the growing area and the fence which surrounds it.  Here is a welcome visitor. My most productive bed which is just 4ft by 4ft and was an afterthought, in addition to pumping out tomatoes and cucumbers Read more [...]

battle of wits with a chicken predator

Matching wits with a chicken predator is not a contest I chose.  But I have no option but to contend, as best I can. Some 3 weeks ago on a Saturday evening as I readied to close up the chicken coop I did my count and noticed that Goldie 2 was missing.  We searched the three paddocks and then the perimeter zone without result.  It was only when I went 50 yards into the woods that I noticed one of her feathers.  Golden Comets have distinctive gold colored feathers.  Goldie 2 was my favorite Read more [...]

rainwater from coop roof

When I built the new coop in October last year I fitted  a gutter which directs rainwater to an adjacent 250 gallon storage tank.  My thought was to (a) collect all rainwater landing on impervious surfaces, and (b) use the water to irrigate a chicken food growing area.  To grow food for the chicken I would have to cordon off a growing area and maintain it with vegetables and irrigation, which involves extra work, so instead I now give them excess vegetables from the vegetable garden.  And the Read more [...]

2nd chicken coop door installed

Last week I designed, constructed and installed my first coop door opener - it has operated flawlessly the past week automatically opening the door at about 8am and then late afternoon I reverse the current and close it when I feed the chickens and settle them for the night. An ongoing issue has been the aggressiveness of the Buff Orpington rooster  to his Buff Orpington sister.  The coop has a partition door and, prior to the advent of the door opener, I would house Lady Macbeth (such a fierce Read more [...]

chicken coop door opener

After several weeks spinning my thoughts, I finally got down to it and built and installed an automatic chicken coop door opener.  For the time being it is half automatic - it will open the coop door in the morning (time set for 7.30am) and I will close it in the evening after I have housed and fed the chicken.  Cost of components, excluding scrap wood, hardware, and the transformer which was laying around, was less than $50. I have included full details and photos under the "Self reliance" Read more [...]

summerizing the coop

Before I get to the coop, a quick update on my "Spring activity" journal.  I mentioned that pokeweed is an unwelcome visitor, difficult to extricate because of its long thick taproot.  In permaculture "the problem is the solution" and it occurred to me that the taproot, like that of comfrey was performing a valuable function mining minerals two or more feet below the surface.  But this seemed inadequate justification for its presence until I noticed that it, and it alone, has been attacked and Read more [...]