No, silly not an omelette with chicken in it — An omelette made for the chickens!
I worked late Tuesday and forgot to get any offerings from the girls. So yesterday at least one of the three eggs was clearly a leftover. Whenever that happens (although I know in real life that leftover egg is completely safe and fine), I just cook the batch up for the girls.
Today’s gormet recipe:
3 beaten farm semi-fresh eggs
Strawberry tops leftover from packing Silas’ lunch
Roughly chopped garlic from a bulb that’s been growing on top of the microvave
Mix it all together, add a splash of water, and microvave for 2 and a half minutes, stirring once.
Garnish with Silas’ leftover Cheerios and — *muah* Magnifique!
The morning was cool, a welcome break from the usual stifling July days. So the family came outside to accompany me on my rounds.
I crushed my latest squash bug findings, but noticed that even under constant attack the plants looked healthy and pollination was in full force.
And I found some blossom end rot on a couple of small watermelons, but it allowed the girls a treat.
And of course we were entertained by a couple of wild dogs.
A bit later I fried up some okra (and snuck in a green tomato), getting people to happily eat their vegetables. After which Gordon said, “You grow us veggies and cook us veggies. Thanks for taking care of us!” Which made me feel less like the Little Red Hen and more like myself.
And finally (speaking of hens), the larva trap was full of fun chicken treats.
The chooks weren’t too keen on eating out of the pie pan, but happily gobbled up the squirmers once I dumped them out.
And here’s the larva trap. Its a plastic flower pot with some bait (rotten apple) wedged into the (vermi-) compost pile and covered with a pie pan to keep light out.
However, it gets raided at night by my compost thief. I was happy when I noticed that the soldier fly larva was back (discovered them last year) because these guys really make nice fast compost, plus now I have chickens to enjoy them.
And some other good news is that neem oil and diatomaceous earth should help with the squash bugs. So off to work I go! I really feel too lazy, but that’s ok. It’s nice out and sitting indoors on my arse isn’t really good for my body or brain.
As of two days ago, my early season babies are in the ground. Gordon and Eddie tore up a pretty big area of the back yard over the last month or so. Then for three evenings in a row, Silas and I shoveled and hacked and hoed until dark, to get a 13×15 area ready for the cool season transplants. We left the few kale and brussels sprouts that are still thriving from our fall planting. (Brussel sprouts are slow mofos! I seeded these in August and now finally have sprouts that are smaller than gumballs.)
88 new plants: Lettuce mix, mustard, baby bok choy, chard, curly kale, and black magic kale.
My first planting of baby bok choy and chinese cabbage bolted in their plug pots (live and learn, right?) So instead of composting them, I offered them up to the chicken garden for: Immediate Destruction.
The new, bigger area is for the summer stuff. It still needs a lot of love before it’s ready to host plants. The area beyond the planted section is our expansion.
It needs a fence to protect it from woodland creatures as well as my three dinosaurs and fast furry dragon. We started on it too.
It’s going to be awesome!
Better than last year’s:
This weekend I also transplanted about 25 baby herbs and flowers. Some dill, peppermint, zinnias (that apparently don’t like to ne transplanted so we’ll see), forget-me-nots, mullein, and calendula. My whole body is sore. That’s OK, I’ll waste away at my desk all week, exhausting my mind and resting my body instead.
I also weeded around my little memorial tree in the herb garden area with the help of my girls.
When I was ready for them to leave me so I could plant, I used Eddie’s suggestion of how to deal with a T-Rex: hold still or move very slowly. It worked! If they noticed me enough to start moving toward me, I’d just become a statue and soon enough they’d get distracted by something better and would leave me alone. Pretty cool chicken skills!
I haven’t posted lately but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing stuff. I just haven’t had anything to really show for it yet. We’re working on expanding the garden and my baby plants are growing (yes, even the ones I’ve disturbed by replanting…which is most of them by now). But one area of my farmy endeavors that has some sort of conclusion is the Chickens and their MITES! Yes, mites or lice or something.
For several weeks I’d had nagging guilt about not having a dust bath area for the girls. They don’t get outside of their coop enough and chickens need to dust themselves to control the buggies that like to chew on them. (Writing this post is making me itch…which is another story, but let’s continue.) Last Saturday I was outside working in the muddy saturated earth a bit with the biddies. Rosie looked a little disheveled, a couple of feathers poking out here and there and then I saw her shoot out a nice stream of diarrhea. Great. I thought I’d been seeing too much gooey shit in the coop. So I flipped her over and looked at her vent area and between the feathers on her hind quarters. Critters. Flesh colored and fast moving. Lots of them. Now mind you, mites can actually kill chickens if they get bad enough. So action was needed.
I built a dusting area that very day with bricks and old sand from our dead hermit crab’s tank and ordered a big bag of food grade diatomaceous earth online. I realize that this may not work, but I still think it’s worth a shot before succumbing to poison.
Rain poured all the next day, soaking my dusting area and rendering it temporarily useless. The diatomaceous earth came on Tuesday and Gordon went outside with me when I got home from work to hold a light while I dusted them in the dark. That was an experience.
So anyway, today’s project was to clean out the infested coop, dust the place, put in new bedding, and dust the girls again.
So I did that, after much struggle. They weren’t really fans, but I think I got them pretty good.
And happily, they are now using the dusting area!
But the BEST NEWS of the day is that my disney fantasy is coming to fruition. Soon enough, the chickens will be riding around on Wendell while they all sing animal songs together and help me with my chores!
And I almost forgot: Juniper is now laying as of yesterday! So we have three healthy laying hens….hopefully the mites won’t take that away. (They won’t. I’ll win against those little bastards one way or another.)
Clementine’s eggs have increased in size by nearly 20% since she began laying just over two weeks ago.
Rosie’s eggs are now much darker than they were when we first met her and also they are huge! I didn’t have a food scale (or even think to weigh them) back then, but just a month ago, there is no way her eggs were like this:
According to U.S. egg sizing standards, Rosie started out as a Pee-wee producer (HOW CUTE IS THAT?!) and is now nearly a Medium. Rosie, the old pro, is giving us solid Extra-Large eggs 6 days a week.
This is so fun. I should go let them out of the coop and give them kisses!
I honestly planned on spending most of the day on the couch today. It’s staycation day 4 of 4 and I wasn’t going to cook or anything – maybe just play with some seeds along with cuddling with kiddos. But my brave little chickens have been leaving the yard and when I went to hunt them down, I couldn’t in good conscience waste the beautiful warm weather. So with Silas’ help, I built the chicken garden.
The chicken garden’s purpose is to beautify the chicken coop / herb garden area while providing a place to grow things the chickens may like to eat. It surrounds the coop on three sides. I used about 120 reclaimed bricks that we are fortunate enough to have lying around, and soil from last summer’s potted vegetable garden.
I placed the large-holed bricks near the coop, in hopes that I can grow a single climbing edible in each (like a snow pea or nasturtium), to nourish and entertain the girls while they are confined.
Then, because I’m all into fermenting these days and because apparently fermented chicken feed has magical properties, I mixed up a batch to “cook”.
This concoction is their normal feed crumbles, black oil sunflower seeds, and some flax seeds. I covered it with water and I’m going to wait for it to start bubbling, adding water when it expands.
And now I’m going to play with seeds. My new journal for 2017 came today, so let the planning begin!
I know she’s about to start laying. Maybe even today. She’s been very vocal, bitching quite a bit. She’s not usually noisy at all. She squatted for me a couple of times again today. She’s been aggressive about her food. Poor baby. I know how she feels. Only this is brand new for her and she’s about to poop out a large surprise.
The girls had a nice day out and about today, though the temperature stayed in the twenties. I had to break up the ice in their waterer a couple of times and it wasn’t very much fun being outside. Perhaps it was the cold that kept them moving, but for the first time ever they bravely ventured away from their coop.
Also the Delawares’ combs and wattles are suddenly bright red and Clementine squatted today when I tried to pet her. I bet we’ll have more layers soon!!