My Edible Garden

I've been gardening for most of my life and have been a devoted fan of organic gardening the whole time. It just makes so much more sense to work in harmony with Mother Nature than to fight her. Besides which it is better for the planet and better for our bodies. Here you can see what I'm planting and harvesting, with gardening hints and resources thrown in for good measure.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Well as you can see it has been a long time since I've posted. Mom fell and hit her head shortly after my last post and the summer was one long nightmare, 9 weeks between two hospitals and a nursing home. And I had to move in with her. Physically she's doing ok except for her arthritis. But she's forgetful and needs help.

So, I spent the summer putting up new pens and moving birds into her big tin barn, originally built to house their motor home.

Even as big as the barn is tho I still have fewer pens than I did at my house, so  lot of birds had to go.  But less space just means culling harder and more meat in the freezer.

I am trying to hang onto some of my breeding projects if I can. It just means hatching fewer chicks at a time and spreading things out more.

Mom has a lot of space that I am slowly trying to rejuvenate and get ready for planting. Mostly flowers and herbs in the front yard. I seem to be missing the pictures I took of the front yard.

We do have a great view from up here on the hill of a mountain called Sleeping Beauty.

Monday, June 1, 2015


Stage One. 
I swear if I had neighbors they would be calling the men in white suites. "What is that crazy chicken lady doing now?!"

Some friends gifted me a lot of 3" PVC drain pipe. I didn't need it for drains and it's been laying around with the intention of cutting it half long ways to make feed troughs out of. Then I got an idea.

Stage one, cut the pipes in half. Now this is a good lesson in never assuming anything. I assumed these pipes were 20 feet long and never measured them. Since I assumed that length I just measured 10 feet and cut them. Then I realized that they weren't all 10 feet long. Apparently they were really only 19 feet, not 20.

Now wire them up to the pens every few feet.

Stage 2

Stage two; drill holes in them and run wires out to the fence line.

Stage 3

Stage 3. Clip some shade cloth to the wires. I was lucky enough to have most of a roll left from last year.It covered the whole stretch.

I wasn't so lucky in the process that my ladder twisted out from under me. It happened in kind of slow motion and all I could think of was "Don't hit your head!"  I'm OK, just stiff, sore and bruised up. And I didn't hit my head.

Now all the chickens and Giotto have some afternoon shade to help them stay cooler.

So maybe I'm not so crazy after all!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Part of My Mornings

chicks in the house
Well this is a little bit of my morning around here; after a bit of tea and getting dressed, feed and water the newest babies in the house, these were hatched about a week ago.

Silkie babies from August hatch

Then outside to feed birds, A couple of pens of Silkies including  these babies that hatched in January. I still can't tell for sure which are boys or girls.

2-3 week olds
Then out to the small hoop coop by the house, feed the 2-4 week olds, mostly easter eggers and olive eggs, a couple of Buff Orpingtons in there.

4 week olds, OE/ EE and Buff Orpingtons

feed wagon

Then I load the buckets of feed and Giotto's breakfast on the wagon and head for the main coops

6-8 weeks

My bigger hoop coops are divided into 3 sections; first up the 6-8 week olds; some sexlinked crosses (you can tell males from color at hatch), along with more easter eggers and olive eggers and a few pure bred Ameraucana.

Silkie with foster chicks

The next section is a pair of Silkies with easter egger foster chicks. As soon as I finish a coop for the Silkies to go into, I'll open the door and integrate these chicks in with the others.There are a couple of Buff Orpington pullets in the last section but I didn't get a pic of them this morning.

Black Copper Marans and Buff Orpington

After feeding a pair of Ameracauna, feed the babies next door These hatched in January

Buff Orpington pullets

These two Buff Orpingtons are in one of the breeding pens, I'll be hatching just a few from these girls for myself. ;-)

Next the Plymouth Rocks, Buff and White

Muscovy Duck eggs

Next up the Muscovy ducks, building a nest; 7 eggs now.

The layers, looking for breakfast!

Then open the door to the layer house and be charged, everyone is hungry! I found a roll of fabric set out for the trash awhile back and used it to make nest box curtains and to cover the windows  where the afternoon sun is too strong.

Curtains in the hen house!

cat & bunny

After hauling the empty buckets back to the house, I go feed some ducks in the front yard. Here also is my last remaining rabbit, a doe over 5 who hasn't been bred in a couple of years. She escaped her cage and just hangs around with the ducks. None of my cats bother her or any of my grown chickens because they were raised with them since they were little kittens. I don't, however, trust them with baby chicks.

So that is part of my morning. Inside the layer house there are several pens with individual birds, mostly breeding males that have to be separate so the don't fight, and there are a few more chicks and Silkies around.

Friday, March 13, 2015


I know it's been ages since I've posted, just not enough hours in a day to accomplish everything I want to do! Had a really fun day at my friend Karen's place (in the green shirt). She raises Shetland sheep and had Aimee Leon of Flying Ewe Shearing over to shear them.

I have raised goats but not sheep and learned a lot about sheep and shearing from Aimee today! Some things made me laugh, really you had to be there for the conversations about cysts, pizzles and wether sacks. ;-)

A couple of other families brought their sheep to be shorn and there were a lot of helpers and observers.

Add caption

how to trim hooves

trimming a horn
Sometimes a sheep's horns do not grow into the correct spiral but instead grow into their heads. In that case they have to be trimmed every couple of years to prevent them from actually growing into their skulls. A block of wood helps protect their eye and face while cutting.
shearing on the stand

If the sheep are pregnant it's easier on them to sheer them standing up, rather than on their backs on the ground.

Aimee shearing

Aimee shows Isaac how to adjust the clippers

Aimee showed Karen's son Issac how to shear with both the electric clippers and with hand shears.

Aimee demonstrates the handshears

Issac tries the electric shears

Issac shearing while Aimee coaches

Issac tries out the hand shears.
Karen has a lot of other animals besides sheep, different breeds of chickens, some dairy goats, Angora goats, rabbits, a goose and some reptiles. I'll have to post some more pictures for you tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Giotto Update: Good Boy!

Oh, were you talking to ME?
Giotto is getting soooo big! I don't know for sure how much he weighs but I cannot pick him up at all. He is probably in the range of 80-100 pounds. He could easily knock you down if he hit you full force.

There are times when he is exasperating, like last week. He seems to have decided he owns my whole canyon and snuck off while I was inside the chicken coop feeding & collecting eggs. (He will collect eggs for himself, so he's not allowed inside). He was half way to the highway when I found him. Since then I've been having to keep him either inside the fence or on his leash. If I'm going inside a coop he's tied to it so he can't sneak off. Can't have him winding up down on the highway or in the pound.

This week his guarding instinct is really showing itself tho. The other day I had finished chores and untied him "Lets go to the house" and let him run dragging his leash. He was almost to the house and I was about 50 feet behind him when a coyote started yipping up the canyon. I stopped and looked at Giotto and he was looking at me. I turned to look up the canyon, trying to see where the coyote was at. Giotto ran past me at top speed, ran into the chicken yard to the back side, barking up the canyon. He stood and barked as long as the coyote was yipping. It was a ways off, on the back ridge. Once it seemed to have moved on Giotto was quiet. Of course I made a big deal of him, Good Boy!

Today was even more impressive. I was doing chores and Giotto was tied to the end of the run of coops. I was almost done, just one more set of birds to do when he started barking. Giotto does not bark in the day time without a reason. I came out and looked, expecting him to be barking towards the house; I was thinking someone had come to visit. When he saw me he stopped barking. I didn't see anything so started to go back in and finish what I was doing. Giotto started barking again, this time across the canyon. I started looking in that direction and there was a huge hawk sitting in a bush over there scoping things out. Good Boy Giotto! I untied him so he could move around in case the hawk decided to take a chance. The chickens were in their fenced area and not free ranging down in the creek bottom. Giotto patrolled back and forth a bit and I did some extra work and chores that needed doing to keep an eye on things. After a bit Giotto was more interested in playing with the kittens or getting petted than the hawk though. But he is still a pup and I can't expect him to have a really long attention span with a predator that just sits there and doesn't make a move. I do think he was sort of keeping tabs on it tho, because when I said "what's that?" he turned right away and barked in it's direction. After about 20 minutes the hawk flew away.

Just love this guy, even when he is being stubborn and not listening! I think getting him was one of the best things I've done for my chickens in a long time!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Little Catching Up

New Paint
I have been tired of the junk accumulating around the front door so last weekend I did something about it and cleaned things up. The pink hulk is actually two old pieces that were laying around rotting. The base was a potting bench my son built for me when he was a teenager. I cut off the rotten parts of the legs and replaced the top boards.

The back part was an old waterbed head board. I cut off the termite eaten bottom boards and set it up on shelf brackets attached to the back of the base. The pink paint was a mistint exterior paint for half price.

A couple of old wooden chairs were accumulating piles of stuff in the house. I washed them up, the white one is as I found it. The yellow one I sprayed with some outdoor spray paint. I love the bright sunny yellow color. The little table is actually plastic. It used to roll around on wheels but they have rusted up. The green paint on the top had begun to weather so I gave it a shot of purple in honor of my friend that gave it me, purple is her favorite color.

Thing 2

Two black kittens have been added to the menagerie, Thing 1 and Thing 2. They are so funny running and playing. At first Giotto barked at them all the time because they would run away, climb up the shade clothe and run along the tops of the kennels. They are both sweeties and fun. I hope they will start taking care of the rodent problem when they get a bit older.


I had to replace my swamp cooler awhile back and of course my constant companion Giotto had to be right in the middle of everything, including the new cooler.

Giotto in the new cooler

The garden has grown some very pretty sunflowers but that is about it. Between rats, squirrels, chipmunks & moles there isn't much food to be had out there. Ah well, there's always next year, eh?

Monday, June 2, 2014

More Progress

The girls admiring the new ramp into the coop
I had some extra days off and got a fair bit accomplished. I finished the second half of the hoop coop and moved some more rowdy boys in there. I just forgot to take a picture of them.

After I had finished the apron around the hoop coop I decided to build a ramp into the big chicken house as there is  fair step up at the door. I'll also be working on an apron all around the building to help prevent rats and other varmints from digging in.

Giotto signed the concrete
Of course Giotto had to be playing around and track up the fresh concrete.

 He has discovered that it is best to not even look at mamma silkie when she is out with the chicks tho. She has boxed his ears for him more than once.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ready for Occupancy

cement apron around coop

Well after making a cement apron around the coop to prevent predators from digging under it and hauling many buckets of sand and rocks to fill in the low spot, one half of the new coop is ready for occupants.

inside the new coop

Fresh straw, a small roost, a feed trough made of half a piece of PVC pipe and a hanging water bucket complete the amenities.

These young cockerels are not quite sure what to make of all this extra space and new scenery.

In the meantime back to hauling more rocks and sand for the other half of the coop.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Major Coop Progress

Before I show you the major progress that happened on the coop today, I'll show you some pics I forgot to put in my last post. Of course my constant companion, Giotto, now 12 weeks old. He is a good boy, although a baby yet. He is learning when I say NO! I really mean it.

He has begun to sort of "bounce" at the chickens, especially the Silkies. It's like he's bouncing on his front feet. I don't know if he thinks it's funny to scare them and watch them scatter or if he's trying to get them to play with him. He usually stops with a stern NO! and so far there haven't been any real issues.

He is also learning to sit still for brushing. He is shedding his baby coat and it is matting up, especially on his hindquarters. I had to get an undercoat rake to help get it out. But he is an energetic, wiggly, bouncy puppy and he just can't sit still for very long  at a time. So I try to work on it a few minutes in the morning and again in the evening.


I have some wall pots by the front door of the house. I fell in love with the idea when I went to Italy. There all the little alleys are lined with them. Most have geraniums but I also saw some with basil and different flowers. They are hard to come by here. I got some plastic ones from Amazon and found another at a thrift store. The beautiful ceramic ones I bought at a nursery.  These are planted with lobelia and sweet alyssum.

Almost finished!

I was up early and worked most of the day on the new coop.

Here's the northwest end. This end needs some trim is fill a gap on one side of the door and some sort of latch. I need to put up fence wire on the opening on the left  and fill some gaps under the bottom frame.

The inside partition is finished except for a latch on the door and filling the gap underneath the bottom board.

And here is the southeast end of the coop. It also needs the openings wired up.

mummified frog
Giotto hung out with me all day, mostly snoozing in the shade. But he did go off adventuring this evening while I finished up the painting. He brought back a mummified frog and appeared to be intent on eating it. I didn't think that was such a great idea so took it from him. He didn't object really but he did give 'that' look.

I'm not talking to you....