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.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

New Coop, more progress!

Harmony the Farmer Girl with the new coop
Well finally got a break from my crazy job. My boss is back to work and arranged for me to have a 3 day weekend. Whooo Hoooo!

Plus I got out of work early Friday afternoon. After chores I headed for the valley to meet my daughter and oldest grand daughter, Miracle. Miracle likes to draw and had one of her pictures selected to be displayed at the school district's office. I ended up coming home with her baby sister, Harmony.

Harmony is really a farmer girl and game for most anything around here, even if it's a little icky. On Saturday morning we got up early and did all the chores, then headed for Scottsdale. A lovely young woman was moving out of state and I bought this cute little chicken coop from her. She threw in a ton of other chicken paraphernalia  along with a little white Silkie hen. (I seem to have become a Silkie magnet, people keep giving them to me!) Harmony helped me get it washed out and sprayed for bugs (just in case) and then we moved Miss Bianca the broody in with her 8 eggs.


We then returned the beautiful golden girls, Claire and Henrietta to their 'real' chicken mom, my friend Cindy. It was so funny to watch Henny jump up on the wall and talk to Cindy and get loves. Who says chickens aren't smart!

Claire and Henny will take a break from breeding over the summer. They will come back in the fall to visit with Claude so we can hatch more babies. When these two girls came to stay with me a couple of Easter egger pullets took their place at Cindy's to produce the breakfast eggs. So those two girls came home with me to rejoin the layer flock here.

In addition Cindy had two young cockerels from Henny and Claude that also came home with me to finish growing out. I'll have to get pictures of them tomorrow.

And today we slept a bit late, did chores and got going. Harmony helped me plant a seedling mulberry tree that sprouted up in one of my pots last year. It's sited so that in a couple of years it will help shade the kennels from the late afternoon sun.

The wind blew all day but it was cloudy and cool. We had to build a big berm on the downhill side. I am hoping this will help keep runoff water from washing the tree out. When we were done we had some delicious brownies baked by my friend Cindy for my birthday. Yummy ;-)

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Brooder Coop

Baby coops ready for chicklets!
Well I managed to weasel out of work around noon, came home and busted it; cleared out the hoop coop, sprayed for mites, put the new baby pens together. I would have made my own little pens but just did not have time!

Purebred Ameraucans and some Black Copper Marans

Roger & Bianca's babies, hatched 2-27-14

First out were the purebred Ameraucana chicks and some Black Copper Marans, most all of which look extremely male.

Alas, Roger is no longer with us, but I have two chicks from him and Miss Bianca. They will probably be pet quality, but I"m sure someone will love them.

Roger & Princess's baby

I lost Princess in the same predator attack as Roger and only have the littlest chick from them. Alas, those naked legs are a no-no in Silkies, so another pet quality bird.

Gold & Grey Easter Egger

I have a lovely grey and gold chick from Earl, my Easter Egger boy. The photo did not quite catch the right shade of soft grey. I am hoping this is a pullet. This is the coloration I have been breeding for, as it is really pretty.

Buff Orpington babies hatched 2-27-14

We now have about 15 Buff Orpington babies from Claude and Henrietta. These are the oldest two I have here. (Cindy has 3 down in Scottsdale that are older).

Look at how dark a buff their feathers are!

The same two BO chicks
The slightly smaller one has earned the name Trouble. Because it's always in trouble or causing trouble! Every time I open the brooder it comes running out. In the house it was determined it could free range in the living room. One evening when I fed them I thought everyone that had escaped in the process was back in. But not Trouble, there it was, right next to the brooder, as close to the light as it could get.

Wide Load!
BO chicks from 3-7-14

These chicks have nice wide bodies. Trouble's sibling is quite a chunk when you pick it up. That one weighed about 6 ounces at three weeks old.  I should probably weigh some of these guys now.

Some siblings from the 3-7-14 hatch.

BO chicks

In this picture, the chick on the left and in the background were hatched on 3-13. The bigger chick on the right was hatched on 3-7.

BO chicks hatched 3-13-14

These little guys were hatched last week. After getting as much done outside as I could, I had a quick bite to eat and unloaded the incubator of this weeks hatch.

Black copper Marans & a BO chick

These Black Copper Marans and the Buff chick hatched yesterday. The BCM in the lower left was a slightly small chick from last weeks hatch that I decided to keep inside another week.

Here are a couple of the Buff chicks from today's hatch with that older BCM. All of my home grown chicks hit the ground running. I've never had to show them where the food or water was; they are active from the get go, running around, finding the water and getting a drink, finding the food or scratching in the shavings.

Tonight I"ll be putting in more Buff Orpington eggs to hatch, along with some more purebred Ameraucana eggs from some great looking show birds.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

New Happenings

The Silkie Tribe 
Well things around here have been totally insane. I have been working crazy amounts of overtime while my boss recovers from surgery. Hopefully things will settle down soon. Some days it was all I could do to make sure everyone had food and water. Today was my first day in 28 days.

So I let some of the birds out to run. The weather was really nice; the iris, tulips and lilacs are blooming. Here the Silkies enjoyed a day in the sunshine from the front, Mr. A. Snowman, Precious, Black Magic, Fiona, Smokey.

Fiona is the girl that was broody, her foster chicks are off in the bushes taking dust bathes.

Bianca is broody

I'm afraid little Princess & Roger were killed by an unknown predator. After that I moved Miss Bianca in with the other Silkies where she would be safer. What I didn't realize was that she was making a nest. She was still coming out every morning for breakfast and with my work schedule I wasn't paying a lot of attention. So I have no idea how long she has been sitting on these eggs. Guess we will just wait for the chicks to show up when they are ready.


Little Precious was apparently injured and spent some time in the house recovering last month. I didn't know that Silkies were prone to brain trauma from head injuries such as another bird pecking them on the head.

But she is well now and doing fine with the other Silkies. I think it was a rambunctious little rooster of another breed that was in with them that injured her.

The Kennels with the chicken house
I bought a large kennel new and found another smaller one on craigslist so have been busy getting them all set up to use for breeding and growing out youngsters. It's still a bit chilly at night and the wind has been blowing; therefor still needing tarps and plastic on the sides. Pretty quick I"ll have to change it out for shade cloth.


Claude is a really big chicken. My son saw him and remarked "That is a big freakin' chicken Mom!". My grandson saw him today and said "That is a big chicken!"


 I have been hatching babies from Claude and Hennrietta, have 11 chicks now with more hatching today. Maybe another day soon I'll be able to get pictures of all the babies I have!