Sunday, May 23, 2010

It is raining so a good day to catch up!

Lots of stuff this week! We rented a log splitter so Dave is out splitting as I type, Will is helping sell fresh local veggies from the Streamside Farm at Elkins Estate at the Farmer's Market this morning, and Peter is playing the piano. Dave went over to a neighbor’s house earlier this morning to cut some bamboo from their backyard for pole bean trellises so I can make a bean teepee this year. OK - I walk into the backyard to get the polls - and they are like 24 feel long! We are talking Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon bamboo! As soon as this bit of rain passes through, I will cut them to closer to 10 feet and get the tee-pee started!

Also I spent an inordinately large amount of time setting up some bird netting to protect the raspberries and strawberries. See it? I couldn't either! What a pain in the neck! I cobbled together a PVC pipe framework to hold the netting up over the strawberries a bit. For the raspberries I am not sure. The berries are small enough to poke through the netting so the netting is getting caught on them and the branches. I tied a nice rope across the top of the support trellises to hold up the netting, but I may see if I can rig some sort of PVC half-hoop to pull the netting away from the sides a bit.

Put 3 lonely tomato plants into the front gardens: yellow pear, big mama, and black truffle. I neglected to label them before which tomato was where flew right out of my head, so we will have to wait until they fruit! Picked up some sorrel from the market today. I have never used sorrel before. It needs sun so that will go in front too with the other sunny herbs.
Three tomatoes: yellow pear, black truffle and big mama, in a partially mulched garden

Dave finished an "epic" 3-section compost bin, and we shoveled the chicken poopy shavings into the third bin. With luck the little girls will be integrated with the big girls in the outdoor coop this week (if not today 'cause they are getting big and smelly!) so the last of those uber-poop shavings will go in the bin. The chicken poop has to sit for a year, so we will leave it alone until next spring, then it should be amazing for the garden!

He also got the last details of the coop finished: raccoon-proof (we hope) latching on the door to the coop and to the nest boxes.

Latch plus carbiner combo - cross your fingers!
Dyed a bunch of sock yarn yesterday. I am pretty happy with how it came out! I was supposed to be at the Farmer's Market today, but that fell apart. Next Saturday I will be at the Glenside Farmer's Market - I have a new spiffy summer set-up complete with a 10 x 10 tent-cover!


Took some photography tips from Shepherd Susie (she also has an amazing bread salad recipe over on her blog) - so here is my attempt at better chicken pictures!

Lulu

Buffy

Yodeling?

Say What? .........

Friday, May 14, 2010

I Cheated...

Well, when we went out of town for a few days over spring break and all the seedlings I started, well, they pretty much fried. SO I went to Burpees seeds and picked up some nice heirloom tomatoes: 4 "Rutgers" and 4 "Brandywine" I also picked up 2 "La Roma" and some sweet peppers, "Pino Noir" and "Red Beauty". I got the last of the back gardens all planted:

I hooked a garden hose to the rainbarrels and ran it down toward the beds. I then took 2 of our 50' soaker hoses and cut them in half and added new ends to make 4 hoses, 25 feet each which I arranged and paritally buried in the beds. Now, rather than watering, I can hook the rain barrels to each of the garden beds in turn and give them a good soak as necessary. After taking the pictures, I mulched the beds with straw over top of the hoses so that should help keep moisture in as well.





Last weekend was really windy, the pear in the backyard got pushed over, so we pulled it back up and anchored it with steel cable and slid a piece of garden hose over the area that is against the tree. The next day was windy, but the cable held. Crossing fingers it works.





Chickens

The big chickens are really liking the coop and have figured out they can fly up to the perches. I have been taking the little ones out every sunny day for at least a few hours, they are almost ready to head into the coop themselves!

Mini

The Big Girls


Buffy and Bella

Aggie

Effie

More after the weekend. The agenda (subject to change without notice): last coop details, compost bin, front gardens, mulch, and ..... Boy Scout spaghetti dinner!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Gardens-

Chickens
The little girls- fancy big box, they have about 3 weeks to go before they go and join the big girls in the outside coop. Check out the blue legs on Effie (black and brown in front).

In the Gardens
The chard I planted a couple of weeks ago is nice and sprouted, I planted a second row of seeds in between. This is rainbow chard so there should be red, orange, yellow and white stems which will be really pretty nice to the patio. The rubarb is HUGE and I had to cut off the flower stalk because it flopped over in the rain the other day. The pretend iron railing (plastic from Target) is a child deterrent device: do not step in the chard!

Remember the butcherd heavily pruned apple trees? Baby apples!
Pears in the backyard-
Plums in the front-
The roses are about to BURST! as are the peonies, I love peonies and cannot wait for them to burst!
Yarn
Dyed a bunch of sock yarn and two cormo rovings - yummy!
If you are interested in more yarn-y details, check out the yarn blog!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Coop is DONE! (ok - nearly done, close enough!)

Lots of building this week and weekend - I played hookey from coop building on Saturday to go to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Fesitval which was very HOT and very wonderful! Met a bunch of great women I trade gossip with over at the Juniper Moon Farm blog and Ravelry group. It is so nice to have actual faces and people in my head! It was nearly too hot for funnel cake, nearly, we found nice shade and breeze near the 4-h barn under a big tree and indulged - it is not a Sheep and Wool festival without once a year funnel cake! My score? 2.5 pounds of lucious merino roving! Yummy stuff!


OK - back to the Backyard!

Got home on Saturday, and the coop was soooooooo close,

But on Sunday, we had the run done by about 2 in the afternoon and were able to move the girls into the run:





We needed a few more hours to finish up sealing off the inside - stapling hardware cloth all around the top air space where the walls meet the roof rafters - p.i.t.a. - hardware cloth is sharp, stiff, and unweildy! The staple gun is great but too bulky to really fit into the little spaces - so it took alot longer than we thought, but just about the time the sun was setting and the girls were freaking out with a burning desire to GET INTO SHELTER - we "finished" the inside, and stuffed the girls in. They were NOT happy, so got a cardboard box and put THAT inside the coop - they seemed happier, they are familiar with cardboard boxes after all! This morning I lifted them out into the yard - in the pouring rain - but they seemed fine, and were pecking and eating and pooping and scratching this afternoon. Stuffed them back up this evening and all is well!



Windy!
We need a lower inside perch, and racoon-proof locks on the people-access door and the nest box outer doors, (they are temporarly nailed shut) some sort of anti-slip texture on the steps, and it will be done!