Saturday, March 11, 2017

EGGS!!!!! - First of the year

Well, the Chickens are at it again now that we finally have a little more light.  We will have 5 dozen eggs out at the stand for sale.  $4.00 as usual.  This year our younger kiddo is taking on egg prep duties and gets half the proceeds!  Sheesh, what a lucky kid.  Hopefully pretty soon our flock of ducks will also start laying as well.

Once the wet season/winter/time to build an ark finally ends we'll start getting the garden planted.  Hopefully snow-peas and greens will come up first with perhaps some Rhubarb.  Keep your eyes open.

Sadly there are no quail eggs this year.  If you know someone who wants a really nifty quail hutch (8ft wide by 2ft deep) drop us an email and we can talk.

Happy almost spring!

Billy

Monday, June 13, 2016

"Sprummer" in the Hollow

It's not even officially Summer yet, but the garden, critters, and occasionally, the weather, are all in Summer mode.

Those 3 or 4 days we had of 90+ degree heat we had a few weeks ago seemed to put our raspberries over the top. We've been getting a pint per day as of late, and they haven't even hit their stride yet. I think I'll be making a LOT of jam this year!

The strawberries are doing good as well, but tend to fall victim to the slugs and roly-poly bugs if not picked the second they become ripe. Thankfully, the duck yard is directly next door to the garden, which keeps the slugs and bugs in check, though a few still get through and leave their unmistakable mark.

The pumpkins, beans, carrots, sunflowers and watermelons are all up and looking decent. The potatoes are growing like gangbusters - we need to hill them up again!

The snow peas have finally bloomed, and will hopefully have their first fruits ready by this weekend. Besides a little Sungold tomato or a sun-warmed raspberry, snow peas are my favorite garden sneaky-snack. ;)

The pollinator bed is taking a little longer than usual to get going. The borage, not surprisingly, has reseeded itself con mucho gusto, to the point where I may have to pull a few out to ensure that my breadseed poppies, calendula and phacelia have half a chance at making it.

The lemon balm and spearmint have all but squeezed the chamomile completely out of the tea bed, meaning that a minty-reckoning is overdue. Since none of our critters are terribly fond of the stuff, and I have waaaay more already dried and put up that I could ever need for tea, I think I'll be offering up cut mint & lemon balm this weekend to anyone who is willing to take the stuff.

As for the critters.... OY.

The ducks are doing well, but their egg production is down due to thieving ravens. We're looking to add a net or some sort of barrier/deterrent to the duck yard/Quack Shack to keep the hungry little buggers at bay. Especially since we want to hatch out some babies, which we learned the hard and heartbreaking way, are also a favorite food of hungry ravens. :(

The chickens are doing well. Ruby the Easter Egger took off for about a month and came back with a single little black and yellow chick. We're calling her Garnet, though he/she is still way too small -and fast! - for us to get a good look at in the hopes of accurately sexing him or her. I suspect that Garnet's papa is our Cuckoo Marans rooster, Godzilla, which would make Garnet, if she is in fact a she, an Olive Egger pullet. The other gals in the flock seem to be falling prey to chick envy/baby fever and have been trying to sneak off to raise families of their own. Wrangling our stubborn laydies has been more challenging of ever as of late.


Just hatched! "Kotori", Japanese for "small bird". :)


Our quail flock is expanding! We have ten 5-week old babies, and another four 1-week olds coming right behind them. We'll be hatching out more later this Summer, but the ducks have dibs on the incubator next.

The bees are humming along (see what I did there?)! We have three top-bar hives and one Langstroth, and as of last week's peek, all are looking healthy and full o' honey. Beekeeper Bill says that we should be able to pull some honey at the end of this month! These were all new packages as of this Spring, and they're off to an awesome start owing to everything blooming so early this year. Let's hope that our luck (and theirs) holds.

The goats are happy. We're down to just our two old ladies - Sophie and Chardonnay. They're doing a pretty good job of keeping goatlandia mowed down, and will soon be the recipients of a big windfall of blackberry vines just as soon as Bill and I can find the time to bushwhack the chicken yard. There's never enough time for everything!

So, that's about that. The critters seem happy, the garden seems happy, and the lawn and weeds are out of control, as ever. Life is busy, but good. :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Spring is Finally Sproingin'!

It's been a very long time since we've posted anything - sorry about that!

Spring is finally showing up in The Bog, with all the attendant fanciness and fertility that a little bit of sunshine and a lot of raging hormones bring out in both plants and critters alike.

We've had our first broody hen - Athena - who gave herself away when, upon being let out of the coop first thing in the morning, instead of following the crowd directly to the water pan and flock block, ran for all she was worth in the exact opposite direction toward the bog. Hmmm... sumpin's up! Sure enough, I follow her hasty course down to the tree line just before the bog and, viola, she's got a secret nest in a little hidey-hole amongst the roots of a mid-sized madrona tree with 5 eggs already in it. Sneaky monkey!

The ducks, however, seem to have no interest thus far in motherhood. Our Muscovy pair, Speckles and Nausicaa, are still in their honeymoon phase and seem to have eyes only for each other (and worms, and naps), so, no baby action there yet. Squirt and his harem of Khaki Campbell girls also seem interested only in hanging out. Our newest pair - adopted from our local animal shelter, if you can believe it! - are Ashitaka and Fujiko, a mated pair of Pekins. Fuji is rather high-strung, and Ashi spends most of his day just trying to keep up with her.

The quail are just kinda maintaining. They aren't particularly exciting birds, but man, are they productive! We're planning to incubate some eggs starting next week, with the hopes of getting our egg production up by the time Summer rolls around.

That's the fauna. Now for the flora side of things.

Nothing is really producing much yet except some perennial herbs (sage, thyme and horehound, mostly) and our indefatigable Victoria rhubarb. The plum tree and pear tree are already loaded with blooms, and the pie cherry tree looks to be next up.

This year is supposed to be a banner year for morel mushrooms, but I've yet to find a single one. Alas, we do have a vigorous crop of the NOT edible Amanita Pantherina growing like gangbusters in the chicken yard. I guess morels on my doorstep were too much to hope for? ;)

The garden is/will be late going in this year, as the monsoon rains didn't even slow down until nearly the end of March. Everything is still sopping, so I'm hedging my bet and holding off for another week or so before starting to plant seeds in earnest. I'd rather have late veggies that waste my time and money plugging seed into the ground only to watch it rot.

That being said, when we finally do plant our garden, here's some of what we'll be growing -

*Ho Lan Dow snow peas
*Jack Be Little pumpkins
*Danish Flag breadseed poppies
*Resina Calendula
*Bodegold Chamomile
*Goosebumps pumpkins
*Red-cored Chantenay and Royal Chantenay carrots
*Cocozelle zucchini
*Yukon Gold potatoes
*Assorted red raspberries
*Grosso lavender
*Lemon Balm
*Spearmint

I'm looking forward to getting out and working in the yard and garden without looking like I've just come from a mud wrestling smackdown. Someday... ;)

Farmstand Days and Hours - Saturdays & Sundays 10ish - 7ish. This month's offerings will/might include - Eggs (chicken, duck & quail), Rhubarb, Fresh Herbs, Beeswax and hand knit dishcloths, coasters and other assorted goodies. :)

Monday, June 8, 2015

Today's Take - 6/8/2015

Three out of four of our broody mama ducks finally hatched out their babies this week! Blueberry & Drusilla each had five babies, Kiki hatched out three. Now hopefully they'll get back to laying some of their wonderful eggs for us.

The garden is finally starting to feed us. ;) Peas, lettuce, herbs and raspberries are starting to roll in and we're really enjoying the homegrown salads every night.

For the record -
Chicken eggs - 10
Snow peas - 8 oz
Buttercrunch lettuce - 1 head


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

BHF ~ Photo of the Day 5/20/15

Clarke's Beltony Blue Shelling Pea blossom
I was getting pretty impatient to finally see a blossom on our peas and today was the day - times three! This is the Clarke's Beltony Blue in flower. We also had a pair of blooms on our He Lan Dou snow peas. Today was a good day in the garden!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Garden Update - Mid-May

We finally finished planting in the garden today. Whew!

Some of the earliest stuff we put in is getting big and beautiful, but so far, we haven't harvested anything yet with the exception of a few pounds of rhubarb. Our pea and onion plot is looking lovely, but the pea plants, for all their vigor, have yet to set a single flower. It seems to me like we should have had our first peas by now.

Clarke's Beltony Blue Shelling peas and Yellow Rock onions
The Watermelon radishes were also a disappointment. They started to bolt before they ever even began to form a bulb! I pulled a few and found that they were all scraggly and sad looking, so I pulled the lot. We have another succession planting of them already about 2 weeks in, so we'll let those grow and see if they come out right, and if not, I guess the bunnies will have a second feast. At least they get to enjoy them!

The carrots are starting to worry me too. No signs of life from that bed yet. :( I'll be hugely bummed if our carrots don't work out, since they are one of the veggies that we go through tons of year-round.

The potatoes finally seem to have gotten a foothold. The Purple Majesty are clearly the front-runners, with Rose Finn Apple and Yukon Gold well behind, in terms of foliage. Weird, since the Purple Majesty's are a mid-season variety, but whatever - progress is progress - I'll take it.

Seeded/Planted out today -
*Cucumbers - Addis Pickle
*Pumpkins/Squash - Small Sugar, Oregon Sweet Meat
*Corn - Dakota Black (popcorn)
*Beans - Robert's Royalty (bush)
*Sunflowers - Giant Greystripe, Honey Bear
*Peppers - Pimento
*Melons - Minnesota Midget Melons (cantaloupe)
*Ground Cherries - Aunt Molly's
*Flowers/Herbs/Botanicals - Hungarian Blue Breadseed poppies, Resina Calendula, Hyssop, Bachelor Buttons, Bouquet Dill

I had planned on putting in a bed of just cutting flowers, but food plants come first, so they didn't end up fitting in. I think we're going to try to find some room somewhere to shimmy in some borage though, since the bees go absolutely nuts for it. Besides that, I daresay we're about done planting stuff, with the exception of a few succession plantings (cilantro and radishes).

Done with the seeding! Now begins the watering/weeding/cursing-at-hungry-bugs phase of the garden. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day Weekend in the Garden - Sunday

After a good, late wake-up and a lovely Mother's Day breakfast prepared by my youngest kiddo, Bill and I managed to get back out to the garden today to chip away at the nightmare that is reed canary grass, and weed and put in another bed's worth of plants.

What we accomplished today -

*Weeded and re-seeded empty spots in the beet and radish plots
*Thinned out and cleaned up the rhubarb
*Planted out 18 Bodegold chamomile cells (started indoors back in March), one 4" Flora Plena chamomile, one 4" spearmint, and about a half a packet of Resina Calendula seeds.
*Sowed about 1/4 of a packet of Bear Necessities kale in the greens bed, amongst the volunteer Russian Red kale babies from last year.

Ok - writing that down makes it seem like I/we didn't get much done. I tell you though, trying to rid the raised beds of the canary grass roots and rhizomes is a battle without end. If the goats didn't enjoy eating that grass (and it didn't make such nice free hay), I'd hate the stuff altogether.

Regardless of how much I managed to get done -or not- in the garden today, it was a nice way to have spent my special day with some of my most favorite people and critters. And eventually, maybe, I'll get some tea and salad out of the bargain as well. :)

Penny, aka Princess Pickle-butt, sampling some of our pasture.