Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Playing Catch-up

Birthday season, for the most part, has come and gone, allowing us to focus a slightly larger portion of our time and money on gettin' 'er done around the house and farm. A few developments since I've last posted -

I think she thinks she's invisible.

*Blueberry, a Muscovy hen, has made the executive decision to go bat-crap broody, and sit on a fairly-well hidden clutch of eggs. She's rarely off the nest, but based on the few quick glances that I've had of the clutch, I'd say she's got at least 15 or 20 eggs in there. If you happen to be one of our egg customers, this may help explain why the duck eggs have been fewer and farther between these past few weeks. But...

*We have another half-dozen layers just around the corner! The Khaki Campbell girls are now almost 8 weeks old, and have been integrated into the main flock. They seem to have unanimously chosen Kiki, our black Swedish hen, as their mama. "Keeks" seems mostly indifferent to her new brood, but to her credit, does not seem to mind overly much that they follow her every move. Kiki's fella, Tombo, thought he hit the jackpot when his harem grew by six laydies overnight. Alas, he was too... er... vigorous in his attentions and traumatized the heck out of the Khaki girls. And so, Tommy-boy is living in the ducky bachelor pad chicken tractor for now, where he can see, hear and chat with his gals, but not have direct "encounters" with them. He'll stay there until - a) the Khakis are fully mature, b) he learns how to be a gentleman, or c) we re-home him. We'll play it by ear.

Kiki and her little 'uns.

*Our eleven 8-week old chicks have also transitioned into living with the main flock. So far, so good.

*We've been averaging about 10 chicken eggs, and 1 or 2 duck eggs per day from the laydies.

*I planted a whole bed of carrots this past weekend. Half are Cosmic Purples and half are Red-cored Chantenay. I also started a second plot of Watermelon Radishes.

*The new beehives are doing pretty well. The Langstroth hive started to build a bit of cross-comb, which Billy cleaned up, but other than that, everybody appears to be settling in nicely.

*We're gearing up to make our first batch of soap of the season - Dandelion & Honey, provided that the bees don't begrudge us a little of the sweet stuff. The next batch on deck is Sugar Pumpkin & Spice, with homegrown pumpkin. :)

*We've had some fun and different bird sightings over the past few weeks - male and female Rufous Hummingbirds, California Quail, and a very vocal Raven.

And that's about it, I think. I need to get crackin' in the garden this coming weekend - cilantro, spearmint and kale are on deck fo' sho', with chamomile, thyme, calendula, breadseed poppies and borage to follow soon after.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Today's Take - 4/12/2015

For the record -
Duck eggs - 4
Chicken eggs - 9 (10 if you count the one that was eaten/smashed by the hens)

In the garden -
Weeded the peas/onions/radish bed, and plugged in a few more onions in the empty spots where onions failed to come up. Planted half a bed of Lutz Tall Top Beets. The carrots, kale and rat-tail radishes are hopefully going in sometime this week.

The seeds started under the grow lights are doing well. They're finally starting to all get their first set of true leaves.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Today's Take - 4/8/15

For the record -
Duck eggs - 1
Chicken eggs - 6

In the garden -
Planted the 2nd batch of potatoes today. I used "Smart Pots", similar to Root Pouches, but quite a bit thicker. The other difference from batch #1 is that I used fairly fresh rabbit poo as the fertilizer this time, rather than the kitchen scraps/goat poo/chicken poo compost mix that I used before.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Today's Take - 4/4/2015

The chickens and ducks have both been doing a nice job laying as of late. Despite one duck and several hens going broody on us, practically overnight, we've been managing to average a dozen or better eggs per day between the clucks & quacks.

We also just harvested our first garden produce of the year, some humongous stalks of Victoria rhubarb. I wish that I had some of last summer's blueberries still in the freezer, because a "bluebarb" cobbler sounds fantastic right about now. Ah well, the 'barb is in the freezer now, waiting on berry season. :)

For the record -
Chicken eggs - 13
Duck eggs - 2
Rhubarb - 1 1/2 pounds

In the Garden -
Planted 3-25 gallon root pouches with a little more than half of our seed potatoes. We're growing Yukon Gold, Purple Majesty and Rose Finn Apple. I put about 3" of our homegrown compost in the bottom of each container, followed by another 3-4" of Gardener & Bloom "raised bed" soil, with a handful of kelp meal mixed in, then the seed pa-tay-ters, followed by another 3" (more or less) of very loose G&B soil. The Purple Majesties already had good 2-3" sprouts on each of the tubers, so I'm hoping to see some foliage from them first.

I'm planting the remaining half of the seed potatoes (again, in root pouches) next to our back balcony. Come harvest time, we'll see which batch performed the best.