here chicky chicky chickies

This past year or so was a murderous year for our flock.  We had seven to start and then we added three copper marans.  Then lost all the marans ( posted under No Mo Flo).   Then slowly but surely we lost five more.  Racoon, Fox, and the very determined Red Tailed Hawk.  

Only Bonnie, the Black Australorp and Pickles, the Americana remain.   

This past Wednesday, however, I picked up my order of new chicks from Mt.Healthy Hatchery. I forgot how small and fluffy they are at first. Four Americanas, two Buff Orpingtons, two Black Australorps, one Columbian Rock Cross, and one Plymonth Barred Rock.

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The last brooder we used was something my husband made out of plywood. This time I ordered a puppy play pen from Amazon. ( I saw this suggestion on a blog I follow, but unfortunately, can not remember which one).

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It’s great! It even has a zippered mesh top…one of our cats is very interested in the fluffy chicks.

Hello?…is this thing on?

Wow!  I’m amazed its been months (and months) since my last post.  I did get a bit burnt out with gardening, the flock, canning, cleaning…you know, stuff like that.

These last several snowy, truly winter months have definitely given me a rest, and better appreciation/attitude toward whats to come.  Spring is really around the corner.  Yay!

Over the next several weeks, I will do my best to catch up some highlights from last year, as well as move forward into this year 🙂

Also, these posts will be synced with my new Facebook page…soon!

What time is it…It’s grape time!

Almost a year to the date, it’s grape juice making time again. Mmmmm…grape juice.
This time…1)got more grapes and 2)added more sugar.
Ten quarts of grape juice barely made a dent in the walmart bag filled with Ma&Pa’s Concord grapes I schlepped across the state. I’m currently thinking of make grape jelly with the remaining (we’ll see).

But at least the cobwebs have been knocked off the canner. It’s also canning time.
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Lets Ask Gary…Bug #6
This guy was just hanging out on a zucchini leaf.

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Cucumbers and Pickles

The Mexican Sour Gherkin

Looking like teeny tiny watermelons, their distinctive light and dark green “rinds” do stand out.
The Mexican Sour Gherkin (Melothria scabra) is an heirloom native to Mexico and Central America, where it’s known as Sandita (little watermelon).

Overall, it just a bizarre little veggie.
Vining up to 10 FT, these babies definitely add interest to your garden.
It does, however, take forever to grow. Weeks and weeks later, it finally takes off, with tendrils climbing everywhere.
And weeks after that, little bitty ‘melons’ start to appear.

Finally, we get to try one….

Yowza!!! They don’t call it ‘sour’ for nothing, folks. It’s got a bite to it
fer-sur.

It’s a cucamelon!! ( without anything to do with melons)

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Between the Gherkins, the Lemon, the Dragon Egg and the Boston cucumbers, You can only eat so many, and give so many cucumbers away until they start piling up….then it’s pickle time.

I’ll try to pickle the Gherkins later this week, but atleast I was able to can the rest.

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OMGOMGOMGOMG!

Is this thang’ on…

Oh…My…Gardens!
Between the brutally hot and humid temperatures, then the rain and visiting family (rinse and repeat) my gardens have been sorely neglected, ignored, forgotten, brushed aside…
You get the point…

And now for photo catch up

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Bell Pepper, Tomatoes and Onion
All from the garden & ready for Spaghetti

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Cucumbers, Zucchinis & One Eggplant

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Lots of Zucchini…ready to freeze

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Lemon, Dragon Egg & Boston
Cucumbers (w/Jalapeños & Beans)

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Lets Ask Gary…Bug #5
Found this guy, pooping away.

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Backyard Goings On

Things are staring to move and groove. Or should I say grow in the back yard.
Lets play another round of photo catch up 🙂

Okra

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California Wonder Green Peppers

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Peppers and Eggs

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Boston Pickling & Dragon Egg Cucumbers

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Sitting in the Garden

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Here come the Girls

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Yay! Rainbow

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Can’t go wrong with Zinnias

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Lets Ask Gary…Bug #4
Found this guy (already dead) outside tonight. Very cool to look at…

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The Farm, A Bug and One Pie

Here’s a few pictures from our farm visit last week.  We were a few weeks early to pick the raspberries, black raspberries, and  blackberries.  (bummer)

The Farm

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Let’s Ask Gary…Bug #2

This little bug looks like it has cotton hanging off the back of him and when you try to catch them, they jump very fast.  What it is?

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One Pie

Finally made a rhubarb pie using the red rhubarb I picked from the farm.  I’m not sure if I have ever even had rhubarb pie before, but we’ll be cutting into it this evening, so here goes…

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Green Stuff

So tired of the rain…and the humidity…and the rain.  But things are a growing.  Everything currently seems to be green, but at least it’s growing and we can eat it.  Here’s another round of photo catch up.

Rat Tail Radish

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Leeks Going to Seeds

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Here Come The Cukes

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The Peppa’

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The Boys Grew Their Own Broccoli

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First Front Yard Zucchini (and if you look real close on the lower leaf you’ll see a ‘spotted lady beetle’ Gary identified for us 🙂

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Trying a new trellis system for pole beans this year

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Real Red Rhubarb and One Red Bug

Out of town for a few days…down to the farm. Nothing like leaving your gardens for a bit to really notice the growth when you get back ( I hope).
While walking around the farm I found myself at ‘the old rhubarb’ patch. A little smaller than I remember it, but 1) still there and 2) still in good shape.
I’ve only had green rhubarb for so long, that it was cool to see the red variety.
I think I can safely and confidently say that this rhubarb is an heirloom variety, not to mention an heirloom, period.
(I’ll bring what I need next visit to bring home plants).

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And we’ll call this next section…
Let’s Ask Gary 🙂
I found this bug on the leaf of the rhubarb plant. It’s not a Ladybug/Beetle. Or at least I don’t think so. It looks like a spotted cucumber beetle, but red. So, Gary, what is it?

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Poor Flo

So last night…

On my way out to lock the girls in for the night, I could hear one of them basically ‘screaming’. I knew a raccoon was in the coop going after the eggs only to find Flo, whose gone broody and won’t get off the eggs/out of the box. On one if the rare nights I didn’t have a flash light I grab the recently broken shovel head and banged it on concrete…while screaming down the hill to the chickens that I was on my way, then ran back in the house to get the flashlight. With flashlight in left hand and shovel head in right, I ran down the hill…yelling choice words until I got to the metal garage cans that store the food and without stopping swung the shovel so the lid went flying off…making a horrible racket.
Well…Now I’m looking in and around the coop and I see black feathers everywhere and five freaked girls still on their roost. I see no raccoon, no Flo. Gosh Darn Bleep Bleep!

Good thing it’s been hot here…I assume neighbors had their windows close and A/C running because I did not get any calls or visit from the po-po.
I may have been a bit dramatic…

And then there were 5….

But wait….
Who do I see…In the dark, under the trampoline, face bleeding…Flo, lucky stupid half face chicken.

So I apparently scared the raccoon off before I went in to get the flashlight, but not before it grabbed Flo by the face.
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My weapon

1) I hate raccoons
2) Chickens are stoopid