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.
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).
It’s great! It even has a zippered mesh top…one of our cats is very interested in the fluffy chicks.
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!
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.
Lets Ask Gary…Bug #6
This guy was just hanging out on a zucchini leaf.
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
It’s a cucamelon!! ( without anything to do with melons)
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.
Is this thang’ on…
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
Bell Pepper, Tomatoes and Onion
All from the garden & ready for Spaghetti
Cucumbers, Zucchinis & One Eggplant
Lots of Zucchini…ready to freeze
Lemon, Dragon Egg & Boston
Cucumbers (w/Jalapeños & Beans)
Lets Ask Gary…Bug #5
Found this guy, pooping away.
Things are staring to move and groove. Or should I say grow in the back yard.
Lets play another round of photo catch up 🙂
California Wonder Green Peppers
Peppers and Eggs
Boston Pickling & Dragon Egg Cucumbers
Sitting in the Garden
Here come the Girls
Can’t go wrong with Zinnias
Lets Ask Gary…Bug #4
Found this guy (already dead) outside tonight. Very cool to look at…
And on the second day…I was tired.
I assumed we were done picking berries, but the boys said they were up for more. So, back out we went, for one hour of picking.
Yay! The first (and only) stop was the mother load. One one side were very ripe red raspberries.
One the other side, blackberries.
I froze all the berries to transport home. One tray at a time.
And you would think after picking the hot sun the boys would be done…nope, they were ready to move hay and clean the loose hay from the barn (and pick up bugs they found).
Lets Ask Gary…Bug #3
The boys found a bunch (yuk) of caterpillars crawling around the yard and up the side of garage and silo. We finally figured out they were dropping out of the hickory nut tree (more yuk).
What are they?
About two weeks after our last farm visit, we managed to get back there and check on all those unripe berries we saw.
Yay! Most were ready to be picked.
Boo! I think there were as many thorns, wild rose, and poison ivy as berries…all mixed together…and it was 90 degrees out.
But between myself, my two boys, and my dad, we were getting berries.
On the way to pick berries.
There were red raspberries and blackberries. Mostly raspberries.
Everyone was very hot, sweaty and scratched up. So glad the watermelon had been refrigerated all day.
After we all cooled down, the boys help pick broccoli. Unlike the broccoli they were picking from their garden, these broccoli heads were ginormous. (But I guess if you don’t have chicken pecking at them constantly your broccoli plants would grow a little better.)
My main man…Mr. Kosh
Pita and Potato
Green zucchini and yellow summer squash.
I used them, plus some garlic I picked a few weeks ago.
And this is what I made with them.
Not really flowers, but it looks cool.
Just a few things we picked…
And then there was 5… I keep forgetting to mention that Flo the chicken, did not survive her injures.
She died one night in the nesting box.
I guess that concludes the Copper Maran experiment. All three of them have met their demise. One a hawk, one bad genes and a fox, and the last one a raccoon.
I’m done feeding the wildlife. We have been setting out a trap a night, and have since caught 2 raccoons.
(from left to right)
Little Girl aka Alice, Vera and Flo
I guess one animal or another have literally ‘kissed their grits’.