Archive for June, 2012

Summer 2012

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Well it is almost another year since my last post and a lot has happened.   We lost 4 chickens this spring to strange and sudden symptoms.   They would be fine one day, then would seem drunk and disoriented.  Within a few hours of seeming drunk, they would drop dead.   I scoured the internet for answers, couldn’t find any.  I asked the local feed store people if they had heard of such a thing, no luck.  I called the breeder from whom the chickens were ordered and they suggested that I try giving them Diatomaceous earth (food grade) which acts as an organic wormer.  I did that and no more deaths.  How strange.  Live and learn.   That little lesson in life dropped egg production down, as did the broody hen who refused to leave an empty nest.  She isn’t laying eggs anymore, but was sitting on an empty nest trying to hatch air.  No matter what you cannot get her off that nest.  Some fertilized eggs were placed under her (6 of them) and they are due to hatch any day now.   Not wanting to count on the fertility of those eggs though, more chickens were ordered.   Adding to the flock of Buff Orpingtons will be some Light Brahma chickens, some Golden Laced Wyandottes, Salmon Faverolles, Cuckoo Marans,  and some Plymouth Whites.   Total chicken count will be around 40, give or take a few based on the clutch the broody hen is hatching and the potential for the loss of some chicks.  Eggs are selling beautifully to the local community, but so far haven’t made it as far as the farmers market.   Here is an image of some of the chicks from the latest order.

The darker ones are the Golden Laced Wyandottes.  The rest haven’t feathered out enough to be identified in this pic.

Beyond the chickens this year has seen the raising of a 50 foot long High Tunnel which is acting as our greenhouse this year.  It has a total of 600 square feet of space inside and is being used for seed starts, 7 varieties of tomatoes (because it gets too cold at night for tomatoes otherwise) squash (crookneck and butternut)  strawberries, blackberries, elderberries, raspberries, rhubarb, tomatillas, herbs, greens, etc.   So far we have tilled 10 rows that are 50 feet long each and will be adding another 6 shortly for the fall harvest crops.  Our clay soil in those rows was amended with cheap topsoil and compost as well as some petrified hummus and worm tea with probiotics.   In those rows are strawberries, which are flourishing, green and purple asparagus which is also quite happy, purple red and yellow carrots, ruby onions, lettuce and other greens, cabbage, kale and chard.   There is also a bramble patch for just blackberries and raspberries, and the chicken patch where chicken feed is being grown.  In the chicken patch last years chicken bedding and a generous amount of straw were tilled under.  The straw has done more to amend the clay soil than anything else.  Next year ALL of our rows will be tilled to include straw, except for the strawberries and asparagus which are already in the ground an cannot be tilled again.  Here is an image of the greenhouse and rows earlier in the year…

Everything is green now and flourishing, but I don’t have a recent picture of that.  That will have to come in the next post.  The format of this website has been changed somewhat to allow for ease of navigation and to make it less of a headache for me to post to, so hopefully I will post more often.  No promises.   Here is a funny image I love from this january.  Not particularly relevant but I have to share, the chickens get to free range when I don’t have plants growing and their favorite game is “Surround the Cats”…

Here is a picture of our first batch of eggs that were sold commercially…

Also there have been some changes in the bathroom, though it isn’t finished.  The oversized utility sink has been removed and replaced will a wall mounted porcelain sink from 1946 that was acquired at the Taos Restore.   The big black composting toilet has also been removed and replaced with a homemade dry toilet using a 5 gallon bucket.  Its actually cleaner and easier to maintain.  Still uses sawdust for composting and to keep everything smelling happy.  There has been discussion about just putting in a low flow regular toilet, but so far that hasn’t been a priority.  There is a window that is going to be installed in the bathroom which is why the drywall is still patchy on the outside wall of the bathroom, also the propane guy will be here in 2 days to plumb the house in for propane.  No more running of each appliance on a separate tank.  That will free up tons of floor space.   Here’s a picture of the still unfinished bathroom…

Well there is much more to talk about but right now its getting late in the morning and the plants won’t water themselves.  No matter how much I beg…  so keep an eye out for a second post today or tomorrow with further updates from New Eridu.