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Friday, May 20, 2011

Lovely Day (If You Don't Count My Back)

Geez it was nice today.  When you have as much to get done in as short a time as I do, you have to prioritize.  Luckily at this time of year, you get so few nice days that when one comes along, it makes prioritizing easy.  So I finished double digging the tomato bed.


This was a chore, but I'm glad it's done.  I hope to transplant the Amish Paste tomatoes into the ground tomorrow that I grew from seed (Baker Creek) and which have been cooling their jets (okay, warming their jets then) on the deck the past few days.


But in the meantime, the herbs I ordered from Territorial Seed showed up this week.....


....one of which is a bay laurel tree.  I was e*x*t*r*e*m*e*l*y disappointed in its size:


Even the anise hyssop was a LOT bigger than that.  I knew the pot was small, but I expected at least something that looked like a tree; certainly not a rooted cutting, which is all this looks like. I'm bummed, especially when I think of the monster laurel in my mother's back yard.

While I was hustling around in the backyard, unbeknownst to me, the wee ones were being boisterous, to say the least.  Here they are the night I brought them home (and I've labeled this 3of4 because you can't see all of them):


Kind of a scary picture.  Well what was scarier was that while I'm trying to be a good hen mother and keep them on paper that will keep their little legs and feet straight, they were hell-bent on destruction.  I checked on them in the middle of the afternoon to find that even though their waterer was still standing up, what remained of the quart of water with which I filled it was about an eighth of an inch.  The rest of it had saturated their bedding.  Not sure how they managed to swamp the brooder and leave the waterer still standing but I envisioned a crazy jump on the edge of the bottom and the thing swinging crazily around, sloshing its entire contents but never actually falling over.  So I set about cleaning up, but obviously I needed to prevent its recurrence.  So I wired the top of the waterer to the side of the brooder and things appear to be alright.  I learned something interesting.  I saved the red plastic caps of the two five gallon jugs we ordered and I noticed that they went crazy on the chick grit I put down in one of them.  So much so that I had to take it away from fear of them filling up on grit to the exclusion of everything else.  Later today I brought them treats of finely cut greens, chopped raw sunflower seeds and oh joy! Cut earthworms.  True to everything I've ready about chicken behavior, when one had a piece of worm in her beak, the others would chase her around the brooder.  Sometimes they ignored the treats, or at least, they didn't seem to see them.  Then I decided to try giving them treats by serving them in the other of the red plastic caps.  I chopped up raw sunflower seeds and dandelion greens, and served them in the red cap.  That got their attention and their eyesight pretty quickly.  So going forward, if there is something I want them to have, I need to put it in the red cap.  Glad I saved them.

Other than that, most of the day was spent outside working.  Here is the state of things:

That last one is of the tiny pie cherries on the Montmorency.

This place is slowly coming together, but it's a journey, of sorts as well.

I'm glad I decided to take the first step.

15 comments:

Maria said...

Paula, it looks great! I love your raised beds. I have raised bed envy :o)
All this from nothing what, just one or two years ago? I think that's impressive.

Lisa said...

Do you have any small rocks in the chicks waterer? That will help to keep it upright! Also, if you put the waterer up on something, like a small piece of 2 x 4, that will also help.

The two chicks I currently have under the heat lamp are the most rambunctious yet. Their waterer is constantly full of shavings and on one occasion, one chick leapt straight up into the air and out of the box. I've had to put an oven rack over the top of the box to prevent any future acrobatic escapes! : )

Paula said...

Thank you very much, Maria. Someday I'd like to put a bed skirting around the tomato bed and put down cardboard and bark, which seems to be the best way to keep grass from growing into the beds. But that will have to wait until several projects are out of the way.

Paula said...

No I didn't put rocks in the waterer. The wire is working really well, though.

When we got rid of the old stove, I saved the oven racks from it, thinking they'd be useful someday, like maybe I'd grill something on a rock fireplace ore something. They are both on top of the brooder right now! Oven racks work pretty well for that.

Amanda said...

Don't be too disappointed in the small size of the bay tree - they grow super quickly. I started out with a tiny one a year or two ago and it's now over two feet tall with tons of leaves and a couple of branches. It even puts out new leaves during the winter, though at a slower pace than in the summer months.

By the way, your garden set up is really great!

Paula said...

Thanks Amanda, for both the compliment and the news that the laurel will grow fairly quickly.

Paula said...

So Lisa, I tried your idea of both the two by four (although I used a two by six) and rocks in the base. I also left the wire I fashioned on it as well. This afternoon there was some rather spirited and rambunctious chasing around the brooder and the waterer stood firm with no sloshing. So thanks for the tip- it helped!

JustAnotherGraphicsGirl said...

Your garden is absoluetly beautiful! I bet it is really awesome from an aerial view. Congrats on the 4 new kids. Wow, bees,chicks and new garden beds just in this spring...you have really accomplished alot. Enjoy your Sunday!

Paula said...

Thanks JAGG! The only new part of the garden (to date) is the tomato bed though. The rest of it was up for last year as well.

Rae said...

You are a VERY devoted chicken mom to be cutting up worms for them! :)

Paula said...

Well I want them to grow up big and strong...not sure I'll do it anymore though. It really leads to rollicking games of keep away. I think I'd rather wait on that until they were stronger girls and had a forty square foot run in which to do it....

Miriam said...

I was so happy to come home to the news you finally got your chicks - you're going to have so much fun!

Paula said...

Thanks Miriam! Welcome home!

Paul and Melanie said...

That's all looking great. Love the chicks too, sounds like they're going to be a handful ;)

Paula said...

Thanks Paul and Melanie! The chicks are already a handful!

And one of them is bigger than the other three. I sure hope it's not a rooster!