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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

And Then There Were Seven

 This morning I was greeted by the latest and final addition to our little flock.  That's it. No more eggs to hatch. Marty really didn't think that the incubator would work but apparently it was good enough!

 I tried to get a group portrait but it was sort of like nailing gelatin to the wall! They don't look too impressed with me.

This is one of the later hatches. It stands a head above all the others. Look at that handsome profile.  I'm thinking this is a rooster!
Onto other things. Company is coming!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Brand New Baby Chicks!

 We had about a dozen eggs in the incubator for the last while. It only takes 21 days for a chick to hatch. After candling them we were down to nine that looked alive.  Tuesday,  one of them started to hatch. It took a good full day to emerge but the peeping started at this point!
in Europe, "slow television" is a popular thing to watch. You can google it if you like to see what that's all about. However, when I ought to have been making pickles, or vacuuming up dog fluff everywhere, or tidying up or listing things for sale or working in the garden, I spent a good three hours just watching this little piece of shell pulse. then I went to bed around 1 AM! Silly.

Next morning, I was up and outside checking on it again even before showering and properly starting my day!

There was more going on this time.
Remember the big round incubator at the Science Centre in Ottawa? It looked like a spaceship. It was great to see fluffy little chicks and lots of eggs. We never seemed to be there to actually see any real hatching though.
Oh, and the last time we were at the Science Centre, there was no more incubator! So sad. It seems that modern technology is more important than chicks hatching.  I prefer the chickens!

                                           It's lots of work to get out of an egg!

             Not very fluffy and cute, yet. It was hopping all over the place in no time though. As you can see, there is another egg starting to open up too.  I figured it would hatch out today, considering the time it took the first one.

 Nope!  By evening it was out and ready to meet its world!  No more eggs have cracked yet.  I'll let you know how many we end up with.

Two little fluffies all tucked into a feather dusty/chicken mum stand-in.
Now, back to work!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Garden Gifts

 There are a lot of little surprises to be found working out in the garden. This little guy is about half an inch long.

 On the weekends, even the boys lend a hand.  There is always some feathered friend nearby watching.

                                               The beans are prolific this year!

                      The chickens like veggies that have already been investigated by bugs.

                                                Yellow beans and lemon cucumbers.

                  Mr. Mister wondering if there are more grape pieces to nibble on.

                                              We're getting two eggs a day now.

                                                                 Lovely & delicious!

 You have to open the door to the Milkhouse carefully as this little fellow hangs out on the top of it. I can't tell you how many times he has fallen on my head!

                                         Have a good day and a cozy evening.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Hubby's On A Roll

 My DH had two weeks off recently and the time flew by as projects were completed (the chicken coop) and then new ones begun...

 As often happens, things go in unexpected directions and simple ideas become big projects.

   The completed trellising for the tomatoes.  The ground is rocky so he needed to figure out a way to secure each section without the need for digging holes.  It all comes apart to store for the winter.  Yup, more red paint. We've got lots of it as part of a warranty issue we were given more than what we originally bought!  It's come in handy for lots of projects over the years.

                           And now most of the tomatoes are off the ground and secure.
I'll get back to you with his next project.....soon. He seems to be on a roll.
It's been such a lovely summer this year and working outside has been a pure pleasure.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Market Days With Roots Down Organic Farm

 The Brockville Farmer's Market has plenty to offer this summer. It is open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 8 AM - 1 PM- May to December.

         I am privileged to be helping out Saturday mornings at the Roots Down Organic Farm booth.  Marta and I work together often. She's full of energy and great company too!

Roots Down is at the market on Thursday and Saturday mornings.  Every week there is something new! Everyone was super happy to see the pints of colourful cherry tomatoes, "sweet as candy." they say. A sell-out week after week.

 New red potatoes, green and purple beans anyone? This weekend there were yellow beans too.

                                          Curly kale or Rainbow Swiss chard.

 I made a lovely and colourful coleslaw with red and green cabbage. I used this recipe. Yum!

 Fresh garlic and patty pan summer squash, young yellow and green zucchini. All wonderful choices for a warm weather BBQ!

  Fresh basil for fresh pesto. Oh, so very fragrant!  Do you have a farmer's market nearby?  You never know what you will find or who you will meet. Much more fun that shopping at a grocery store, and you are supporting your local economy in the most local way too.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

How Does Your Garden Grow?

 This year we put in a big veggie garden. I started seeds indoors and the early successes were met with some dismal failures and seedlings died before ever getting outside. Nonetheless, there was still much to be planted and so we hoped something would grow.

             Yup, stuff is growing. Kind of exciting to see those seeds turn into food. The weeds are thriving too.

 We planted a bunch of onions just to get more seed from them. The blooms are lovely all lined up in a row.

                        A friend gave me this Egyptian Walking Onion. A really neat plant.

 The meat birds did their part occupying the gardens, eating bugs, chewing on weeds and leaving behind lovely gifts for the soil.

                      I have squash starting to look like squash!  Now that's exciting!

 Marty, six foot two, standing in front of the mammoth sunflowers I planted. That was week ago. A lot more sun and rain since then.

                                 My first harvest of beans. I planted a lot of them hoping to be able to put enough in the freezer to do us until next season. I see lots of blanching in my future.

 I was excited to find this fancy vacuum sealing machine at a yard sale along with extra rolls of the special plastic.  It was an excellently low price and even though the person said it worked, it did not but Marty was able to fix it. The next challenge was to get it to work, without the aid of an instruction book. Thank goodness for the Internet and YouTube videos.  We finally got it working as it should- it's really very simple when you know what you're doing.

              Lots of carefully weighed bags of beans for autumn and winter meals.

Aaron planted the radishes in between other plants as they are supposed to keep bugs at bay. So now we have a lot of radishes. We aren't that in love with them. Now I need ideas of what to do with all those radishes!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

You Think You've Got A Good Idea, Then You get A Chicken, And Then......

 Raising meat birds seemed like a good idea. A few months of work and then you have a freezer full of meat you grew and cared for yourself. So, Marty built a chicken tractor and we have raised two batches of birds so far. On nice days, the birds have run of the yard and enjoy scratching and pecking about. At night they were safely tucked away.

 Then you think of how lovely fresh eggs are and are encouraged to give laying hens a try. So, you order a few little brown hens when you order your meat birds. They are sweet and fun to watch as they travel as a unit everywhere they go.

 THEN, you are offered a lovely rare breed of rooster.  He sings a lovely song every morning, but is otherwise quite quiet. Handsome fellow, Mr Mister is a welcome character to the flock.  Housing becomes an issue.

 So, your husband labours over a coop design until he can put it off no longer and then builds that coop over a number of weekends.

 About the same time the coop is ready to be inhabited, you get two lovely young Chantecler hens to go with your rooster. After all, the Chantecler is on the critical list for rare chicken breeds and is a good bird for meat and eggs, and is also cold hardy.  What's not to love?
This is Pearl and Opal.  Opal is standoffish, but Pearl is a bit of a bully, ever vocal and pushy.

                                                  She lays lovely eggs though.

                          Once all three were introduced, everyone got along just fine.

 The young brown hens are still a little gang of six, enjoying exploring their world.

 Finally the coop is complete and all are settled in nicely.  After a day of running around, all are happy to head upstairs for a safe good night's sleep.

 On a cold wet day, they are very happy to stay within the coop with plenty of room to scratch and peck.  Fresh eggs however, bring a new options into play...

 So, Marty built an incubator for those fresh eggs to see if we could get some little Chantecler chicks from them.

This isn't the finished incubator. He has since figured out how to turn the eggs regularly from the outside. It appears that a few are actually viable so far.

We may need another coop!


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