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3/31/15 chickens by west garden

3/31/15 chickens by east garden

4/2/15 dust bath for all

4/2/15 dust bath for all

April, 3rd, Lil prepared 6 bowls of goodies for the chickens to celebrate their 3rd hatchday.IMG_1111For Easter Sunday dinner, I dug up some sun chokes. I’m not sure if this is the last harvest from last year or the first harvest from this year.

4/5/15 sun chokes

4/5/15 sun chokes

Lastly, pictures of the east and west gardens and the uncovered chicken run. Note the snow. Also note the destroyed fencing of the east garden, there were a group of deer that took it down trying to get out late last fall.

4/5/15 west garden

4/5/15 west garden

4/5/15 east garden

4/5/15 east garden

4/5/15 chicken run

4/5/15 chicken run

4/5/15 going in for the night.

4/5/15 going in for the night.

Personal note, I’m going back to the Appalachian Trail for a month or so, starting April 30th.  I’m now a section hiker.

My hiking blog is  https://myhike2014.wordpress.com/

I’ve been away from my blog, lets see if this dinosaur can remember how to post.  This post will try to fill in what has been happening in my back yard these past many months.

I did something for Thanksgiving, that I haven’t done since my Ladies started laying eggs.  I BOUGHT EGGS at the supermarket.  After laying over 3,000 eggs my hens have cut way back on the number of eggs they are producing. Partly because they are getting older, it is getting colder, some are molting and the loss of Miny. Some days I’d get 1 or 2 eggs but most days I wouldn’t get any. My wife and I said from the beginning that the chickens were pets and we would keep and care for them even when they stopped laying eggs.  So we buy eggs.  I’ve forgotten how pale and tasteless the store bought eggs are.

Shortly after Miny went to that big farm in the sky, my son asked me if we would take in his girlfriends last chicken.  They had a pair of chickens for quite a while but only one returned to their coop after free-ranging one day. I said yes but if she didn’t integrate nicely he would get her back.  I had the “cottage” set up for Miny still, so Holly was put in there. She was separated from the other chickens by a wire fence.  They still tried to attack each other thru this fence. With colder nights coming we really needed to get Holly into the coop. So after a couple of weeks with the fence between them we started letting them out in the yard together. Holly was chased and pecked at a lot by all of the ladies.  She learned to keep her distance. This got better as time went by and one cold night Lil and I just put her in the coop with everybody else. They have worked out the pecking order, Holly is at the bottom. Mini is happy not to be at the bottom anymore. Actually she goes after Holly more than the rest. This is a bit comical because Holly is twice the size of Mini. When we first got Holly she was molting and not looking her best. She is now fully feathered and quite a good looking lady.   All of our chickens are fully feathered this winter GOOD THING because this has been quite a winter.  My son didn’t think Holly was laying eggs anymore when we got her. But  earlier this month (March) she started to lay eggs.  I can tell they are Holly eggs because they are a very light color, my flock all lay brown eggs.  Holly being the largest hen lays the smallest egg, go figure. With spring trying to get here and the days getting longer the ladies are producing more eggs and we haven’t had to buy any recently.  Now some pictures. Clicking on them makes them larger.

Holly

Holly, 12/29/15

Holly when she first arrived, molting.

Holly when she first arrived, molting. 10/21/15

I’m about 25 miles west of Boston MA.  We have had a lot of snow and very cold temperatures for us starting the end of January and still going.

1/20/15 Chicken by the corner of the house. Very little snow.

1/20/15 Chicken by the corner of the house. Very little snow.

2/9/15 Wrigley in front of slide and wood shed

2/9/15 Wrigley in front of slide and wood shed

2/15/15 Coop and runs picture taken from back deck

2/15/15 Coop and runs picture taken from back deck

3/19/15 Chickens out in pathway. Holly in front. Still too much snow.

3/19/15 Chickens out in pathway. Holly in front. Still too much snow.

My grandson is learning about 3-D printers at his high school.  Me, I remember the mimeograph machines from my high school. And we didn’t learn about them, maybe we got to turn the crank. Well, Alden made me a chicken with this 3-D printer.  Some days I’m more of a dinosaur than others.

Blue chicken by Alden

Blue chicken by Alden

With all of this snow I haven’t really started doing anything about my garden.

Ed

Not a lot going on here in the garden.  The seasons seed catalogs have arrived. But, since I’m not planting a garden this year, I haven’t even looked through them.

Egg production for the calendar year 2013 was 1601 eggs produced from my 5 ladies.  That’s 4.38 eggs per day average .  They are amazing creatures.  https://mygardenmychickens.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/egg-production-sheet-take-two/

My chickens have a pretty good life for chickens.  But, they do not have a heated coop.  There is a light bulb in a cement block under their water in the coop that keeps their water from freezing.  It probably adds some heat to the coop.  This last cold blast brought outside temperatures of -12 degrees F.  It was 5 degrees F inside the coop.  I have an electronic thermometer mounted on a wall in their coop.  Everyone survived, with no signs of frostbite.  I didn’t let them out of the coop all day, it was just bitterly cold.   If I open the coop/run door the temperature in the coop drops quickly.  I’m happy to report they are out in the covered run today with half a cabbage to peck at.

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looking into the covered run

looking into the covered run

Ed

We have been rather COLD, not like Willow Creek, but unusually cold for New England.  So this warm 50 degree air and mostly sunny day was most enjoyable.   Yup, I went outside.  Looked at my 2 main gardens.

December 20,2013 snow covered garden

December 20,2013 snow covered garden

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Let the chickens out for the first time since it snowed.  I tried to let them out the other day but they were not going out in the snow.  They didn’t have much bare ground to scratch at but they seemed happy to be out and warm.

December 20, 2013 chickens out in the yard

December 20, 2013 chickens out in the yard

I took advantage of the nice day and cleaned the run and coop.

loading the old shavings into the wheelbarrow

loading the old shavings into the wheelbarrow

Lastly, here is the chicken swing in the run extension.

chicken swing waiting for spring

chicken swing waiting for spring

My friend Jake told me enough with the chickens, how about the garden.  Well, It’s hard to blog about your garden when you can’t get to it.  I have 2 main gardens, one on the east side of my driveway and one on the west side.  Both still have snow in them.  The west side snow is still 1-2 feet deep, ( the snowblower piles it in this one), the east side is almost snow free.  I did venture into the east garden  yesterday to see how my garlic was doing.

This is my history of garlic.

My heritage is Irish and English, so growing up I never saw garlic in the kitchen or anywhere else.   My wife’s heritage is Italian and Hungarian.  When she moved in with me she asked me where I kept my spices.  I said in the left drawer.  She did not consider salt, pepper, lemon peel and a box of pumpkin pie spice as spices.  She had a large cardboard box  filled with spices.  Some of them I think are lethal, just my opinion.  And she cooks with garlic.

Time goes on and I start using garlic in moderation.  I’m open-minded.  She wants to know if I would like to go to a “Garlic Festival” with her.  I’m not that open-minded.  But I did go.  And I had a good time.  And I went to a talk on growing garlic.  I like to grow things.  I bought a starter garlic growing kit, well it was 4 different garlic bulbs and planting instructions. Four years later and I am still growing garlic.   I have lost track of the 4 different types, I save 4 of the largest bulbs from the fall harvest to plant in October or November for the next season.

Even if I didn’t use the garlic, I would still plant it.  Why???  Because it is the first sign of life in the garden after the winter.  Spring is coming, another gardening season is starting, the garlic is up.

Garlic  3/29/13

Garlic 3/29/13

Now if the snow will melt in my blueberry patch, I’ll be able to finish pruning them.

Blueberry Patch

Blueberry Patch

Ed

 

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Jasmine yells, “Everychicken into the coop for a group meeting – I got a response to our letter!”

As the chickens all gathered around, Jamine began to read the response…

Dear Ini, Mini, Miny and Jack & Jasmine”.

What about me?”, asked Mo indignantly.

They are retired. I am sure it was just an oversight.”

(“or because you’re Stinky…”), said Miny under her breath.

Hey, THAT wasn’t ME!” said Mo even more indignant.

Jasmine continued, “We would be delighted to have you join us in North Carolina.”

There was an eruption of cheers and crows from the group.

Shh – there’s more.” as Jasmine turned the page.

P.S. Don’t these recipes look delicious??!

What’s a recipe?”, asked Mo.

I think it has to do with these pictures. I recognize the greens and the grains and I think that is fruit…but what’s THAT?”, wondered Jasmine.

Oh wait, there’s a caption. Hmm, “Basil, Peach Chi…Chi (gulp)…Chicken Breast’ and – oh my, ‘Buttermilk-Brined Grilled Chicken’.”

There was an audible gasp among the group as they realized an unthinkable thought.

Do you mean to say our Chicken Sitters who are moving to North Carolina EAT Chickens?”, asked Mo as her eyes almost popped out of her head.

They seemed like such a nice couple”, said Ini, shaking her head.

Jack chimed in, “Maybe it’s not so bad here after all. Maybe we should stay”

Yeah, we have survived 4 snow storms and I am sure there won’t be any more.”, chirped Mini.

All in favor of staying?”, asked Jasmine.

Six wings immediately shot up.

Meanwhile, on the big house TV…

Ch.5 meteorologist here. It’s gonna be another snow storm tonight! Hunker down. Don’t let the calendar fool you. It may say “spring starts Wednesday” but we are in the 4-8” belt…”

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