I have completed the front left foundation bed. If you haven't read the previous post on the work of my foundation bed then click here . I am very happy with the results and so glad to get it finished. I can't wait for it to grow up a little. So here once again is the list of plants I chose for this side of house...
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
Don't you just love it! I love chickens! This is one of my two herb/tomato beds that I haven't gotten around to planting yet. I just don't have the heart to at the moment because everytime I let them out this is where they all go to and glory in the nice cool soft dirt. Sometimes like in this video they are all in there at the same time and right up close to one another even though there is plenty more space. I took some pictures and a video so you can hear them as they take there bath (there is a sprinkler going in the background,sorry). I have read many times where first time chicken owners would panic when they saw a chicken do this because they thought it was dying. It does look strange if you don't know what they are doing. So here they are my girls..enjoy!
How they don't get dirt in their eyes beats me!
They close there eyes and roll their necks and heads in the dirt.
And there you are chickens all bathing together! Well all except Emma who in every picture is standing there watching them but I guess didn't feel the need to bathe. Maybe she took one before bed! lol She just scratched about.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
We have all done it, bought a plant brought it home and it looked like this when we pull it out of its container....
Horrible case of root bound but I have seen worse. This was a Society Garlic I bought yesterday at my local nursery. I went there only to buy one single bale of pine straw I needed to finish an area that I ran short on but being a plant lover there was no way I was going to walk out of there without at least one little ol plant! Back to the issue... so you bought this lovely plant and you pull it out and you see that mess. I actually could not get this one out of the container and had to cut the bottom off with a knife.
If you were to plant this in the ground this way the roots would stay like this and it would not be healthy for the plant and it can also stunt its growth. So if you buy a plant like this here then this is what to do. If you can, use your hand and gently try to break up the root ball with your hands. This will allow the roots to spread out and take root in the soil.If it is so compact that you can't use your hand then break out a knife and cut about an inch or so off the bottom and you can even slice the sides on a couple sides as well. Don't worry I know this sounds drastic but really you are helping the plant. It will soon grow new roots and the existing roots can now have a chance to spread out allowing the plant to get the most of the water and nutrients it needs. Here is the plant after I teased out the roots and cut some off the bottom....
Much better! I could have cut a little more off but this is just fine and now the plant will be very happy in a few weeks. Now go ahead and plant this as you normally would and water good and deep. Keep it watered regularly for the next few weeks till established but be sure not to drown it just be sure it doesn't dry out as it is been under some stress already. Then mulch and now you have a pretty happy little plant in its new home!
When shopping for plants try to avoid root bound plants if possible. You can tell because they will have roots sticking out the bottom like this...
This one isn't so bad again I have seen worse. However the signs are there. Now there is nothing really wrong with buying plants like this, just do what I have said above and it will be fine. A lot of times you can buy some plants cheap that have been clearanced but chances are this is how you will find them. They have been sitting in those pots for awhile which is why the roots wrap around themselves like that. It's just if you have a choice look for the healthiest plants that don't show signs of root bound. Sometimes I have bought shrubs for super deals but the roots were really super duper root bound. I had to take a shovel and chop off several inches off the bottom and really work at it to loosen the root ball. It took a little tending to till it got off on its own feet but they are happy and healthy plants today. A little fertilizer would help too.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
These beautiful eggs are what you could be enjoying everyday! Large pretty colorful eggs!
These are upside down (wish I turned them right side up for the picture) because I have read they last longer that way...who knows. Now isn't that so much better looking than boring little ol white eggs? Which by the way cause I get asked this question many times...brown, green, blue, pink, or white..it makes no difference at all on the taste or quality of the eggs. Egg color is determinded by breed and that is all. I wish I also had a picture to show you the difference both in the size of the eggs but also in how much richer the yolk looks verses pale yellow and how nice the whites stand up verses the runny whites of a store bought egg. I still say hands down that backyard eggs are far better then any store bought eggs you can buy. Yes, even the so called "cage free" birds. Cage free simply means they aren't kept in small cages but are allowed to roam a chicken house though they are still pretty packed together. They are kept indoors unless otherwise stated on the carton. Don't be fooled by terms they give...if you really want to know eggsactly what you are buying, do a little research. There are so many types these days and if you buy grocery store eggs (which hey, there is nothing in the world wrong with buying reg. store bought eggs) and want a better tasting egg then there are some you can buy at the store that do taste and look better then regular eggs. I had fresh backyard eggs for 3 years from my 3 original hens and all of the sudden 1 died and shortly after the other two hens stopped laying (that's another story). No more eggs till my chicks were old enough to start laying. Well after you have gotten used to eating eggs as I have I just could not get used to eating the regular white eggs you buy at the grocery store. I'm telling you they are that much better! So I bought the more eggspensive eggs can't remember which ones I ended up going with but they were ok till I could get fresh eggs from my backyard again. You can also probably find fresh farm eggs at your local farmers market too...I have seen a guy selling them at mine, though you will pay a little more for them. What is so nice too about getting eggs right from your backyard is you know what your chickens are eating for the most part...though sometimes that can gross you out...ok moving on...hens just lay better eggs when they are happy and free to do what chickens love to do. Do a test, get yourself a farm fresh/backyard egg and then a regular store bought egg. In two seperate bowls crack each egg and you will see eggsactly what I am talking about!
Thursday, March 10, 2011
|In the back is a Easter Egger and up front is a Barred Rock|
Here is a list of things you will need before your chicks arrive..
- chick waterer- 1quart( I had a 1 gal. so I used it but be careful one of mine almost drowned. You could place those sooth round stones along the base to keep that from happening)
- chick starter- can get this at your local feed & seed or Tractor Supply- DO NOT buy medicated if your chicks have been vaccinated already. Chick starter comes in regular or medicated. If your chicks have not been vaccinated then it is probably a good idea to get this. However if you are ordering chicks from a hatchery I recommend getting them vaccinated, it is very cheap!
- I also recommend purchasing some grow gel when you order your chicks or you can purchase it separately, this gets them off to a good start after their rough journey through the mail.
- chick feeder or you can buy a plastic or galvanized round bottom that screws onto a pint or quart sized canning jar
- heating lamp with reflector and either a white or red 250watt light bulb. Red is best as it is easier on their eyes making it easier to sleep and helps prevent picking/pecking.
- something to put them in (a brooder which can be bought or homemade), chicks like hens need so much space per bird, 2 sq ft per bird (chicks grow very fast and will need the room). You can make a little smaller but you will soon find the need for space and may need to move them into something else. Now a brooder can be as simple as a large cardboard box (I used 2 cut out one side of each box and duck taped them together), a small child swimming pool with something high going around the sides (chicks can jump pretty high!), even plastic storage bins. Anything is fine as long as it as high enough sides or something to put on top to keep them from getting out. I put a window screen on my box to keep them from getting out.
|This picture shows the half of the brooder that was out of the heat lamp and had the food and water. The green stuff is the grow gel.|
|Rhode Island Red|
Once in there new home go ahead and if you have the grow gel give them this and no water or other food for the first hour. The grow gel provides important nutrients and hydration to day old chicks. It is bright green so to attract them to it. I remember mine ate it up like nobodies business! This should only be given them on the first day. After one hour of the grow gel go ahead and give them water. After day one start them on chick starter for at least the first 8 weeks. Then switch to a grower/finisher till about 17 weeks and then a complete layer. Layer feed can come in crumbles/mash or pellets, organic, or homemade, the choice is up to you however I prefer the $13 bag of Demor laying crumbles/pellets. Chicks should also be given some grit but not the kind for adult hens,go to your local pet store or even super market and get the kind for pet birds as it is much finer. Then switch to a crushed granite when they get bigger. The grit is swallowed and kept in there crop to help grind their food.
A good bedding for chicks is pine shavings as it is absorbent and and they can't eat it but you can use newspaper though I have read people advise not to as it can cause them to slip and mess up there legs but I know friends who have used it and no problems.
* One other thing that is really important to keep an eye on is what is known as pasting up. This is caused by poop which is a bit runny or loose at first and it forms a crust on their bottom preventing them to go to the bathroom. I had this happen to a couple of mine a number of times. What you will need to do if this happens is get a warm wash cloth and gently keeping rubbing their bottom till it is washed off. After a few days you shouldn't have a problem with this.
A few others things to consider...
On warm days you can let them out in a small confined area under supervision.
|Rhode Island Red really feathering out now spending some warm afternoons outside.|
A small roost bar in the brooder if possible as they will start to want to perch at night.
|They are a little older here getting wing and tail feathers in , you can see the roost bar in the background now.|
Enjoy them, they grow so fast and oh are they ever so cute to watch! Often when someone was missing from the family it was because they were with the chicks! lol They are so cuddly too. Oh I miss when mine were that small. Watching them grow, getting in their tiny little wing and tail feathers, then watching them just starting to scratch like the big girls and even start trying to take a dust bath (which can be really scary at first as you think something is wrong with them but they are just fine). They are a joy and boy do they make some noise! We kept ours in the hall bathroom as we had nowhere to keep them. There cheeps are very loud and that was only from 6!
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
This little guy or girl wanted in my house so bad for two weeks. These pictures were taken last year. My big indoor project last year was painting my kitchen cabinets and glazing them. The project took much longer than I was hoping but this bluebird kept me company the entire time. Everyday he or she would fly at my window repeatedly then stopping to perch on the screen as he is in the photo above. I could stand right up to the window and take his picture and he wouldn't fly away. I don't know why he was so determined to try to get in the house. Maybe it was the colbalt blue bottle collection I have on the sill? Maybe he really liked the job I was doing on the cabinets? Maybe it was a she and wanted to build her nest in my house? Whatever the reason everyday I was painting cabinets and everyday this little guy was there keeping me company and driving my lab nuts at the same time!
This wasn't the only window either. He would try coming it at the front door side windows and my bedroom window even. Though the kitchen window was the one he used the most. I thought the bird had lost its crackers! He eventually left and I had a pair of bluebirds nest in the box. I don't know if it was this little fella or not because I have several pairs checking out my box at the same time but I do hope he or she found a mate and made a nest somewhere! I love bluebirds, don't you?!