I had a request to post some "chick" photos. We don't have any chicks right now, so how about some of the Turken girls, instead!? Photos taken yesterday evening...
Olive Oyle, lays the prettiest olive green eggs that are covered with brown speckles.
Fancy, so big and fluffy, I just love holding her!
Cashew, a young pullet (less than 1 year), daughter of Olive Oyle and Admiral.
And not a "girl" or Turken, but I can't resist sharing this photo of Admiral. Such a handsome fella, and just as sweet as can be. I love his polka dot beard and chest.
Have a great weekend!
Took the camera out yesterday evening just before sunset to see what I could see. Not much was happening and it was getting dark quickly so I didn't have a lot of time to take photos. I was able to get a photo of Albert, though! He's the young calf that was born just before Christmas. He is Princess' calf, and we're excited that not only is he dun (brown), but he's also polled (hornless)! Way to go, Princess!
As usual, Baaaaad Boxcar Betty wanted to know "When'z dinner?"
Callio-Pea wanted to know "Got any goat cookies in your pocket? I'm the good goat, you know!"
Walnut, quite possibly the sweetest hen to ever live, would also have liked some snacks.
Sorry girls, I'm fresh out!
I've been busy busy BUSY, crafting up some Claudine shelf sitters! Claudine is my own design, and I do love her so ... so much so that I made a flock!
I've posted these clucky friends in the shop.
UPDATE: All the Claudine's have flown the coop!
Saturday I made a trip up to the city to run some errands. There was a train passing through town keeping me from getting to all of my errand locations so while I waited for the train to pass I decided to see if there were any new goods at the local antique shops. In one of the shops I found this sweet little hand crafted chicken potholder, and I'm pretty sure she told me that she needed to go home with me. She looks cute propped up on the back of the kitchen stove!
Welcome to the farm, little lady!
I'm finding it difficult to move into Valentine and spring themed projects for some reason, wanting to hold onto snowmen and snowflakes and cocoa and woolies. I don't want spring to come just yet, even though I think it is the best season in Texas. We haven't had enough winter, and we desperately need more rain before the onset of summer 2012. Lately the weather has been very spring-like, minus all the lovely wildflowers that bloom in Texas. Hopefully the weather gets a bit colder, and we get some of the rain that the weather-people say is coming our way tomorrow.
If I MUST think about spring, let it be of baby chickens. That I can handle.
Several years ago at a local auction house, I bought several photo albums (5 to be exact), each one of them FULL of vintage postcards - someone's collection. One of the folders is all Easter cards, and soooo many of them feature chickens or chicks. The above image is from one of the postcards I bought that day. Maybe flipping through those old cute postcards will put me into the mood to work on spring projects...?
I'll sip hot cocoa while I do. *grin*
Here is a quick video of Dad feeding one of the flocks of wild turkeys in the front yard, Christmas morning.
If you have trouble viewing the video on the blog, you will find it here on YouTube.
Hope you're enjoying your day!
I'm catching a flight up to Washington in the morning (I'd better start packing!), and thought I would leave you for the day with this card I made using my Sledding Chicken stamp, from Whipper Snapper.
Doesn't she look like she's having FUN!
Image stamped in black Memento ink, colored with a combination of Touch Twin and Copic markers.
First of all, thank you for all your support to those who purchased the On the Farm 2011 calendar last year. We had a great response to last year's calendar, and have decided to offer On the farm 2012.
A small portion of all purchases comes back to the farm, and all proceeds recieved go towards the care and feeding of the animals here on the farm. The calendars make fantastic gifts, and are ideal for personal use. The calendar is available in 3 sizes. All of the photos in the calendar were taken by me; I hope you choose to spend 2012 enjoying photos from our farm.
Order your own copy of On the farm 2012 today! Some of your favorite farm critters are featured in the pages of our calendar! Even Baaaaad Boxcar Betty makes an appearance!
HOT SALE! Today through November 20th, cards are 50% off, and calendars are 20% off when you use coupon code CARDSCAL2011 at order checkout. In addition to the 2012 calendar, you will also find all kind of lovely cards in my Zazzle shop as well!
Zazzle Coupon Details:
Enter code: CARDSCAL2011 at checkout in the "Zazzle Coupons/Gift Certificates" box 50% of the greeting card, invitation, photo card and postcard net sale price will be deducted when one or more qualifying products are purchased. 20% of the calendar net sale price will be deducted when one or more qualifying calendars are purchased. The coupon code CARDSCAL2011 must be applied at checkout to apply these discount offers. Offer is valid until November 20, 2011 at 11:59pm PT. This offer does not apply to past purchases and may not be combined with any other Zazzle promotional or volume discount offers. If a volume discount applies to your order, you will receive either the discount set forth in this offer or the standard volume discount, whichever is greater. Offer valid on Zazzle.com only.
How about a little more Farmgirl Betty inspiration!
When I showed Alan this card, he said "why is her hair blue?" That made me giggle!
So, a 2li23ttle off top2.i4c ... but hav3e2 2you 0ev0e00r. tr5ied 5t+o+ +ty5pe3 .with a chic6k+en standi2n2g22 next to..3666you6r6 keybo3a.rd? No? Well, l2e2t me 3t333ell y56ou, it gets0 i0nteresting.
Here is how that sentence should have read: So, a little off topic ... but have you ever tried to type with a chicken standing next to your keyboard? No? Well, let me tell you, it gets interesting.
She types nearly as fast as me, but she favors the number keypad.
Whatever that means... It must be good!
Well, it's bedtime for this farmgirl. Sweet dreams!
Since it was an "inside" day, I spent some time chatting on the phone with Aunt Patty. While we chatted, I made this chicken mummy halloween card, using an image from my Whipper Snapper cling set called Happy Haunting. The sentiment stamped on the background of the card in white craft ink is from another of my Whipper Snapper cling sets called Spooky Expressions.
The patterned paper is from the Ambrosia 6x6 pad, from BasicGrey. This paper line has butterflies and florals, but also has lots of nice orange, black, and grey patterns as well which just say "halloween" to me.
The image is stamped on kraft colored card stock, and I used a water brush and white pigment ink to color the mummy straps white. If this technique is new to you, you can watch a how-to video tutorial here.
Not everyone can have a house chicken, so how about I share mine?
If you have trouble viewing the video here on the blog, check it out here on my YouTube channel.
Remember our little chicklet, whom I rescued from her overly aggressive mother? She's living in the house until she's big and strong enough to go out to the hen house. Well, here she is in all her cuteness! She hangs out with me all day in my office while I work. We've decided to call her Cricket, because she cheeps, sings, and coos to herself all day long -- she really is quite the chatterbox. I rigged up a perch for her out of a small tree branch, and she just thinks it's the coolest thing! To give you a size comparison, the branch she's sitting on is about the same diameter as my thumb. She's a bitty little thing, and is such a pleasant little house guest.
Don't you wish you had a house chicken, too? *grin*
Yesterday morning chick #1 hatched. Unfortunately it was injured to the point of me not being able to nurse it back to health. Poor baby.
Last night while I was locking up the chickens I made a point of checking to see if her other two eggs were close to hatching. I picked Peanut up off of her nest and found a freshly hatched chick (chick #2)! Surprise! Within seconds, Peanut saw the chick and attacked it. Not good.....
Poor little thing... so, in the house with me it went. I checked the remaining egg (#3) with a flashlight and found that it had stopped developing early on, so it got tossed into the pasture for the ants before it turned into a stinky mess.
I've got several friends, and even an Auntie, celebrating birthdays in August, so I got to work on finishing up a few birthday cards. Happy Birthday Chick is colored with markers and colored pencils. I used the sentiment block from All Things with Love for the background. Rustic, country, chickies. Gotta love 'um!
Happy Monday! I've got the day off work, and plan to make a trip to town for a bit of shopping to pick up a few odds and ends. Yahoo! *grin*
As a "Dirty Dozen" alum on SplitCoastStampers.com, I was delighted to have the opportunity to host a challenge yesterday for an annual stamping event that's organized for the SplitCoastStampers.com forum members. What a wonderful reason to spend some time being crafty this week! Ten Gallon Tex seemed to be fitting for my challenge, which was all about keepin' it rural! You can find all the details of the event here. And if you're into rubber stamping and are in need of inspiration, you MUST check out the member galleries! They're LOADED with amazing creativity and ideas!
Supposed to be HOT HOT HOT here this weekend, so perhaps I'll spend a bit more time being crafty. Inside. *grin*
What are your big plans for the weekend?
PS: Speaking of chickens, I just saw this rare coupon at coupons.com for .75 off Land O Lakes EGGS! I personally don't need this coupon, but you should grab it while you can, zipcode 76670.
This year the bugs are out of control in the garden. Today I went on a tobacco horn worm hunt (which I've done three times previously earlier this month)!
Real life gummy worm duck snacks! *grin*
If you have trouble viewing the video on the blog (or want to see it larger), you can check it out here on YouTube.
I decided I would take some video clips last night while I was locking up the chickens. Join me in the fun!
If you're having trouble viewing the video here on the blog, you can check it out here on YouTube.
I put together a video to demonstrate just why we made sure our chicken yard was very secure... The images in the video aren't new, but some of them are new to YOU! *grin*
I use a Leaf River trail camera to see what kinds of critters visit the chicken coop at night. Here are some images and video clips I've captured, of unwelcome guests at the chicken coop. The wire around our chicken yard goes all the way to the roof. While it may LOOK like there are gaps in the wire, that's only because the wire doesn't show up in the video. The covered (roofed) chicken yard is 10x10, and connects to a larger (uncovered) 30x40 yard. I shut the gait to the larger yard at dusk, to ensure no predators can get into the chicken house, or into the covered yard.
If you have trouble viewing the video here on the blog, you can check it out on YouTube.
We finally got some much needed rain last night. Oooooh it smells so GOOD! So, since I didn't have to water the garden this morning, I took the camera around to see what some of the critters were up to.
If you have trouble viewing the video here on the blog, you can check it out here on YouTube!
Oh, and I've added a link to my YouTube channel on the right in the Sassy & Sweet Stuff list. All of the farm videos are there for your enjoyment. *grin*
I went out to lock up the chickens tonight (like I do every evening) and to make sure water containers and feeders were topped off. The ducks were quite upset, giving me all kinds of attention. Lots of quacking and carrying on. I have a duck that's been broody, and we've been nursing a sore foot pad on her, so I've been letting her sit on some eggs so she doesn't feel like she needs to be running around the chicken yard all day on her sore foot pad. Even she was off of her nest, quacking, and was quite upset about something.
Since our snake issues began, I've been carrying a two-way walkit-talkie so I can get Alan's assistance as needed. This certainly called for some much needed assistance! I voiced over the radio for him to grab my camera and come to the chicken yard, that there was a snake thinking about eating a duck egg!
Here is a series of photos for you .... since we had to experience this, it's only fair that you do too!! *grin*
We let the snake get the egg all the way swallowed, and then Alan placed a paper feed sack in front of the snake and with a long garden stake, encouraged the snake to go into the bag. At first it thought about escaping through the fence, but there's just no way it would have fit through 1" chicken wire having just swallowed the duck egg. It changed it's mind, and just like that, the snake was in the bag. Alan poked down the top of the bag, rolled up the top edge, and we went about the process of relocating the snake near a big open field and pond.
What we found interesting was that while the snake was working on the egg, and while the snake was in the bag while we transported it, it was shaking it's tail and mimicing the tail shake that a rattlesnake does. But this was just a rat snake ... trying to be extra scary, I guess. Believe me, it was scary enough just the way it was. What we also found interesting is that in just the few minutes that it took us to get to where we relocated the snake to, we couldn't even tell that it had swallowed that huge egg! Whoa!
Yesterday morning I saw another hog-nosed snake (only maybe 3' long one) in the zucchini bed in the garden. I'll be watching for that one to show up again, too. Jeepers... enough snakes already!!
In other LESS CREEPY farm news...
Found this cute little, not much more than 1" long, Praying Mantis (my favorite garden bug) in the garden early this morning, having breakfast. Looks to be the last of a cucumber beetle.
The grasshoppers are starting to do lots of damage to the bean bed, and I'm seeing some grasshopper damage on some of the rattlesnake pole beans. You'll probably laugh, but last night, between 11pm - midnight, I spent about an hour in the garden snipping grasshoppers (and other bad bugs) into bits with my garden snips. They don't move so fast at night, and are easy prey as they sit on top of leaves, on the trellis wires, etc. Mwhahahahahaaaa!! Makes me feel so EVIL! *grin*
The cucumber vines are LOADED with blooms, and I'm finally starting to see female flowers and itty bitty cucumbers. Now let's hope the pollinators do their job for me! There aren't enough hours in the day for me to hand pollinate the cucumber flowers.
The Juliet tomato plants have big clusters of tomatoes, like this one. This one got so heavy and kept resting on the ground, so I had to give it a little support tie to keep it up off of the soil. I wish it wasn't quite so HOT here ... we'd have even MORE tomatoes than we do! High temps like we've been having keep flowers from pollinating, and tomatoes don't set. Bummers. But the plants have lots of tomatoes that it needs to put energy into growing, so all is not lost.
Here is Shorty, checking in on the okra plants. I have to keep them wrapped, or Shorty (and the armadillo) dig them up. Shorty is such a good helper. Eventually, when the plants are bigger, I'll remove the netting and the tomato cages.
Today's forecast is promising a high of 99*. Tomorrow's forecast is promising a high of 99*, too. Jeepers... Time to get the frozen water bottles in the chicken waterers. I'd best gather eggs early in the day, too! Don't want those chickens brewing up any deviled eggs when I'm not lookin'!
We've got a wild mama cat who has 5 kittens under our shed. They stay out of the heat, and lay in the shade. Oddly enough, the girl kittens are the friendliest of the bunch. Usually the boys are. When they're old enough they'll go to the vet for a little snippity snip! Alan thinks he might be able to catch the wild mama next week now that the kittens are old enough to eat kitty food and spend the night away from their mama while she's at the vet's office for snipping! This little gal is a cutie, isn't she! I think I'll tell Alan her name is Tangerine. Unless you want to ADOPT her, and then you can name her anything you'd like! *grin*
The rattlesnake pole beans have almost all sprouted around the tee-pee trellis, and I can't wait to see them start vining up the poles! I took this photo two days ago, and already the plants look noticably different, now that they're starting to get more leaves. It's amazing how quickly things change.
Remember our little house chick, Dolly? Well, seems that Dolly thinks SHE is a HE, and is practicing crowing. Yes, yes it's true. Just little squeaks, but that's CROW enough for me! Dolly lives outside now, in a fancy new brooder with two chick-sized friends. Happy as can BE, wild frizzled feathers, and all!
So, speaking of summer ... did you see this image predicting how summer weather is going to progress? UNCLE!!!
I think that calls for daily dips in the pool. Bottom's Up!
Whipper Snapper Designs: Poolside Chicken - #CT954
I hope you enjoyed your Memorial Day celebrations today! We had Alan's parents and nephew over for lunch, and then spent the rest of the day tinkering around the farm. It was an enjoyable day, though a bit too warm and windy! June is almost upon us, but summertime weather has been with us already for some time. Alan and I were discussing today just how much it feels (and LOOKS) like August outside. Dreadful to say the least. Is it too much to ask for a rainy summer!? I'm asking, I'm ASKING!
She spent a lot of time today just milling around the barnyard, not eating much of her hay. She also spent some time looking longingly at the rest of the herd in the pasture, who were enjoying themselves in the sunshine. We pulled Lucy out of the pasture a couple days early because she kept having horn wars with Pixie Dust. Their scuffling about would get the rest of the herd all excited, and they would start chasing after Lucy. She's never been very high up on the herd chain of command, and we didn't need them running her when she's so close to delivery! So into the barnyard she went. So come on, Lucy! Let's meet that baby of yours, already!
Baaaaad Boxcar Betty was bored by the daily activities, and chose to spend her day in the shade, munching on grass, and occasionally petting herself with the fence. "Ooooooooh, that feels so goooooood!"
I checked in on Olive Oyle and her chicks, and look what I found! One of her little one's enjoying a bit of mamma time! So cute!! I was only able to get this one photo taken before the chick hopped off of her back. Olive Oyle is a Turken (naked neck), and she is supposed to have the naked neck. Three of her chicks are naked neck's too, even tho their papa (Admiral) isn't a Turken. I think they are just about the cutest chicks, with their little fuzzy heads, and little fuzzy "bow tie" (what I call the clump of feathers on the front of their lower neck).
And this is the third Turken chick, with coloring similar to Olive Oyle's. Sooooo cute!! Olive Oyle has three other chicks as well (an Easter Egger, and two mille fleurs) but they weren't interested in posing for the camera. Maybe another time.
Remember my setup for making homemade yogurt? Well, how about making gift cards to go along with the homemade yogurt theme! I made this 3.5" square gift card using images from my recently released Whipper Snapper cling set called Garden Fresh. And speaking of yogurt, I'm all out! Time to pull out the ol' canning kettle and heat pad! Mmmm, good!
A peek at the garden reveals that things are slowing coming along. But I have to tell you, I'm battling insects like you wouldn't believe. Cucumber beetles are in numbers like never before, squash bugs have been spotted (and removed) from zucchini plants, and a couple pepper plants have been victim to caterpillars. I'm vigilant at night and do my best bug patrol in the dark, wearing a headlamp and gloves. Squishing cucumber beetles and cutting various plant eating/sucking caterpillars in half isn't my calling, but I do it. ...or maybe it is?
The pole beans (center row) are hinting about climbing the trellis. The bush beans (outer rows) look healthy! I still can't get over how crinkly the first plants look! Something got to them early on, and they still look so strange! We did have the big hail storms and crazy wind that gave them a good beating. The newer plants look "normal" at least!
The flowerbed along the chicken yard is filling in nicely. I noticed a couple volunteer tomato plants, and some volunteer been plants have come up along with lots of seeds I planted for sunflowers, zinnia, and gourds. Should be pretty when it's in bloom! The little tin flower in the photo used to be a rain gauge... but the rain gauge vessel broke. So now it's just a cute tin flower in the garden.
In other news, this coming Friday is my Mom's birthday and I'll be flying up north to spend a long weekend with her and Dad. I'm looking forward to it, for sure! Alan will be staying home on the farm, taking care of all the critters and the garden. It's a lot of work for one person, and he'll have earned BIG HUGS when I get back!
To all the mothers out there, and especially to mine, have a beautiful Mother's Day!
In the morning I plan to do a few odds and ends around the farm, and then we're headed to the city to have lunch with Alan's parents. Then, back to the farm to finish up a few more odds and ends. Supposed to be HOT, near 95. *ugh!* I'd better get some water on the garden in the morning!
I've got a cute little video to share with you. Brown Manetta (one of the Turken hens) hatched some chicks earlier this week. One of them got injured and didn't make it. Then, a couple days later, another chick hatched! But since it was days younger than the others and quite a bit smaller, it had a hard time keeping up with the activities. It ended up getting injured by another hen ... so I brought it in the house for a little extra TLC. Until it gets big and strong, we have a house chick. And just in time for Mother's Day! *grin*
If you have trouble viewing the video here on the blog, you can check it out here on YouTube.
Happy Mother's Day!!
Zippidydoodah was in need of a spur trim. LOOK at those things! They have blunt ends from previous trimmings, but they're still a hazard. Mostly a hazard for him. Zippidydoodah isn't the brightest bird, and likes to charge at us from the other side of the fence. Just before he gets to the fence, he jumps up and flings his feet forward so he can poke us with his spurs. The little ****! I decided it was time for a trim when he got himself hung upside down in the fence by one of his spurs -- it hung him up like a hat on a rack! Silly rooster!
Stanley and his mother were put out to pasture with the rest of the herd. He thinks it's pretty cool having so many mothers looking after him! He still is knee high to a Texas-sized grasshopper, so it's good they pay so close attention to him.
Here we are in the month of May, and how about an update on the garden! This is how I keep track of things, you know ... I hope you don't mind me sharing!
Here's the "big picture" of the garden -- photo taken today. Yup, the tarp is still up on the side of the chicken yard. The to-do list is long... it's not a top priority, yet! I am actually glad it's still up -- I was able to keep last week's rain from blowing in under their covered yard, and had we actually received any rain today (like the 70-80% chance of rain we were supposed to have had), it would have come in handy again! Maybe we'll get rain tomorrow like they're predicting. We'll see. Oh, and if you look closely, you can see Alan in this photo just beyond the corner of the chicken yard (on the right side). He's trimming some tree limbs that were rubbing on the roof over the chicken yard. The ladies say "Yay, Farmer, cluck cluck!" They got to pick the leaves off of the cut branches, and thought that was great fun!
The plants in the garden got a little whipped and beat up in last week's storms. Lots of hail damage (plants got snapped off, lots of holes and tears in leaves), and the wind roughed up the leaves a good deal. The double-yield cucumbers took a beating, just like everything else. But they should be alright, assuming they can tolerate the rest of spring and summer. You can see the goat pellets I added to this bed today. In fact, all of the plants got a light side-dressing of goat poo today! Fun!
When I had such a poor showing of purple pole beans, I decided to fill in the center row with some green pole beans. The seeds came up quickly and filled in the row nicely, and hopefully they all start trellising! The plants that are only a week or so old are the same size as the purple pole bean plants that are well over 1 month old! The two outer rows of bush beans are doing much better than they were a week ago... I thought I was going to have to consider scrapping the bean crop, but looks like they might do OK. Fingers crossed.
This is the black and yellow zucchini bed. There are a few more plants in this bed than I had intended to put here, thanks to what I thought were failed seeds. But turns out I was just being impatient. I think the seeds were just fine. *grin*
These plants looked terrible after last week's storms, but they have really perked up and taken off! Yesterday I noticed that I had a high number of cucumber beetles on the plants, so everything got a good spraying of neem oil last night. The battle with the insects continues.
This is the best looking strawberry plant in the entire strawberry bed. It's about 3" long, and just over 1" wide, to give you a size estimate. Pretty small. I've snipped off the little flowers that this plant had, to force the plant to put more energy into establishing a better root system while they're so young. Even the strawberry plants took a beating in the storm -- some of these leaves are missing their ends.
The heirloom tomato plants are growing! Finally! Hopefully they built good strong roots for themselves! The random row of onions I planted down the middle are up as well! I know the tomato plants will eventually shade those onions, but I plan to dig them up and move them eventually anyway. For now, they're just fine!
The plants that surprise me the most in this garden update are "the other" tomato plants (two Celebrity, two Juliet, and two Solar Fire) that Alan and I built our "redneck wood trellis and watering system" around. They are well past the 16" bottom trellis row, and well on their way to the 32" row! The two Juliet plants lost their primary stem in the hail storm and are continuing to put on growth, but are requiring a bit more support to keep their secondary stems aiming upright. They're going to make me earn every tomato they grow!
This is Bing, one of the reasons I had to surround all of the garden beds with deer netting or short fence. He loves talking to the ladies in the chicken yard, so I've got to keep him out of the flower bed that runs nearly the full length of their yard. He likes snapping off my seedlings! Baaaad rooster! Thank goodness he can't jump my short 3' fence -- those frizzled feathers of his are worthless when it comes to flying.
Shorty is another reason for the netting and fences. He is particularly fond of dusting in the lose soil of the garden beds and planters. Baaaad rooster! But with netting and fences up, he's content to search for bugs and grubs in the grass.
The row of purple pole beans didn't come in very well, so last night I planted more pole bean seeds under the bean trellis. I was out of purple pole bean seeds (dang it!), so I planted green pole bean seeds. Grow, babies, grow!
The first planting of tomato plants are noticeably larger than they were just a few days ago. And the Juliet plants are putting on flowers! So soon!? We'll be setting up our tomato support structure soon ... more on that later.
The peas are noticeably larger too! And so THICK! Apparently I put plenty of seeds in the soil! *grin* Sure, it's a bit too late in the year for getting a good pea crop, but I've got a bed that gets shade most of the day until late afternoon. So, I thought why not plant some peas there... maybe they'll love it, maybe not!
The heirloom tomato starts I planted last weekend are starting to show growth. They might be small now, but let's hope they get mighty! They got goat fertilizer added to their bed ... you can see some of the pellets in the bottom right corner of the photo. Who knew those two silly goats could be so useful!
I had to put up a windbreak on the backside of the sweet pepper bed. We had such strong wind the other day, the plants were nearly laid over! They are MUCH happier now that they have a bit of shelter from the ridiculous wind we get here.
The strawberry plants are growing, too! Well, half of them anyway. I ordered some plants from Gurney's earlier this year, and the order kept being delayed. I wasn't sure they were going to ship at all, so when I saw strawberries on sale at the local farm supply store, I picked up a box. The roots looked a little on the small size, but they weren't dry or showing signs of mold or mildew. I planted them in the lower half of the prepared strawberry bed. Days later, I got the shipping notice for my Gurney's order.... more strawberries were on their way! (Good thing, too!) When the Gurney's order arrived, the roots were MUCH larger, and healthier looking. I planted them right away in the upper half of the prepared bed, and as soon as the next day they were already showing growth! About two weeks time is the difference between both plantings, and STILL the plants I bought from the local farm supply store have YET to show ANY above ground growth. Any bits of green you see in the lower half of the bed are either leaves that have blown in from the hackberry trees, or growth from the little tiny straggler roots from the Gurney's order that I planted in between the rows of roots from the farm supply! Lesson learned!
I've received several requests for an update on the garden, so I took some time this evening to snap some photos.
I said in a post on Friday that I was going to spend some time working in the garden over the weekend, and guess what! I did!
So, here ya go! A garden update for you!
Here's the big picture. You can see all of the new beds we built, and the 2x2 stakes that Alan added to the corner of every raised bed. LOVE THEM! They make it possible to wrap the beds with deer netting to deter the chickens, cats, dogs, armadillo, and whatever else wanders through the yard OUT of the beds. The beds are wrapped with the netting now, and you can hardly see it in the photos! Like the blue and silver tarp on the chicken yard? Yeah, we do too. But it kept the rain from blowing in under the roof all winter and not once did it get muddy in the covered yard, so we put up with it's beauty. Soon, I'll remove the tarp and replace it with a sun shade. That way the breeze can get through, but the harsh afternoon sunlight gets blocked.
The aluminum tub I grew lavender in last year will be the herb garden this year. (Which reminds me, I need to update the 2011 garden map!) The lavender didn't make it through the winter, so I pulled out the dead twigs and planted basil, dill, chives, and some spearmint. Then the roosters promptly jumped in and kicked about the top 2" of dirt out -- and I'm guessing most of the seeds, too. So I put what dirt I could back into the tub and added a wire cucumber trellis from last year to the top of the dirt to keep the roosters out. Little buggers! The wooden produce basket has what's left of my mint plant from last year. It was growing on the other side of the garden in a similar basket, and it was growing GREAT! ...until the roosters decided they needed to scratch around in the basket for bugs, kick all the dirt off of the mint plant, and destroy the basket. I saved what I could of the plant and replanted it in this basket, and surrounded it with a little wire fence. And it got a healthy drink of duck pond tea! How's that for a summertime beverage!?
Things are moving along at the front of the coop. Both of the large raised beds will be tomato plant beds. I was going to plant sweet peppers in the front bed, but decided to plant the peppers on the other side of the garden, to make room for more tomato plants! I think what I might do, before I plant anything in the front bed, is add another row of 2x6 boards (and more SOIL) to increase the depth of the bed. Right now it's the shallowest of all the new beds at only 6" deep, and I'd like a few more inches of dirt if I'm going to put tomatoes there. You can see what tomatoes I do have planted in the second bed. You can also see the flower bed along the front of the chicken house -- I've got lots of flowers coming up in that bed! There's a hummingbird feeder hanging there that has at least 1 hummer feeding from it. There's a narrow bed along the chicken yard where I've got gourds and sunflowers and a few cucumbers seeded. They will grow up nicely on the fence and provide OODLES of shade during the hot summer afternoons. At the corner of the chicken yard is where I've got a few more sunflowers and more chives, and where another humming bird feeder hangs (when it's not being washed).
This is a portion of the LONG bed that runs the full length of the 30' chicken yard. I dug it deep this year and added lots of compost from the farm. I edged the entire bed with a 2' wire fence to keep the roosters out of this bed. There are a few cucumber plants stuck in this bed, along with more gourds (several variety), sunflowers, strawflowers, zinnia, and California poppies. There might be other things too, but that's what I can remember. Oh! And at the VERY end of the chicken yard, I planted three raspberry canes, where they have room to make lots of new canes!
I'm amazed at how big the tomato plants are already! The larger plants were planted last week, and the smaller two (which you can't really see at the bottom of the photo) I planted this evening right before dinner. Soon we'll be adding some trellising to support the plants as they grow.
I planted the sweet pepper plants over the weekend. I picked these plants up at the store, not trusting the seeds I saved from last year's garden. They weren't heirloom, and I just didn't want to be left with no peppers this year if the plants I grow from them don't produce any peppers! So I bought 2 Big Berthas, 2 Orange Bell, 2 Sweet Red Bell, and 1 Yellow Bell. Next to the Yellow Bell, I planted the ONLY Chocolate Pepper plant that sprouted from the seeds I bought last fall.
FINALLY, the seeds I planted in the other raised beds sprouted! I think these are the black zucchini. Or maybe the 8-Ball zucchini... I can't remember off hand which bed this photo is of! Ha! At least I know what's planted in each bed, and when they start producing fruit, it will really be obvious! I can't wait for these to get a little bigger so I can add some good farm mulch around them! And it looks like I might even need to thin them out a little! In other beds, the beans are coming up, cucumbers, more squash, patty pan, and even more zucchini! The strawberry bed isn't showing ANY activity at all... but I've got another 15 or so plants to add to finish out the bed. Hopefully we get at least a few of them to grow!
Finally, not really a GARDEN update, but an update just the same. Remember the gorgeous little chick Alan brought me last month -- the one that had really heavy "eye liner"? She's growing up so big! Still no idea what breed she really is -- I haven't taken time to research it. Maybe an easter egger... dunno. She doesn't really have the right comb for an easter egger... Anyway, as always, I'm hoping she's a SHE! She doesn't display any rooster behaviors, and really just wants to either be held, or sit on my shoulder. My money's on her being a SHE ... but then again, I'm not really a betting girl.
Alan had to run some errands in town yesterday afternoon. When he came home I was out in the chicken yard saying hello hello HELLO to the ladies. He said I had a package... that I should go to the house and check it out. Oh REALLY!? I like packages!
In yesterday's post I mentioned some used lumber we picked up at a local lumber yard for making the new garden beds. Here is Alan, unloading the boards yesterday morning. There was a bit of a chilly breeze, so he was wearing what he calls his "bald head hat". *grin* There are various lengths of 2x8 and 2x10s, and a couple of LONG 2x6s, so we'll be doing some cutting while we assemble the new garden beds. It's exciting to have the lumber actually on the property - it feels like progress! Now if the dirt would arrive, we'd really be in business!
By the end of the day, I had the three small raised beds and the big aluminum wash tub all prepped for planting, and the flowerbed along the front of the coop is ready for planting as well. I had to cover the freshly dug beds with all kinds of fencing, wire cages and garden decor (pretty much anything I could find to lay down) to keep the roosters from kicking out all of the freshly turned dirt! Sometimes, they're just TOO helpful.
In the flowerbed in front of the chicken house, I plan to plant tall flowers to the left of the door (below the window), and SHORT plants in the section of the bed where the door needs to swing shut. Last year I planted too tall of plants in front of the door and it was nearly impossible to get the door shut during late summer storms. Oops! *grin* The soil got forked, turned, and composted chicken house cleanings mixed in for LOTS of growing power!
Most of the large baskets I used last year for growing various plants won't make it another season. But they worked GREAT for 1 season in the garden, and were affordable at about $2 each (on sale). Actually, many of them were nest baskets in the chicken coop before I installed the vintage aluminum nest boxes, so they really have served double-duty here on the farm. They were well worth the price even if most of them are being retired this year. (Some of them are just fine and will be used this year, maybe for potted flowers!) The baskets are being replaced by the new larger raised beds we'll be assembling with the lumber we picked up.
This area at the side of the chicken house is where I planted pumpkin, some squash, tomatoes and peppers last year. We will put new 4'x8' beds here. The roosters have been busy scratching around in this area too, hunting for bugs.
It was so nice to have normal "spring" weather to work in, instead of more "summer" heat like we had Saturday. It was actually chilly when the breeze picked up!
Oh, and if you're wondering why all of these roosters are running about .... it's because there were TOO MANY roosters in with the hens, and it was starting to get a little brutal for the ladies. So when they can't be NICE, out they go! When they're not kicking things around in the garden, they make laps around the chicken yard talking to the ladies. Much better than the alternative, and I think they'd agree. *grin*
Thank you for all of your condolences about Dee. Though small in size, she always made her presence in the coop known. She was clearly a favorite, and was even featured on our 2010 holiday card wearing a Santa hat. There's something about the small Dutch and English Bantams that makes them very special... they overflow with personality. I'd raise them exclusively if they laid eggs larger than a robin! It takes a lot of Dutch Bantam eggs to make an omelet! *grin*
Enough sadness... how about something crafty, and springy, like Sweet Pete! Easter isn't too far off. I was reminded of this when Alan and I were at the grocery store over the weekend. He zipped to the Easter isle... "chocolate, chooocoooolate, mmmmm!" He picked out a couple milk chocolate bunnies for himself, and a white chocolate cookies'n cream bunny for me. Mmmmm!
The flowers on this card are blossoms I pulled from some silk flower stems I picked up years ago during a spring clearance. I added some paper punched leaves, accented with some faux stitching down the center and glitter on the edges. I also added a bit of glitter to the flower centers, and tucked a pink button alongside to secure the sentiment tag.
Rest in peace, sweet little Dee. I wish I had known that you weren't feeling well... I would have brought you in and given you all the extra TLC you needed, but you didn't even let me know you weren't well! You didn't have permission to go....
Alan and I buried her in the middle of the chicken yard, where she will always be surrounded by her friends.
...you didn't have permission to go...
I am having a very sad day.
After each Whipper Snapper release, I order a few wood mounted stamps of some of my favorite images from the release. My order arrived yesterday, and I thought I'd share a photo! I absolutely LOVE getting the stamps in the mail. Sure, I draw the image and color the images for the labels, but actually having the product in my hands is most excellent. Whipper Snapper does such a wonderful job making the stamps; it is an honor to be able to work with them.
If you're not familiar, I am an artist for Whipper Snapper Designs, a rubber stamp company. They turn my illustrations into rubber stamps, like those above, for crafters. They are sold worldwide, and the complete collection can be found on their website. The stamps are available from Whipper Snapper as wood mount, cling mount, and as bare rubber, depending on the preference of the stamper. When I order my own stamps, I always order wood mounted; I love having the colored label and having the wood mounted stamps on display is something I truly enjoy.
On another topic, I've been asked about our "mystery chick". Here is a photo I took just a few minutes ago. This photo really shows the progress of feather growth. I still don't know what breed this little one is... and I'm REALLY hoping it's not a little roo!!
I'm sooooo glad it's Friday... how about a baby mosh pit!? I took this photo earlier this week. Not much has changed, except their wing feathers are a bit longer, and their tail feathers are a wee bit longer. Other than that, they're still cute fluff balls. Cheep cheep!!
Meet Lola! She's one of my recently released Whipper Snapper stamps.
I noticed the other day that people in town have daffodils blooming in their yards. And I noticed that we don't have ANY early spring blooming flowers here on the farm. I must remedy this, don't you agree? I have a stack of plant and seed catalogs on the end table in the living room, and they are getting corners folded down, notes penciled in, and ideas are brewing for the summer garden.
Today is Alan's mother's birthday -- HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SUE! We're having her and John (Alan's Dad), and Alan's nephew over for dinner Sunday night. Should be a nice evening. I even made cupcakes! YUM!
Hope you're enjoying the weekend... I sure am!
Alan had to make a trip to town yesterday to pick up some feed, and some other odds and ends. When he got home, he walked into the house and surprised me with six BABY CHICKENS! Six little babies for me to call my very own! *grin* It's been a long while since we've had babies on the farm, and their little peep peep peeps are music to my ears! He brought home four Golden Comet chicks, two of which are shown in the above photo series. We love Golden Comets for their incredible egg laying abilities, and for their sweet dispositions. And we love that Golden Comets are easily gender identifiable as chicks. The light golden chicks w/ subtle stripes on their backs are girls. Easy pickin's!
He brought home THIS little cutie, who is as tiny as can be, and I am guessing is a white Dutch bantam. (Though I reserve the right to change that opinion later! Haa!) This is the chick that prompted the purchase. Alan said that this TINY little thing was in the same area as the store's order of meat birds! There is NO WAY this little pip is a meat bird. Poor little thing was being trompled by the bigger babies; Alan to the rescue! This is also the chick that prompted the Stickles bottle photos. I was trying to show just how tiny this chick is.
And he brought home THIS darling little one, who has the prettiest coloring! This chick isn't as large as the Golden Comets, but isn't nearly as little as the little white chick. I haven't had time to research a breed... expect an update later!
Welcome HOME, babies! Cheep, cheep, CHEEP!
And THANK YOU, Alan... I have a feeling these little delights were just what I needed! *Smooches*
Bits and pieces of this card have been laying on my desk all week. Today, I put them all together. The chicken coop is one of my Whipper Snapper images, and the chicken is from the Beautiful Day cling set.
The images are colored with markers and I inked the edges w/ brown distress ink. I added some medium sized and small sized twine, along with a button from my stash. Will I ever tire of these October Afternoon papers? Unlikely...
The ladies are laying eggs like crazy lately... I brought in an entire bowl full of eggs earlier today, and will bring in more this evening. They sure do like the warmer temps we've been having!
Hope you've enjoyed the weekend; I know I sure have!
You haven't seen the last of the cards I've made using some of my recently released Whipper Snapper stamps! Here's another one I'll share with you. This card uses the image called Hayseed, and a sentiment from my His Favorite Things cling set. Hayseed is Jennybelle's partner in crime.
I don't make many "boy" cards. I guess it's because I don't really know many young boys! To my delight, my friend Jennifer recently had a son who is as cute as can be! You can see him here on the baby quilt I made for him, and he's even in his birthday suit! Cute!!
In other news...
I made a trip to see an oral surgeon this afternoon. A couple of weeks ago, I broke one of my molars in half, and ended up pulling half of the tooth out. Thankfully, there has been minimal pain. I have opted to have the rest of the tooth pulled and an implant put in. *groan* Today's appointment was a consultation with the surgeon, and the procedure is scheduled for next Thursday morning. Alan will be driving me to and from the appointment. I feel like I need to warn him; I'm pretty sure he's in for an experience.
Dad can tell him all kinds of stories about how, uh, gross it was when I had my wisdom teeth pulled when I was in college. I went to college several hours from home, and Dad came down to take me to the appointment and to spend the weekend with me. And, well, it was gross. Too much motion, too early after sedation. I lost it. A lot! But even with all the grossness, he had a wonderful weekend chumming it up with the boys in my dorm while I slept.
Let's hope the activities following next week's procedure aren't quite as "gross"... I'll be sure to let you know, in full detail! *grin* I bet Dad's thankful Alan gets to fill-in as nursemaid for this event. Haa!
Not only did we have blue sky and 80 degree temps here on the farm today, we also had several attentive vultures circling the farm this afternoon. The chickens and ducks are always aware of them, and hustle under cover when they're near.
Here is another card I made this weekend while I was busily making projects with some of my recently released Whipper Snapper stamps. This stamp, called Lavender & Daisies, is another one of my favorites. The sentiment is from my Sweet Expressions cling set.
The button I used on this card is one that was in a jar of old mother of pearl buttons I have. It was the only button in the jar that has any color to it; the rest of them are just regular pearl colored. I thought this one with it's pink tint, worked nicely on this card.
If you're lucky enough to have today off work, enjoy it!! I know I will enjoy the day extra day of personal time! I'll be spending some time putting farm fresh eggs in cartons. The ladies have been laying eggs like CRAZY and I'm a bit behind on packaging them up!