Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chicks In The Dog House and Flowers in the Field

The Chickie Chicks are moving up in the world.  They have intermediate housing until their chicken coup is built.  Shortie is slightly perplexed.... because even though she didn't really like being in the dog house.... it was still her dog house.  Now who are these people in her dog house?
The dog house and dog pen make a wonderful intermediate chicken coupe and yard. Steve and Eddie put chicken wire up on the inside of the chain link to keep the little babies from getting through the holes.
The Chickie Chicks are growing quickly; I think they have doubled in size in less that 2 weeks.
We are really enjoying them.  I had forgotten how delightful chickens are.  I love to watch the personalities and chicken society at work.When they first got into the big dog cage, after a moment or two of hesitation, they jumped and ran around,  chested each other (chicken for : "high five"  and rooster for "Macho, Macho Man") and stretched out in the dirt.  They couldn't get enough of the dirt.  It is healthy for chickens to be able to dust themselves... and they were very much ready for their dirt bath.  I believe especially once they get their feathers, this is a delightful way to cool off.

They were not very eager to try out their new little coup, even with hay and food and a nice little log for a temporary perch... this was strange new territory, perhaps a trap... they were not going in there.  I had to force them to stay in for a moment or two, just so they could pause  to see that shelter, food and comfort was there for them.   They wouldn't have any of it.  Thankfully by nightfall they all went in; it was nice to see that their instinct was working.

The sunflowers are always delightful to see in the garden.
I like to plant some for beauty and attracting bees and so on.  I like to plant some for seeds... yet even if there were no practical purpose for them, I just like to see them every summer.
We planted our cover crop in the open beds on Saturday.  We started with Buckwheat, since should sprout within  a week 
and be full  grown by the end of fall. Once it is mature, we will till it into the ground  and then plant another cover crop of field peas and oats.
The ground where we planted all these new beds was so hard when we began; There was hardly any organic matter to comfort and nourish our lovely garden veggies, that we had to really give it a work over to even begin.  We added compost and rototilled, Luke has hooked up some nice drip systems, but it still needs work.  It used to be a horse pen, then an equipment yard, which really compacted it. I have learned that  cover crops are wonderful for the purpose of adding nutrients and loosening up the soil with their root systems, and then the add organic matter once they are lightly tilled in just before planting your next crop.  They also attract the good insects and organism such as lady bugs, and earthworms to your garden, and help keep the weeds at bay. Buckwheat adds phosphorous, legumes such as field peas, alfalfa and others are wonderful for pulling in nitrogen.  Oats are great for adding aeration with a wonderful root system that loosens the soil. Now that we have conquered some of the hardest work, we are enjoying seeing it  come slowly together.
We planted some Blackberries this year.  They are looking nice.

We have about ten berries on the bush.  Yippy Skippy.... okay, well can't exactly bake a pie from that, but its a start... perhaps next year.

We have seven grapevines... seven children, seven grapevines... I like it... its a good number.

Can you see my green bean tee pees?  I built them for our little grandsons who will soon come to visit. Once you construct the tee pees(bamboo poles tied together at the top), you plant green beans at the base of each pole.  The green bean vines are supposed to climb up the poles and fill out and you have a wonderful little tent made of green bean vines, with green beans hanging down to be eaten as you sit inside.
To me the idea of being a little boy, and being able to sit in a tee pee made out of green bean vines seems wonderful.  When I was little, I loved forts, and hideaways in the bushes.  I used to have a hammock strung between 2 trees in the back of the yard.   I liked to imagine that I lived with the "Swiss Family Robinson".  I would read my books there, it was wonderful...  thus the green bean teepees for my grandsons.  Unfortunately the grasshoppers came in during the drought and ate them 4 or 5 times over right down to the nubbins.... but green beans are evidently resilient.... (we should all be like that)

they are coming back.  I am not sure if they will be very tall by the time my grandsons all get here, but I am glad they are growing again.  Next year I will try again, with bigger  poles for bigger tee pees, because my grandsons will be bigger.  Perhaps I will have developed a grasshopper strategy by then... or perhaps we will not have as many grasshopper problems next year.

Blessed are all who fear the Lord
who walk in His ways
You will eat the fruit of your labor,
blessing and prosperity will be yours.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house;
Your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
Thus is the man blessed who fears the Lord.
May the Lord bless you from Zion
all the days of your life;
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem,
and may you live to see your children's children.
Psalm 128


  1. This was a beautiful post and so informative!
    Makes me excited to try it out ourselves next year!
    Love you!

  2. I agree with Danielle! So informative Mom! And wow does the garden look spectacular! So healthy and lush! I can't wait to see it in person!!!! I think a little Winston will be thrilled to sit under a TeePee! So sweet Mom!
    Those little peepers are adorable! And Shorty's expression lol!! You know how to make me even more homesick! Love you and Dad so much!

  3. That was great :) Love the chickens, and all the photos.
    I've heard about planting that stuff to put nutrients back into the ground...

    Have loved all your zucchini recipes - gonna try them out... Will let you all know how they go!

  4. So fun to see your chicks and garden! This year, I planted some left-over (and packet-less) green bean seeds, and they almost all turned out to be climbers...with nothing to climb on (at first). Oops! :) Next year I plan to do the Teepees... Isn't this a great time of year? I just love all the veggies growing! :)

  5. Had to come back! :-D
    Love that pic in the middle with the foothills in the background! A beautiful place to call home.(this side of eternity)
    Thank you for the verse you sent me, I was thinking though it should read, "Better is a table set with home grown vegetables where there is love..."
    Blessed just to know you!

  6. What lovely pictures of the work of your hands. And those chicks are so, so cute. My children would love to spend some time with them. :)

  7. Oh wow Mom!! I have been so annoyed that I have been so long in visiting and enjoying your delightful reads but now i am so glad it has taken me this long. I am sitting here peaceful, both babies asleep while I am up in Elizabeth's room late at night having tea and brownies while her little one is asleep and enjoying this post to the absolute fullest!

    What joy and peace reading through and looking at the beautiful pictures. I can't get over how lovely the garden is. It doesn't look like your having a drought at all! Oh and I just eat up all the yummy information you gave us. Loved the verse as well. Can't get over those tee pees !!! I know Zane will never leave when he discovers Grammy made him his actual very own little cozy hide - away tee pee!! I also loved thinking of you in your little hammock as a girl wishing you were in the swiss family robinson family! I wish I could have been your friend when I was little.

  8. How lovely! I so enjoy visiting other's homesteads and gardens through their blogs. Your adorable chicks make me miss ours!