Our chickens finally started laying again!
Except one chicken laid what looks more like a bird egg…it’s so tiny! We cracked it open and there was no yolk. So weird!
I have a black thumb.
Houseplants die just being in my vicinity.
So, you might imagine my immense delight at my two garden boxes we started this spring. I never expected them to look like this!
Pretty lush and green for a girl with a black thumb, right? I am really quite surprised. Especially after the squash bug infestation we had. Not that the squash bugs did any real damage, however, my homemade Pinterest inspired spray bottle of Dawn dish soap and peppermint essential oil was another story. Yeah, it was satisfying to watch the squash bugs die on contact, but nobody told me that I’d be burning my plants’ leaves at the same time. Anyway…
Setting the dinner table with veggies grown from our own backyard is so much fun. The kids really get a kick out of it, too, and they’re so much more agreeable about eating their veggies!
Here’s what we planted in our two garden boxes this year. I realize I put way too many plants in these boxes… I’ll try to restrain myself next time.
Mostly we have zucchini coming out our ears. I really love our fresh cucumbers, though. They’re the best!
The kids love to check the garden and see if there’s anything ripe for the picking…and there usually is.
We have a few different plants growing in our hydroponic Tower Garden, too.
This is our first year using a hydroponic system…one that uses mineral water in place of soil. It’s pretty neat and fairly low maintenance. I don’t have to know anything about gardening in order for it to work. And I like that. I especially like that I don’t even have to remember to water it. It has a timer and waters itself. Yay!
Right now we’re growing these goodies in our garden tower:
The neat thing about the Tower Garden is that you can bring it inside to continue growing things throughout the winter. It has special lights that you attach so it receives enough light. It’s pretty neat! I can’t wait to see how it works this winter. We’re already planning what we want to grow.
If anyone has gardening tips to share, please do! I’d also love to hear about your gardening experiences.
Up until today, our yard has consisted of dirt and tumbleweeds.
Not one bush, not one tree, not one blade of grass has ever graced our landscape.
See how I suffer!? Hehee!
But today we planted our very first tree!
It was a special day.
We have added a Bradford Pear tree to our dirt and tumbleweed landscape. We had one of these trees in the front yard of our old house. I loved it because I got to look forward to delicate blossoms greeting me each spring!
I’m not very good at keeping plants alive but my biggest worry is whether our new little tree will be able to withstand the fierce wind out here. Many of the trees in our neighborhood, like all three of them, grow at a 45 degree angle because of the wind. Yup, the wind is insane out here.
At the nursery where we bought our tree, we were told our Bradford Pear would most definitely lose it’s leaves in a few weeks.
What?! You’re kidding me, right? Because I chose this tree based on its leaves and flowers and such. And now you tell me the pretty flowers and leaves are going to die?!
Apparently the stress of replanting trees causes them to lose their leaves. How did I never know this before?
So I took all these photos to remember my tree by, incase it should go bald. But I’m hoping those crazies at the nursery don’t know what they’re talking about.
All my loves worked so hard to get the tree in the ground as soon as we got home.
I had the very important job of supervising. <wink>
A little to the left, Dear!
No, no… The hole needs to be much deeper than that.
A little to the right.
Nope. That’s not where I told you I wanted it.
You need to move the hole!
See how very helpful I am? <grins>
Anyway, it’s in the ground now and it looks lovely. Who knew a simple little tree could make me so happy.
We’re looking forward to planting more in the coming weeks. I’m definitely hoping for some grass and a patio this year.
We’ll see how it goes!
Are you planting anything in your yard this spring?
Got any tips on how to give our newly planted tree a great start? If so, please share!
Ya know what?
Country life isn’t always flowering meadows and bubbling brooks, like I had expected. Actually, it doesn’t necessarily include any lush grass or leafy trees at all. When you’re out west, a good country day might just give you billowing dust clouds and coyotes. Not very picturesque.
But I’m getting off topic. I really do like living out in the country. The peace and quiet. All the open space. It’s good.
But sometimes…country life stinks. Literally.
My sweet son gathered this beautiful basketful of eggs this morning. Lovely, aren’t they?
I love my little hens and the beautiful eggs they give me.
What’s better, though, is what’s inside those beautiful eggs. Because I know that if I crack any of them open, I’ll find rich, dark yolks that are free of hormones and antibiotics. They’re full of rich free-range nutrients. And that makes me marvelously happy.
When I was a kid, there were three things that really grossed me out. Banana strings, chicken veins, and eggs.
When I ate eggs I thought, “Ew, I’m eating an unborn baby chicken.” How disgusting. And cruel, too. The only way I could stand to stomach an egg was to have them well cooked – scrambled. None of that easy over or sunny side up stuff. Shiver.
I had pretty well gotten over my egg issues as an adult. Although banana strings and chicken veins still gross me out.
These past few weeks, though, I have reverted back to my childhood horror of eggs. Get them all away from me!
All this egg trauma because somebody, in my little flock of feathered ladies, was laying a rotten egg. The egg looked perfectly fine. I couldn’t distinguish the bad one from the good ones. But as I was cooking one day, I cracked open an egg and immediately a green haze filled the kitchen and left me unconscious on the floor. Well, just about. It really did make me gag, though.
Remember yelling to your friends and siblings, “Last one there is a rotten egg!” Yeah. This experience has brought new meaning to the phrase “rotten egg”.
So for weeks now, I’ve been forced to smell all the eggs we’ve gathered from our hens to make sure we’re not going to eat a bad one. Sometimes I forget to crack them separately and I ruin several eggs at once just because I cracked the bad egg into my bowl full of good eggs.
I’ve gotten to the point where all eggs smell rotten. The stench now lives in my nose. I go outside and I can still smell the foulness of those bad eggs.
I had to find the culprit. This couldn’t go on. I decided to separate each chicken until we discovered who was laying these horrid eggs.
Well, we lucked out. We found the offender on the first try.
The guilty party was: a Rhode Island Red.
Strangely enough, she looks healthy. She’s lays nice brown eggs with good hard shells. The yolks are nice and dark like always, but somewhere along the way something has gone very wrong. Because my oh my, she really is laying one very bad smelling egg.
Now that we’ve found our suspect, what do we do with her?
It’s not like we’ll be able to sell her or give her away. Who wants a hen who lays rotten eggs, right?
The only solution I’ve come up with so far involves dropping the said chicken off somewhere in hopes that some hippy vegan will keep the little bugger as a pet. Because vegans don’t eat eggs, do they? Well, if they aren’t vegan, they will be. One whiff of a rotten egg and your stomach decides you’re vegan for you.
If you had a chicken who laid rotten eggs, what would you do?
I want to find out why/how a chicken could lay a rotten egg. What’s causing this? Is it something she’s been eating? I’ve googled several different things and checked my chicken handbooks, but I’m not getting anywhere.
For now, we’ll just hang on to her until we figure out what to do.
If you have any ideas, please leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you!
P.S I’ll update this post if we ever DO find out what’s causing this strange phenomenon.
Squeamish, girly, and blonde.
In three words, that’s me.
And I guess there’s no changing any of that.
I thought that moving out to the country would somehow magically turn me into this “I Am Woman Hear Me Roar ” kinda country girl that I’ve always wanted to be.
You know…like those women who can milk a cow or a goat with their bare hands. The ones who don’t bat an eye if a mouse happens to scamper over their bare feet. The ones who have the guts to hug their chickens one day and butcher them for dinner the next. The women who can deliver their goats’ kids in the middle of the night with no vet for miles around.
That’s the kind of woman I had dreams of becoming…
It didn’t happen.
So back to reality.
Today the kids and I picked up our order of chicks from the feed store.
While we were checking out, I noticed that one of the chicks seemed a bit lethargic but I figured, “Ah, she’s probably fine. Just sleepy.”
I honestly couldn’t think very clearly with my son loudly proclaiming his love for the cute little fuzz balls while I was trying to sign the receipt with a pen that wouldn’t work. And my daughter, whom I was holding because I forgot her shoes again, was trying to get down and touch everything.
After we got home, though, and I started placing the chicks in their new little home and this little one I had been worried about definitely looked much smaller than the rest.
As I was placing this chick inside the pen, I felt some gross stuff stuck to its belly.
I touched it!
Oh, the horror!!!
I washed my hands with ten different hand soaps and yet I still can’t put my fingers near my mouth. So gross!
I flipped through all my chicken books on raising chickens, to find out what I could do to help this little chick out. I found out that new chicks often have a “pasty butt” problem. (Their words not mine.)
To resolve the issue, it just said that I needed to wipe the chicks bottom with warm water and a washcloth.
Great! Sounds like a simple solution that my husband can handle. <grin>
I called my husband, who was at work, and begged him to come home and rescue me from the sick chick situation.
I went over all the reasons why I could not handle this situation and all the reasons why he most certainly could.
And to no avail. He said he just couldn’t come home early. I pleaded…
Not even to save your wife from farmish calamities? Not even to save the life of a poor sick chick? *cry*
Well, the thought of that little chick having to suffer until hubby got home outweighed my fear of touching an icky chick. So, in my desperation, I decided to pull up my big girl panties, ahem, my purple nitrile gloves, and help that little chick out myself.
And not because I’m a cool country girl but because I’m a sappy city girl that tends to cry over poor little sick chicks.
I took the poor little limp chick in my protected gloved hand and brought it over to the garage sink.
The belly of this little chick was covered in chick poo, egg shell, and green gagable grossness. Seriously traumatizing stuff for both the chick and me, but mostly me!
Well, the warm washcloth technique was accomplishing nothing. I mean this icky stuff was stuck on like super glue and it wasn’t budging. The chick in my hand was squawking at me and I was really stressing out at this point.
I decided to try running a little warm water over the chick’s belly to free up the ick instead. Chicky hated that more. So did I.
And then for one awful moment the chick went limp and I thought it had died in my hand! I looked that chick straight in the eye and told her “Don’t you dare think of dying in my hand!”
This poor chick couldn’t handle the trauma it was undergoing and I wasn’t getting anywhere so I dried her off and just made her as comfortable as I could.
I went back into the house and walked around in circles, stewing over the situation.
What was I going to do now? I could not handle having a dying chick in my care.
Then it hit me.
Take the chick back to the store!
Duh! Of course. Why didn’t I think of that in the first place?
Off to the feed store we flew!
During the drive, the poor little chick would squawk and then fall silent, causing me to say, “It’s okay poor baby! We’re gonna be there soon, Honey! Just hang on a little longer!” And then during periods of silence, “Don’t you dare die on me! Don’t you even think about it! You stay with me, you hear me?”
The feed store owner was none to pleased to see me again, even though I had called ahead and explained everything.
And unfortunately she had no clue what was wrong with my chick either. She admitted that she had never owned a chicken in her life and vows she never will.
Maybe you’re in the wrong business field?
I seriously think I need to find a new feed store to frequent whose owner is knowledgeable in raising chickens.
Well, we came home from the feed store with a much healthier looking chick, although we were all feeling sad to have left our little sick chick at the feed store.
And I’m not at all sure what our little chick was sick with. It really looked like something more serious than “pasty butt” but I guess I’ll never know.
All of the rest of our chicks are doing well so far.
Happy healthy little fuzz balls. Thank goodness because I’m just not capable of handling sick poultry all by my lonesome.
In a couple of weeks I’ll check back in and show you just how quickly these adorable little fuzz balls grow into ugly stinky teenagers. <wink>
Photo shows: Ameraucana hen A few days ago, I was buying stamps at the post office when I heard faint little sounds of… “Cheep, cheep, cheep!” You know you live in the country if you hear farm sounds at your local post office. Sure enough, a crate of little chicks had arrived at the post office that […]
For the first time since our move, over three years ago, we finally got around to planning our new garden! First on the list of things to do – build garden boxes. Which Woods are Best? After researching different building materials, we found that both redwood and cedar would work as great garden bed […]