Sunday, September 12, 2010

One Sunday in September...

Today was a misty, cool, Sunday. I love days like this; they remind me of Ireland, but the day wasn't so moist that I couldn't get outside and enjoy it. Rather than write a bunch, here are some photos taken from my stroll around our property today.

I planted sunflowers at the edge of our property where they'd get plenty of sun. Despite the drought this year, they're doing pretty good.

Squeak follows me everywhere. Here, he's near the hedgerow at the edge of our property near where I've planted the sunflowers. He's a most excellent "helper".

My garden was somewhat pathetic this year due to the fact that I had a bunch of young chickens running wild most of the summer. They devoured everything. Here is a young kale volunteer that I managed to cover with a sheer curtain; these kale volunteers have come up 2 years in a row!

Ah, this is suppose to be a "Peter Pepper", which is suppose to look strikingly like its namesake. I got the seeds from a Seed Saver's Exchange member, but obviously it crossed with something's nice and hot though.

Mail call! Our mailbox....send me a letter! Inside the blue newspaper box lurks an old bird's nest...

My red raspberries appear to be about to produce a bumper crop of autumn raspberries.

Future red raspberry

Checking for eggs, I lifted the nesting box lid and found FIVE hens occupying the 3 boxes.

I cleaned out the chicken coop yesterday and now have a full /overflowing compost bin in the garden...Golden Sexlink looks on in the background.

A "Beautyberry" bush, (Callicarpa Dichotoma) is growing up between cracks in our patio (!!!) I need to transplant it somewhere, or start more from seed. I love the purple berries that it produces.

Callicarpa Dichotoma aka "Beautyberry Bush"

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Chickens Update


So here it is September already. Summer has come and gone for the most part; where did it go?! I've kept busy all summer, though apparently not quite busy enough when I stand back and see all that I did not get accomplished (that I'd hope I would) this summer.

I will give a quick update on the 15 chicks that hatched this spring (rather than blather on and on about what I didn't get done this summer!). And I promise, I WILL write about other things in this blog besides chickens....I don't want to have to re-name it "Chickens In The Mist."

Of the 15 eggs that hatched this spring (3 different batches), 10 were cockerels and only 5 were little pullets. What are the odds?! The roosters were all gorgeous and varying combinations of Welsummer/Ameraucana/Golden Sexlink/Speckled Sussex crosses. I wanted to keep them all of course, but I've already got 2 Ameraucana roosters and with 12 roosters crowing all day long, it was getting to be a little much. So, I advertised on Freecycle requesting that they go to "pet only" homes; I couldn't bear the thought of these sweet little boys ending up in a freezer or stew pot somewhere. I ended up parting with 9 of the roosters. I kept "Squeak", a handsome Welsummer/Ameraucana cross.

Squeak is the stunning result of a Welsummer/Ameraucana crossing

Squeak was so-named because he was the second to hatch in the first batch, the first being named "Pip"....Pipsqueak. Get it?! Anyway, Squeak is colored just like a Welsummer, has a Welsummer comb, but has these big, fat Ameraucana cheeks. What a stunning combination of characteristics!

Who's yer daddy?! Ameraucana cheeks, but everything else screams Welsummer!

Currently Squeak is the sweetest rooster to grace the earth. He follows me around like a lost puppy, making constant chittering noises. He sounds like a senile old man muttering to himself. And it's just non-stop. I will be devastated if he turns mean like Ding Dong, but I know that's a possibility.

Of the 5 pullets hatched this spring, 2
("Biddy Boop" and ""Zoe") look like full-blooded Welsummers. Three ("Meep", "Guinevere" and "Smidgen the Pigeon") look like full-blooded Ameraucanas. I will know for sure when they begin to lay eggs; egg color will be the deciding factor. I'm really, really hoping for some Welsummer/Ameraucana crosses, as their eggs should be a wonderful dark olive color.

Guinevere appears to be a full-blooded Ameraucana

Meep, another pullet that appears to be all-Ameraucana. That's Domino in the background. He's a Speckled Sussex/Ameraucana cross.

So, with the 6 new additions to my little flock, I've now got a grand total of 33 chickens; 30 hens and 3 roosters. I've got all the new hens (pullets) integrated in with the rest of the girls. Squeak and the lame Venus still have free range of the yard. I worry that if I put Venus in with the rest of the flock that they'll pick on her. And Squeak, well, the other 2 roosters are very, very jealous. Someday soon though, I'd love to get all the chickens under one roof. Life would be so much easier.