Friday, May 2, 2014

Photo Update: Hashtag Chickens and Things

First feathers coming in on one of my chicken's wings.
My smallest chicken fighting with the dog for oats. What a good dog!
Chicken Selfie?
One of my hens found the stash of treats.
Shoulder chicken and munchkin man.
Fluffy shoulder chicken likes to preen the hair behind my ears.
Drying rosemary grown in my kitchen window.
Radishes are coming up nicely in the greenhouse.
Small potatoes grown in my kitchen window over winter.
Another new addition to the family, Kitty. Also known as Cat, Gato, or Kit-teh. I love her multicolor eyes.

You can follow me on Instagram for more sustainable living and urban homestead updates.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Chicken Fights (The Good Kind)

In my efforts to become more sustainable in the way my family lives I've decided to raise backyard chickens. I have some experience raising birds as I always had tropical birds as a kid. Chickens are much more entertaining than birds normally seen as pets.

I ordered my fowl from and recieved all 6 fluff balls in decent health. One, the smallest, looked a little weak when I opened the box. I gave her watered down Gatorade and warmed her under the lamp in my hands. She quickly perked up. She is still the smallest and I suspect always will be but that doesn't mean she takes any pecks from the others. Midge, as I named her, keeps to herself mostly to avoid fights. When the others do peck at her she leaps in the air, tiny wings flapping wildly, and causes more ruckus than you would think possible for such a tiny bird. She may be at the bottom of the pecking order but she still doesn't take crap from the others!

DD, short for Daredevil, is crazy. I call her my suicidal bird. DD will jump from any height at any moment. She is unpredictable, curious, and alert. I also suspicion she might be a he. DD's favorite thing to do is roost on the highest spot in the brooder, stretch her neck out as far as she can, and chirp louder than anyone else. DD doesn't fight with the others. She herds them like a cattle dog with sheep.

Empsee is one of my fatties. She is the second largest chick and one of the calmest. She can be a bully but mostly concerns herself with eating.

Blackie is by far my largest bird. She is over double the size of midge already and frequently uses her weight to shove the others out of the way so she can eat first. Blackie loves to eat out of my hand. She is the only chick I've had issues with "pasting-up." Her surplus of feathers around her vent seem to cling to her poop worse than the others. It's not a big deal though as she seems to enjoy when I clean it off for her.

Topple is my anti-social long-legged bird. She HATES being held and seems to avoid contact with the other birds for the most part. She has the longest legs I've ever seen on a bird!

Feisty is my favorite at the moment. She is black with a white spot on her dainty head. Feisty will hop right into my hand to be held and LOVES when I sing to her. She tilts her head to one side and listens intently until she falls asleep right in my hand. When I go to put her back in the brooder she refuses to get off my hand.

The chicks are about 5 or 6 days old today. Yesterday they got their first treats. I chopped up some broccoli and served it to them on a bed of plain dirt from my backyard. A few of them like that (the fat birds) but the rest were uninterested. I later threw a big leaf of kale in their brooder and that was a big win! I've never seen anything as funny as tiny chirping fluff balls flying around the brooder like middle school kids playing tag! Despite there being plenty for all of them they decided to fight over the biggest piece one of them picked up. It amused me greatly for several minutes until they all calmed down and resumed normal pecking.

My family has asked me what I'll do if one of them is a male. City Ordinance where I live states no roosters so my options are adopt him out or eat him. With a distinct lack of time I fear soup is on the menu if one of my lovelies is a boy. I hope they are all hens, but yes, I am prepared to deal with a rooster in the most humane way I can. Waste not.

Picture updates of my girls can be seen on Instagram. Follow me to see frequent updates on the garden and animals at my little urban homestead.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Accidental Surface Irrigation

I lucked out when I dug the rows for my garden. They naturally slant downhill a touch with the high side closest to both my hose and the place where rain rolls off my roof. I have found with minimal effort I can lay the hose at the top of the row with just a trickle and 5 minutes later the entire row has been watered with no attention from me. This method has both increased the amount of water my soil soaks up and frees up my time to weed. I no longer water the garden twice a day!

Knowing this I plan to dig trenches from the rain runoff point to each row. In time my garden will be able to use rain water and will cut down on my water costs. For the moment I will use large rocks as "gates" or dams to control the flow of the runoff while I contemplate a better and more visually appealing way to achieve the same results.

With my goal of gardening on a budget mostly achieved my next goal is to make gardening nearly effortless. More updates to come soon.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Picture Post Update

Random Asparagus coming up. I didn't plant these. You can see the potato tower behind them.

Between an event I have coming up (Territory Days in Old Colorado City), gardening, watching my son, and just the general stream of house guests during warmer months I haven't found much time to blog. Just pictures today with a few captions. Everything is growing well, even things I didn't plant myself. 

Peas starting to sprout

Sweet Basil

The Flowers I thought would die. Dog waters them more than I do...

Radishes. 4 types started this year.

Red Bell Pepper Sprout

Grandma's Rhubarb - Growing despite being trampled, buried, and never watered.

Rosemary coming in nicely. Adds great flavor to my meals.

Supersteak Tomato after being transplanted

Tokyo Long White Onions finally peaking out.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

GoPro Garden

I recently got my hands on a GoPro Camera and have been playing with all the features. My hubby set it up to watch our progress on the garden this weekend. All my raking, fertilizing, watering, and digging was fun to see.

Short post today. Just felt like sharing.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Waiting for Tomatoes

There are only a few weeks left to prepare for Summer. Days are getting longer and warmer. I keep longing for the warmth of the sun on my shoulders and the beginnings of a farmers tan. My garlic is growing and multiplying. The rosemary is sprouting new branches. My seeds are showing no signs of life but I am not bothered. They are old and I pretty much expected this. I will try again.

I turned the compost again before I left for a weekend of family and snowboarding. The smell of fresh earth and the dark soil makes me smile. My efforts are working - I will soon be rewarded for all my heavy shoveling.

My kitchen window is full of cleaned out and cut up food containers ready to grow the best veges I can. It looks pretty trashy so I keep the blinds shut most of the time to hide the mess from my view. I keep reminding myself these will be the beginnings of my plants so I'm not tempted to throw it all out after meticulously saving and cleaning them.

And what thought plagues my mind most of the time? God I can't wait for Tomatoes!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

My Kitchen Window

Rosemary cuttings being rooted in simple recycled planter.

January 31st - Rooted Rosemary
     I had a bunch leftover in a pack I bought from the store so I dipped it in rooting hormone and stuck it in a recycled planter I made myself.

Garlic Cloves Sprouting in a Self Watering Planter.

 February 9th - Planted Garlic
     Some of my garlic cloves started sprouting. Instead of throwing them out I buried them 3/4 in soil. They are also in a recycled bottle planter.

February 13th - Started Stevia
     Stevia is a plant with sweet leaves. My seeds are really old (2001) but I thought I would give them a chance. They are in recycled Bowl of Noodles containers that I poked holes in the bottom of with a toothpick. I covered the top of the planters lightly with kitchen plastic wrap to keep moisture in but not tight enough to restrict air flow.

February 15th - Started Basil
     I had the hankering to plant something. I decided on Sweet Basil since pesto is so amazing.

Left to Right: Rosemary Garlic and Basil in the back, Stevia in front

Check back soon for a picture tutorial on how I made my self watering planters. If your bored check out the new post on the Tiny Tipis Blog.