Thursday, April 19, 2012

New arrivals

Our cat, Tiger, being a cat, decided that the best time and place to have her kittens yesterday was in a laundry basket full of clean the living the middle of the afternoon. While I was making mini meat loafs in the kitchen I heard a tiny meow. I didn't even remember letting her in the house, but there she was, on the clean laundry getting kitten goo all over my clean hand towels.
 A few minutes after the second kitten was born Gabe got home from school. Thankfully, he listened to me when I told him not to pick them up, but he sat and watched and thought it was fascinating. The twins arrived in time to see the last one being born. And, bonus, we have cute new babies in the house for awhile.
 So I guess having to rewash all that laundry isn't such a big deal.

Good Mama Kitty

The kitten cuddle

Mama had to go potty, so I got to get a closer look
 One of the bunnies has also had babies, but she refuses to let me get a good picture of them. I even tried luring her away with cabbage leaves, but she wasn't falling for it. I don't even know how many she has in her nest box. Maybe tomorrow she will be more cooperative. We're still waiting on the other bunny to have her litter.
The moment I stuck the camera inside the cage she darted back into the nest

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Garden update

Okay, I've been a bad blogger again. It's been nearly 2 weeks since my last post. Things have been busy. Between spring cleaning, a family party, work in the garden, and a bout with head lice I just haven't had a chance to get in a blog post.
 Now that I do have some free time I'll update y'all on the garden. My herb garden is doing great. The tomato plant that I put in there already has tiny tomatoes starting.

Tiny tomato

Tomato (on the right), tomatillo (center), and dill (left)
I did have a bit of a caterpillar problem, but I picked them off and fed them to the chickens

  The big garden is doing well too. Mike finished adding dirt to the last of the raised beds and I got them planted this week. We also added another 21 hills for watermelon.

More hills for watermelon
 The potatoes are doing incredibly well. They started flowering last week, and the flowers are so pretty that I didn't have the heart to cut them off. The red potatoes have purple flowers and the white potatoes have white flowers. The yellow ones haven't bloomed yet, but I'm wondering if they'll have yellow flowers.


Potato flowers

When you scrape back a little dirt from the base of the plant you can see the potatoes forming

More baby potatoes
 My radishes should be ready to start harvesting in about a week, my carrots have finally sprouted, and the parsnips and salsify are getting bigger tops, so I assume their roots are growing as well.

Radishes and carrots (which you can barely see because they are teeny tiny)

Parsnips (left) and salsify (right)
 The cabbage is starting to form heads, so maybe we will get a harvest out of them before it gets really hot, but I'm not holding my breath. My artichokes are also doing well, I'm hoping to get a few buds off of them later this summer.

Cabbage, you can probably tell that I have a caterpillar problem here too


 The tomatoes, tomatillos, and peppers out in the big garden seem to be happy. They all either have flower buds or have actually started blooming. I did lose a few plants to the wind this week, but I'm working on staking up the others with cedar branches.

Lots of tomato plants

Tomatillos are blooming

Peppers and tomatoes

Flower buds on one of the pepper plants

Stakes, now I just need to tie the stems to the branches
Also, even though my birthday isn't for a couple more weeks, I got 3 lovely presents this week. My dear friend Mary's mother sent me an adorable bag made from a feed sack. It's perfect for a trip down to the creek for swimming, as it easily holds a sheet (for sitting on), my camera, a book, and maybe a snack.
New bag
 My grandma brought me an egg basket. Up until now I have just been taking a plastic bowl to put eggs in, or even worse, my pockets. It's always bad to lean up against the counter when you have a few eggs in your hip pocket.

Lily and Boris helped get the eggs today
 And my wonderful husband bought me a new scuffle hoe. I've been pulling weeds by hand for weeks now, and this saves me so much work. I don't know how I gardened without one before this

My new hoe
 On the chicken front, both of the Black Copper Marans chicks died, so I'm down to just one Blue left. The last quail drowned itself in the water dish. But all the others are doing well, and I moved the 6 biggest chicks out of the brooder and into the coop yesterday. They are sticking together, but not really having any trouble with the big girls today. Miss Broody is down to just 2 babies ( I think the others may have been trampled by goats) but she's taking great care of them and even attacked Boris when he got too close to their hiding spot.
The big kids, out exploring their world

One of Miss Broody's babies, checking out the compost bin

The babies, scratching for food
 Anyway, that's what's been going on here. Hope everyone has a good week and, as always, Blessed Be.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Babies are here

 Tonight I will start with the good news. We have babies. We have a teeny, tiny quail. There were more than one, but this is the good news section (I'll save the bad new for the end.) We also have 8 chicks: 2 Blue Copper Marans, 3 Black Copper
Marans, 1 New Hampshire, and 2 Easter Eggers. My broody hen also hatched out 5 chicks and they are happy out in the coop with their Mama.

Teeny, tiny quail

Blue Copper Marans

Black Copper Marans

Easter Eggers, one of whom seems to be Super Chicken

New Hampshire
Mama and 5 babies

 More good news, the garden is doing great. The potato plants are about 14 inches tall, and I will need to hill them up again very soon. The tomato that I put in the herb bed has it's first flower buds. It has done better than I imagined it would. I harvested some lettuce and green onions this week to have a little salad, and it was delicious.


3 different kinds of lettuce and garden cress sprouts

My early tomato plant

Tomato flower buds

 I got some chocolate mint from one of my dearest friends and it has a spot in the herb garden now along with my apple mint and spearmint. I love mint tea, so I'm very happy to have several varieties now.


Chocolate mint

Apple mint
 The bigger chicks are happy out in the chicken tractor in the yard. They get to munch on grass and bugs, it's nice and warm, and they get to watch the big girls scratching all around them. Hopefully, when it's time to integrate, we won't have too many problems. The other animals like to hang out and watch the babies. I try to tell myself that they aren't considering how yummy the little chickens are.

23 chicks, a giant dumb puppy, and a very pregnant kitty cat
 The final bit of good news is that I finally got ALL of my kids out in the bluebonnets for some pictures. I may be biased, but I think my children are remarkably cute.

Yup, really cute kids

Aislyn Rose

Ian Patrick
Lily Emmerline 
Gabriel James

Yellow indian paintbrush 
 Now for the bad news. Bruno is gone. He finally killed too many chickens and Mike said he had to go. I don't disagree but I will miss the big doofus. Boris keeps looking around trying to find his big brother. 
 While I did get some really cute chicks, I was expecting a lot more. There were 55 chicken eggs in the incubator and 47 of them didn't hatch. I think I had thermometer problems and I know that I had a terribly hard time getting the humidity down below 60% for the entire incubation. 
 Then there's the quail...I actually had 3 hatch. The first one got put in a cardboard box on my bedroom floor, and Lily thought the dogs might like to "see" it. I'm not sure which dog actually ate the baby, but they both got in big trouble. The 2nd one drowned in it's water dish. Mind you, I was using a baby food lid for a water dish, it couldn't have been more than a quarter of an inch of water. Quail are even dumber than chickens, and that's saying something.
 That's it for the night, I hope you all have a good week. Blessed Be...