Saturday, June 25, 2011

Pictures From our Tiny but Happy Homestead

I can't paint, so I Photoshop.
The big squash plant in the back, is in the middle compost pile.
Henna and Alpha. See how much smaller Alpha is?
I still need to paint that board!
She is a sweet little thing. She could see if she got her hair cut!
Last night I went out and took a bunch of pictures to share with you.
Today I went and found 6 plants for $2.10. 2 tomato plants, 3 Oregano, 1 pretty yellow Marigold, and a healthy looking Impatien.
I thought the Oregano was almost worth the dime I paid for each of them but after a good watering they don't look half bad.

There were beetles eating our peaches!

Who says chickens aren't cute? Look at that face!
Purple Iris seed pods? What do I do with this?

Purple sage


The start of a Amaranth flower

Gerber Daisy

Coxcomb: Was my Mother's Day gift from my Nate.

Something that grew in this mix.

A baby zucchini!

My Happy, volunteer Marigolds 
First tomatoes

Joy Joy's carrots and pepper plant.

Bad baby squash bug. :-(  I squashed him.

The damage done by the squash bugs. :-(

Compost pile surprise! What do you think it is?
Why add Gerber daisies to my garden? Because they make me happy!
Flowers also attract pollinators,
 but I plant them because they are pretty.
Joy Joy's 4-H garden

Bug-a-boo's 4-H garden

Nate's 4-H garden
Can you feel the love? I didn't even have to tell them to pose and be cute.
It just happened!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Chickens in my Backyard and What They Eat

I love watching the Chickens run down the ramp first thing in the morning! It's like watching a bunch of kids running down the stars on Christmas morning as they tear into the fresh batch of weeds and grass and bugs. We will move them sometimes during the day too, and they love the fresh violet greens, dandelions, the grass that's gone to seed. I will pick them garden greens and all but Alpha will eat them.
Alpha looking for some bugs.
Alpha worries me. She was first out of the shell but she is at the very bottom of the pecking order. She is so tiny and docile. We have to pull her out at feeding time (We are feeding them chick starter still) or she gets ran right over. She gets lots of babying by our 10 yr old. The sooner we get rid of 4 of the chickens the better it will be for Alpha.
We are 90% sure 2 are boys and I am hoping my husband will try his had at butchering them, because I would really like the meat. We will get rid of the one red that bites! That leaves one more we will have to find a home for.
Moving it in the morning before letting the chickens out.
One of my past posts I talked about Amaranth and wondered if we could feed it to the chickens.
My wonderful husband found this blog post about it, Can Chickens eat Amaranth?  This Arizona Victory Garden looks like a good one to follow, there is a lot of info on it.
Frank also found this one Chicken Garden on growing a garden just for your chickens! I learned a lot from both of these articles and I hope you do too.

Be sure to feed your potato bugs (if you don't use any bug sprays on them or the plants!) to the chickens. They love those crunchy little protein packed snacks.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bugs and Beets

BUGS! I am bugged by bugs! We found squash bug eggs on the squash plants today, so spent a good amount of time getting those off the leaves, squashing the Squash bugs and spraying with Neem. I am hoping we caught it early enough. Frank's potatoes are being eaten by potato bugs. :-( Nasty things! We have been picking them off and putting them in a cup of soapy water.
I am praying for some good bugs!
We had a Praying Mantis one year that the kids found with a broken wing. We put it out in the garden and he lived all summer in there going from tomato plant to tomato plant. Praying Mantis is my favorite insect!
Co Potato Beetle
Squash bugs. 
Squash bug eggs.
Find the under the leave most of the time.

Some good news is, I brought in the best beet crop I have ever had tonight. Usually I grow them just for the greens (or these should be called purples.) but the beets themselves were small and fibrous. This year they are small but lovely. We have pretty hard soil, so I can be content with sweet little beets. I will blanch the greens and freeze them, and cook up the cute little beets. Yummy!
I have to tell you about the blue basket! I found it at a yard sale this past weekend for 2.00. I almost didn't get it, but I am SO glad I did. It is very handy for bringing in the produce, then it fits perfectly in the sink! My guests were laughing at me at my daughter's birthday party because I was so excited about my basket. (Yup, I am pretty easy to please!)

Well the server is not letting me upload any more pictures, so I will try to post the rest tomorrow.

It is not too late to join in the Blog Hop that I posted about in my last post. So join up.

Happy Gardening!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Homesteading, Survival, Homemaking, Back to Basics...Blog Hop

My wonderful husband found this great article and I have to share it with you! grow-an-organic-chicken-garden I learned a lot reading this and wish I had know about chickens loving soured milk a few days ago.
Since my yard is more weeds than grass it is very chicken friendly! I really don't need to plant them their own garden. (For one thing, they will be able to have free range in ours this fall!)

Our back yard has; dandelion, clover, violets, wild strawberries and Plantain. There is more but those are the main ones and the ones I know what they are. The chickens love these, not to mention the bugs they catch. They really are fun to watch when one gets hold of a bug and goes on a chase to keep her treasure from the others.

I want to try something new. Something fun! Over at Raising Homemakers they are having a homemaking link up. It inspired me to do one for anything homesteading, homemaking, Prepping or survival, old fashioned skills... you get the idea! I would love to find some more interesting blogs and link up with them.

I may be doing this all wrong and not even know it. But I can always remove this post in a week if it's a bust!

If you have a blog or a post that has something to do with any of these, use the linky below and be sure to link back to me so others can join!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Update about Chicken Tractor/Port-a-Coop

 So, I am long overdue for a post. I have done some things on the blog though! On the right side of the screen you will see a button under "Grab my button". (This was hard to make!)If you have a blog, I would be pleased as peaches, if you put my button on your blog.
Also, at the bottom of this post you will see a Facebook "like" button. (This was very easy.) If you have a Facebook account please like my post and or share my blog with others. I was feeling very much like a techie having accomplished this!
More important is the fact that John has finished the plans and they are ready to sell! Woo Hoo. I made two new pages today and they are on the top right. "Why have Chickens" and "Buy Your own Port-a-coop plans here!" Click on these for more info.
Anna, about 8 weeks old now.

How are your gardens growing? Our strawberries stopped as soon as the heat hit. Our lettuce is doing pretty good but some are starting to bolt already. I am spending a good amount (okay, almost all my time) in the garden weeding, and weeding some more. We ran out of funds this year before we could get mulch. We will make it though till I can find a free or almost free source of mulch. I guess the rest of the garden is okay. I hope to do a fall planting and make some cold frames. I will be keeping an eye out for old windows.
The kids 4-H gardens are doing well. & I will have to post a picture of the mystery squash plant that is growing in the mulch bin. It is a monster!
Alpha, is part Banty and so sweet and calm.

The chickens are happy and getting bigger by the day. They love Arugula, which is a good thing!    Because it has done wonderful in our garden... we all hate it. So I am happy that they like it. Waste not want not!