Just a Few Little Things to Show

This is the biggest news. Every since I’ve lived here, I had CATTLE gates. Yuck. So one day I asked my contractor if he would be able to build gates and a partial fence. I just loved this round gate that I found on the internet, and he also built a trellis in front of it so I can get some climbing roses and put them there. I want to get Queen Elizabeth roses, but the climbing ones are hard to find. Anyway, I love the fence so much that I am going to put the fence all the way around my yard eventually. Also, there is welded wire on the outside of the fence so Sophie can’t get out and skunks can’t get in! You can also see the little patio that I had built. Sadly, I haven’t used it much yet.

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I hardly ever remember to take a picture of Noah right after he has his bath. Isn’t he a handsome dog. He’s going to be 10 years old in a couple of weeks!

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This is just Chloe and Sophie trying to get me to feed them. They were barking at me, but I didn’t get that shot.

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And my new baby chickens are just about grown up. I have four blue laced red wyandottes, 2 Black Astralorps, and 2 Barnvelders.

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The babies are still afraid of most of the chickens, so I was surprised when I saw this picture of one of my Dominique chickens up there with the babies.

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And that’s about all the news that’s fit to print.

New Stuff in the Garden

I know I haven’t been posting much this summer. It has been a busy summer. My mom’s health hasn’t been that good, and also I finally got my little patio put it. I’ll take pictures of that later. I’m also going to get some real gates (I’ve had cattle gates for YEARS!) My good contractor Jay has been doing all this for me.

Here are some new things in the garden. I have reverted to putting things in pots again. Here’s a trio of pots.

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And here is the big plant a few weeks later:

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Here are some more potted plants:

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This begonia sits atop an oak stump. I haven’t had much luck here, but the begonia is doing great!

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Outside the fence I always look for plants that are deer resistant. I found this plant. And then I saw on Lori’s blog that she had a similar one and called it bee balm. Sure enough, I checked the label, and mine was bee balm too!

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Only one of my hydrangeas bloomed this year. I’m going to have to investigate and see if there’s a specific fertilizer that I need to put on them.

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My daisies are always pretty, but they are in the shade too much, and eventually they just fall over.

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The day lilies put on a good show this year. I’d like to get some more of them.

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And I had lots of oriental lilies all around my yard:

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One day I went to my local nursery looking for a few plants. They just didn’t have anything I wanted. So I stopped at Lowe’s (which I usually avoid) and they had some really pretty plants that were in good condition. I got two geraniums, and planted them in front of the blue salvia.

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And I got a really pretty heuchera. Once again, my garden is getting more and more shady, so I am turning this little bed into a shade bed.

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Here is something very interesting to me. I had a “Raspberry Dazzle” verbena from last summer. Because we had a mostly mild winter, it stayed alive. So I was super excited to see it bloom again. But it just sat there for the longest time. Just this week I went out and it was covered with blooms! Sometimes it pays to be patient in the garden.

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I just finished doing this. It was a big job. I’ve had ivy growing below this lace leaf Japanese maple almost as long as I had it. But this maple is fairly short, and I decided that the ivy detracted from it. So I spent several days pulling the ivy out. I am planning on getting some of my favorite corsican mint to plant underneath it.

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And to end, here’s a little chicken report. Did I already tell you that I got 8 baby chicks? What a mess! But finally they were old enough to move out to the big chicken house. All the literature warns that older hens can be quite hard on the baby chicks. So for a couple of weeks, they stayed in the big chicken house in their rabbit cage. And finally I took their rabbit cage out. They just didn’t know what to do with themselves! And they still haven’t gone outside. I’m not going to try to make them go out until they are ready. I don’t want any chicken massacres on my hands!

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What Happened in my Garden

Here’s what I saw when I drove up. This is that little wild rose just loaded down with blooms! I pruned it pretty severely this winter, but it does seem to be getting bigger and bigger!

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Here’s the garden with my roses, the canterbury bells, and a foxglove that managed to get in there. I even have a few delphiniums blooming there!

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A close-up:

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And this was a big surprise. One of my little trees is an azalea, and I was so surprised to see it blooming.

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I walked outside the yard to get this picture of my honeysuckle vine. I also pruned it pretty severely in the winter. It is huge, and I love when I walk outside in the evening and get a whiff of that beautiful perfume from them.

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And this is what the chickens do ANY TIME I walk by them. They are always certain that I am bringing them food or a treat. And usually, they are right πŸ™‚

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This week its supposed to be in the 90’s all week, so I will be walking early in the morning, spending some time in the garden, giving Noah the big white dog a bath, and then spending the majority of time in the house rug hooking and quilting.

A Chicken and Garden Report

I am so happy. My plan is working. This year, I did not keep the lights on in the evening (so the chickens would keep laying eggs.) Of course, this means I only get 5-7 eggs a day from 22 chickens. BUT, I am happy because all of my chickens are starting to grow their feathers back. Here are some of them:

The white cochins:

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Both of the Black Copper Marans are in full feather:

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And they have finally started laying their dark brown eggs again:

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The Dominique:

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And one of the New Hampshire Reds:

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Both of the Speckled Sussex are coming back into full feather. They were really bald in the last chicken update I did.

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And the self-appointed queen of the yard. I don’t think she’s ever lost too many of her feathers. I’m not so sure she’s the queen. She might just be smart enough to stay away from the other chickens.

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Did I tell you that my apple tree grew ONE apple! I watched it for a long time, sure that the deer or the bear or birds might get it. But one day, it looked ripe enough and I ate it! Yumm!

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A while back, I bought a book on Monet’s garden. It was so interesting to read. And he just was determined to put flowers everywhere. So the next time Kevin came over, I kidded around and said I was going to add some planter beds here. He actually likes building these beds, so he did this for me. I’m very excited. I bought a bunch of spring bulbs from John Scheepers again, plus those specialty seeds that I bought, so I will be able to plant some of them here.

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Of course, all of the dogs have to explore anything new in the garden.

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Kevin came up with a great idea to add some beds to the front of the shade garden. We are going to save that project for next spring.

A Garden Comment and Chicken Report

This is one of the best garden bargains I have ever gotten. I paid $4 for a little rose bush that was not grafted, and this is it just two years later. It is always healthy, and it never stops blooming.

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So today was the day to “steam clean” the chicken coop. That is what I called it, because I wished that was what I could do. First I cleaned all the litter off the floor–a combo of shavings, chicken poop, and food. And it was really dusty. And then I had to bring in the big guns–a ladder and a hose. I wanted to clean off all the chicken shit from their roosts. And believe me, it was a LOT. Because I am a nice person, and I know that chickens like to roost on a shelf rather than a post, most of them roosted on 12 inch and 8 inch boards. Which means they crapped all night long on their roosts. Anyway, that’s enough poop talk. It actually wasn’t quite as hard as I thought it would be. But I was worn out when it was done. Oh, you can see in this picture that I started feeding them wet food. I just soak their chicken food for a few minutes. There is way less waste that way, and they really seem to enjoy it.

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This is Baby’s sister. (did I tell you all that Baby died last spring?) Anyway, she was looking pretty poorly all summer, and then she finally grew a new set of feathers. But she’s already looking a bit threadbare. I don’t know what’s wrong with her, if anything.

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And here she is all fluffed out in her nest box.

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This is Baby’s other sister. She has always maintained her feathers. I don’t think she’s the ruler of the roost. She just seems to stay away from the rest of the chickens.

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She seems to pal around with the professor, and they stay mostly in the second yard. Poor Professor. He hasn’t had a tail for a long time. But if you look closely, you can see a few feather buds back there. I am hopeful.

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This chicken has finished moulting and she is in full feather. I love seeing them like this.

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Here is the Dominic rooster and hen. She has just about finished moulting, and he is just starting to moult. He only has one tail feather right now.

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So here is a sad little chicken (but she doesn’t know it–she’s very perky and inquisitive.) She is moulting, but the whole lack of a tail is so ridiculous. Many of my chickens had that going on. I am hoping that by leaving the lights off this winter, they will not peck each other’s feathers out so much.

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Here is a chicken in full moult. One time I had a banty chicken, and she would moult in November, when it was pretty cold, and she lost every single feather all at once. I felt like I should knit her a sweater!

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And here you can see all the feathers just starting to grow back in on another chicken.

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So there you go. That’s what’s a happening with the chickens. I am still enjoying them a lot. I will enjoy them even more if they keep their feathers this year. And, I have to say, it is a relief to have the coop cleaned out before winter comes.

The Garden and Other Stuff

Kefir. Does anybody know about this stuff? A friend gave me some “kefir grains.” They look like gel bubbles. You just put them in milk and set it on the counter for 24 hours. Magic–kefir! It is easier than making yogurt. But the thing is, you have to keep feeding those darn kefir grains. Its too much for one person! It makes absolutely great smoothies. I think I like it better than my yogurt smoothies. Here’s a website with more than you ever wanted to know about kefir.

Here’s some of the things that are happening in the garden this week.Some yellow petunias and blue lobelia. This is the most success I have had with the lobelia.

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A second bloom on my new rose bush. I really love the color and the smell of this rose.

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The day lilies are having a good year! Maybe they like the watering system.

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The daisies are leaning over. It looks like they are the blooms on my little azalea.

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A close-up:

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The hydrangeas are finally starting to bloom. It seems like they are later than usual this year. They are HUGE!

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Close ups of the two types of blooms:

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Did you know these common little begonias will come back year after year? I didn’t know that. Free flowers are always so fun πŸ™‚

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And here’s something I do every single night–I wash all the eggs that I’ve gathered for that day. One of the fun things about having chickens is finding the occasional unusual egg. See that giant oblong egg? Yeah, that’s going into my quiche tonight πŸ™‚ And that tiny little one? I’m giving that to my friend who does the Pysanky eggs.Β 

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And that’s it for another week, friends. Hope all is well with you.

Garden Events

Let’s get the unpleasantness over right away. Thursday night Noah was barking. Nothing new, right? But I went outside to hush him up, and then Chloe started barking and staring at something. YES. Another rattlesnake in my yard :(( Β The third rattlesnake in three summers. I rounded up the dogs and shut them in the house. But this time it was pretty close to the front door and the front gate. So I just stood there staring at it so it wouldn’t move. And I called my neighbors WHO ARE ALWAYS HOME and they weren’t home!! So I just kept standing there and calling them over and over, and then I called Kevin (MLG) to see if he had any good ideas about what to do. And then I thought of another friend to call to see if they could come over to shoot it. And then I thought I heard a car and hoping it was my good neighbors, I called them again, and they were home!! (they live about a mile away from me.) Anyway, Tom came over and shot that stupid snake, and I thanked him profusely, and he said it made him feel like Crocodile Dundee πŸ™‚ I must have stood out there having a stand off with that snake for over half an hour! It was a little un-nerving, and I freely admit that I had an ice cream sandwich after that. And stayed up extra late and then took TWO melatonin before I went to bed.

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Alright, now to the fun stuff. I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time in the garden this week. The weeds are growing like crazy, plus I’ve bought a few plants that needed to get into the ground. Its no good leaving little six-packs to bake in 95 degree weather.

This is another little succulent I got a while ago. Its a tiny variegated jade plant.

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I’ve been collecting decorative pots, and today I replanted some of my little trees that were still in plastic containers.

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I’m trying this little tree in the shade garden.

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Finally having some luck with a heuchera. Aren’t the colors pretty?

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And that little rose bush is going great guns!

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I bought a yellow gaillardia to go with the pretty blue salvia. The dahlias are doing very well. I think I might add more of those next year!

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Okay, the plant people must know that if they name something with a food name, I am immediately attracted to it. This was a Peachy lantana.

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And I’ve already forgotten what this common little flower is called. But I noticed that they are producing more and more colors in this plant this year.

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The roses have done well. Most of them are done, and I am waiting for them to put out a second bloom.

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My honeysuckle!! I absolutely love the scent of this in the garden.

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When its this hot, Noah gives up his beloved sling bed and lays in the gravel next to the house.

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And a short chicken report. You can see the chickens bald spots in these pictures. So irritating. Some of them are finally growing some new feathers back. They are always moving. Going into their house or coming out. Checking out the second yard, and of course running to the gate if they think I’m bringing a treat.

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This rooster is such a gentleman. Just the way roosters are supposed to be. When I give them treats, he just points out the delicacies to the girls and lets them have first chance at the food. That flat comb he has is called a rose comb. I didn’t use to like them, but I think it makes him look dignified πŸ™‚DSCN6187

And that’s it for this week’s events. I have another busy week next week. MLG will be here, so I’m sure I’ll have some new things to show you.