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.

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Its Liriope Time!

I love these liriope plants. I love them so much that I have bought five of them, one at a time, over the years. They all started out in the shade garden, but it was too shady for them, and so one by one, they have all been transplanted to another area of the garden that seems just perfect for them. The one that got eaten by the mole even got transplanted, and is doing very well!

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This is my oldest liriope. I think it may need to be divided. I am always a little afraid of dividing plants.

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Close-up of their funny little blooms:

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Elsewhere in the garden, the zinnias are really doing well. With Lori’s recommendation, I have ordered zinnia seeds from Select Seeds, and am looking forward to having specific zinnia colors in my garden next year. I also ordered some special nasturtiums, and have a plan for those next year too!

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I should mention that we have had unusually cool weather since mid-August, and it looks like it is going to continue for the next week or so. Lovely! Anyway, the salvia loves the cooler weather, and has made a big comeback now.

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I like these striped petunias. They are in a pot in front of the salvia.

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Many of my roses have been blooming. I couldn’t get a good picture of most of them, but here is one. The blooms now are smaller than the spring blooms, but still pretty and still smell good ๐Ÿ™‚

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The hydrangea:

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And this plant, which I don’t know the name of. It has a faint minty smell. The bees love it so much. In August I give it a haircut, and then a whole new crop of the little blue blossoms starts up again.

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I am very proud that I have kept all of my little trees alive this year. I go out every morning or evening and give them a sprinkle, as well as giving the Japanese maples a ย sprinkle.

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I planted this baby’s breath plant, but it is a short plant and is in the wrong place, so when i was doing a little weeding, I pulled out a stem of it as well. So I cut one rose to bring inside to enjoy them together. (I should see if I can get that WARNING sign off my window. Its funny how you don’t notice stuff like that until you see a picture.)

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I have to admit that I have done very little weeding or work in the garden this summer besides walking through the garden and watering this and that. I have ordered a bunch of daffodils and tulips again from John Scheepers, and so there will be some work done this fall. In addition, there might be some major transplanting going on.

A Little Garden Report

There’s not a lot going on in the garden right now. But a few improvements have been made, so thought I’d share them.

This is what I see when I drive up. (It looks better in person.) Those are vanilla marigolds, with some petunias between, and sweet alyssum behind. I have enjoyed this area of the garden a lot. I am looking forward to filling it with tulips again for the spring.

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Remember the patchwork pathway? Where I tried to plant plants in the six spots. Yes, that never worked. I think if I had wanted it to work, I should have pre-dug out about a foot of dirt and rocks and replaced it with good soil. So a few weeks ago I told Kevin that I wanted to get rid of the plants. We looked around our pile of unused stuff, and these light colored blocks almost fit perfectly. Except for 1/2 inch that he had to saw off of each of them… Anyway, I am very glad that I don’t have to be sad looking at the plants that don’t want to grow there.

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Costco had these tall solar lights (like 5 or 6 feet tall) on sale. So I got four of them. Two are by the front fence (in the above photo) and a few days ago we put these among the Japanese maples.

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This bed has gone a little wild. I planted some zinnias in there quite a while ago and they just started blooming now. Bringing a bit of cheer to the garden.

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This is a dwarf abutilon that came back from last year, and is blooming like crazy. I like it better than the huge one that takes up a whole garden bed and is scarcely blooming.

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And the weed/morning glories have come back after a few years off! This picture is not re-touched. They really are that brilliant in the morning. Only trouble is, I usually forget to go out and look at them in the morning ๐Ÿ™‚

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Okay, unrelated to the garden. I finally started back to work on my rug hooking (this is an upside down view of a giant redwood tree.)

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I glanced over to see all three girls sharing one bed. There are literally three doggie beds in this room, but I guess they all wanted to be in the bed closest to me.

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And that’s about it for this week. The weather has cooled down a bit and we are having a whole week of cooler weather. So wonderful!!

Catching Up on Garden Stuff

Its so hot here. Day after day its 95-100 degrees. Its not humid, its just hot and dry. I don’t really like working in the garden when its like this. So I just go out every morning and/or evening to sprinkle the Japanese maples and to check the pot plants and water them as needed.

Here is just a shot of part of the garden. You can see the hose that is always present, and also the weeds that I just haven’t gotten to.

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Remember when I had a FOREST of these fairy impatiens? I was pretty relentless in removing them from the garden. But I was glad when one showed up here. This is a place that I have a hard time growing anything.

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A really pretty begonia grew back from last year’s bulb.

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I planted a “Sweet 100’s” cherry tomato. So far I’ve harvested 6 little tomatoes. But there are quite a few more growing on there. ย The other little plant is basil. It kept wanting to go to seed, so I chopped it down and gave a bunch of basil to my neighbors, and that worked. It is coming back again!

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Lilies! Daylilies and Oriental lilies. They all did very well this year. But does anybody ever want to do this? I just want to tear everything out of this particular bed and re-do the whole thing. If the feeling doesn’t pass, that might be on the agenda for late fall.

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This lily was hanging over into the mandevilla vine, which isn’t doing that well this year.

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And I have decided that this is the best way to enjoy Gerbera Daisies. Buy a bunch at the grocery store for $3.99. They lasted two weeks in my house!

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Well, that’s the garden report for this week. In other news, bears have made a large appearance in the area. Five of my neighbors have had their garbage cans (and one bee hive) attacked by bears. I stopped taking walks for now, and I look around very carefully every time I go outside of my fence. I put my garbage in my little outdoor studio room, and maybe its because Noah spends so much time outside, but so far I haven’t seen any bears at my house.

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚ And that tiny little one? I’m giving that to my friend who does the Pysanky eggs.ย 

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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 :(( ย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚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.

 

 

A Visit to Cambria

I love going to Cambria Pines Lodge for my rug hooking retreat! They have beautiful gardens surrounding the lodge. I didn’t take too many pictures, but here are a few. This beautiful arrangement was actually a garbage can topper!

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My mom loves succulents so I took a couple pictures for her:

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I really liked the way these were arranged into the stone wall.

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And the bird houses! I took these pictures because I’m hoping I can find someone who will build a couple of bird houses like this for me ๐Ÿ™‚

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When I taught my quilting class in San Luis Obispo, I met a really nice young woman there. This is the second time she has come up to Cambria to visit with me. This is her almost finished quilt from the class.

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I absolutely love this saying. I know you will too!

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We went out for lunch, and I had a piece of Key Lime Pie that was almost as good as Love Pies when I was visiting Shelley in Texas ๐Ÿ™‚

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My rug hooking friend Mary Lynn, on the last day getting her last look at the ocean before she returned to Illinois.

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When I returned home, there were an overwhelming number of eggs that had been gathered in the week I was gone!

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There is a wonderful nursery across from the Lodge, and I usually pick out a few succulents for my mom. But this time, I liked them so well (and she literally has HUNDREDS of them) I kept them for myself. I just potted them up today. Fingers crossed that I can keep them alive.

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Next up: a garden and chicken report ๐Ÿ™‚