Friday, March 25, 2011


We have the most amazing neighbors that each Friday we join with them in a wonderful meal that we all share in bringing to the table. The couple at the ends of the table have lived in their wood cord house for 35 years. The other couple has lived in the area for about 15 years and she raises goats for the mohair. We always look forward to our Friday meal together, it is a time that we talk over what has happened in the past week and read our local newspapers police blotter, which always brings loud laughter.

Their garden consists of raised beds with grass pathways and shade cloths consisting of PVC on wires connecting the shade cloth with shower curtain rings.

They have a 30,000 gallon rainwater system which is used for household water and they have a 400 foot well that waters the outside areas.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More baby chicks!

Baby chicks are shipped in a box with straw on the bottom . They do not need food or water for three days, that is how they can ship them with out them dying. They are always shipped with enough babies to keep each other warm. They are born with a soft down covering their bodies and can not maintain their own body heat until they develope their true feathers, which take about a month. This is why I use two heat lamps, just in case one burns out. For the first month this would be certain death.
I always put them in a special brooding box at first so that they are protected from snakes and other critters that would love to have them for dinner. I set it up so they have plenty of water in a container meant for baby chicks so they'd don't have water deep enough to drowned in. The starting mash I use is a natural formula very high in proteins which is necessary for their initial growth.

As I transfer each chick into the brooder box I put their beak in the water so they know where it is, this is very important. They always seem to find the food pretty easily. I use the little theaters that are meant for baby chicks because this keeps them out of the food and keeps them from scattering it all over the place.

Personally I like to use newspaper on the bottom of the brooder box. It is very easy to just roll it up and replace it, which has to be done at least once a day.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Spring garden time!

The strawberries are on the right and the broccoli, which has been producing all winter is on the left.
The rows here are ready for the planting of the spring garden, if the weather cooperates and there is not a sign of a freeze I hope to plant within the next week or two.
Here is a picture of the cage we built around the blueberries and grapes to keep out the squirrels and birds that will devour the fruit at the perfect moment of ripeness the day before we have a chance to harvest.We have the posts and the purlins and cross supports for the chicken wire which will cover the structure.
The picture above is where on the left is my asparagus, the middle row are the raspberries ,and the right-hand row that you can barely see are the blackberries.

I have found that this is the best time to do a super job on the mulching . the plants will grow through the mulch and be completely surrounded by. I always mulch with alfalfa hay because they do not use herbicides on it.
This is how I prepare my planting beds for the spring garden. I have added mushroom compost, ladybug fertilizer, cottonseed meal, Epson salt, zeolite; which I find at our local grocery store as Kitty litter, dried molasses, corn meal and lava sand.

I then use my wonderful mantis tiller until it all is completely mixed and no individual ingredients can be recognized.I'd till it up about 12 inches deep because most crops roots don't go too far below that.

I then rake it smooth with a rise around the edges so the water won't run off of the row.
Here are my blueberry plants very full of wonderful white blooms, they always come out before the leaves which is very interesting but that's just the way the blueberry plants work
I hope you can see this bug in the middle of the picture on my broccoli plants. It is called a harlequin bug and it is the most destructive bug I have ever had in my garden. If you spot one of these, what I call a Halloween bug because it's orange and black ,very distinct and if you do spot one of these squelch it immediately because I have never found an organic compound that will work to get rid of these bugs. They are an absolute menace and can do extreme damage to your garden in a very short time if you let them get out of hand. they will distend upon your garden as soon as it is warm enough for them to reproduce. So be on the lookout for them as soon as you are able to start working your garden.