Dreaming of Spring

I am just so eager for Spring.  I just want to get my hands in the dirt again!  Like most gardeners, I am already placing seed orders and making plans and sketches of changes/additions I will making to my garden.

The quail are doing wonderfully.  They are so easy-care, and other than wild little Hattie (the female who successfully hatched eggs for me last summer) they are very gentle and sweet.  Hattie still gives me the Death Glare of Doom every time  she sees me and hides under a plant, but the other quail are completely at ease with me.  They don’t want to escape into the wild, so I can open their door at will and not worry about them flying out.  They just look up at me and start doing these cute little jumps of happiness.  My white male Peabody, thinks he can boss me around.  I open the door, and he marches right up to me, stares up into my face and starts demanding millet.  He’ll eat out of my hand – but he growls while doing so to make sure I know he isn’t inviting me to pet him.  He does prefer not to be touched. Some of the females are perfectly happy to let me stroke them, though.  Especially the Italians.  They seem to be especially placid and calm.

One of my upcoming projects is to build a third quail coop – for the little Blonde male (his previous name of “Imhotep” never really clicked with him, so now he’s known as “Loki”) and his future wives.  I’m going to incorporate it into the decorative part of my garden.  At some point,  I hope to branch out and start keeping Bobwhite or California quail as well.

The one bad thing about Coturnix, is that they don’t have the feather topknot on their heads.  These Bobwhite, though, aren’t they gorgeous?

california_quail_pair_sim

Totally want a few!

On Christmas Day, I was commissioned to make a set of custom steampunk cats, and I will make just enough to buy that Brinsea egg incubator I’ve been wanting.  So it looks like I’ll be able to hatch Loki some girls of his own color type, AND hatch out my own Bobwhites/California quail (when the time comes.)

And it may come fairly soon, because I have to say, I am mightily impressed with how the quail are composting inside their coops.  I scatter some pine shaving over the dirt inside, and every so often after it starts to look dirty, I turn the decomposing shavings and quail droppings under with a trowel.  I noticed that, in the former Bachelor Pad (now the coop of Cinna and his wives) the soil is turning a rich, gorgeous black.  This is fueling my desire to build my future raised garden vegetables beds in a size that I can make an attachable wire top for.  Each year, I would attach to wire top to a different bed, and stick one of the the male/female quail colonies inside.  At the end of the year, I’d switch them to a different bed, and plant in the one they just composted for me.  I think it would work brilliantly!  Since I’m not going to raising these quail for eating (although I will be eating a couple of excess males very soon!) it’s nice to get something more from them besides eggs and cuteness.

I also need to build a duck coop/run this year, add lots more raised beds to the vegetable garden(s), and read up on beekeeping.  Yes, I am seriously considering adding a hive of honeybees to the yard!  This Spring, I am adding Mason Bees for pollination, but it would be wonderful to have a source of raw honey as well.

bees-on-honeycells-lgEventually, if I have a vegetable garden, fruit, chicken, duck, and quail eggs, meat rabbits, and honey, I’d be feeling pretty content.

 

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