Monthly Archives: June 2016

June Garden Update

The strawberries are producing like crazy. And they have such lush leaves that birds really haven’t been bothering them.

Lots of other things are also coming into season: blueberries, raspberries, gooseberries, and currants! I need to pick enough gooseberries to make a small pie. I hear they make delectable pies! I need to can some currant jelly.  I also do local U-Pick, since my garden can’t produce everything I want to preserve. Last week a friend and I picked a few buckets of strawberries, and I canned some to make sauce with, and dried and vacuum-wrapped some more.

I really enjoy preserving food. Just the process of it is enjoyable. Partly I just love old-fashioned things, just the pure history of them. Like hand-spinning with a spindle. I’m getting better; this latest attempt at yarn looks actually legit!

And look! I made mitts! There is just something so satisfying about starting with wool, making your own yarn, then knitting a functional piece of clothing.

The bees (after two failed attempts at getting a hive started) are finally taking off. Their numbers have increased so much, and they have the first box full of comb, and are working on filling the second.  Maybe in the Spring I’ll actually get my first batch of honey!

The biggest news, however, is the ducks. Sadly, they are no longer part of our little farm. I gave them away to a lady with more property and a pond. While I loved seeing them patrolling the garden (and they definitely helped with the slugs and bugs) none of the coop methods I tried worked well enough for us. I really thought having gravel in the coop (and using the hose to spray the poop down through the gravel) would work, but it didn’t. The poop did not break up well enough, and the coop was still too stinky.  And honestly, chickens are SO much easier to keep.  So while I will deeply miss seeing the ducks wandering around, and I am sad to not have their eggs anymore, it’s been somewhat of a relief to have them gone.

Their coop is not going to waste, though! It’s had a move and an update – next time I’ll tell you what is moving in! (And what my plans are for the gravel-y place where it used to be!)

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Bobwhite Quail Babies!

Out of Eden has new chicks! I mentioned before that I’d ordered Snowflake and White Bobwhite quail hatching eggs through the mail. That’s always iffy, because you never know how they will be treated in the mail.

This time, I was lucky. Out of the 12 eggs, 10 were viable, and developed into chicks. I only ended up with 7 chicks, because one didn’t hatch, one attempted to hatch (unsuccessfully) from the wrong end of the egg, and one died a few hours after hatch of suspected neurological problems. Seven are tremendously healthy though, and that’s a great success from shipped eggs.

Here are four of them, fresh out of the incubator.

They are the tiniest little things – even smaller than coturnix quail.

Also speedier than coturnix. Beware, if you hatch these…they WILL run at top speed out of the incubator, and freak you out just a little! But they are sweet, too. The other night, I put my hand in the brooder, and three of the white ones jumped in my hand together and went to sleep.

Two days later, the White ones aren’t yellow, but a silvery pale. And the Snowflakes are grey and brownish black. They also talk more than the coturnix: they have several sounds beside the standard alarm cry and cheep. One is a three note call like a songbird, and the others are assorted peeps and chirps. I’ve seen three of them just sitting together, having a conversation! It will be interesting to see what sounds the adults make. I’m only familiar with the male’s “bobwhite” call.

I cleaned out the big quail coop (it most recently held ducklings), turning over the ground with a spade, and putting in a few plantings of ferns and hosta. I hope the quail will enjoy hiding underneath the leaves, not just ripping them apart and eating them, like the coturnix would.

I also put in some logs and various other things for them.

The stepping stones are mainly for me. This big, walk-in coop always makes me a bit nervous, because quail are so still and camoflaged that I worry about stepping on one. The stones will make it easier to see where I’m putting my feet!

This coop is my roof garden coop; in this picture from last fall, I’ve filled it with straw for the quail to snuggle in through the winter.

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