Tag Archives: keeping quail naturally

Garden Projects, plus a Poisoned Corgi

Wow.  It feels like forever since I’ve posted, but we’ve been super busy here.  No, the duck coop still isn’t finished…but I did get the upper part (and inner nest box area) put together and ready for doors, roof, and foundation.  The green ripple roof section is a piece we bought as a trial to see if we wanted to use it for the roof.  We will.  I think a green roof will be quite pretty…and provide shade protection of the ducks.

Still a considerable bit to do, yet, but at least there’s progress!

Our new paved pathway now has solar lights, and it’s so pretty at night.  Love the patterns they make on the stone.

I want to get some of the solar fairy lights to string over the trellis arch.

The circle garden quail coop has a paved “patio” as well, and I spray-painted a couple of cheap plastic pots blue and planted lavender in them.  Blue is becoming our garden accent color.

Peabody the quail enjoys having a patio.  He spends a lot of time hanging out on his log (like he is here) and watching the goings-on in the yard.  If I walk over, he starts growling and chuffing at me.  It’s pretty cute, even though he’s trying to be Intimidating and Fierce.

I took a video of the Cinna and Martha in their new coop.  This is the rotating coop, that will be alternating over raised beds, so I can grow veggies in one while the quail are fertilizing and tilling the other.  The standard quail seem to be the best at this job.  The others I have (Italians and Blondes) don’t seem to be much into digging holes and turning the soil – except for the occasional dust bath hole.  The standard girls dig the most amazing deep holes.  The one in this video is actually one of the smaller ones I’ve seen.

The front yard vegetable garden FINALLY has a gate.

It will look gorgeous later this year, when I have squash/beans growing up the trellis.  It’s nice to have it fenced off from the rest of the yard, because Dexter is not the most helpful gardener.  Our other big project was fencing in the entire rest of the front yard, so Dexter can have a play yard.

We used t-posts and livestock wire, and it’s amazing how invisible it is, when there’s plants up against it.  One project for a later time, will be filling in plants into the bare spots.  Edibles, I think, but shrubs and larger plants that can take the roughhousing of a corgi.  I might put espaliered trees against the fence on the left.  It looks out onto a lovely view of the neighbors many, many vehicles, and we’d love to hide that behind something green.

Mom spray-painted the white tops of the t-posts black to match the fence, although we left the white sides that faced the driveway.  The wire is a little too invisible, and we don’t want anyone accidentally driving into it.

I have a bunch of kale, cabbage, peas, and beets directly planted into the garden now.  Everything is so gorgeous.  I’ve been hungering for the sight of green growing things all winter!

I’ve also found a cool idea on Pinterest that I’ve started this year…using plastic storage tubs as portable coldframes.  It’s been working perfectly.

Finally, we come to Dexter.  We took him in for his neutering appointment, and the bloodwork they do beforehand showed elevated liver enzymes.  The vet said we’d have to hold off on the surgery, until we checked to see if anything was going on with his liver, so instead of becoming less nuts, Dexter had another test, then was sent home to wait for results.

While we were waiting to hear, we did a little research/remembering on our own, and discovered the culprit: poisoning by lawn chemicals.  There is an abandoned field near our house, where we let Dexter run and play.  Someone keeps it mowed, and apparently they also apply copper sulfate to the grass.  One time when he came back, he smelled really strongly of copper, but we didn’t put two and two together until after his blood test.  The symptoms of copper sulfate poisoning/copper overdose match his blood test results and other symptoms perfectly.

When the vet called with the results of the other test (which were fine) we ran our theory past him, and he agreed that was almost certainly the culprit.  So we have to wait three weeks for the copper to leave his liver, and then we can go ahead with his neutering.

This makes me so angry.  Why are we still pouring poisonous chemicals onto our lawns and into our gardens?  And this was an abandoned field, for pete’s sake!  Right behind it is a wetlands area – of course all that copper sulfate is going straight into the water, and who knows what else it is poisoning?  A friend told me a story of a friend of hers whose dog died because it ate a few blades of grass outside his own apartment.  This is completely insane.

In happier Dexter news, we gave him his first bath.  He was very good, but his favorite part was afterward, when he got to run through the house like a soaked tasmanian devil – and play with the hair dryer.  He loves the hair dryer.  Every time I wash my hair, he stands behind me when I dry it, just hoping I’ll turn the blower on him a few times!

Our gorgeous sunny weather has turned back into rain, so I didn’t work on the duck coop today.  Instead, I worked on a few crafty projects for the garden (I’ll share those in my next post) and hoed up one section of the chicken run/garden to plant a chicken-friendly pasture mix.  It was really pleasant to be out there, hoeing in the drizzle!  Spring rain has such a vibrancy to it; I love the feel of being out in it.  It’s supposed to rain tomorrow too – and my plan is to work on the rain barrels.  I want to install three this year: one for the garden roof quail coop, and two for the chicken coop.  I’m looking forward to it.  It’s something I haven’t done before, and that’s always fun!

Spring Plantings

I took an inspection tour of the garden yesterday, and all the edible vines, trees, and shrubs I planted last year made it through the winter and are beginning to bud out – with the exception of the Chilean Guava.  It was fine, up until that last temperature drop to 12 degrees, but now it appears to be dead.  I’ll wait and see if it happens to regrow up from the roots, but if not, I’ll get another plant and place it in a more protected spot.  I should have covered it, but unfortunately, I didn’t even think of it until too late.  I’m just happy the kiwi vines made it through.  It was touch and go during the summer, so I was a little concerned; I’ve heard it’s sometimes hard to keep them alive for the first year, but after that, it’s all good.

Today I went out and planted my first batch of seeds directly into the ground.  I planted several varieties of lettuce, beets, swiss chard, and turnips.  They join the seedlings of cabbage, kale, and broccoli I started inside, then transplanted outside earlier.  Those are looking great.

It is so unbelievably lovely to see green things in the ground!

The front yard garden where I did my planting today is slowly starting to come together.

Mom and I spent some time yesterday putting together a few more beds…and hauling wheelbarrows full of dirt to fill them.  There are still quite a few more beds to go, but I may not get all of them completed this season.  We have decided to put straw in the pathways between beds, to control weeds.  I would prefer brick or stone, but for right now, there’s just no time or money for anything that massive.  Maybe later?

Here’s another view, showing the beds that are only partly completed/not built yet.

The two taller beds have my first (future) espalier trees in them.  To the left, is my Honeysweet Pear, and right behind the ladder is my first apple, Cox’s Orange Pippin.  For the apple rootstock, I ended up with M7.  It’s a semi-dwarf, and well recommended for espaliers.  I’m planning to make a two-tiered espalier, and its branches should span almost the entire length of that back fence.  One day, it should look something like this:


Right now, it looks like this:

Just an itsy, bitsy twig.

Inside, I have tomato seedlings under the grow lights.

I’m growing four different varieties from seed this year.  Sweet Pea Currant,  Indigo Rose, Black Trifele, and a mystery variety that self-seeded into my yard last year, and was amazingly prolific and tasty.  We’re calling it the Out of Eden Tomato, because we have no idea what it actually is, and don’t remember planting anything that looks like it.  I also have a three varieties of alpine strawberries starting indoors, as well as a few ground cherries.

The Indigo Rose tomatoes in particular will be extraordinarily beautiful.


Today the quail eggs went into “lockdown” in the incubator (which means no more turning, candling, or disturbing until they hatch).

Tomorrow, they *could* begin to pip, though probably we won’t see any actual hatches until Sunday or Monday.

Speaking of quail, Cinna and his girls are continuing to love their new coop.  My mom went over to the coop, and they came right over and looked up at her inquiringly.  She said: “I think they want me to give them something.”  Of course they did.  They are spoiled little quail, and well-used to me bringing them seed and greens!  I fed them some greens today, then filmed them for you to see.  I have the top completely open here, and my hand with the camera right down inside the coop (almost touching them).  You can see how relaxed they are – Cinna even takes the opportunity for a little personal business!  (His motto: If you don’t succeed the first time, try again with a different girl!)