STAYING POSITIVE DESPITE THE WINTER THAT WON’T GO AWAY

STAYING POSITIVE DESPITE THE WINTER THAT WON’T GO AWAY

We woke up this morning with yet another dusting of snow on the ground and the sky is showering even more snow down upon us as this post is being written  Spring is nearly a week old and still no break  in the action.

Adding to my frustration is the fact that various plants have started arriving at  my doorstep; 10 blueberry bushes, a box full of onion seedlings and a box full of seed potatoes.  However, I do find comfort and hope in the seedlings that I have growing under the lights.  Check out my lead photo for this blog.  It is certainly an attitude changer for me.

Also, check out the photo below;  the first “triple banger” of the season from my three chickens.  I’m so proud.

THE FIRST “TRIPLE BANGER” OF THE SEASON FROM THE CHICKEN COOP. YOU GO GIRLS!

And while we’re at it, here is a shot of my “Glacier” Ultra Early tomato seedlings started, well, ultra early.  The plan is to get them in the ground at the end of April, protected (wall of water teepees) and placed in the garden where the vine crops will grow.  As soon as the main season tomatoes start producing, I will pull these plants to make room for the pumpkins and squash.  We have had tomatoes as early as June 14 in the past.

“GLACIER” ULTRA EARLY TOMATO SEEDLINGS GIVING HOPE OF SPRING WEATHER TO COME

There are advantages to starting your own seeds:  greater variety, early start, cost.  For me, the biggest advantage is the feeling that I get from watching them grow, especially when it’s still snowing outside.  Happy Spring everyone!

All the best,

Greg Garnache

A SURE SIGN THAT SPRING IS NOT FAR AWAY

A SURE SIGN THAT SPRING IS NOT FAR AWAY

THE GIRLS LOBBYING FOR A LITTLE “WALK AROUND TIME”.

Catherine and I still live in New England for a reason; we love the four seasons, some more than others.  The change from Winter to Spring is probably my favorite.  One of my favorite signs that Spring is almost here is when our chickens begin to lay eggs again after a long Winter.  The days in late February finally get long enough to trigger the egg laying gene.  The first eggs never fail to put a smile on my face.

All the best,

Greg Garnache

Garden Diary – February 25, 2016

Garden Diary – February 25, 2016

I am sitting at a small table on the patio in the middle of my vegetable garden, on a sunny day hovering around 60 degrees.  The chickens are out and about sometimes visiting for a few minutes before resuming bug patrol.  They seem to love grubs and insects of all kinds.  They are also fun to watch.  Although they look identical, they each have their own personality and style.  One of the chickens likes to fly a little when she’s in a hurry.  Her sister prefers taking long strides while the third chicken has a fast waddle that is hilarious to watch.

THE "GIRLS" OUT AND ABOUT

THE “GIRLS” OUT AND ABOUT

We just got a warning call from the neighborhood crows who sounded like they were three houses over.  I find it fascinating that the chickens heard, listened and responded to the call by heading toward the chicken pen door.   No flies on these girls.

It has been a very windy day with numerous gusts that have shaken the trees violently; a very noisy day outside.  That has made opening up the tunnels an adventure; never knowing whether or not the wind was going to rip the plastic sheeting from the hoops.  I did manage to harvest a couple dozen long, thin carrots without major incident.

HARVESTED LATE WINTER CARROTS

A MODEST CARROT HARVEST IN LATE FEBRUARY

The “Red Kitten” spinach in the other tunnel is nearly ready to pick.  Unfortunately, the Mache is far from ready.  In fact, most of the seeds have yet to germinate.  I did water everything while I had the tunnel opened, so maybe the seeds will start to wake up.

 

 

APPLE TREE AFTER PRUNING IN FEBRUARY

ONE OF OUR DWARF APPLE TREES AFTER PRUING

 

Fruit tree pruning is finally done.  Next activity is spraying the trees with dormant oil in a week or so.  It’s taken me quite a few years, but I now feel confident about my pruning skills.  I have been trying to train all of the trees to an “open vase” style.  We’re starting to get there.  The chickens  are bugging me for a treat so I’ve gotta go.  There are only 26 days left until Spring.

YOU LOOKIN' AT ME?

YOU LOOKIN’ AT ME?

DSCN1251

All the best,

Greg

Chicken Chronicles –  Happy Hour at the Kale Bar

Chicken Chronicles – Happy Hour at the Kale Bar

Ever since they were five weeks old, our chickens have had a “thing” for kale.  As an experiment, I threw a couple kale leaves into their pen.  After a few test pecks, the “girls” devoured the kale.  This has become a daily ritual.  In fact, a friend of ours coined a new phrase;  “I’m on it, like chickens on kale”.  (Catherine Dyer)

This season, I came up with the idea of planting a couple of containers with kale and “Purple Peacock”, a broccoli/kale hybrid.  All I can say is that we have some happy chickens.

KALE BAR OPEN FOR BUSINESS

KALE BAR OPEN FOR BUSINESS

THE CHICKENS ENJOYING AN AFTERNOON SNACK AT THE KALE BAR

THE CHICKENS ENJOYING AN AFTERNOON SNACK AT THE KALE BAR

KALE BAR TERRORIZED BY CHICKENS

KALE BAR TERRORIZED BY CHICKENS

As you can see, it’s a good idea to have several containers of kale that you can rotate into service.  It takes a couple of weeks for the plants to recover, but they do recover.   Chickens do like a diverse menu.  They are especially drawn to members of the brassica family (cabbage, broccoli, kale).  Go ahead, spoil your chickens.

all the best,

Greg

THE CHICKEN CHRONICLES – A Visit from Mr. Woodchuck

THE CHICKEN CHRONICLES – A Visit from Mr. Woodchuck

Last Saturday afternoon, I was picking up tools after a long day in the garden when some odd new chicken noises caught my attention. I walked over to the grove of trees beside the workshop and saw all three of our chickens close together in an aggressive posture. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a beige colored blob moving behind a tree. As I rounded the tree I saw a full sized adult woodchuck being pursued by the three chickens. It ducked into the compost bin.

The chickens continued their pursuit, indicating to Mr. Woodchuck that he was trespassing in their compost bin, “thank you very much”. The woodchuck did not appear to be interested in a confrontation with three lean, mean Buff Orpington chickens and retreated to parts unknown.

Three days later, there has been no sign of Mr. Woodchuck’s return to our property. Had I not seen it with my own eyes, I would not think it possible for chickens to scare off such a large creature. However, I have observed our chickens’ disdain of any and all rodents; an attitude with which I am in complete agreement. As always, I rewarded their valor with some “Party Mix” for chickens – their favorite – Cracked Corn and Mealy Worms.

OUR LEAN, MEAN, BUFFY ORPINGTON CHICKENS

OUR LEAN, MEAN, BUFF ORPINGTON CHICKENS

Reporting from the farm,
Greg Garnache