Wednesday, March 28, 2007

As promised

Here are the first photos of the new chicks. They aren't even a day old yet. I've got some funny combos going and am going to have to credit Number Two, of the Great Rooster Swap, with adding a little something to the gene pool. He's been a very busy rooster by the look of things.

I'm worried about the effect of such fuzziness on the minds of our staff at school. One assistant proclaimed she wanted to marry the first chick. The other started crying when she first saw the wet, rather wretched looking thing in the incubator and said she hoped she loved her baby as much as she loved that chick. In her defense, she is 6 months pregnant with raging hormones.

I'm keeping them in my office until Friday when they can come home and join the writhing pit of free rooster chicks in my studio.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The dirt won't come out from under the fingernails

We spent the whole of the weekend in the garden. A second round of peas has been planted. All the rows are ready for seeds to be sown. Cabbage and brocolli plants have been set and are surrounded by radishes of several varieties - Cherry Belle, French Breakfast and the intriguing Purple Plum. Lettuce has been planted along the garlic. Beets and carrots also went in. I've still got shallots to set (and I'm trying some from seed). The leeks are ready to be set. Our new apples, plum and peach have all gone in the ground. Busy. Busy. Busy.

I spent a good part of a very hot afternoon in the greenhouse potting up all the tomato and pepper plants. They'll be ready to plant in the garden in a couple of weeks. No need to rush them when they have room and a warm spot to grow. I've also got fennel, basil and a bunch of flowers started. It all looks like so much.

As soon as school is out, I'll be able to concentrate on things around here. Chef Boots wants me to grow things for him and then there's the new tailgate market a mile from our house at the community center/fire station. I'm very excited about that. We had a formation meeting last week and that is going to be a fun way to spend my Saturday mornings. Now I just have to figure out how I'm going to fit everything in the garden and read the "egg laws" and try to anticipate what will sell well and drink more coffee...

Keep your fingers crossed for the eggs in the incubator. Today is the day they should start hatching and many eager children are counting on me to bring baby chicks to life (You probably didn't realize I had that super power...). If it should fail, I do have 10 chicks in the brooder already. Do you think they would notice??? I mean, how would they know those weren't the eggs??? No, I wouldn't do that - I promise. I know all won't hatch, but by the laws of probability, some should hatch. This whole hatching and brooding thing is such a fragile process. And the little things are so, well, little; you just don't know what went wrong when something goes wrong. We did lose one of the goslings the day they arrived. When that happens I always lose confidence in my ability to raise the little guys. So seriously, keep fingers crossed until I post a picture of fluffy little chicks that aren't all yellow and all roosters (Anyone need a Salmon Faverolle rooster chick? I have ten...).

Friday, March 23, 2007

New arrivals

5:54 a.m. - "Maggie, this is the post office. Your baby birds are here."

Three Tufted Roman Geese, Four Buff Ducks, and a dozen feather-footed mystery chicks are in the brooder. Spring has officially arrived at Little Creek Farm!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

What's goin' on

Let's see...
Potatoes are in the ground - Green Mountain, Russian Banana Fingerling, and All-Blue
Peas are coming up
Garlic is growing
Shallots are growing
Green Onions are coming up
Slicing Onion sets have been planted
Snow peas in the greenhouse are almost up to the roof!
We've been munching on radishes, lettuce and spinach from the greenhouse (so has the goose - I spoil her!)

The goats escaped on Sunday, but ran up to the car like a couple of labradors when we pulled in the driveway. They crawled under the eight foot fence that surrounds their pen. The breach has been stopped and they seem content (for the moment) to be back where they belong. Soon, they will have a nice little pasture to share with the poultry and our garden and flower beds will be safe.

The eggs in the school incubator project have 5 more days to go. Only 3 out of 24 didn't develop (we call those yolkers!) We are waiting to see how many hatch. The guinea eggs will have one extra week to go.

The ducklings and goslings should be arriving today or tomorrow. Keep on the lookout for overly cute pictures soon!

Oh, and there's more good news, but I'll have to wait. I'm being naughty and writing from my "prison", OOPS! I mean "office."

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Strolling around the farm

Today's walk found trout lilies beginning to bloom. I imagine if we get the rain that is forcasted more will start poking up all around. Normally around this time, the ground is covered with them by the creek. I also noticed maples, the slippery elm and spicebush are blooming. I love spring (even if it's not yet sprung).

Monday, March 12, 2007

Things are a popping

What's growing under lights:

  • Sweet Dakota Rose Watermelon (that's it up there)

  • Sugar Baby Watermelon

  • Lots of Tomatoes (I've listed those)

  • Long Island Brussel Sprouts

  • Cheddar Cauliflower

  • Florence Fennel

  • Sweet Basil

  • Candytuft (a nice groundcover perennial)
Then there's all the stuff I did on Saturday at the Organic Grower's School in the propagation workshop. Rhododendren, Azalea, Ninebark, Ivy, Buckeye, and Dogwood are all in flats or pots. I thought the propagation class would be on vegetables, but it dealt with woody ornamentals for the most part. That's fine, but that's what I know - trees and shrubs... My experience is mostly with tropical trees from my Peace Corps days, so it was a nice refresher course on propagation techniques. My afternoon class was on landscaping with edibles. I now have a giant list of proven varieties to plant. I was sad to hear that cherries are difficult to grow in our mountain climate, but not impossible. Luckily, it seems I innadvertently planted the varieties that do best here. How's that for dumb luck?

In the garden:

The garlic is thriving and the peas are starting to poke up. This week the cabbage and broccoli starts will go in the garden. Now I've got to head off to work. I'm counting down the days until my contract ends - May 31. I feel a little like a graduating senior... Soon I'll have all summer to spend in the garden (and blog).

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Arrr! I'm a pirate

Marie goes from lap turkey to parrot...

Please ignore my pastiness. It's March and I've been under the weather for the last couple of weeks... Of course, while I've been sick and otherwise overwhelmed with work, discord has been brewing in the barnyard.

"That damn turkey gets all the attention!"

"We find it best just to ignore her, honking only encourages her..."

Actually no poultry feelings were hurt in the creating of this entry. We were all just enjoying a rather chilly, but sunny Sunday afternoon.


Today we are loading the incubator with two dozen eggs. In 21 days, hopefully, we'll have a new batch of chicks! A few days after that, the guinea keets (there are only a few eggs) will hatch. Keep your fingers crossed.