Cast and Crew

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Chicken Vacation!

You may have noticed that the girls haven't posted anything exciting for a while, but that's only because we've all been on vacation for a week! What's been going on around our urban farm?

The garden has been growing like crazy. We've gotten several days of rain over the last few weeks, and it's worked more than a few wonders. Hmm.... How did this pumpkin get here?

A funny thing happened in the compost pile... We always throw in lots of veggie scraps and leftover bits from growing things, and sometimes things sprout up from the compost after it gets spread around the yard. At least two pumpkin vines were determined to grow this year, despite the fact that I did not plant any.

We hit the motherlode! This lovely specimen was growing OUTSIDE the fence along the sidewalk. Bad idea. I harvested him a bit early, but we were afraid he would get victimized or vandalized by someone walking by. We joked about these pumpkins (affectionately called punchkins in our family) as they began to grow and mature. As many of you may know, cucurbits are extremely promiscuous plants, and they'll cross-breed with anything nearby. Last year we grew three varieties of punchkins and one type of cucumber, so our early plants were named punchcumbers. Thankfully, it appears that the pumpkins are indeed pumpkins, and they are most likely a cross between Jack-Be-Little and Rouge vif d'Etampes, better known as Cinderella pumpkins.

We've eaten a LOT of cole slaw lately...

And I cannot wait to taste my first home-grown brussels sprouts!

Our tomatoes are the talk of the 'hood. No one else has red ones yet, and we've already collected over three pounds of ripe cherry, grape, Vintage Wine, and Brandywine tomatoes. What's our secret? Pruning, trellising with twine, snapping suckers, and generous heaps of crushed egg shells for each plant. Okay, okay, and we bought FABULOUS starts at the farmers market in the spring.

We've had lots of visitors and friends in the garden, and many of them are keen to hold still for a photo op. Can you believe I grew this Echinacea from seed last year?

There's been lots of vacation time just spent lounging and sun-bathing.

A little work got done, too. Look at that brave contractor replacing windows upstairs! Almost all the windows in the house are now energy efficient. Best of all, they open and close and they don't leak!

The girls have had lots of fun, too. They've been out in the yard nearly every day, they've gotten lots of veggie scraps, and the coop got a good cleaning. You can see here that the straw on the floor is all gone. When we clean the coop out, we give the hens a few days to scratch around in the dirt and clean up the extra feed and seeds that fall through their bedding. When fresh straw goes down, they go crazy! It's fun to scratch, fluff, and play with new bedding, so this is a pretty exciting time to be a chicken. By the way, make sure to wish our older girls a happy birthday! They're officially one year old now!

The babies are still babies, however. Winnie and Dark Meat never get to roost on the pole with the older girls, so they sit on top of the nest boxes every night. And no, they have not started laying yet. Portia (pictured in the background) has been looking for creative places to hide her eggs. We found one in the compost bin earlier in the week. Bad chicken!

No vacation would be complete without a few tasty treats. The hens get their own designer pancake this morning. There was a little leftover batter and some raspberry seeds from the compote I made, so a fancy chicken brekky was born. Happy vacation!


  1. I have total pumpkin envy, I have lots of leaves this year but no fruit - and i planted mine in a pot - next year they're just getting chucked on the heap! great pancake by the way - it looks delicious!

  2. awesome pics! Thanks or sharing. I hope we get accidental plants next year when we plant our garden!


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