Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Eggs and the Garden

I got 6 chicks the month before Easter and have managed to lose only one (my own fault, had a gap between the house and the coop and she fell out and wandered on.  She may still be out there rogue in the chico bushes).  So several months later, I had a come-to-Jesus meeting with them over being moochers.  I was severely tempted to hang up a sign counting down the days until I started eating them, one by one.  I figured that I was going to eat some kind of protein from that coop, one way or another.  Lo and behold, last Thursday, someone laid an egg.  A small brown egg, not in a nesting box, but in the coop nonetheless. 
The chickens pulled a Spartacus on me and refused to announce which one of them is laying the eggs.  So they all get to live... for now.  I have been getting an egg every 24 hours or so.  The next egg was dropped in the run.  Someone wasn’t feeling like they should go in the coop to lay one, so there it was.  The third was laid on top of the metal garbage can that holds their food.  They also seem to like to sleep on top of it at night.  With all of them there, someone else must have stepped on it and crushed it overnight, leaving a yolky mess on the lid.  I put an end to that and moved the can out of the run.  Now they sleep on the ground where the can was.  I don’t understand why.  The coop is elevated, roomy, ventilated, and lined with fresh shavings once a week.  They rather outside where the 60+ mph gusts blow through.  At least they are safe from predators, as my Great Pyrenees Sam does a good job keeping the coyotes away. 

The garden is coming along, kind of.  Sam discovered that he can hide in the tall grasses and make a bed.  He’s gone as far as dug out a bedding area that water collects in for drinking and laying in.  The one strawberry plant in all the tall grass is doing really, really well, with several strawberries on it.  The carrots are getting bigger and hopefully we can harvest a few this year.  The one corn plant that grew is over 5 feet and starting to grow an ear or two.  The big story, though, is all the weeds in the garden.  I created this growing space by using the droppings of the goats and straw from the barn and tilling it into the ground.  This led to all of this grasses, sunflowers, and hybrid corn stalks growing all over the garden.  Like weeds.  I didn’t know what the grasses were until the neighbor came over and noted that I had oats in the garden. 
So evidently I can grow stuff on the homestead.  But instead of just cutting it down and composting it, I noticed that the chickens love it.  I got a sickle to cut some down every now and then to feed it to my girls.  I hope I can get the hang of it so I can cut the winter rye I plan to plant next month. 

Sadly, the tomato plant is about 5 feet tall in the living room by the window, but has yet to produce.  I cannot threaten to eat the plant, so I patiently wait for it to start producing. 


  1. If you have chickens, you never have to waste any scraps again. They'll eat anything. Including anything dead they can get to. If you ever have an accident outside, crawl away from the chickens as far as you can get before you pass out! ;-)

    My chickens are free range. They keep the bugs down, keep the snakes away, and keep the ground under the bushes cleared out. They also make excellent security devices since they roost in trees around the buildings and fuss if they are disturbed at night.

    Sounds to me like you have a going concern there, if you can raise chickens and grow vegetables, you can eat!

  2. Mudbug, tomatoes and nitrogen fertilizer hate each other. Too much and all they do is grow. Hit it with potash and phosphate. Of course you probably knew this, just trying to help.