Monday, August 23, 2010


We finally got our crap together and our chickens are here! They are even more awesome than I ever imagined. We only have two right now. Two Rhode Island Reds from my pal Ingrid. (Thanks Ingrid!) We plan on adding one more pullet later.

Jonas named one Brownie -because it's slightly browner than the other chicken. And he named the other Ginger -because it's the name of the main chicken on Chicken Run...and he's a little bit obsessed with that movie. But the name ginger totally fits because the chicken is burnt orange in color.

This kid LOVES the chickens. I'm starting to become slightly worried that he thinks he's a chicken, at least on some level. The chickens roll in the dirt, Jonas rolls in the dirt. The chickens scratch in the compost, Jonas scratches in the compost. The other day he came inside asking for a new shirt...because his current shirt was soaked with filthy chicken water. Oh yeah. He drank it. We monitored him closely for signs of chicken induced diseases for the first few days, because I'm just a little bit paranoid. More than once I've caught Jonas chasing them around with a scrubbing brush (terrorizing is probably a better word) saying that he needed (NEEDED) to brush their hair. What am I going to do with this kid?

The chickens seem very happy. They run to us when they hear our back door open and follow us all over the garden. They finally found the compost today, after exploring the yard for several days. Chicken Heaven. Their favorite place seems to be underneath one of the green bean teepees. Go figure. And their favorite treats are the sprouted legume/grain mixture I've been giving them, and tomatoes they find on the ground.

We've had a few predator run-ins. One morning after letting the chickens out of their coop I went inside to fetch laundry to hang on the line. When I returned there was a hawk watching the chickens from our garage roof. I threw a zucchini at it and it flew away (anyone who says they're overrun with zucchini isn't thinking of ALL it's practical uses). Then THREE more hawks flew out of our neighbors trees. We haven't seen them since but SHEESH! That night a skunk sprayed our coop. The chickens were safe inside but oh my. Who knew that skunk spray smelled like fire at point blank range? Tis true. Mercifully the smell had completely dissipated by the next morning.

In other news...remember my last post, how I rambled on about the strange weather? I've since decided that this blog has magical powers because it has been 100 degrees outside EVERY DAY SINCE. What is that about?

So how are your lives lately? I was having a facebook conversation with my friend Siobhan the other day about chickens. I told her Jonas and I had spent the entire day outside watching the chickens, interspersed with bits of hanging laundry on the washline. Siobhan also has chickens and totally gets how awesome they are. "We're livin' the dream!" I think is an exact quote from that conversation. And we totally are! And while the phrase "livin' the dream" is fine I read a line on another blog today that I like even better, "life right now is dope as hell." Indeed it is.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Summer So Far

I've been a lame-o again. I can't even remember the last time I posted on this blog...and I lack the motivation to go and look at the previous post. Anyway. I've been extremely busy -isn't everyone?

Well over a month ago I went camping for a week with a bunch of girls from our church. It was quite an experience. These were my cabin girls for the week. Sometimes they were awesome, sometimes they were downright rotten. But I loved them through it all. At the end of the week they were awarded the "Night Owl/Party Cabin" award if that gives you any idea of what the week was like.

Here's a shot of me and my pal Cous Cous (no,not her real name) waiting to go home. We were ready.

Camp was fun, but back on the homefront this has been happening every other day. Keeps me busy canning and pickling and roasting and dehydrating and freezing.

The southern california weather this summer has been the strangest I can remember. Perhaps strange is the wrong word, but "cold" doesn't exactly fit either. Anyway, it's been the coldest summer since the 1930's. While not frigid by any means it's still unseasonably cool. 70's most of the time, when it's usually in the 90's and 100's. The plants are loving it. The tomatoes haven't had a bit of blossom drop, there was a small bit of blossom drop with some pole beans but they're back to normal already.

At the beginning of the season I planted equal numbers of small red and yellow tomato plants. Red and Yellow jelly bean tomatoes and red and yellow pear tomatoes. I didn't keep track of which was which, and only planted out the strongest seedlings. I don't know what happened but EVERY SINGLE small tomato plant is yellow. Even the volunteers. Maybe they just like the weather better, or the soil, or the yellow plants are stronger by nature. Whatever happened we're up to our eyeballs in yellow jellybean and pear tomatoes. What a hardship:)

Here's a shot of our sunflowers! I have a spot of soil that is riddled with fusarium wilt. It's hard to find things to plant that are unaffected by it. Sunflowers are one of those things. So voila I planted a bunch of black oil sunflowers to feed our impending chickens. They look beautiful! This is not the best of pictures, they obviously need a good watering. So just take my word for it. Oh, and the bees LOVE them. Hooray for pollination!

Speaking of chickens... Here's the coop we broke down and purchased. I'm VERY happy with it. While the other coop we received is AWESOME, it needed some work to be chicken ready, and a run, so we just bought this, though we'll probably be keeping the other one as a place for baby chicks when the time comes. Anyway this new coop...LOVE it! Love the size and attached run and pull out tray for cleanup. While the run is small it shouldn't matter too much since we plan on free ranging the chickens and the run will only be used on specific occasions. Plus it's the perfect sized chicken tractor for our yard. The benefits are just endless. Can't wait for the chickens! Can't wait for the eggs. Can't wait for the weed and insect control. Can't wait for the MANURE! Stay tuned.