Friday, December 19, 2008

Jack Frost

It has been cold and snowy here. A couple of the windows in the garage are covered in frost in the mornings. I have always marveled at the detail and splendor of the different patterns of frost.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


A couple of snow storms have left a new blanket of snow on the ground. This fluffy snow also stuck to the trees and bushes. Ah the magic of winter.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


These are a little hard to see but there are bird, squirrel, and rabbit tracks in the snow. They are a few of the visitors this winter. I have also seen raccoon, and deer tracks, but not this morning. The last picture is Jeep tracks. Thorny Guy has been driving the Jeep down to the chicken coop on cold days.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Our fifteen chickens are laying about 12-14 eggs a day. As you can see they are all shades of brown, with a couple speckled ones and an almost white one. We have even gotten a couple of double yolkers.

The chickens seem happy and content in their coop. We do have a heat lamp in their coop which we keep on during the evening for a couple of hours. There have been enough warm days which they can still get out and explore.

So what have we been doing with all these eggs? Well there were a couple of pound cakes made, omelets, and baking. The extras we sell to people at work, which is great for the baking season.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

xmas decorations

Last year for xmas we went all out. My mom and I made 8 containers full of pine branches, red twig dogwoods, and ornaments, We made three pine wreaths, and two balls covered in evergreen which were hung on the lamp posts. I even made wreaths out of ice with citrus and berries for the birds. This year frankly, I am tired and don't have that energy. As evident from the lack of posts recently.

So Thorny guy and I decided to cut back especially since xmas is not at our house this year. We were not even going to get a tree!

Well Thorny Guy changed that plan and bought a cheap white pine tree and decked it out. He also bought poinsettias on Black Friday. This made me put up the nativity set, and a huge grapevine wreath with ornaments above the garage. But that is it, I am done decking the halls. Although I have to admit it does seem more like the holiday season now.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Local Grown Food

I came across this article today on locally grown foods.

To sum it up, it says that buying local food isn't saving as much energy as one would hope. Most food is shipped across the country on trucks. A single trailer can haul a lot and when you divide the energy used on a per item basis it's quite small. Now take a local farmer driving to a market with a single bushel of apples. When you work it out the energy used per food item is pretty high, but still lower than shipping it coast to coast.

The article recommends locally grown food which makes me happy. Ladybug and I have been trying to embrace this as much as possible. That being said, at the very least everyone should buy local eggs :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Chicken Coop Upgrades

Sunday the chickens got an upgrade on their coop.

The problem was that the hole from the coop into the chicken run was facing west, allowing almost all the wind to directly blow into the coop. This is ok in the summer but in the winter there will be some chilly chickens.

As you can see I put a wall in front of the doorway so the wind cannot blow in and shifted over the ramp. For now the North and South ends are open letting winds from those directions blow through, but they may get closed off also.

Last week I moved the food inside the coop and yesterday I moved the water inside (it kept freezing). Moving the water inside didn't help because it was still frozen this morning. We will keep working on that one.

Welcome to Winter

Winter visited Minnesota last week and our house was not immune.

This weekend we tried to finish the outdoor projects that were left, like digging up the rest of the glads and moving pond plants into the garage so they wouldn't freeze. It's mostly done now besides all the leaves still blowing around.

On the good side the birds have been coming fast and furious to the feeders. Eat up little birds, you'll need it!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Last night we carved our only surviving pumpkin from the garden.

Here is the blank canvas.

Who is a scaredy pumpkin?


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bulbs are in the ground

This weekend I finally got all the bulbs planted. Let's hope they come up. I am still waiting on a couple lilies from brecks. I just hope they come soon so they can still go in the ground.

I planted two types of crocuses in the woodland garden by the path: Ard Schenk Snow Crocus and Fuscotinctus Snow Crocus. I got my replacement Winter Aconite. Checkered Lilies and Trout Lily for the Woodland garden. And a whole bunch of Lilies, since they seem to like our soil and the deer usually leave them alone.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Rosemary and Thyme

Ladybug and I have been watching a new show the last few weeks and we really enjoy it. It's called Rosemary and Thyme. It's about two gardeners who always seem to run into murder mysteries. It's not all about gardening but it's enough to keep us interested. It's on our PBS station on Sunday nights at 9pm. Check it out if you have a chance!

Friday, October 17, 2008


This year we have one lonely surviving pumpkin. It actually looks pretty good considering we paid little attention to it. Oh the possibilities of what to carve.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Evil bunny

The bunnies have moved to bigger quarters, where they can chase each other for hours. In all the pictures taken today their eyes were all red, which makes them look freakishly evil. Maybe I should get them little horns, a cape, and a pitchfork for Halloween.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Turkey Takeover

Sunday Ladybug and I had quite the surprise when we looked out the window...there were three large turkeys eating under our bird feeder!

Ladybug had thrown some old corn there for the chickens, but we certainly didn't expect to these gentlemen so close to the house. There must have been a lack of lady turkeys around because none of them decided to spread their tail feathers and show off. They happily ate the corn until they got bored and strutted off into the woods. I think next time we'll have to invite them to dinner!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Book Review

I finished reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. The story focused on a families attempt to eating local food for one year. They admitted they could not give up such things as coffee, who could?, but tried to eat seasonly.
This is the story of a year in which we made every attempt to feed ourselves animals and vegetables whose provenance we really knew . . . and of how our family was changed by our first year of deliberately eating food produced from the same place where we worked, went to school, loved our neighbors, drank the water, and breathed the air."
It was a good read, a interesting story mixed in with facts and trivia. It really makes you think about where your food comes from, and how much gas did it take to bring those bananas here. While most of us will never go to the extreme that they did, it points things that can be done by everyone. For example, buying from orchards and farmers markets, eating food in season, reading labels, etc. I am glad this book was recommended to me. :)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Sneaky's Garden

I have been bad at posting lately. A lot on my mind and work picked up a bit. Anyways, this is a project I completed when a friend was visiting. We got a lot planted but still had time to chat and catch up.

As a thank-you to my friend who helped plant it, the West Side Garden has a new name: Sneaky's Garden (named after her cat). Perhaps I can find a fake cat that looks like Sneaky to occupy it.

The garden should fill in nicely in the spring. We put in coneflower, rudabeckia, and shasta daisies. All of which were started from seed this spring. I also found a spot for the lavander plant, my mom picked up in Oregon. I divided Achillea ptarmica "The Pearl" and put half by the house, where it can flop if it so desires.

We also used a lot of the mulch Thorny Guy made with the chipper. The chipper has really come in handy and already earned its keep in mulch.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Thorny Guy has been collecting the black walnuts as they fall off the trees. The squirrels are not a fan of Thorny Guy, let me tell you.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Deer Crossing

On Sunday afternoon, the back forty was a high traffic area for animal crossing. Two does made their way across the field. Followed later by three male turkeys.

Saturday, October 04, 2008


Saturday, with the help of the folks, we ripped out what was left of the garden. Here is some of the harvest. Now I have to start canning again.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Chilly Morning

Well we had our official first frost, which means everything needs to come out of the garden ASAP. The sun was beginning to warm the hills, but in the vegetable garden things still had frost on them.

There was one warm item out there this morning. Thorny Guy caught a barred rock in the act of laying an egg. By the time he was off to work and I was feeding the chickens, there was a warm little egg waiting for me.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The first egg!

A chicken laid an egg, although I am not sure which one. It was small, speckled and a lovely shade of brown. The shell was a lot harder to crack than the normal white grocery egg. It was delicious for breakfast.

I have to say that it was a odd experience to gather ones own egg and fry it up. Exciting and rewarding yes, but after being brainwashed by the food industry that eggs are white and a size large, you really have put your mind in the right place. The same sort of thing when you eat oddly shaped vegetables from the garden, I guess. Will there be a day when I feel gathering an egg from the coop and eating it is "normal"? I hope so.
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