Thursday, May 24, 2012

Two Weeks Old and May Flowers

Today, the chicks are two weeks old. Here they are when they were barely hatched:



 And here they are today. It's amazing the difference two weeks can make!



So far, our four little chicks seem to be doing well. Their wing feathers are starting to come in, they're curious and adventurous, and they like when I talk and when Nathan whistles. I can finally tell them apart and have named each of them. Louise, Georgia, Alice, and Polly. They don't come when I call them individually, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time. 

One not-so-great thing about our inquisitive chicks is that they've learned to jump out of their bin. I check on them often throughout the day, and yesterday when I pushed open the door, two chicks were standing next to the bin, looking in through the plastic side. Oops. I scooped them up and placed them back in, and they seemed glad to be home. Good thing we keep the door to the office shut at all times! Still, I'm looking forward to moving them to the coop once they get all their feathers in - should be another week or so. Nathan has been working on the coop on and off and he's got the outside almost completely done. My job will be painting it. Here's a progress photo:


In other homesteading news, our garden is thriving. We've had a lot of rain the last two weeks, which the plants have been loving. We figured out pretty quickly that our tomato cages are woefully small - we've lost a few branches, some with tomatoes on them, and are building teepees out of bamboo to help support the HUGE plants. I already made pesto once with the help of the basil, and our eggplant is finally getting bigger.

Tomatoes, eggplant, basil.

Everything else is blooming beautifully, but the yellow squash are among the first to actually produce a vegetable. The squash are still tiny, but I'm sure they'll be big enough to eat soon enough. 

Yellow squash.

The cucumber is sprawling and needs a trellis to climb on - I'm hoping we get one in there by the end of the week. The peppers and tomatoes are all flowering, and I've definitely seen a few honeybees (probably ours!) buzzing in and out of the blooms. Very exciting.

Cucumbers.

Peppers.

Tomatoes.

Potted blackberry bush, also from Nathan's mom. Tiny for now.


Because this is our first real garden, and because we planted late, we've mostly gone the transplant route instead of growing from seed. This means that every time I go to the Farm Supply Store, or to Lowe's, I buy another random plant and stick it haphazardly in the garden. Last week we added asparagus that Nathan's mom gave us, a cucumber that had sprouted in the compost, and a spaghetti squash plant. So much for carefully planning what we'd grow and exactly where in the garden it would reside. I'm looking at this year as a big experiment, seeing what works, what doesn't, and what varieties we like. Next year we'll approach the garden with a better plan. And buy bigger tomato cages. For now, I'm enjoying the progress our garden is making and celebrating every new bloom.

22 comments:

  1. They are smart little birds aren't they!? Neil's mom hatches some every year and I'm always blown away by how quickly they learn to escape!

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    1. We should finish the coop this week. It's so close! I like having them near us, but I'll be happy to get the guest room back.

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  2. Your garden is looking awesome! I started late too, so I feel the pain. Can't wait to have the time to figure out a better plan for it next year.

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    1. I'm just amazed that things are ACTUALLY GROWING. Nature is so cool!

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  3. I love the shape of the coop. It looks like it's be a great home for the adorable chicks!

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    1. Thanks! I think it's really neat looking too. I can't wait to paint it!

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  4. Those chicks are ridiculously cute. I could watch them all day....

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    1. I spend a lot of time watching them. They seem to like it!

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  5. Oh, wow. This is making me wish we had planted a garden. We have also talked about laying hens, but I'm afraid they wouldn't stay in our yard. Very cool - best wishes!

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    1. That's why we're building a coop! I will probably let them out of their pen when they're older and understand that coop = home, but for the most part they'll be safe and secured.

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  6. I'm loving living vicariously through your little mini-farm :)

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    1. Thanks, Katie! I love sharing our mini-farm!

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  7. Your garden looks great and your awkward-stage chickens are adorable.

    Do they have names yet or are they just the Ladies?

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    1. Oh - I love the coop. If we were renting, that's where our ladies would live. It seems to be a popular design. Watch out ... my ladies can tear up a garden in a blink of an eye.

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    2. They do have names! Georgia, Louise, Alice, and Polly. Georgia is my favorite - she's the bravest of the four!

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    3. Good ones. Maybe Georgia would be my favorite, but that's coming from the mother of Phoenix and Fresno. ;)

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  8. Awww! They're adorable!!

    We ordered chicks from Meyer Hatchery, they were hatched yesterday (or today) and we should have them by the end of the week! I'm so stinkin excited! I have to go get the big box from my friend. She works at The Buckle and so she's going to get me a big box. I have big plastic tubs, so I might use those for a bit as well. We're getting 8 tho, so I don't know if a plastic tub would be enough room! In a couple of weeks I have a friend coming over and we're going to build the enclosure and the coop and connect it to the duck enclosure.

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    1. How exciting! Our four are on the verge of outgrowing their plastic tub. They've already learned to jump out, but they stay close to it because of the heat lamp. Good luck with your chicks!

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  9. Please share what you are feeding those amazing tomato plants! I made a homemade tomato plant food that I found on pinterest (compost, epsom salt, dry milk, baking soda) but mine aren't that big yet. I try to grow as organically as possible for a backyard gardener :)

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    1. We have a pretty kick ass compost bin and we mixed horse manure from a local stable in with our dirt. But Nathan says the most important thing we did was to text the pH of our soil (we got a cheap kit at the farm supply store) to make sure it was tomato friendly. It wasn't and we had to amend. Ever since, our tomato plants have been growing like crazy!

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    2. We also live in coastal North Carolina, so our spring was really early and warm, and we get lots of rain, which the plants love. We also try to do everything as organically as possible!

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  10. The coop looks great so far! Can't wait to see the finished product! And don't feel bad about the tomato cages - just about everyone I know ends up with tomato plants that outgrow them.

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