Babies!! #FarmlifeFriday

Happy Friday, everyone!! I am so excited about all the babies in my farm right now! So far I only have vegetable babies but we are hoping to have some chicken babies, too!!

My garden is looking rather splendid these days! We’ve had some really warm days and a lot of rain last week so everything is nice and happy. I have zucchini, yellow squash, a variety of tomatoes, bell peppers, jalepenos, a “Mexican” pepper that I am hoping isn’t just a fancy name for a jalepeno because I have 4 of those already, cucumbers, artichokes, cabbage, red potatoes, basil, and some lettuce. The coolest part is that I started all of these from seeds! I did all the work. I didn’t buy any of the vegetables in the garden. And look!! Baby squashes already!!! This makes me so happy!!

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I did buy some flowers for the garden. I love marigolds and I have seeds but they take a while to sprout and I wanted the instant gratification. I have some on the outside of my garden as well as throughout the inside, just to add some flare. And I think marigolds will deter some bugs but promote the good ones, like bees!

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I have another cinder block planter on the left side. And a new banana plant. A guy at the local farmers marker was selling those for only $5 a couple weeks ago. How could we pass that up? We also bought a taro plant and 2 elephant ears from him for a whopping $1 each. Did you know they produce a potato-like veggie you can eat? They aren’t just pretty decoration. We’re happy to try something new.

The other babies on the farm could be chicks! We have a broody hen. Broody basically means she wants to lay on eggs and hatch them. Broodiness has been bred out of chickens but sometimes the urge strikes, kinda like baby fever I guess. You can put them in a secluded area without hay or eggs for a while and try to break them out of the habit, but we figured why not see what happens? The worst that can happen is that none of the eggs she’s on are fertilized and then we just try again with other ones. (Yes, we have a rooster, in case you are wondering how the eggs would have been fetilized).

We noticed our girl was not leaving the nesting box. I’m just going to call her THE French girl because Lagertha and Frenchie look identical and I am not sure which one is broody. She would get super pissed when we came to collect eggs and make herself huge and yell at us and peck us whenever we got near her. At first we kept taking the eggs out from underneath her because we weren’t sure we wanted to try to have her hatch any. But after about a week of taking the eggs she wasn’t going to give up. So last night after she went into her coma-like sleepy state, my daughter and I moved her and her eggs to a cozy box in the garage.

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When I first put her in the box the eggs were on the opposite side of where she is, and the darn automatic light was on in the garage, so she decided to eat rather than lay on the eggs. When she was done she was laying where she is now and I went out and put the eggs underneath her. She’s still there now so this is a step in the right direction.

A funny side story, like I said before about not knowing which girl is which, I think I tried earlier in the week to put the other French girl in the hatching box. I brought her and different eggs into the box but she refused to stay in the box. I left her and went to my yoga class and when I came back I couldn’t find her. I was like, “She abandoned the eggs? And disappeared!? What’s happening?” I finally looked UP a bit.

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She found a nice roosting spot on our tool shelf. HAHAHAHA!!! So I put her back with everyone else, and when I did, I looked in the nesting box and found the other French girl (the current broody one). OMG! I told my husband I have to mark them somehow. Maybe a ziptie around their feet.

Anyhoo, so far we’re on day 2 of laying on these eggs. I will have to continue to Google how to candle the eggs to see if they are in fact fertilized. I am no expert at any of this so this is going to be a really fun adventure. Updates as they happen so stay tuned!!

Ranch De La Chrissy #FarmlifeFriday

It’s about dang time for a new #FarmlifeFriday post. Sheesh! Life starts to catch up and I forget that I want to blog. But I am not complaining. I cannot complain about life.

The chicken coop is DONE!!! I think the last time I blogged about the coop we were just finishing up the building. Now it’s painted and decorated!! I found a warm, not rainy, day in March and painted the entire coop. I decided to do it barn-like, but since we don’t have edges, I made my own. I taped off all the edges, painted the entire thing red, then hand-painted all the white.

Isn’t it adorable? Just like this it’s pretty awesome but I wanted to add some Chrissy flare to it so I added some art. The original coop had a sign that said, “CHICK-INN.” I wanted to keep that but update it. So I added the white around the original red paint, and then made a new sign to go with it. And every Bed and Breakfast needs a tagline. 😉 Also, the B&B sign was made with a piece of wood that had fallen off the “creepy house” next door. #Recycling!!!

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I went on Amazon and bought some cheap tin signs. Then I had this brilliant idea to paint a rooster on an old cookie sheet. I mod podged over the roo so hopefully he will stay nice for a while.

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If I see any other cool signs I might add a couple more, but as of now, it’s doneskies!!

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After I painted one rooster on a cookie sheet, I found a stack of really old and nasty cookie sheets at a thrift store to paint more. I painted one for my friend Heather a couple weeks ago. It’s her bantam rooster name Squiggy.

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Chickens are all doing great. Did I blog about Ragnar passing away? I am not sure if I did. It was an unfortunate accident. He was left out over night and was killed by an owl. It was a terrible loss. #Farmlife 😦 So besides that, all the other chickens are doing great. Everyone is still laying and we’re selling eggs like crazy!!

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My next ranch project was expanding our garden. Operation “Not Buying Produce” has begun. I have been growing seeds in my bedroom since February and just yesterday put 90% of them outside. We started with a garden that was probably 10x20ish. I doubled it. I tilled the grass, added a bedload of compost, then re-tilled everything to get ready to plant.

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I currently have tomatoes (various kinds), cabbage, zucchini, yellow squash, artichokes, cilantro, basil, and peas growing nicely. I also planted a few seeds directly into the ground and those are, lettuce, cucumbers, and broccoli. Still in my room are all my peppers, bells, jalepenos, and another mexican pepper (not exactly sure what that one is) but those aren’t quite ready to be put outside yet. We are well on our way to self-sustained living!! Or at least on our way to make less trips to buy produce and eat right out of the garden.

Have a great weekend!

 

 

Accepting Defeat

My avocado seeds didn’t grow.

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It’s been over a month since I gave sprouting an avocado one more go for the bazillionth time.  All I wanted was to see a root or a leaf sprout up. I wasn’t looking for something magnificent.  I wasn’t looking for a tree. Just a sprout. Just to prove to myself that I could indeed grow ANYTHING. But no. Not this.  The ONE thing I can’t grow.  So I’m throwing in the towel. No more attempts at an avocado.

I do think it’s because of mass production breeding sterile seeds. So I’m not holding myself 100% accountable for this failure. But without the right seeds, even an organic one, I don’t see a future for this endeavor.  So I’m done.

R.I.P to my avocado dream.

Avocados: My Nemesis. #FarmlifeFriday

If you’ve followed me for a while, you will know that I love to garden. And I’m pretty darn good at it. I always have something growing inside, I grow a lot of things from seed, I love to rehab plants, and I love having a garden. But, the one thing I failed at over and over and over and over annnnnnndddd over, is growing an avocado sprout from a seed. I’ve grown pineapples from saving the tops, but I can’t sprout an avocado. EVERYONE tells me how easy it is, but I have tried a gazillion times to do it and it never happens. Why do I fail at this? And why am I trying one more time even though I swore I would never try again?

Well, while scrolling Instagram the other day I saw a picture of several avocado seeds growing in a windowsill. I commented that this was the one plant I have failed at. Another person commented, and they said the most interesting and most likely true reason I have ever heard and have never thought of before. He said that most store-bought avocados have been bred and hybridized and basically messed with so much that the seeds are probably sterile. DUH!! Makes total sense. He then said I should try an organic avocado because it would be less messed with. GENIUS!

So off to the store I went. One $2 avocado and one 89cent avocado later….

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When I cut them open I tried super hard not to score the pit at all, and I scooped it out rather than using the knife trick to get it out. I wrote the date on the mason jars so I can keep track and put the organic sticker on the organic one so I can know which is which. Here we go again. Millionth time’s the charm!!

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Chickens are doing fabulous!! And laying like champs. This is what I see regularly. Isn’t it so cute?

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Yesterday and today in Virginia it’s been about 75 degrees. So I spent the day outside and conquered the front flower beds. Over the winter I let the weeds grow but I learned my lesson…never do that again. It got too out of control. Also, I pulled up all that black tarpy stuff because it was very clearly not doing it’s job!!

Here’s the front before….

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Those weeds are crazy! They are a trailing weed so they just COVER everything. And you can see the tarpy stuff which drove me crazy.

8 bags of weeds and trash later… (I only actually trashed one bag. The rest I emptied in the woods to decompose)

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Voila!!!

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The birds sure did love it today! They hung out with me all afternoon and ate all the worms I was digging up. And then they took dirt baths of course.

My heart kept telling me to go buy flowers today, but my brain kept saying, “No!! There’s still a possibility of freezing and snow!! It’s only February!!!” So I’ll wait. I’ll just start all my seeds in the house tomorrow!!

Happy Friday!!!

Ducks and Carrots #FarmlifeFriday

Just a quick post for Farmlife Friday!!

We are officially duckless. The lady who took our 2 ducks about a month ago came back and got the other 2. She sent us photos of the reunion!

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They are all so happy to be back together and in a huge pond. The lady told us that our female assumed her position as head honcho immediately. We were sad to watch them go but happy that they could go to a great new home. She assured us that they won’t be eaten and they will live with her until their deaths.

After all the snow melted it started to rain and we have had only a couple days when the sun comes out. Of course my first thing on the agenda was clean out of the chicken coop. It was nice to go out there and not play slip-n-slide in all the mud. While I was outside on coop duty, I decided to go in the garden and rip out my lettuce plants. I remembered that we had carrots growing so I started to uproot one, then found another, then another, then a bunch!

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Some weren’t ready but others were pretty good size. It was neat to have a crop that was kind of a “set it and forget it” type.

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Digging those up reminded me that I need to go through all our seeds and figure out what we’re planting this year and get those baby sprouts started.

Chickens are still happy and laying like crazy. My husband is on a trip so the eggs aren’t getting eaten as fast as usual so I’m stocking up. I gave away another dozen this week.

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Happy Friday!!!

Run & Garden #FarmlifeFriday

Does it feel like fall to you yet? I’m seriously trying to will it to be fall. It’s been raining enough to make it seem like fall but it’s still muggy and low 80s so it’s still shorts weather. I’m ready for socks and scarves! But the rain is nice and it’s keeping everything green.

Speaking of green…

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I super cleaned the garden this week. I pulled out so many weeds and also rehomed some flowers that were taking over. I moved a basil plant (the closer one) and replanted 2 sweet taters…

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And a red tater.

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Hopefully we can get some before it gets too cold.

Still growing are my 2 bell peppers, they are producing massive-sized peppers, 2 banana peppers, another basil, and a tomato plant. That tomato plant is driving me nuts. It hasn’t produced a single mater yet. The flowers grow and then die. And there aren’t any bugs attacking them now. I don’t know.  I’m guessing it’s a nutrient deficiency but not sure. It sure is huge though and very green and healthy (looking). On the backside that you can’t see I have a leafless brussels sprout and a leafless broccoli, thanks to caterpillars, but they’re still alive. Those are both fall/winter harvest so I’m not worried yet. I also have a couple lettuce and carrot sprouts popping up. Hopefully we can get a salad or two out of those. Next year we hope to plan the garden a lot better and maybe even expand it. 

And now that we’re talking about expanding… We finally got our chicken/duck run finished! It’s been a long process, mainly for monetary reasons (chicken wire doesn’t grow on trees), but its done and everyone is super happy! Now the birds can roam around, swim all day if they want, eat grass and bugs, and enjoy not being cooped up all day.

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We cut a hole in the original coop and set up the dog crate (duck crate), so that they have more space to sleep but also be locked up at night, and they can travel freely between the coop and the run.

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We added a circus area.

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And then of course the swimmin’ hole.

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Right now we have a sail over part of the run for shade and protection and will add a second one soon. We also plan to run some sort of rope across the poles for added protection from predetors.

Daisy is consistently laying one egg a day! She goes up into the hen house around 11am each day and lays one egg. Then I cook it for the hub the next day.

[Farm]Life is good.

 

 

My Thumb is Green! Part 2

Again I will say that in my opinion, gardening can be art too. It takes a certain amount of patience and creativity to be a gardener and to enjoy it. If you missed it, here’s the first blog I wrote about my garden. GREEN

Now just to recap, I have some veggies on the back porch, some plants in the front, and I also made a garden downstairs in the front. The garden in the front is my favorite.

The front has banana trees (flown here from Texas) and a few other native plants. The only plants doing well here right now are the banana trees because of all the rain and hot weather. I planted Marigolds up here too because they are hardy and when the flowers die you just squeeze all the seeds out and throw them all over and they will grow. I have a few little ones coming up now and hopefully they can make it through the rest of the summer and be good and pretty for the rest of the seasons. But the main idea here are the banana trees. I used to have these on the side of the house but they didn’t too well. Once I moved them to the front they took off.

The biggest one, closest to the driveway is the best one so far. The one in the middle started off sad and is just now getting really big. Those are our original two starter plants. The one closest to you in the photo is a pup of the big one. If you are not familiar with banana trees, they reproduce when they are happy and content with their soil and environment.

These are two MORE pups that are sprouting up. This is such great news for us. If these things start to produce fruit, we can have our own banana stand on the weekends. LOL!! The one on the left it just about big enough to replant if we want to move it. The one in the right photo started sprouting last week. These things take off like crazy. The other super neat part about these trees, frogs LOVE them. And we love the wildlife around here. So we have baby tree frogs all over these things. Way cool.

Now if you checked out the last blog you saw a little story about this guy. Started out as a tiny cactus, thought it was going to die, sort of forgot about it, started to take off. Now look at it! He’s huge!!!! This thing keeps sprouting new arms and now it’s even started to grow roots out of the arms. I need to do some research and see exactly what kind of cactus this is. But he has a new pot and he loves it.

I don’t know if I’ve shown my frustration about this to my blogger followers yet, but here goes. I LOVE avocados. If you check out my Pinterest, my food board is full of recipes that have something to do with avocado. So I need a tree of my own. Now I know that you need two so they can cross pollinate and they take quite a few years to even start producing fruit…not the point. I just want to be able to grow one from a seed. Blogs everywhere make it sound so easy. My mom-in-law told me, “Oh it’s so easy. I’ve done it a bunch of times.” Well, this is my millionth attempt. Yes I am exaggerating, but not much. I would say this is my 10th attempt. And this is my final attempt. If it doesn’t work this time, I am breaking down and buying a tree. This guy was in my window but someone had told me that maybe it was too cold in my house. So he is outside enjoying the sun, not growing. Grrrrr.

Here is our Plumeria we brought home from Maui. We came home with a branch or stalk or trunk (not sure what you call it) bought from Walmart of all places, planted it, and voila. Our own tropical beauty. I think this is the pink one but it could be white. We have another one that isn’t doing as well. I think the pot may not be draining well and it’s being over-watered. That one needs some TLC before he’s up to blog status.

Here is my baby, my pride and joy, my Money Tree. And thanks to my other love (my husband) this guy is THRIVING!!! The last time I went to CA I left my husband in charge of watering my plants. I came home to a fertilized Money Bush. There are new branches and a ton of new leaves. The only thing I am waiting for is for it to flower. When I purchased this plant the instructions said minimal water and window sun. When I see these plants around now the instructions say that they love humidity and water. Never knew they loved water until my mom (in San Diego) had a week of rain and all of the sudden her money tree bloomed. So now I am determined to get this guy to bloom.

This is the basil I bought in April time frame for $0.50 at a blueberry farm. It was about 5 inches tall when I bought it (not including the pot). Now it’s 21 inches tall. I told you my thumb was a nice shade of green.

My plants in the backyard are still doing okay. The tomatoes are done, I need to get rid of them and start new ones, but the banana peppers and bell peppers are still producing. The plants themselves don’t look too good, but there is still fruit so I can’t complain. Last on my list is this little number…

Fake but adorable. My mom crocheted this from a pattern she found on Pinterest. We are just a green and crafty family!!

My thumb is Green

Besides arts and crafts, I really could garden all day long. I love to plant new flowers, I love to start plants from seeds, I love to weed and prune the plants….I love gardening. Unfortunately I live in a duplex apartment and don’t have the yard space for gardening. I take that back. I have the space, but there are a couple problems. I get the best sun in the front yard and it’s weird to grow veggies in your front yard. And the dogs have pretty much taken over the back (which doesn’t get the best sun anyway), so I have resorted to veggies in pots. Which is working out great!!

I am growing banana peppers, bell peppers (or one giant one at the moment), snap peas and cherry tomatoes. I really wasn’t sure they would do so well in pots, but so far so good.

This is my Money Tree. It has yet to provide me with any money, but I am holding out. This is probably my most favorite plant ever. Probably because he and I have been through thick and thin together. I purchased this tree in 2006 in California while my husband was deployed. He then moved with me to North Carolina where he endured chilly winters and hot, humid summers. His leaves would fall off and I would move him to a different window and he would get happy again. Then we moved to Florida together. I thought for sure just having him outside would be the best because of the constant heat. No go. Again, he shed every leaf and looked dead. But I did not give up. I brought him inside and nursed him back to health. Now he lives outside on the front porch and looks spectacular.

One of the best little known secrets of buying plants from stores…if you are good at gardening, buy plants from the clearance section. I bought 2 petunia plants for about $0.45 and the lilies for maybe $1. They didn’t look so hot but I planted them and now look. I believe the stores just put the ones without fresh blooms on the clearance rack.

Again, a plant that started to not look so great, and now it looks amazing. I had purchased one of those baby cactus with the huge pink flowers on top a while back. It was doing fine in the house but at some point in late spring/early summer, the gnats start to invade my houseplants. So this guy went outside and didn’t do too well. I may have over-watered him a bit, or maybe he just had a crisis. He ended up under a table and just waiting to be thrown away. Then one day I looked, and he had a new sprout. It was the arm on the right. Then it just shot up like crazy. Then the one on the left sprouted and has gotten bigger and bigger everyday. It sort of looks like a crab now with one huge claw. And now there is even a little baby sprout in the front. I am not sure if it’s going to be a new flower or another arm. We shall see. Another reason to not give up on plants.

Today, a friend of mine surprised me with some lilies as an Easter gift. A $2 Ikea pot and some paint later, I have a new front step pot and plant.


And the last one of the day…my kitchen basil in another pot I painted today. I purchased this little plant for a whopping $.50 and I just know it is going to take off in it’s new home.

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