Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Reverence for dinner.

So, to remove all the suspense that I was planning for this post. We aced Itchy.

He was a crower that kept waking us up and none of the options were all that good.
Most of these options have been gone over in one of our previous rooster based posts. We decided to give him a nice last day and then do what we felt should be done and give him a quick release from this non rooster friendly plane of existence.

It takes one rooster to tend to 20 hens. A brood of eggs usually produces 50/50 hens to roosters. It probably works towards natural selection. Older weaker stock gets ousted from the flock and the younger stronger Roosters keep breeding. It's like that with almost any species.
We don't want new stock, as of yet. We are hoping for a nice peaceful flock of layers. It wasn't easy or necessarily pleasant dispatching our rooster. Now that we have we are making the most of what we have.

Now, with the smells wafting from the oven Andy McKee coming from the radio, a flowing bottle of wine from the neighbors vines and my beautiful wife making a salad from the garden, it all feels just about right.
Butter and herb bread.
Onions for the salad
Butter and herbs for the chicken.
The spread.

Scientists: Dogs can sniff out colon cancer


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10703461&ref=rss

So when Bella gooses you upon introduction, know that she is providing a vital function.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Chores!


This morning we woke up and made a quick decision to get things done around the property. Jackie started with a little bit of QT with the flock.

Whachoo lookin' at!?

Then a quick harvest in the garden.

Our broccoli, just hanging around.

In our previous post, we had a picture of our now very holy (not Holy) spinach. We ripped it out, put beer traps in the bed and put copper tape around the edges of the bed. We spent about what we would have spent on slug bait for the copper tape but this is hopefully a more permanent fix and we don't have to worry about poisoning anything or anybody.
You can see the beer trap in the corner. It should be called a 'Strange Brew Trap'.


"Me and my brother always used to dream of drowning in beer, and now I'm here and he's not and this sucks!'
Bob McKinzie- Strange Brew.
Moving on!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Flying the coop!

Just playing around with Imovie
video

Rooster Update!

If you will recall, we had a saying when we aquired our brood of chickens:
If it lays , it stays
If it crows it's got to go.

Well...
We have a crower! This handsome young rooster is not that prolific at waking us up early in the am, but he is getting better at it.

What fate awaits the black and white 'Barred Rock' with the hackle fit for dry fly tying and the Pavarotti sized lungs? (He's more like a Backstreet Boy at this point but he's just getting the hang of it.) We shall see...


This is Samwise. He hasn't crowed yet. There is still a chance that it's a she but I won't hold my breath.


Garden Update!

So,

I bet you were wondering what was happening with our broccoli. It turns out that it is preparing to help fight cancer!

http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=broccoli-fights-cancer-by-clearing-11-01-27

Broccoli Fights Cancer By Clearing Bad Tumor Suppressors

Cruciferous vegetables contain compounds that preferentially destroy ineffective mutant p53 tumor suppressor proteins, but leave the good ones alone. Steve Mirsky reports.



Steve Mirsky would be proud!


This is what a full grown broccoli flower looks like. We netted our two main garden boxes to keep the chickens out.


Unfortunately netting out slugs is a little tougher.

There is a rumor out there that chickens are good for your garden.
There is a fact that chickens enjoy fresh veggie scraps from the kitchen.
I would like to propose that chickens all though not the brightest animals have sense enough associate food growing in the garden with well... food.

Exibit A:

Lounging in the garlic patch.

They like to dust bathe in the soil as well.

Chickens turn the soil, create loads (loads!) of fertilizer and eat a ton of bugs. Some wineries turn chickens loose in their vines to do all of this. Grape vines are tall enough that chickens can't get to the vital bits. But for home gardens, keep the chickens out!

Garlic crop, not doing so well.

This combined with a very nicely stated complaint by a neighbor that our chickens will not be welcome in his yard much longer (very understandable) has lead us to the decision that we are going to corral the poultry! Oh well, full time free range isn't going to work but part time is going to be better then nothing.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Updated chicken pictures! And then there were six!

Howard the rooster is currently residing in Novato in another chicken fans coop (see previous post). Itchy remains with us because at the last minute we were informed that he may still be hen and that we should wait it out. He is definitely a rooster at this point but we'll keep him around until he starts getting to aggressive or wears out his welcome in other ways. Having two roosters for a free ranging chicken flock could be a good thing. We shall wait and see.

Our remaining chickens seem to be doing really well. We, like all of California have had a lot of rain over the last week. The chickens take shelter in the barn and under bushes when rain gets heavy, but for the most part they still patrol the property eating bugs and weeds and Howard's (human Howard's) broccoli plants.

We have been leaving their heat lamp on for about 4 hours after dusk to help them warm up and dry out. The chickens seem to be pretty unaffected by the weather.


This is Sam coming out of the coop. We'll do a post on the coop in a bit.


The gang trying to gain entry!

Lucy front and center.

Itchy and Racer 5 getting curious.


Samwise. Photogenic little beast.