Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Blue Egg

The type of chickens that lay blue eggs are called Easter Eggers. They are Araucana mixes and can lay blue, green, brown or white or a blend of those colors depending on the genetics. The gene for blue eggs is actually dominant. It is a seperate gene from the ones that control white or brown egg color. So the egg can have both blue and brown color. That can make them look greenish or kakhi.

I was wondering if this hen was ever going to start laying. She finally did start at 7 months and I'm really happy with the color of her eggs. The photo shows it next to a brown egg my Plymouth Barred rock layed for comparison.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dust Bathing Chickens and Dog?

Chickens like to take dust baths such as here , but last week one of my dogs Kahlil decided to join some of the broiler chickens in a dust bath. Luckily I had my camera, because it was an odd thing to see a dog rolling around with chickens.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

dahlias with bees

This year someone gave me some of their extra dahlia tubers. I ended up with showy dinner plate sized yellow ones, spiky burgundy ones and my favorite one, a salmon with petals that curl. I'm now hooked on dahlias and will save and replant the tubers next year. I took these photos a couple of weeks ago before the frost turned the plants black.

I am happy to see that the honey bees like dahlias too. After taking this photo and seeing it on the computer, I noticed that the bee on the left has ragged wings. I'm guessing it's an older bee. It seemed a little sad. I doubt it will survive the winter. To see the wings more clearly, click on the photo.

click on photo to enlarge

Monday, October 15, 2007

chicken tractor in the garden

This year I decided to try raising something a little different in my community garden plot, Cornish Cross broiler chickens. I've raised these before but not in my community garden plot. I got permission to do this and am calling it a pilot project. Hopefully next year other gardeners will join in also.
I started out with 13 female chicks, I brooded them in my garage for about 3 weeks. One suddenly died early on leaving an even dozen. At about 3 weeks I moved them into a 4 x 8 foot tractor in my garden in an area where the winter squash had been harvested. I butchered 3 of them at 26 days to see how they would be as Cornish game hens. They were about 1.5 lbs each and were quite good with a raspberry jam and balsamic vinegar glaze. The other 9 will be butchered shortly.

I often let the chickens out of the tractor while I'm in the garden or volunteering on the adjacent farm. Here you can see Kahlil acting as a good hawk deterrent while the chickens are busy helping eating grass and weeds and helping the soil fertility.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Frost in the Garden

Yesterday morning when I went to my garden in Lincoln, Massachusetts, I discovered the first light frost of the season. The dahlia leaves were black and the pepper leaves were droopy. I decided to pick the rest of the peppers. With hot dry weather this year I've had a great year for sweet red peppers. I'm not a big fan of green peppers, but they are unlikely to turn red before rotting so I'll blanch and freeze them and use them in stir frys over the winter. This last pepper harvest was 10.5 lbs.

Although the dahlia leaves were black, the flowers haven't turned to mush yet.

A few miles to the east at my home in Belmont, Massachusetts we have not had a frost yet.

Note. This post sets a record for time between posts. Where was I? Nowhere, right here. I have been doing lots of work on the house and I did quit my job in May. I guess I just got out of the blogging habit.