Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tiptoe in my Tulips

Red Tulips now, Red Geraniums to come
My front porch has been converted into a seeding station. I found the mini-greenhouse at Lowe's and it works GREAT! Not all of these flats actually fit in there, some stay indoors at night. Even with yesterday's 50 degree, cloudy day, inside the greenhouse, it was a balmy 62. I do have to keep a close eye on the temp though and unzip it and roll up the one side just about the time the sun starts hitting it - it heats up quick!

Future red raspberry plants hanging out until the ground dries out enough to be planted. Buds are already appearing on them. Oddly, the nursery didn't send the blackberry plants at the same time, but the blueberries have shipped.

Last Friday, Emma and I went to the feed store to check for seed potatoes - we couldn't resist looking at the ducks and chickens. And, wouldn't you know, 10 Cornish Rocks ended up in our shopping cart. These are the trial run birds -the big order shows up next month. Trial run as in: we-don't-know-how-to-butcher-but-heck-we're-gonna-give-it-a-whirl.
I'm not grooving on their disposition - if you've ever seen the movie Wall-E, they remind me of those humans - completely uninterested in moving around on their own. They lay by the feed trough and eat, LAYING DOWN. This isn't okay with me! (their bellies are featherless and dirty, ugh!) I'm used to free-ranging, independent beauties that spend all their time foraging, dust bathing and dashing all around the yard. These birds? L A Z Y. I did read a good article about an alternative to Cornish Cross for meat birds. After the next batch comes and goes into the freezer, I think we'll give an alternative a try. Meanwhile, I put the birds in the chicken tractor on nice sunny days in hopes they move around a bit more.

Besides, sunshine is a great boost for whatever ails you, right?!

The free rangers chose one strawberry bed as their own personal dig zone. They ignored the fencing and my hollering and chasing. They waited until my back was turned, and IN they'd go. Now, I know the bed has juicy worms and other yummy bugs, but I'm trying to grow enough berries to actual put some up this year as in jam and P I E. So, I took a great tip from Amy over at Twelve Acres and I put poultry netting out. HaHaHa - foiled the birds. I let my netting float on the main part of the bed and just have it pinned on the corners. I ended up having to do this on all the beds - too tempting for the chooks. As much as I love them and their free ranging ways, I have to have food this year too. They decimated the broccoli and cabbage beds before I got the netting on. Sigh. As an aside, do they make a netting to keep kids out of strawberries?

Here are some of the lovely Ladies in action. Yes, I know they look innocent, but those feet can dig like you wouldn't believe! In the background, you can see the absolute BARE earth that is their run - they took it from luscious grass to bare earth in a mere 3 days. This bit in front of their run is on the thin side, but it's a good fescue blend and should bounce back with enough sunshine and rain.


Sue said...

Gosh, everything looks so nice. I LOVE your girls.......chickens are so much entertainment!!
Great pictures. I'm jealous, jealous, jealous of your warm weather!
Thanks for the peek

Jena said...

Good luck with the Cornish birds! I raised them in high school and they were alright but pretty unmotivated like you said. That article is a great resource, thanks for sharing. J.M. Hatchery (mentioned there) was the only source I knew of for the rangers, I hoping for a batch in late April or May.

ATW said...

I feel good knowing that we are not the only ones using all of our patio space to grow seeds in trays.:)

Hot Belly Mama said...

Oh good! You read that article! I read it too and thought how horrible it would for someone to get those as their very first chickens. Can you imagine? I love the chickens we have - they are so active and interesting and fun to watch. I think we will ever be getting cornish ones. Would you get them again after knowing what you know?

Jennifer said...

Great idea about the netting. Maybe I should do that to keep the darn cats from using the garden as a litter box.