Sunday, November 14, 2010

Our Grown Chickens in downtown Raleigh

We bought 6 chickens from Ace Hardware and pu them in our children's old play shed, with a ten foot outside run we bought cheap on Craigslist. The girls are doing great, laying almost five eggs a day and providing us a lot of pleasure and compost.
We got two Aracaunas (probably Americaunas), two Buff Orphingtons, and two Rhode Island Reds. They all get along great. The aracaunas are the most noble, almost hawk-like; the reds are brave and dominant, and the buffs are incredibly plump and very hennish.
Red, Buff, Aracauna.

Marietta in fron and Esperanza behind

Cloey and Zoey are identical to me.

Same for Jenny and Jemima. My son has a close relationship with one of them and will hold it like a parakeet.

Esperanza is the queen chicken.

Mareitta is my favorite, I pretend she IS a hawk.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Garden Tour June 2010

The chickens are not quite 4 months but are gorgeous dinosaur creatures who slowly tear up any vegetation we offer and who we love to feed. We'll get back to them later, but this is a long post sharing the new passion Cara and I share - raising food on our little urban homestead.

Cara has always had a lovely flower garden and grows wonderful herbs as well as lots of the flowers we dry for hand-laid paper notecards.

The last few years she has been sharing more of her space for tomatoes, peppers and tomatillos. We enlarged it a little last year and grew a few cucumbers as well.

This fall we tried a fall planting and it worked out very well. Cara's rhubarb is the large leaves at the far left. Behind the red brick on that side are broccoli, Savoy cabbage, and kale.

This year I made a major addition and planned some significant food plantings. We are working hard and having a ball - and it all ties in so well with the chickens!

April garden

May Garden
The rhubarb in its new home on the left, beans on right.

The tomatillo structure with bird bells.

Broccoli and squash, Swiss chard at very front. Cara is trying some sorrel and also Calendula, which has an edible flower. We love growing greens and have harvested a bunch of spinach and lettuce all through the winter, growing under glass on the deck.

The tomato jungle in sunlight, with oregano and sage in front left.

So now in June we have this fantastic array of beautiful and edible plants! How do we do it? COMPOST! Compost and seedlings is how we do it economically. Below is our seedling area - Dori's old basketball court.

We also have a chicken garden for sunflowers, mint and fennel .

Chicken sunflowers behind letterpress shop (and chicken run).

We compost every scrap, I collect leaf bags, and now we have chicken manure to work with! I can't wait for next season - and with all our container gardening, new plastic shelters, and deck gardening, all seasons are good.

We are starting to get a little serious about urban agriculture - we are trying to get seeds from the beautiful onion seed head below.

Below are our leek seedlings, which just went into giant deck pots and look great.
With our partial shade, I have to go vertical where I can. Thus, I love those upside down tomato bags. They are tricky to start - more on these another time
The Malabar spinach on our deck is the perfect blend of aesthetic and food value. That's what we're about these days. More about the chickens, who should be laying by September, soon.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Visiting the Coop at 5 Weeks

Look for the chicken tails in the lambs ear! These chickens are exploring living plants for the first time

At just over 5 weeks old, our fast-growing young chickens visited their future home . We brought them back up a couple of more nights, but now they are comfortable in their large decorated space, shown below.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

At a month old, look at these chicken feet!

At 4 weeks the chickens are a little larger than quail with long wings and big feet.

Look at those feet!

They first cautiously and then enthusiastically explored the new space we have provided. The large-breasted Buff Orphington and one of the Rhode Island Reds seem to be at the top of the pecking order, dominating the best roost on the wall between the two spaces.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The chickens are two weeks old.

The chickens are two weeks old in this post. They are getting larger feathers, including tail feathers.
The buff orphington

Rhode island Reds in back, Mexican Aracaunas in front.

They have knocked down my flimsy roost, but you will see our improved version in the next post. They can fly to the top of this box now, so it is surrounded by a garden fence.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The chicks are growing and climbing

The chicks are 8 days old in these pictures. Their tail feathers are getting longer and they are experimenting with their wings.