Thursday, May 20, 2010

Summer Crops

What a wonderful time I had harvesting my beans, beets, and carrots. Beets are great steamed and drizzled with a simple salad dressing. The dandelion are flowering and it was fun to blow the fluff in the air.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

MP3 on the Post

Left: Polly, 3, Molly
Right: Ruby's the bully.
Guess what I found when I was checking on the chickens this evening! Our three new chickens were perched on the post that John put up last year. He was sort of disappointed when the larger hens (Henny and Ruby) would not perch on it. Thought I share this with my readers who happen to love chickens.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tree Peonies

Spring time is one of my favorite season as it reminds me of pretty flowers and Easter bunnies. One of my tree peonies has started to show buds last week, and I am keeping an eye for it to bloom completely. This one has three gigantic flowers and the color is vibrant red. They are simply gorgeous and magnificent!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Front Yard: 8 Months Later

Eight months ago we landscaped our front yard with shrubs, flowers, and bulbs. I am glad most of them survived the heat last year as our place tends to get hotter in the summer. These are some of the pictures that we took this morning.


Left: Molly (yellow); Polly (brown); Penny or 3 (black w/white spots)
Here's an update of our new flock of chickens. They are exactly a month and eleven days old, and we let them out with our other hen, Ruby in the backyard. This will helps them adapt and acclimate to the outside temperature. It is really fun to watch them with Ruby when she towers over them like a mother hen. When the chicks are ready to go outside, we will put them inside the hen house with Ruby when it is dark. I used this method with my last flock of chickens, as in the morning the old and new chickens will get up and thought they'd known each other for years. Wish we humans are that easy to fool.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spring is finally here!

The sun is up, the weather is nice, and OSH is having a sale! It would be a shame to sit at home and not to be out in the garden. I skipped breakfast and drove down to the store and picked up a tray of different vegetable seedlings--tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, basil, beans, and some annuals. The minute I got home, I am in the backyard ready for the challenge. We have a decent size backyard (2500 sq. ft) with two vegetable boxes in the middle, an apple, peach, apricot and plum trees, a chicken coop and a greenhouse that John builds for me. Too much to do---I need manpower!
Today, I shall start working on the vegetable boxes and the little patch adjacent to it. I weeded, removed dead debris, shoveled, tilled and amended the dirt with compost and chicken manure. I am not an expert in gardening, and I learned alot from Kwan and by reading about it in books and periodicals. I learned about the importance of plant rotation, companion planting and pest management. By doing so, this will helps repel and attracts beneficial bugs to the environment. Some plants enhance the growth rate and others help flavor other plants, thus creating a balanced and holistic system to the garden. In other words, eco-system, a word that is commonly used nowadays, as more people are growing their own food, raising chickens for eggs, and buying from local farmers. I used to think that organic produce are way overprice and a niche to the consumer---now I think otherwise. Farming, either organic or inorganic is laborious and time consuming. Organic produce takes more time to grow, environmentally safer and has more flavors.
A few useful resources: (I plan to update this list frequently) Mouse over bold text to read more.....
Companion Planting
California Master Gardener Handbook
Community Support Agriculture (CSA)
Clark Summit Farm
Capay Farms
USDA-FSA (Farm Loans Program)
Turtle Tree Seeds

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New Chicks for Ruby

Last week our local feed store brought in a load of fresh chicks in time for Easter. I bought three little cuties of the different breeds: Barred Plymouth Rock; Orpington; and Rhode Island Red. Most of these birds lay light to medium brown eggs. Their names are Molly, Polly, and Penny. We will introduce them to Ruby probably in the summer when they get bigger. We put them in a cardboard box with a heating lamp to keep them warm indoors. They are fuzzy and warm and so damn cute!