Saturday, June 7, 2008

Green Barn Happenings

Quick Chick Update

If you look closely, you'll be able to make out the white fence posts that show where the electric poultry mesh runs to create an enclosure for the chickens. This has worked very well as it has repelled Bishop and other predators. It has been interesting to watch the chickens respond to wildlife. A wild turkey walked up to the fence and all the chickens ran inside. Floozy kept a lookout at the door and when the turkey drifted into the woods, she came out and resumed scrounging. A rooster pheasant has been hanging around the perimeter of the fence. I think he's in love.


I think she can kick my &#%. Look at those feathers!


I'm sorry, but I just can't get enough of this. Look at the white outlines of her crest feathers.

Group hug

Only one of these has a name. Lesley (my daughter) asked if she could change this Daryl to Jolie, which is French for beautiful. This hen is the whitest white imaginable.

Bat house

The Brownies Troop at my school gave me this bat house. I hung it on our corncrib and it has 4 or 5 bats sleeping in it during the day. There is also a colony of bats sleeping inside the barn at the peak. Sometimes Peter and I stand in there and look for them. We usually can spot some of them as they move around. I love the idea of bats living at our farm. We watch them zipping and diving and know that they are eating hundreds of mosquitoes each night. We have a small woodland pond and it was full of mosquito larvae. Now they have become mature young ladies, hungry for blood so they can create the next generation of mini vampires. (Can you see the little bat insignia on the bathouse?)


I'm not sure if you call bat poo "guano." But I like the way it sounds, so on the green barn farm, we have bat guano. It burns!

Real Crab Apples

I make tasty jelly with the apples from this tree. It turns out to be the prettiest pink color. This looks like a bumper crop!

Black Raspberries

I love making jam with these berries. I assume the bug Ruth captured is some sort of beetle. I usually get most of the bugs out when I make jam. ;)


These Sunflowers survived the frost and are doing well! They are children of last year's sunflowers. Grow tall and straight! I just found more sunflowers growing in the gravel of the driveway. I'm letting them grow!

Frost Warning

Almost all the plants I covered died from the frost. These tomatoes weren't covered, but survived. All the brighter green leaves are post-frost growth. I think I have 7 tomato plants growing!

Puny Garden

I wanted to put in a garden this year, but haven't had a lot of time. So, I scratched out a four foot by fifteen foot patch, added some good humus and sphagum moss and stirred it up. I planted 8 green bean plants and six died from Mr. Frost. I resorted to planting green bean seeds directly into the soil and they are just now popping up. I also have three surviving peppers, and two eggplants. Lesley and I scratched out some long rows and planted carrot seeds and radishes. Here are the radishes. You can see some carrots mixed in with the radishes. OOPS! Oh well, hopefully this will give the kids something fun and edible to pick during Farm Day in August.

Hen and Chicks

These are my first successful brooding hens! I have these growing in an old bullet-ridden tub. I also plant Zinnias in the tub and they are a blast of color. Unfortunately I like the spot at the bottom of the deck steps for this tub and it is in the line of fire for when we play four square and basketball. It becomes very entertaining when someone dives and sacrifices his/her body to save my Zinnias.


Stiggy said...

Are you sure you're not living the other side of our fence!?!?

We have bats at our current home, and are growing Raspberries, Crab apples and sunflowers at our new place!

Dahlia is a great hen! I love her 'hair do' !

By the way, here's a youtube video of Rhydian with one of his best performances - absolutely fantastic we think!



Don said...

I would love to live in your village. Ruth and I lived in Istanbul for about three years and have visited Europe several times and always come home and talk about someday renting out a little farm in the country in England or France.

We also have wild blackberries. Last year I left bushels of blackberries on the vine as I couldn't keep up with them. This year I will get them all and make syrup with them. I usually make about 100 jars of jam, and 20 jars of syrup.

Heather said...

Oh Don, thanks for that image of the bug in the blackberry jam. (As I chew and swallow a sweet spoonful of the stuff that Ruth gave me this past week). :) The jam is fabulous--bugs and all! The bat house is awesome. You inspire such loyalty from your young charges.

Don said...

Heather: Consider it organic, all-natural protein! A gift from the farm.

Gwen Buchanan said...

I love the review of the progress at the "green barn" farm. The chickens are delightful... your sunflowers are bigger than mine (we have not had much heat yet)..
I think I will be living my love of chicks through you for the time being, as the lill' ol' shed I was thinking of turning into a chicken house is now turning into a 14 yr. old boys club house with 2 double bunks... and also a learning experience for him with his dad in the many aspects of creating a water tight abode, starting with eaves repair and new roof shingles... .. next framing up for a little window and a real door ...lots more too..( it is only about 10' x 11'... so it is a mini project...

I am in the process of putting up my bat house too!! is yours facing east?

I remember how I love apple jelly... Maybe you will inspire me to make some this year... please remind me when the time comes... my new trees don't bear much yet but my old wild ones do!!

and hens and chicks.. I love them too I just took a hand full down to my daughter for her new (antique)house... they originated from her now deceased Dutch grandmother, who was good at absolutely everything...

so lovely to see your care!! thanks

Don said...

Gwen: I think sunflowers are such a cool plant. I love how tall they get and how varied they are. We had ten different varieties last year (our first year to grow them) and I am anxious to see what comes up! I haven't planted any this yer and we have several dozen scattered around.

A clubhouse with double bunks is exactly what I would have loved as a young person like Max. He will gain so much working together with his dad will continue his education is a real and practical way. They'll have great stories to tell, especially when they have disagreements!

My dad had some hens and chicks that were descended from Thomas Edison's lab in new Jersey, (he pocketed some that had fallen to the grass from the roof of the building), but a neighbor boy mowed them one summer!

The apple jelly usually gets mamde in Sept-Oct., depending on the crop. I need to make some apple butter too!

chickengirl said...

I love your Ameraucanas!! And your Polish; she's adorable! Our friends have one that looks kind of like that, but her hair all flops to one side! LOL

Country Girl said...

I love Dahlia, she is a beaut!
Also, enjoyed your other pictures as always. We need to put up some bat houses here too. I know they are all around because I found a dead one in the barn soon after we moved in and a live one in my kitchen cupboard - I let out quite a screech.
Have a nice week Don and thanks for all the lovely comments you leave on my blog.
Oh yeah...About the meat birds, I am not sure if John will slaughter or bring some where's. His dad was a butcher by profession so John is real good at that stuff and he always cuts up his deer but he has mentioned bringing them in as we have little money invested in them and he just as well let someone else do the dirty deed. Eventually he plans to build or buy a plucker so we can easily process our own birds. If you want instructions he has done in the past and I'm sure he'd gladly send you a how to list. Let me know, Kim

Don said...

chickengirl: I am lookinig forward to the colorful eggs! I sometimes feel bad for the polish crested birds as their feathers seem to inhibit their vision. I am going to do a little research on them. Your slide shows are great!

Don said...

Kim: Bats are nice to have around if they are flying and eating unwanted insects. In your kitchen cupboard? That is freaky.

I am looking forward to the great chicken dinners, but am a little leary of the couple of days work getting the meat birds into the freezer! When are you doing yours?

Amy - "Twelve Acres" said...

Yes, that Ameraucana CAN kick your #&$@! Don't even doubt it for a second! That bird will eat your soul. Dahlia's name is PERFECT. Love the silver lacing too--how spiffy.

I wanted a bat house too and I downloaded construction plans for one. The plans took several pages to print and by the time Jim finished looking at them, I got the "Honey, it's REALLY I have to?" look. Needless to say, the bat house is still just a dream. That guano looks to be some really hot stuff. It's the best poo on the planet!

The beetle on your berries is a soldier beetle of some variety--a good guy. I have left my wild sunflowers to grow too. They are the offspring of the black oil sunflower seeds the birds missed this winter. I love sunflowers, they are so happy.

Wonderful update, Don. Thank you!

Don said...

Amy: I like it when the chickens almost name themselves!

The bat house I have is quite simple. It basically is a box with some screen stapled to it.

I think sunflowers are the perfect flower. They last a long time and then provide food for the winter birds.

Farm Chick Paula said...

Dahlia and Jolie are gorgeous, Don! Sorry about your garden... we had the killer frost, too, right after we planted, and we just had to start all over again. Things were looking great untill a couple of weeks ago - it's turned hot and dry and we are having to water everything. Jeez, the things we do for fresh veggies!

Don said...

Paula: Your weather sounds like Michigan! We share a saying with everywhere else, I'm sure: "If you don't like the weather we're having, just wait a minute!"

I need to get some sort of mini-studio set up so Ruth can photograph each of the ornamental chickens. My rooster is turning into a stunning bird! I think he is a Golden Pencil Hamburg.

lesleyanne said...

I'm glad we didn't cut Dahlia's hair, she's just too beautiful. Too bad about the frost!!! Curses! At least some of the veggies are still alive and growin. I'm excited to eat some fresh carrots.

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, Floozy the lookout, you're chicks are all too cute, except for Ameraucana,you know she's bad, she's bad, you know it, you know it,lol. Okay that bat cave as I like to call it is way cool, yes I can make out the bat at the top panel.

Awesome beetle capture Ruth. Too bad about getting hit so bad from the frost. We had a couple bad frosts here too, only had a few flowers put in, had them covered and everything was good.

Thanks for the super cool update Don.

Don said...

Lesley: Hey daughter! Dahlia does look a bit fab! Yesterday, I wnt out to make sure all the chickens were in for the night and there was Dahlia sound asleep outside on a log! All the other chickens were inside getting a bit of water and food before roosting.

I picked her up and placed her on the roost and I'm not sure she even opened her eyes! (how can I tell?)

Don said...

Bob: I think I will call that Ameraucana "She's Bad."

The beans are all getting a fresh start, so I hope to fence them in before the rabbits get a whiff of them!

Ginnie said...

I read your posts, Don, and have a smile on my face the entire time. :D I think you're my favorite man in the whole world (unless you call Nicholas a man, of course).

Don said...

ginnie: I like smilin' too! That is mighty high praise from the likes of you! I would indeed call anyone who can handle home plate like Nicholas a real man! Good luck with your knee surgery on Friday, your birthday!

Sandy said...

Well darn Don... I'm behind on blogs and look at you!!! You updated might fine. Love those Hens...and everything else.


Don said...

Sandy: Hey there! I have been really busy lately too. School ended last Wednesday, and this week I am doing a class all day every day. Ugh! The hens change every day!

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