Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fuzzy footed chicks and steaming mulch

Baby Bantam white Silkie
I got six more baby chicks on Friday. Two are interesting and four are run of the mill layers--New Hampshire Reds. One is the tiniest Barred Rock Bantam Cochin and the other is a white Silkie, also a Bantam. The Silkie has got to be the cutest little ball of fluff I have ever seen. I have fallen in love with a chicken! The Cochin is the tiniest chick in my chicken crib (rubbermaid container), but the one with the most attitude, running over to peck at my fingers when I fill the food dish. Could this tiny critter be a rooster? The two bantams are straight run, so we won't know what sex they are until they mature into their teenage bodies.

Tiny Bantam Barred Rock Cochin
The Cochins and the Silkies have feathered feet and are just amusing. I have decided to add chickens that are fun to look at to my flock. I still fantasize about a peacock wandering around our small farm, but haven't been able to find one locally...yet. I'd like to get some Araucanas which lay blue and green eggs, and some heirloom chicken varieties too, which used to be the standard on old family farms before agribusiness started breeding chickens for profit and mass laying capabilities.

Our organic eggs are a big hit with the Canon Co-op ( members. Thank you guys! We are selling a dozen for $3.50 which is a bargain when a dozen sells for $3.66 at City Market in town. How about that? We will have to see if our price is enough to cover the cost of the certified organic feed. I know our chickens are happy chickens and the eggs are big with bright yellow, firm yolks. Backyard chickens are the best. I recommend a flock for everyone.

 Richard had been spreading leaves and mulch like mad. We got our second drop of wood chips from the tree trimmers, and the pile was steaming as it was dumped from the truck. It makes Richard soooo happy.  He has been working on the new flower garden space and will eventually move to the upper garden, which he has laid out on paper...keyhole gardens connected by a central garden path and anchored by our big raised bed which now contains garlic and onions.

I'm thinking perhaps our wall on the road side should become a wooden privacy fence, which we can buy and work on in segments. Originally we wanted to build a wall out of rammed earth tires or earth bags and cover it all with an adobe finish. Very nice, but we are having trouble coming up with the materials to get it all done and we need a fence to keep the deer out of our garden and to keep the neighbors eyes off of the tire windbreak surrounding the greenhouse. The tires don't seem to be a big hit...aesthetically speaking, but they work great to protect the greenhouse.

Tire wall wind protection
Today we are expecting another mulch drop, and hopefully we can move injured Guinea into the greenhouse. I took off his foot splint and his wound is healing nicely--all pink and healthy looking. He's squawking more and more into the evening hours when the little kids are asleep, so he has to move back to the great outdoors. Richard also has plans to either go into town and pickup the leftover grape squeezings (to make compost) from the Abby's wine making or to go to the alpaca ranch for a load of alpaca poop for our sheet mulch project. Maybe we can do both.

Saturday we went to a small farm in Florence that had llama poop for free and met the nicest family. The man may let me adopt a female llama to put in with our goats as a livestock guardian. He says he has too many and wants to find approved homes for some of them. We will wait and see. Wouldn't it be exciting to have more llama wool?

Oh, looks like the big orange truck is here with the wood chips....

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