Sunday, March 18, 2012

Operation Chicken Tractor

As Spring begins we start gathering seeds, making plans, and drawing up sketches of ideas for the upcoming season. This year we've decided to raise a few chickens and enjoy our own farm fresh eggs. After watching way too many youtube videos one Sunday afternoon... I began conceptualizing our mobile chicken coop.

I've built a few raised bed gardens, and I have mastered the compost bin... but a mobile chicken coop is panning out to be tougher challenge. My goal is to spend as little as possible while creating a comfortable and lightweight mobile coop. First I began seeing what I could salvage from around the farm... old pvc piping, lumber, hinges, tarps. All great scores, but I still have to make a shopping list:

1. chicken wire
2. more PVC, glue, fittings
3. brackets for pvc pipes
4. plywood
4. wheels (2)
5. bungee cords

Today I built the base of the coop with 2x4's. The foot print is 7' x 14'. Next I cut the pvc pipes to 14" these will be the skeleton of the coop, providing the frame for the chicken wire.

Photos and plans to come soon...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Winter Slumber

After the colors fade,
the earth begins to tuck itself in
under blankets of frost and wind swept grass.
And we settle in for the long stretch.
As the sunlight shortens,
and the fire must grow.

While dreaming and planning we dance all alone,
while whistling along to our favorite songs.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

herbal allies

Calendula blossoms drying. Calendula is one of my favorite herbs for enhancing lymphatic circulation and healing gut inflammation. It also makes a lovely healing oil for topical uses.

We managed to get a few beautiful heirloom tomato volunteers before the stink bugs set in for late summer eating.

We had tons of sweet annie this year, a wonderful smelling, anti-malarial protection plant

My prized passionflower, a transplant from Smile herb shop, brought to me by Holly Torgerson. I have been trying for 3 years to get a passionflower to grow, and this one has rewarded me with many beautiful flowers. The most amazing flower on the planet! Passionflower is one of my favorite herbs for calming an overactive mind and gently lulling one to sleep.
The queenly elecampane, towering above the rest of the garden. Elecampane root is a valuable lung tonic, helping you to expel phlegm and congestion from the lungs.


My newfound magical herb friend: Nigella, or Black Cumin seed. A beautiful flower and wonderful cure-all from the middle eastern herbal tradition. The seeds are eaten and used for "everything that ails you"

This has been the year of cherry tomatoes! We didn't plant any tomatoes in anticipation of stink bugs. Then we had a thousand volunteer plants that I left in the ground and lo and behold, stink bugs didn't bother them much! That means cherry tomatoes coming out of our ears!
Look at this giant lettuce leaf basil! We've been busy harvesting my 5 types of basil to make enough pesto to last throughout the winter

A red kuri squash flower gets magically turned into a delicious squash
Our first year growing onions from seed, started in february, harvested in september

Friday, July 1, 2011

Now that spring has come and gone, we've been very busy keeping the garden civil. The herbal wheel has been filled in with herbal reseedings from last year, volunteers from compost, and invasions of clover, grass, and thistles. Having a garden in the middle of a wild hay field means constant weeding of prolific wind-blown seedlings. It is very humbling to leave for a week and come back to a garden that is reclaiming itself. Despite lots of sun and little water since spring, most of the beloved herbs I have introduced are thriving.

summer garden 2011

The chestnut trees have been buzzing with bees and musky flower pheremones as the flowers begin their growth into baby chestnuts
The foxglove is quite at home in its little corner it has carved out beside the wormwood

And we've got new arrivals who most likely hitched a ride over here from Carolyn's garden in the compost we spread in the spring: Poppies! Such an amazing plant to watch bloom- each bent over stem waits for its turn to pop into scarlet bloom brilliantly for a day and then fall to pieces of red confetti on the ground
And lamb's wool, that soft furry queen whose purple flowers are loved by bees and pollinators. She's made herself quite happy here.

summer garden 2011

Salvia azurea, or blue sage, coming back from last year

The chamomile (that I never planted) has come back with abundance, and I have been harvesting some for tea

Early in spring I scattered dill seeds everywhere and it made a nice green feathery groundcover

Which in a month has turned into giant yellow firework flowers, swaying in the wind