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Quote of the Day: Tamar Adler

September 17th, 2017

“Eggs should be laid by chickens that have as much say in it as any of us about our egg laying does. Their yolks should, depending on the time of year, range from buttercup yellow to marigold. They should come from as nearby as possible. WE don’t all live near cattle ranches, but most of us live surprisingly close to someone raising chickens for eggs. If you find lively eggs from local chickens, buy them. They will be a good deal more than edible.”

Tamar Adler in An Everlasting Meal


Before we had our own chickens, we purchased chicken from a local farm. Eggs from happy chickens are really much more flavorful than those from the factory farms.

We now have our own flock, which range quite happily on a fairly large plot behind a few hundred feet of electric net fencing (not technically “free” ranging, as the foxes nab them if they do, but close enough). There are between 15-30 of them laying between half to two dozen eggs a day, depending on the time of year and the age of the flock. Eggs are on the breakfast menu daily, usually with a side of some sort of vegetable from the garden or a piece of bread from the oven. Sometimes they’re made into omelets to use up small bits of leftover dinner that aren’t enough to make another entire meal in itself. Pot roast with vegetables makes a surprisingly good omelet, especially with some fresh parsley on top.

In the summer, when we are flush with eggs, I sell them to a few friends. These friends claim they are “the best eggs they’ve ever had” and some won’t even give my name out to their friends in fear that they won’t be able to get eggs if they do. My belief is that the eggs are good because the chickens are happy and enjoying very chickeny lives (the homemade fermented feed is also a big part of it as well). I’m happy that my little flock produces enough eggs for us and for a few friends. Good eggs are worth sourcing wherever you live.

Do you have your own egg layers or do you have a good source for good eggs?

Uncle Guinea

September 13th, 2017

We have one guinea fowl left out of our original flock. We got some the first year we moved in and have had them ever since. They can be loud, obnoxious, and annoying, but in general we find them to be important to the garden. When there’s a large group they range freely over a very large area and do a fantastic job keeping the tick population under control. They don’t tear up the garden and eat crops like chickens and turkeys do. Their most value comes in their ability to alert to any kind of danger, which helps keep all the other birds safe.

Currently, we have only one remaining guinea, a male. We’ve always heard to never have lone males, because they are the most obnoxious. That has not been our experience, he’s actually quite nice and a real asset to our flock. He’s super protective of all of our birds, but with the baby ducks in particular. In fact, we have taken to calling him “Uncle Guinea”.

Whenever Mama Duck hatches out littles, he follows them around. When they get a little bigger and start popping through the fence and roaming over a larger territory, he follows right alongside them. If the tiny flock separates, he follows one group while Mama Duck follows the other. It’s really fun to watch how his protective nature is most fierce when there are baby ducklings. He’s been “Uncle Guinea” for several summers so, we’re always happy to see him step up into that role whenever the baby ducks are around.

What fun things are going on in your garden this week?

New to the Flock

September 11th, 2017

This past week I added 11 new members to our flock. I purchased four young pullets from a young 4-H student in the area. Yesterday I picked up a flock of Silver Laced Wyandottes from local lady.


My plan is to slowly transition my flock the the motley crew of mutt chickens to mostly Silver Laced Wyandotte. After having a few different breeds, they have been my favorites by far. I like their personalities, their temperament, their free range ability, and their calmness. I’m also hoping to sell hatching eggs next year, I never had success finding any for myself so I figured there’s a need for hatching eggs for this breed in the area.

Do you have a favorite chicken breed?

Spring Cleaning

February 27th, 2017

It’s that time of year when I start selling off a few of the birds that hatched out last summer/fall. This year I have a trio of Ancona ducks, 9 Muscovy ducks, and 4-7 turkeys that I’m going to be selling. This will make way for the a few new laying hens this summer.




Although I really like all the birds, it’s much better on my feed bill to get rid of them occasionally. I used to try to sell in the fall, but I find that it’s easier in the spring. Some of the birds are also not easy to sex in the fall (like the turkeys). One of my turkey poults from last year is just showing that he’s going to be a tom, that means I can sell him with two hens as a trio. The muscovies are popular in the spring as well, I actually have a few people who have purchased in the past that are interested in a few more this spring. It’s always nice to send birds along to home where they’ll be happy and loved.

Catnip

September 27th, 2016

If you have cats, you should have a catnip plant in your garden. They can be a little thuggish, seeding down everywhere if you don’t get them cut in time, but they’re still worthwhile to have around. The pollinators love them, and of course, so do the cats. While I was cleaning out the main vegetable garden I decided to cut back the catnip plant to dry for the cats. I threw the herbs on the porch and came inside to look up string to hang it with. When I got back to the porch Dexter has already settled in on the fragrant herbs.
catnip-dexter
Such a silly cat, but this is exactly why I dry it. Most of my cats will eat both the fresh and the dried herbs. I figure it must have all sorts of healthy vitamins & minerals in it for them. Cutting it back also keeps it from taking over the garden, overall, it’s a win/win!

Do you grow catnip or catmint for your cats?

Rest assured more lovely gardens from our trip to Sweden are in the works, I’ve been a bit busy getting the garden ready to fall and haven’t had time to go through all the photos yet.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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