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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.
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.


August 10th, 2016

There’s so much cuteness in the bird yard. The turkey cutlets are growing up, but a second brood hatched while I was in Vermont last week. I only let the hen sit on two eggs since I don’t want to be overrun by turkeys this fall! The first clutch of turkeys are starting to become more independent, though they still roost with mom on chilly evenings.
turkey poult
Turkey mama
Mama duck also hatched a dozen littles on Monday. They’re already out and about in the bird yard, catching bugs and eating grass. Ducklings are probably my favorite of all the babies we have here on the farm.
muscovy ducklings (1)
There’s always lots of excitement when little birds hatch out, but it also means that it’s time to think about which of the adult birds need to go. The ducklings will be raised up and sold as adults next spring. The turkeys will be slaughtered this fall for winter eating. The older layers will be slaughtered and will make wonderful stock and soup.

What’s your favorite baby animal?

Friday Favorite: Little Nuggets

July 8th, 2016

It is that season for baby birds. I have turkey cutlets and chicken nuggets running around the garden and mama duck is sitting on a nest of 10 eggs. I’m always trying to figure out just who will be allowed to sit and how many eggs I’ll allow. If you’re not careful you can end up with an army of new birds that need feed and watered.
baby birds 2
baby birds 1
baby birds 3
baby birds 4
Around here, birds hatch their clutches in the coops with the rest of the birds and the little ones are running around outside and among the bird birds from day one. It works out very well, it saves me a ton of time and the mama birds get to do what they want to do. I love that I never have to brood chicks and that I don’t have to worry about integrating new birds. It all just falls into place naturally.

Any little birds, wild or domesticated, in your garden?

Herbal Cats

June 7th, 2016

I grow all kinds of herbs in the garden, including catnip. Of course the cats like to roll in the catnit and catmint, but they also love all the other herbs. Dexter is especially fond of the oregano and frequently smells of it. Samson is particularly fond of the thyme. I’m sure it’s partly their natural inclination for pest control. Many of these herbs keep pets away, let’s hope it helps them not be as palatable to ticks and fleas.
cats in herbs 1
cats in herbs 2
cats in herbs 3
cats in herbs 4
cats in herbs 5
cats in herbs 6
When I head out to the potager I frequently find a cat lounging in one of the herbs. It’s a good thing I have so much of each variety so I can harvest cat hair free sections for the kitchen.

Do you find that your pets like particular plants?

Broody Dex

May 25th, 2016

On Sunday I went into the kitchen and there was Dexter camped out on over a dozen eggs. No doubt he had gone broody, hoping to hatch himself out a batch of snacks.
broody cat 1
broody cat 2
He jumped on the raise your own bandwagon before he realized how much work it takes to raise a clutch of chicks. This is not the first time Dexter has decided that a carton full of eggs would be the perfect place for a nap, I can’t make this stuff up.

Any animals doing crazy things at your place?

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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 just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.