This spring I planted chicory in the garden, mostly for eating, but also for the bees. I like chicory because it blooms for a LONG season and the pollinators love it. Since it’s rather cold tolerant, it will keep blooming late into the fall after many things are long gone.
This lovely chicory has been blooming for about 2 months now and there’s no sign of it stopping. Not only are the local pollinators happy as clams that somethings still around for them, I’ll be able to save seed for next year’s garden. I call that a win/win!
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We may not be prepared to keep bees, but we like to see them working on flowers that they like and that we will grow, in part, with the bees in mind. The culinary herbs from our own patch taste better for being freshly gathered or frozen green, rather than dry from a jar.
-Christoper Lloyd & Richard Bird (The Cottage Garden
This year I’m definitely missing some of my perennial herbs from my Ohio garden. I had a few big, beautiful sage plants that I harvested many leaves from, mostly for frying in butter. I started seeds this spring for sage, but I’m letting the plants get established before harvesting too many leaves.
I didn’t get any chamomile planted this year, luckily I have a big jar full from last year to get me through the winter.
I do have chives and five or six varieties of thyme, along with mints, hyssop, tarragon, horehound, oregano, marjoram and parsley. That’s enough to get me through, I certainly can’t wait until my garden is once again teaming with as many herbs as I can grow!
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“A farmer depends on himself, and the land and the weather. If you’re a farmer, you raise what you eat, you raise what you wear, and you keep warm with wood out of your own timber. You work hard, but you work as you please, and no man can tell you to go or come. You’ll be free and independent, son, on a farm.”
Father to Almanzo (Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder)
Mr Chiots and I aren’t farmers, but we can certainly appreciate this quote and what it means. Even gardening on a small scale can bring a sense of freedom and independence. Here in Maine, we also heat with wood, which is a wonderful thing. There’s no paying the propane, natural gas, or heating oil bill. The electric bill is smaller and the house is cozier.
When you heat with wood, there’s a lot of work involved. Our splitter just arrived this week, so we’re now madly splitting wood in preparation for next winter.
Yesterday was spent splitting a big pile of wood, today we’ll do the same. We both work on splitting, loading and unloading the truck. These are the kinds of chores that are better when shared. We started around noon and were able to split three truckloads. Hopefully tomorrow we can do even more.
It’s good to know that we’ll be warm and toasty all winter regardless of how full our propane tank is. We really love heating with wood, there’s nothing quite like standing next to a warm wood burner on a cold winter morning. Not to mention, Dexter wouldn’t know what to do without a warm wood burner to sleep in front of!
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I’ve been wanting to add more chickens to our flock for a while now. We average about 6 eggs a day from our flock of 7, that’s just enough for our breakfast. Mr Chiots and I each eat two eggs and the chiots gets two as well. This summer, we’re supposed to have a strapping young fellow living with us (more on that later), so I started checking Craig’s List for chickens a few weeks ago.
There was one lovely flock of 12 that I missed owning by only an hour. Then I came across a listing for 2 roosters and 4 hens. They were close, only about 15 minutes away. I contacted seller and we met Thursday night. I handed over $20 in the parking lot of the local Agway and she handed over 6 chickens. What a bargain!
This flock is a rescue. She works at a local animal shelter and from what I gather this flock showed up one day. They’ve been living in her barn for a while, she was making sure they were healthy and that the roosters weren’t mean. She guesses that they’re about 9 months old or so.
I ended up with 2 big roosters that are pretty docile so far (let’s hope that trait stays). The lady I got them from said her and her 12 year old daughter were picking them up and handling them every day to make sure they weren’t aggressive. They’re big handsome fellows, white and black with bright red combs and bright yellow feet. We’re so happy to have a rooster once again, they do such a great job of protecting the ladies.
Along with these two handsome fellows came 4 hens. A big ginger one, a mostly black one, a buff one, and a reddish one. The lady I got them from guessed that they’re Wyandottes, though the ginger one might be a Buff Orpington. It’s hard to say, they could all be barnyard mutts. I don’t know my chicken breeds very well. They lay four eggs a day though, so it doesn’t really matter.
Most people like to start flocks with chicks, I’d much rather start with older chickens. I don’t care if my chickens aren’t tame and don’t want to sit on my lap. It’s also nice that I don’t have to feed and care for these chickens for 6 months before they start to lay, they’re already doing that. Eventually, I’d like to get a few ladies that are skilled at raising their own, then they could raised chicks much better than I ever could.
I did a lot of research on how to integrate these birds into our flock. There are all sorts of ideas on how it should be done. Finally, I settled on the advice of an old-timer who said, “I just put the new chickens in the coop at night and in the morning they work out the pecking order. I’ve been doing that for 50 years and have never had any serious issues.”
The new chickens were introduced into the coop on Thursday evening around 7, there was a lot of clucking and boking going on, but all of our current chickens pretty much stayed on their roosts. The next morning, I was up with the sun to check on them and make sure things weren’t getting out of hand.
Amazingly, there wasn’t much besides clucking, boking, and crowing going on. It was a loud day in the coop for sure, there was a constant hum of noise coming that direction. Every hour I headed out to check on everyone and all was well on each visit. There was a little big of pecking, chasing and fighting, but nothing worse than I’ve seen between the ladies in our current flock. It looked like fairly normal behavior for establishing the pecking order. Towards the end of the day it seemed everyone had worked out their differences. I’ll continue to watch them closely for the next couple days to make sure nothing does happen.
Now I’m wondering when I can let them all out of the run to free range. The weather looks to be nice for the next couple days so they would certainly enjoy it, I just want to make sure they’ll all make their way back to the coop at night. I certainly do not want to be hunting for chickens at dusk!
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Every now and then it hits, writer’s block, photography block, gardening block, cooking block. I have all kinds of new photos, many beautiful ones from my trip to South America, and yet, I find myself staring at my computer screen in the evening feeling like I have nothing to say.
The same can happen in the garden, we can feel unmotivated to weed, plant or even harvest vegetables. There are also days when we’re hungry and nothing sounds good. It happens to everyone at times, no one is immune. Typically, I stop, sit back, make a cup of tea and read a good book. It seems that helps inspire me once again. Generally, it means that I need to take time away from my work and relax, it has been a long work week so far. I guess I should try to take a few hours off this weekend to regroup.
How do you deal with lack of creativity and motivation in life?Filed under Uncategorized | Comments (10)