Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Baby Ducks

We received the 15 ducks we purchased plus 1 bonus duck today!
I am traveling for work so I had to beg for pictures.

Here is how Mike described his afternoon/evening to me.  
"The kids and I pulled up chairs around the big tub that the ducks are in.  They are in the basement.  We watched the temperature to make sure it was over 90 but under 100 F.  We watched them move as a group to eat, drink water, run around and then fall down and pass out.  Then they wake back up and do it all over again.  So instead of watching TV tonight, we watched the ducks for a few hours.  The kids were mad because I told them they need to wait till tomorrow to pick them up constantly.  We had debates on which duck should be named Quackers, Stripes, etc.  I can't believe I watched them for a few hours today, but they are so much fun to watch.  They are messy, chatty, and pretty darn funny to watch.  I love the 2 runner ducks because they stand up taller than the rest of the ducks.  I still can't believe I have ducks in my basement."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Next Year

Emily and I were traveling through PA and saw fields of sunflowers.  I gave her the camera and said, "Quick, get a picture.  We need a small field of sunflowers next year.".  This first one I love because it makes me think of an impressionist painting.  Not quite Van Gogh or Monet but if you squint a little as you look at the picture you'll get the idea.

This is a better still shot.  I love the way the sunflowers face east-- or is it southeast?  I'll have to look that up.  
I did scientifically calculate the amount of garlic we'll have to plant.  About 1,250 garlic cloves to plant and 11 different varieties.  Depending on the planting method, that's somewhere around 600 linear feet of garlic to plant.  

Hoop Coop

What I love about the farm is that the entire family can work on a project together (or they can work for 10 minutes together until part get bored and go back to video games).  If you've never used a cordless drill or hammered or used a saw before-- it looks like a lot of fun and is a lot of fun.  Mike patiently helped each of the kids get their turn to "help" with the hoop coop.  I think the kids need some lessons with some scrap wood because they really did get all excited about hammering and drilling.  Then they can figure out how to build a box garden frame or even a kids play house.....
The 2 sets of mesh wires are joined using simple plastic ties.

You then use staples to attach the wire screening to the 2x4's.  The kids LOVE to hammer.

Hoop coop in process.  Still needs nest boxes and more netting on the 2 open sides.  How this works is that you put this in the field and the birds can stay underneath this hoop coop.  Every day, you pick up one end and just drag it to a new section of grass.  The chickens just move along as you move the hoop coop.  The beauty of the system is that it is light and the chickens then pick at the grass, each the bugs, and compost the grass.  You can also send then through the old garden area and they will dig up the rest of the bad bugs that you want out of the garden for next year and they also till up the ground a bit.
This is good for spring-fall.  Mike still needs to build a more solid structure for the overwintering.  Or find a big hoop-house/greenhouse (which I am hoping is the choice!).
Ducks arrive in the next 2-3 days and chickens arrive in 2-3 weeks.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Green Barn Roof

The barn now has a nice new green roof with gutters done by end of week.  We only did the large section of barn and the little addition to the left.  The other add-on section of barn that is to the right was just fine so it stays the white/grey color for now.

Of course now that the roof looks good, it makes the rest of the barn look horrible.  Now we need to fix up the inside of the barn and remove lead paint from outside of the barn.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


No pumpkins in this picture but notice Mickey the cat in the tree.  I've never seen a cat climb a tree.  Now I have.  He was trying to get away from the neighbors dog.
Pumpkins I picked to bring to some friends in CT. (the green one is a watermelon)
They are all nice and shiny because I had just washed them off and was letting them dry before I put them in the car.

I love the deep orange color on this one.
This one is supposed to be good for making pies.
We'll start picking some more pumpkins starting this week.  Some of them are still flowering so who knows how many we'll get.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I finally got it right today.  Laptop, internet access, camera and camera cord!
Emily turned 10 last week.  I have a child who has double digits..... i am now officially an old parent.  Emily is pointing out for all of us that she is indeed the one who is 10 in case we didn't realize.
Margaret and Kevin made 2 long cards for Emily.  They spent about 2 hours in the basement making the cards.  What great siblings!
Emily at her birthday party.  I love this picture.  She sure dresses up nice.
The tomatoes are dying but the peppers are doing better in the colder wet weather.  I wasn't expecting this so it was a nice suprise.
Pumpkins are getting nice and big!!!

New plantings.  Those of you who think that gardening is a spring and summer event need to read The Four Season Harvest.  My plan is to have a garden all year long.  Mike just needs to find me a used hoop house or green house (hint, hint).  He knows that other than a garden and hens-- the greenhouse/hoophouse/hothouse are the next items on my list.
I'm growing basil, dill, cilantro, rosemary, spinach, turnips, some Long Keeper Tomatoes (although I started these too late so I'll have to see how they turn out) and some more lettuce and swiss chard.  I harvested the parsley earlier this week and dried it out.  Of course I remembered that it was in the food dehydrator 36 hrs after I started drying it and was in a meeting in NYC.  Luckily Mike looks after me and noticed that it was nice and crispy and turned it off for me.  Then you just crunch it up or put it through a herb grinder and you've got ground parsley to last the year.
This new area will have fall squash, gourds, acorn squash and something else that I can't remember.  If it starts to grow and get bigger I'll remember.
This is a Verona watermelon.  Pretty sweet, but lots of funky texture to it- and very, very watery.
The trench for electric and water to the buildings.
The barn area that Mike cleaned up.  This is where some of the animals will go.  Mike still needs to remove all the old feeding troughs.
The barn with old roof.
The barn with new roof progressing.  After the roof is fixed, the gutters go on, and then the inside work can start as well as the repainting of the outside.  I can't wait to see the cool green roof!!

The Animals are Coming

I deliberately took the time to bring the camera and charger with me to NY so I could post some pictures.  Turns out I forgot the cord to connect the camera to the computer.  I'll try to find one in NYC tomorrow.

So.....We have ducks and chickens on order!!!  We paid for them and they are scheduled to be delivered within 3 weeks.  I think the ducks get here first.  Mike got 15 Fancy ducks-- who knows what we'll get but its a mix of Fancy Ducks!  They are good egg layers so we got them for eggs and also to liven up our pond.

Mike also ordered 25 Barred Rock chicks.  I am sooooooo excited!  
We are still going to get 10 older hens and 1 rooster from our friend Lee.  She is also giving us the 3 goats but we are waiting on the fencing to get done.  Fencing starts next week.  Mike is going to go get the male goat though and bring him to the vet to get fixed.  He will not be a breading goat.

The other exciting bit of news is that some of you got watermelon this week.  Andy I think got the best one that is Yellow inside and called Desert King.  Everytime I open one up it's not quite yellow inside but the one we gave his family was just right!  I was about 3 weeks late planting watermelons so I am taking what I'm getting.

Pumpkins are also growing!!!  I think I'll wait 2 more weeks and then start to pick some so that I know how many we have.  

I also made our purchase for garlic to plant in the fall.  Folks, I ordered a lot of garlic and may give a call out for a trade:  pumpkins in return for helping plant some garlic.  I'm not exactly sure how many individual garlic cloves I purchased, but it's probably in the 750-1000 clove range.   I do know that I ordered about 4 hardneck varieties of garlic and 8 softneck varieties.  The hardneck last about 6 months and the softneck last around a year or a little longer.   I was going to do less but then I thought if we had between 10-20 families and each got 50 garlic bulbs throughout the year then that's at the max end 1000 cloves needed to plant.  So just right.  Now I realize everyone out there may not need 1 garlic bulb a week, but garlic is good for you and if you have good organic garlic of different varieties, then you're likely to use it and therefore your health could improve and you can live a long and happy life.  And all because of your weekly garlic share brought to you by the GreenAkeys CSA.  I'll go back and look at my order forms and do the math to see how much I really have to plant.  (this drives Mike crazy by the way- I'm normally a very organized person, but since my life is very busy, I have to trade off organization for getting things done-  so the garlic is ordered, but I have no idea how much or how much area we need to prepare-- but I'll figure it out in due time (aka 3 weeks)).

Monday, September 1, 2008

My vacation

This is the first part of what I did on vacation.  Sauce to the left, beans in the middle, pickles on the end.  I'm in love with canning.
Stewed tomatoes that i just finished this morning with my new best friend!
One of my cabbages--- I only grew 5-6 cabbages-- I am doing something wrong!
Bok Choi
My new best friend-- Mr Pressure Steamer.  I thought I was going to die when I used it this morning.  I watched the pressure gauge like I was in charge of a nuclear reactor.  I survived and love it.
You need to keep the pressure at 10 PSI.
These tomatoes are such a pretty pink--- I love them.
Ocean City photo....
More Ocean City.

fishing in ocean city.  Kevin caught a flounder!
Me knitting while everyone else fishes--- I don't really like to fish.
Kids fishing.
Pumpkins growing!  
Stuffer tomatoes- they look like green peppers but are tomatoes.
Stuffed tomatoes with rice, zucchini, tomatoes and cheese!  mMMMMMM
Close up.
Mickey-- he is a very friendly cat and hangs around the house and did manage to get inside once so far.
Cats are doing their job.  I could have posted a few with them eating another vole/mouse but I'm still creeped out by it.  Mike says I need to learn how to pick them up with a shovel and throw them in the field.  Yuck... although I am getting better with bugs.  I now tolerate them.
Margaret with Mickey.  He follows us around like a dog.  Clean barn!

Mickey at his spot on the windowsill in the kitchen.