Saturday, June 29, 2013

Summer garden

We have a garden again this summer and it has been great.

I wrote back a bit about my herb garden and the things we have planted.  Here we are a month later and I thought I'd update.  But no pictures.  I've been rather lazy about the camera lately and my computer isn't reading my camera's card.

I've made three kinds of jelly this season:  watermelon jelly, clover jelly and chamomile jelly.  The clover was made from the billions of clover flowers growing right here in my own yard.  The chamomile was made from the chamomile flowers in my herb garden.  (I bought the watermelon)

The clover jelly is a light golden brown and was so delicious.
The chamomile jelly is almost clear, but with the lightest hint of golden color.  It's lovely, but I haven't tried any yet.
The watermelon jelly (more like a jam really, as it has some texture) is the loveliest pink.  It is tasty, but a little odd to taste watermelon in jelly form.

The funny thing is, I'm not a big jelly eater, but I love making the jelly.  Once we make it through this jar of watermelon, we'll open a chamomile next. 

Our garden has about 20 tomato plants.  Every plant has several tomatoes, and they are just now starting to turn red.  I picked four yesterday.  We didn't plant cucumbers, but we've had two volunteer plants come up and they are producing beautiful cucumbers.  I've picked four of those.  I'm not planning on picking this year.  We've still got about 80 quarts of pickles from last summer.

We have one strawberry plant that has produced 3 strawberries.  They are kind of little, sad, withered things, but I hear it takes a year and a half for them to really get established. 

So, this is our gardening/preservatives successes so far for the year.  I'm looking forward to more as the summer continues.  With the many tomatoes I hope we will get, I'll make the Hubby a lot of salsa and I will try my hand at tomato sauce for pasta.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The herb garden

The herb garden!
Did you know chives put out purple flowers?  Neither did I, but they do!

Chamomile Flowers:

Last year I had almost no chamomile flowers and my parsley was only about three inches high.  This year is very different.  That's Chamomile and parsley next to each other in the picture below.  Since taking this picture a two weeks ago, they have both doubled in height.

Mint!  I've got peppermint, spearmint and chocolate mint growing.  The smell is lovely.  Also in this picture is cinnamon basil and lemon thyme.  It's not a great picture, but as you can see, everything is doing wonderfully well this year.

Next post:  The Backyard Garden...

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Here chickie, chickie, chickie

We've got more chickens!!

Last Thursday we got some new baby chicks.  These are Americanas. 

They are very different from out other chickens, which are red pullets.  They are cute and fluffy, but they are more skittish, faster and pretty good jumpers.  I can't tell who is who.  I haven't learned their names, but they include Blackie and Joey (the two black ones), Cinnamon, Papalapa Ding Dong, Kirk, Jean-Luc, and Cleopatra. They were a random pick after they hatched and we don't know which ones are males and which are females.  We'll find that out as they get older.  We only want hens, though.
They like to sleep in their food and they jump on each other's heads.  I still just call them all nuggets.
Our other chickens are lovely red hens now.  They have not started laying eggs, yet.  Still waiting on them.  We've bought two grown chickens.  For a while they were both laying eggs, but now only one of them is.  The other one had a bit of excitement this week.  She got out of her pen and flew off over the fence.  We couldn't find her or catch her.  For two days we kept an eye out and set traps to get her back.  Finally our neighbor saw her.  It took three separate attempts with no less than five people each time, but our wayward chicken was finally recaptured and her wings promptly clipped. 
I go visit the chickens every day and usually take a treat for them.  They LOVE bread.  They also love macaroni and cheese and spaghetti noodles.  When I come up to the pen, they all run to the door and start hopping, excited for their treat.  I'm certainly enjoying our chickens.  I hope they all start laying eggs soon and I hope more of these baby chicks are hens rather than roosters.  We'll see.....