Bzzzz May 22nd, 2010

Our hens lay a beautiful variety of eggs. The colors range from white to cream to brown to green to blue. The color is entirely dependent on the kind of chicken. The Polish hens lay the smallest eggs in creamy white and beige. The Easter Egg chickens lay medium sized eggs in green to blue hues. The Red Star and Black Star hens, bred for production, lay brown eggs. And they can really push out some monster eggs!

Until yesterday the largest egg I bothered to measure was 95 grams. Yesterday, one of the hens pushed out a 98 gram egg. To put that in perspective, think about the jumbo sized eggs you can buy at the grocery store. They are only about 71 grams.  This egg was a full 27 grams larger than a jumbo egg.

You know what I say? Poor hen! It’s no wonder I hear honking and yelling from the coop. That’s gotta hurt!

Posted In: Chickens

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Bzzzz May 20th, 2010

Did someone shorten the days—like make them 18 hours rather than 24? Because it seems as if I have less time than ever and I’m wondering what I’m doing wrong. Work has been very busy lately, which has put a cap on the amount of time I can spend in the garden. But it is spring, after all, and some things just can’t wait.

The vegetable garden is mostly in. Now that he’s learned to use the chain saw, Harry is happily doing some small clearing along the edges of the driveway. He contributed three mimosa tree trunks that he dug in and I have strung with twine through eye hooks to serve as a trellis for the cucumbers. I think it’s rustic looking and rather like it. But a couple of weeks ago some workmen who were here asked me why I had planted those trees like that in my garden! Perhaps when the vines start to cover the twine it’ll be apparent that the trees are actually posts. Or maybe not. What do you think?

We widened the existing daylily border by the potager.  The border is now home to some rampant columbines that threatened to take over the herb bed, supplemented with some alyssum, superbells and osteospermum. Over time I’ll add or relocate perennials to this border, but for now the annuals are providing some color.

In the front of the house, the hellebores are still blooming. They have seeded prolifically and I’ve been moving little baby hellebores to other shady parts of the yard.

Our strawberry patch has really taken off this year. Early this spring the patch was fairly crowded, as the daughters these ‘Jubilee’ strawberries had taken up residence. I dug and dug and gave away probably 50 or 75 of the plants. They’re probably still a little crowded, but they don’t seem to mind, as there is a bumper crop in progress. We eat strawberries constantly. As I write this the house is filled with the smell of strawberries. While I work today, the oven will slow cook the strawberries for ten hours on a very low heat. Later this evening, I’ll finish canning and processing them for strawberry jam.

I don’t have all the containers planted, but some are finished. The window boxes on the back deck are filled with pale yellow petunias, coleus ‘Inky Fingers,’ and asparagus fern. I know a lot of people dislike petunias—and they are terribly over-used—but  I love the pale yellow color of these and appreciate how they bloom reliably all summer long.  Daily deadheading is one of my favorite activities because I can just step outside the back door, snip, snip, snip and not even break a sweat. And what a difference it makes in the number of blooms!

And finally is this little closeup detail…just because I like it…

Posted In: Gardening, Gardening Life

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