The Productive Backyard 2014 -- July to December

A place to share garden and outdoor spaces plans and activities.
BookSaver
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The Productive Backyard 2014 -- July to December

Postby BookSaver » Tue Jul 01, 2014 6:29 pm

Harriet's explanation for The Productive Backyard

Here’s a space to discuss the chores and pleasant efforts that bring something from the land into your kitchen and home.

Vegetable garden harvests,
Egg gathering,
4-H projects,
Canning/freezing/putting up,
Orchard fruits,
Composting and
Livestock appreciation!

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Nancy
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Re: The Productive Backyard 2014 -- July to December

Postby Nancy » Tue Jul 01, 2014 6:33 pm

Thinning fruit watering and pruning is going on around here these days, as well as collecting eggs.

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Twins' Mom
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Re: The Productive Backyard 2014 -- July to December

Postby Twins' Mom » Tue Jul 01, 2014 7:13 pm

I am so happy to report that I am harvesting cherry tomatoes like crazy. From two plants I am getting between 1/2 dozen and a dozen daily. One of the two plants hasn't started producing much yet but is loaded with small green tomatoes. Also harvested my third squash - only one plant but it is going great guns as well.

Where we lived before we had so much shade it was hard to grow tomatoes. I am thrilled w this raised bed and hope dh will "allow" a second raised bed next year. Note that this bed is perhaps two feet wide by 8 feet.
Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better [wo]man. Ben Franklin

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Re: The Productive Backyard 2014 -- July to December

Postby BookSaver » Thu Jul 03, 2014 10:19 am

The heirloom tomato seedlings that I planted in pots are all still alive in the back yard, in spite of extreme high winds, heavy rains, and various animals. DH is trying to keep up with mowing the yard, a herculean task. I have been hoping for months that he would clear around the chiminea so we can have a fire but he hasn't gotten around to it; that yucky job may be my holiday contribution tomorrow since we don't have any other plans.

Here is my new favorite blog this week, which includes a lot of videos:
http://self-sufficientinsuburbia.blogspot.com
I am reading the blog and watching all the videos backwards from the beginning in 2008; currently in summer 2009.

In England, Jonathan Wallace and his partner made a goal around 2008 to become "self-sufficient" by growing all their own food themselves on their allotment (what we would call a large garden or small acreage). They estimated that the land had not been worked for at least a decade, so the first thing they had to do was dig out all the weeds and brambles, and dig in manure. The blog and videos show their progress in adding different crops, and then adding hens, ducks, goats, and bees.

For many of the things they cannot produce themselves (such as wild game), they trade vegetables, honey, livestock, and jams/jellies/pickles.

I really like his videos. He has a very soothing voice, and I've watched & read enough British English to translate things like courgette = small zucchini, marrow = very large zucchini, aubergine = eggplant, gherkin = small cucumber, etc.

Here is a good example from early in the blog:
http://self-sufficientinsuburbia.blogsp ... arlic.html

This is the kind of reality show I enjoy. Why can't we have more of these programs on network tv?

Note that on his youtube channel, Jonathan also has a lot of travel videos from all over the world, as well as some specific to British politics. He is now "retired" while he works the farm, and previously was not a politician himself but worked with a local political office. I am skipping all of these videos but will probably go back to watch the travel ones sometime after I view the gardening ones.

Jonathan also has a lot of knowledge of edible plants that can be found growing wild, so he harvests a lot of things from public property. I don't think that would be legal here -- nor would I feel safe, not know what chemicals might have been sprayed on the plants.

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Harriet
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Re: The Productive Backyard 2014 -- July to December

Postby Harriet » Wed Jul 23, 2014 11:01 am

Thank you for all the good info, BookSaver. Sometimes there is so much discouraging media/entertainment/news. It's good to have options for wholesome things.

TMI ahead, warning :(
I am worried today. We found a dead chicken when we opened up the henhouse this morning and I'm having a very hard time believing this was natural causes. The body was intact, the head still on - no blood. But the head and neck looked wet and some (not all) feathers missing at the neck. Also a wing seemed bent backward across the back, which to me says a struggle.

The henhouse is so tight - the people door is new and very flat to the wall. We always tightly close the chicken door, which is heavy, and when I swept out recently I didn't see any daylight getting in at any floor edge, etc.

So this really has me confused. If it is a predator, it must be a weasel, because from what I read only a weasel can enter through extremely small openings. If we close things up even tighter (HRH mentioned the sliding window might not be tight enough), I fear ventilation problems as the temperatures get hotter.

This was the last of the two new Marans - the other died shortly after we got home with the pullets so we assume something had been wrong with it for a while. HRH wonders if Marans are somehow just more susceptible, weaker??? We have never had the breed before. I think he may be in denial about the signs of a struggle, though.

I'm reading at Backyard Chickens .com to see if I can find any description of what a weasel-killed chicken looks like, but most of them talk about heads being gone or blood and that's not the case here. Have learned though - there are 3 different kinds of weasels. Sigh.

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Re: The Productive Backyard 2014 -- July to December

Postby Harmony » Wed Jul 23, 2014 1:36 pm

Sorry about your chicken, Harriet. I know how attached you get to each of them. :cry:

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Harriet
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Re: The Productive Backyard 2014 -- July to December

Postby Harriet » Wed Jul 23, 2014 6:46 pm

Article to help with identifying predatory wildlife -
The first post of this thread at Backyard Chickens .com is an article about how to identify which predator may have attacked small domestic animals. It also has other general information about wildlife that might help identify those that are into completely different mischief. I thought I'd post this here, just in case any of us have friends/neighbors/family with questions. They might (might) be answered here.

Predator article

There is nothing in this article about a death with an intact carcass, and all the weasel stories have blood. So I still don't know. I only have a vague memory of my parents mentioning a weasel that had killed by sucking out blood only - not actually decapitating. I have to wonder if this could be a descendant of that varmint that bothered their flock about 60 years ago.

One other discouraging tidbit of info found elsewhere is that a young but still deadly weasel can get through any opening a hot dog can be pushed through. :(

Assuming I don't have a vampire weasel :( I must decide to let this go, and just shut up my chickens earlier than usual tonight, hoping for the best. HRH is going to change his light about, and have one light shining UNDER the henhouse tonight, just in case that would help confuse or deter.

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Harriet
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Re: The Productive Backyard 2014 -- July to December

Postby Harriet » Thu Sep 11, 2014 4:37 pm

I'd come in to check for sure on the ages of my pullets, and they are 5 months. So within the next few weeks I'd expect eggs from the New Hampshire and a little longer for the Buff Orpingtons.

I noticed above that I had said I'd like to post pics of these - should really get on that.

Also noticed I said I'd like to tell my "wish list" for some future hens (ignore roosters probably - I'd just as soon not have them). My thinking always goes to the big round classic hens, so the unusual Wyandottes and Orpingtons. Obstacles are their price, rarity and sometimes the fact that there may be one line of the breed in the US but it should be bred back to other lines to stay strong, which means higher prices. I'm not going to raise chicks for sale, so I don't need to have the very first and rarest, but I'd like some of these as time passes and they are more available.

Here is a good quick video of my most possible wish-list hen, the Blue Laced Red Wyandotte. Murray McMurray is offering chicks at $4.39 each if you are willing to take straight run and take your chances, and of course pay shipping. This particular breed comes in three colorations (look at the rumps and necks in the video), so a mystery which look an individual might have.

Also love the real, European type Partridge Wyandotte with the beautiful feathering. Chicken Hill (also in Iowa) has them for $8.95 each straight run now. Waiting for the price to come down.

I would certainly be happy with a Partridge Orpington instead, but can't afford $50 each at Fancy Chick. Might check back with them in a couple years, though, to find them reasonable. They are "only" $25 at Chicken Hill, but are from less desirable all-domestic-line stock.

Another favorite is to get a Black Orpington again. Just fat and beautiful and lay like the dickens, and I have fond memories.

Speckled Sussex would be a good addition to a flock.

Totally off in Wyandotte dreamland future would be the Salmon Laced, Buff Laced, White Laced Red, Porcelain, or some of the other really rare ones. The Chocolate Partridge Wyandotte is extinct, but since its ancestry was known, there is a way to re-breed it, which is happening now, so those will probably take 20 years to get into my price range!

Anyway, fun stuff. Nice to think about.

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Nancy
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Re: The Productive Backyard 2014 -- July to December

Postby Nancy » Thu Sep 11, 2014 10:32 pm

I heard a commotion in the back in yd. I had to chase off a hawk with designs on the chicks. All the chicks and chickens are okay.

:idea: Getting hens to sit on the barnyard mix of eggs was less than 50 cents each! What ever $3.50 ÷ 8 = _____ saved on the power bill too.

The chicks have gotten on the roosts and 1 more hen and chicks are in the upper nest boxes now. So I cleaned two that were unused on the bottom tonight and put freash bedding in. Fruit is done except for a few grapes.

I am putting in a kitchen herb garden by the out door kitchen and transplanted some of those today. I found winter onion starts to plant too. Mint, oregano, rosemary, are in not sure if I will move the sage or mpt. Found some seeds too and planted those as well it will be fun to see what does well.

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Re: The Productive Backyard 2014 -- July to December

Postby FelineFriend » Fri Oct 31, 2014 12:51 am

I hate spiders, I wanted the front porch (I know this is for the BACKyard), to be orderly, for when the UPS man was coming 1 week ago, to make a book delivery. I went out on the covered porch, ran right into spider webs, head to toe, on my head, the front of me, and I pulled and pushed them away, off me, because I hate spiders so much. It's almost as though I was "meant to" go out, to see if everything on the porch was in order. I'm glad, too, because if I had not gone out, to check things out, my UPS man would've been covered in a big cobweb. It goes to show you how I don't get out on the front porch enough.

I'm a backyard sort of person. We have a bird feeder, which can be seen from our bedroom, GR8 room, dining room and kitchen. There's a favorite bush, the birds land in, near the feeder, which is delighting to watch, when a whole flock comes, and there's a bird bath there, too. I have my dad's memorial bench, a patio table with chairs and an umbrella. The umbrella pole's wooden, so it's swollen now, it cannot come out of the table hole, to be stored indoors. Anyway, I love to see the back yard, with the flowers, mogahetti full of sedums and succulents, the lawn, the trees, field, and blue sky. It's like heaven on Earth, to me. I love how peaceful it is and am so glad our nearest neighbor's 1/4 mile away, in 3 directions and 1/2 mile in the other direction. It makes taking care of a large backyard more challenging and DH does most of it. I used to do a lot of gardening, but got out of practice when I took up freelance writing in 2006. So, I might go back to it, in the future. I have a gardening journal, a grid drawn inside it, of our home, and my plans for the flowerbeds, the back yard bay window, etc... It's nice to be able to plan ahead, I believe, and the Internet is full of so many good garden journal ideas, too.
"Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can." ~ Arthur Ashe


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