Thursday, June 11, 2015

Chickens are strange

Just for the record our chickens are family and of course free range. They are totally spoiled and have minds and personalities of their own. So when one decided it would start sleeping under the carport at night with the cats, we thought sure why not. She's not hurting anything and maybe there was a dust up in the coop. We did check and the coop seems okay, no strange dangers or unusual issues. We do have a few who like to play wild chicken by roosting in the Magnolia tree during good weather, at night but to each their own.

Then I came out one morning and I saw this...
The goof ball was in a bucket. I came home and there was an eggs. Okay that's fine. She was out scouting the front yard for bugs and aggravating the cats and coming back at night to roost. 

Then that's when the strange comes into play. She has decided to go broody.. on this!
This bucket that she had been laying in and that had been retrieving an egg a day is half full of pecans from last year. We had picked them up late and never did anything with them. So there they sat until she came along. Now she has decided that they must be small eggs and she is going to hatch them!
I thought she might be laying on some eggs.. nope.. just pecans. If you bother her she fluffs out and rearranges her "eggs". She does get off to eat and drink if it's brought near to her. 

I figured she's give up after a week, nope still there. So we were talking to some friends last night and they have ducks. Their ducks won't sit on the eggs and they suggested we give her a couple of eggs that could be viable to try and hatch since she's been trying so hard. So last night we took her out and placed the eggs. She was very excited and settled back in after our disruption. She poked and prodded and got comfortable again. We'll give her a few extra worms this week as a treat and see how it goes. I have already laid down the law and we won't be keeping the ducks, just fostering for now. The original owners would like to have them back. E is very upset that we would take them away from her after she hatched them, but I think she would be a bit confused about what to do with them, if they do hatch. I'll keep you updated on the chicken/duck progress.

Have you done any switcheroos on your chickens? How did it work? Share your stories I'd love to know what to expect!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Pulling Garlic

The weather has been a bit strange this year and while I didn't think it was time to pull the garlic yet, the garlic has different plans. I'm fairly sure that I just cut the scapes off of most of these, but some of the larger plants are turning already. In years past we have waited until July to pull our garlic.

 These larger plants are being pulled today since the leaves and stem are soft and I'm worried about rot.
These smaller plants will be left for a few more weeks since they are still a bit green and are hopefully still growing. The weather has not been their friend this year.

During the A to Z Challenge in April I had a post G is for Garlic, in which I talked about why garlic is such a great addition to your garden. The most work you will put into garlic is after the growing season. Getting it out of the ground, cleaning it up and making it sure dries and doesn't rot.
Check out that root system they have. They really don't want to come out of the ground. 

Once you have pulled your garlic, if your in the south that normally would be late June to July, northern climates are a bit later due to our growing season differences, it is ready to eat. make sure that you keep some of the larger bulbs out for replanting in the fall too!

 But since you have waited almost nine months for this feast you might want to put a bit side for later also. If that's the case or if you have a large harvest you'll want to cure some those bulbs. Don't wash them, you want them to stay as dry as possible. We give them a day or two and then we clean the dirt off of them when it's dried out a bit, some dirt doesn't hurt and it can stay on. You don't want to rub too hard. You can bring them inside, or braid them and hang them in under a carport. Anywhere that gets a good ventilation and is out of the sun. Sun can damage the bulbs and change the flavor. Keep those leaves on, the garlic is still using them for energy until they are completely dried, which can take as much as two months depending on your humidity and weather. Once the leaves have completely dried and the roots are brittle you can trim them off, leaving a bit of root and 1/2 of top. They can then be stored in mesh bags (we hang on to onion bags and use those), cardboard boxes or even pantyhose if you have any laying around. They just need to be in a breathable container so they stay dry. Stored this way they can be kept for 6 to 9 months depending on the variety. They will be just as great as the day the came out of the ground!

I hope that if you haven't tried garlic, we've encouraged you to give it a try, I promise you won't be sorry!