Almost 3 weeks old! Feathering out nicely- I lost one to pasty butt :( I thought I had them all cleaned and made sure they were free of the dried poop on their little butts, however I must have missed one or she got it over night and just didn't make it. But I guess 29/30 is pretty good. I plan to add some Wheat Marans that will be laying in the beginning of May to ramp up for the Farmer's Market! Wheat Marans are a french breed that lay a SUPER dark egg - the Welsummers lay a very dark egg as well, I just think eggs that dark are beautiful :)
Super simple recycled planting trays. Need: Newspaper (or any paper for that matter), Egg Cartons, Dirt Disks, Water, Seeds. Instructions: Soak dirt disks (the ones that stay together). Cut little squares (4 papers thick) for the bottoms of egg cartons. Place pre-wetted disks into each egg place. Plant seeds into the developed dirt disk. Place in large rectangle planting container-- or any container you want that will hold water. Easy support trays for dirt disks!
I was going to make a trip to get more planting pots but in the amount I needed, the bio-degradable ones really add up in cost. Having plastic planting pots (2" and 4") laying around I decided to make my own bio-degradable pots. The big hype about bio-degradable pots is- yes, they are bio-degradable but also you can plant the pot into the garden without disrupting the roots etc. The only problem with that is, if you don't plant ALL the pot or remove the top rim that would stick out of the ground- it can dry out your plant by not allowing the plant to get the water it needs - wicking it away from the plant. So when I plant bio-degradable pots I tear off the top rim and break open the pot a bit so the plant can be sure to get it's roots out there in case the pot doesn't completely break down in the soil. Check out the video below for the simple instructions to make!
They're here! My little cuties :) Buff Orphingtons, Rhode Island Reds and Welsummers. All brown egg layers. Can't wait till they start producing....oh about 26 weeks. I got the call this morning at 635am that they were waiting to be picked up at the post office. Best wake up call ever.
As Joe Dirt would say, "Life's a garden, dig it." Watching my garden grow from the inside of my home to the outside gardens is very rewarding. From seedling, I have tried various ways now to get them to come up. For me, the best is leaving the dirt very loose and semi-moist, planting the seeds (the little ones just smooshing them into the surface a bit), and before putting them under the lights - spraying them with a a couple squirts of water. When I can see little green sprouts in a week or so, it is very exciting. Yay! I didn't kill you, yet. I have always bought my plants after they were started by someone else or a garden center after I wasn't successful at starting my own seeds, for numerous reasons. So now that I am watching my gardens grow from the inside of my home with success, I am more excited than ever to plant all my seeds according to the sow/germinate schedule. I have started several seeds but the real planting mahem is coming end of March and beginning of April. There is certainly a sense of pride and gratification from nuturing these little seedlings into a large plant that can provide food or beauty. Not to get too philosophical but the pure amazement that a tiny little seed carries perfect genetic code to become a large plant that provides food is pretty cool. So nurturing the seedling along and making it stronger, not drowning it in too much water, and not letting it dry out while in growth is a task in itself. After successfully growing the seeds indoors and moving them to the outside gardens can be nerve racking so once my plants are strong enough and the weather will allow for them to survive, it will be easier breathing after the transition. I have found with the chaos of my day-kids, meals, all my crazy projects etc.- dirt is my therapy. There is something about digging in it that makes me feel better and more alive than before. I look forward to the seed booklets and the juicy details about the plant descriptions (they ALWAYS get me to buy with the first two words being 'juicy and/or beautiful'). I have told myself for the rest of this spring, any more seeds books that come must immediately go into the garbage. Of about 10 that have recently been sent, I have thrown out one. It actually hurts a little to not allow myself to read about all the new and best seeds that seed company has to offer. Being from Minnesota, it's hope disquised in another 12" of snow fall. My plans this year for self-food are now in the making. I have put the cart in motion and have empowered myself to take care of my family in a more healthy, knowledgeable and informed way. Sending my seeds along their way to the end result-production, is what each seasons goal is about. Producing different varieties and finding just the right specialty fruit or vegetable has calmed my anxiousness for conquering the world. At this point in my life, sprouting seeds and self-reliant preparation is enough. My anticipation for the Farmer's Markets this year has gotten me started on my soap curing and other projects. Taking my produce and other creations to them will be a journey I am looking forward to being on. I also look forward to meeting new people with like minds. I can always take some new advice on making my homestead more effecient. In watching my garden grow from the inside out and using dirt as my go to for theraputic relief, this season has officially started and my plans for self-reliance have begun.
Through developement of my homestead, it is incredibly difficult to build everything from scratch with bought lumber, shingles, insulation, plywood etc. BUT there are great finds out there for the patient ones. For example, in the summer I see a garage sale sign (there are tons in my neck of the woods), I pull over to take a glance at what people are getting rid of. I LOVE the gardening finds that people don't want anymore. And YES, they typically come from city dwellers. Hey- I love the city its just that most people will buy something for a project, like a shovel, for their small area and hardly use it, then sell it after its been collecting dust for a couple years. Cha Ching....enter MEG! It's awesome when people are so thankful you take their 'crap' off their hands when you know what they are getting rid of is a minimum of $75 and they want $1.50 for it. So besides garage sales the places I get my freebies or next to nothing are first and foremost Craigslist. Look in the free section. If for anything, its a great way to spend an evening while sipping a glass of wine, beer, or lemonade (chose your poison). What's more fun is finding something like an old farmhouse apron front sink, plant stand, indoor plant, plywood pieces, pallets, etc for free. After you acquire your goody (ies), you can make them into a project that will be helpful around your house, apartment, farm or homestead and it will be one of a kind! Even if you don't know what you could do with an old sink like that, google it! Now, I am not a junk collector by any means. Everything I get is used and created from start to finish. I figure, if I spent money on- it needs to be completed promptly, or when weather will allow me to. Another place to find re-purposeful items is Goodwill. Where I live, there is a lot of great ones. I love what people get rid of. I bought two HUGE round planters for $5.99 a piece, BUT NO- it was Tuesday $1.49 tag sale so I got them both for $2.98, big spender right here. The kitchen department can really rock too somedays, glassware to old stuff that you can't find in big box stores. So, I am planning on roasting my own coffee beans this week and I needed an old time air popcorn popper. I walk into my local thrift store last week, walk through the kitchen aisle and there she be, an old air popcorn popper for $2.99. Sure I could buy a newer version online for $30 all plastic but you can't find quality like the old stuff. It's important to keep in mind that some days are a hit and others are a miss for thrift stores as well as garage sales. But it would certainly take out the excitement if you knew what was there before going :) I really enjoy re-purposing quality. I don't see the point in throwing away something that works better than the garbage on the shelf there is today. I can literally think of a project with almost any free or used item. If for any reason to find cool free stuff and re-purpose it, it is to see the look in my husband's eyes when I unload my TDI sportwagen with all my finds. His look of 'oh crap, what's she up to now' is seriously priceless.
I absolutely love my pallet re-purposed into a wine rack that hangs on the wall. I can not stand having things on my counter to 'wash' around constantly so this helps out a lot!Click through the pics to see the process and notes!