Chickie girl update!

Our baby chicks have been growing like weeds. They will be 6 weeks old soon and they just moved out into their own house… messy little ladies needed their own space.

They started out like this:IMG_7839

Just look at those adorable little faces! From left to right we have; Moonblack (a Black Australorp), Goldie (an Isa Brown), Donnie (a Buff Polish Laced), and Chippie (an Americana)… proudly named by the dear child. In our chicken catalog (everyone should have a chicken catalog- ours is from Hoover’s Hatchery), these breeds are supposed to be good egg layers and friendly with kids. Although to be honest we got Donnie mostly for her bouffant. Check out what she’ll look like when mature, and no prizes for guessing why Donnie is her name.

buff laced polish

They stayed in a toasty room in our house for a few weeks… starting to get their real feathers and imprinting on the dear child. She is 100% their mother now. They did a great job eating chick starter, but loved treats like grass, peas, and spaghetti. The spaghetti party got wild with yelling, running, and literally tug of warring over noodles.

They all have their own personalities. Chippie is a wild child. Donnie is fearless and inquisitive. Goldie is a good jumper. Moonblack is calm and snuggly. They are also all messy to heck. With warmer weather and the final coat of paint on our “Chateau Poulet” we were ready to move outside!

The Chateau! Coop is on the right, garden shed on the left.

Now they have a light for warmth on chilly spring nights and they get to have outings in the garden during the day. Lucky chickies!

I’ll keep you posted on our grand chicken experiment… and I’ve been pulling some fun colors out of the dye pot I need to post about too. The weather has just been too gorgeous for sitting at the computer.

What about you? Have a small flock of chickens? What are your favorite breeds? Any burning chicken questions? I’ll do my best to answer!

Reading: Lately I’ve been rereading and referring to Michael Judd’s book, Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist. My parents have a plot that needs amending and we’ve been talking raised beds, lasagna gardening, and Hugelkultur – basically burying a bunch of wood in a super raised bed that will turn into rich soil! And the word is really fun to say…

Spring Update… or Chicks and Spinning and Gardening Oh My!

So. I’m going to try to get back into posting here regularly – I have so many projects and suburban homesteading adventures and I feel like we should keep track of them someplace. First of all, let’s start with an update.

  1. We have baby chicks! This is our newest, arguably biggest, adventure this spring. We have 4 sweet little chickies (the legal limit for our suburb of St. Paul); an Isa Brown, an Americana, a Black Australorp, and a Polish Buff Laced. Just look at that magnificent poof of hair. Photo courtesy of Hoover’s Hatchery, where our chicks hail from. So far all appear happy and healthy – they celebrated their 1 week Buff Laced Polish 2birthday this past Sunday and the child is in love!

2. We have a newly built chicken coop and garden storage shed. I’ll post about that separately, but for now suffice to say that we’ve been painting and preparing the place to host our ladies.

3. I’m finishing up a hand spinning class hosted by the wonderful Weaver’s Guild of Minnesota at the Textile Center of Minnesota. Our last class tomorrow is on plying our yarn but I couldn’t wait and cheated with you tube. I’m sure I’m picking up lots of bad habits I’ll have to kick later, but hot damn, I’m making yarn! I’m hooked.

4. The garden is going in. It has grown since last year. The husband calls it garden creep and he isn’t wrong.

5. I think I want to (learn to) dye? With plants? I dunno, that would be cool.

Hopefully I will follow through with details and some fun times with all these endeavors… but you never know, I might not?? I will try 🙂


Tempting Tuesday – Daffodils

Inspiration continues to flow from the springy world outside. In a few short weeks we’ve seen our peas and spinach sprout, planted apple trees and raspberry canes, and marveled at the amazing blooms of the daffodils springing up. Without further ado, the temptations!1. This journal from QuinnBookbinding would be a perfect place to record your spring musings and thoughts. Sturdy construction and a daffo-liscious print!

2. Our next item is a one-of-a-kind work of art from fullenstar. Imagine strolling along on your spring walks with this lovely bit of wool and silk fluttering behind you!

3. I think the bright yellow of these earrings is outstanding! They are wood cutouts from SAEE, ready to be worn, seen, and admired.

4. Zebras and Daffodils – what more do you need? This is an original artwork by unitedthread and would be perfect hanging in a sunroom or nursery.

5. Keep your little neccessaries in this glowing clutch. Sewlola made this purse from a fabric purchased in Avignon, France!

6. Last but not least, a fine art photograph of an actual daffodil by peggyhodge. I hope your spring is as beautiful as this print!

Thanks for joining us once again – remember, click on the photos for a trip to the listing of the item on Etsy.


Planning the growing season

If I haven’t updated the blog as recently as we might have liked, blame the weather. It is unseasonably warm and lovely, filling my head with dreams of this summer’s garden.

Since we recently moved into our home, this season is the first to start painting on the canvas of our property. While a little lawn is nice (impromptu croquet anyone?) on the whole I would rather have flowers, vegetables, fruiting shrubs, etc. Accordingly, I’ve been surrounding myself with gardening books, catalogs and websites to decide what should replace the ragged verge (Voles. Whole separate problem).

We have a little patch of sun (square foot vegetable garden), a patch of mostly sun next to the blueberries (raspberries, possibly semi-dwarf apple trees), a sun/shade hill (native plants, prairie plants, lilies), and an area of shade (lilies-of-the-valley, ferns, bleeding hearts). In front of the house are a few warm sunny spots where the herbs will go.

I think my most exciting experiment will be trying a few Honeyberry trees. They are native to Asia but reportedly grow well here, have elongated blueberry like fruit that ripen before strawberries, and grow well in partial shade! They grow 6-8′ or 3-4′ tall depending on the variety and you need more than one plant to have mature fruit… I’m think a hedge of 4 right now.

The craft show last weekend went swimmingly – met some great folks, sold a few items, and got the year started out right! Thanks to JenDederichPhotography for the great pics!

Dreaming of Spring

Yet another winter storm warning tonight and tomorrow and we’re all starting to feel the winter gloom. However, spring is just around the corner and it is garden planning time. To keep motivation high, it seems like a good time to share some photos from last year’s deck garden. I have to say, my Earthbox experience was a WONDERFUL one. Don’t let their gimmicky sell turn you off… for a limited garden space (like our 8×10 2nd floor balcony) they really work.
Lettuces, broccoli, pearl onions, herbs, spinach… we started out small in late April.
May brought peas and salad.
By June we were in full swing, complete with 8-ball zucchini. In July we had a jungle and were eating fresh from the garden practically every day.

But in August we moved. The plants were adopted by some lucky friends… the transportation was quite amusing.Spring is almost here… and may all your gardening dreams come true!