Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

Deezwin Greens
  • Grimsby, ON
  • Canada
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Spring Weather!

Groundbreaking for our kitchen garden.

The first tentative days of spring are upon us, and we're moving as fast as we can to get our garden established. The last frost date is still some ways away, but before then we have a 25x35 ft patch of sod to pull up, and soil to mix. Our soil is heavy clay, so we will likely need to add a bit of sand and some manure and compost to make a more veggie friendly garden. A rototiller would make this work significantly easier, but we haven't got one of those, so we'll have to work with what we do have.

We staked out the perimeter of our garden, strung guide strings around it and began cutting the sod. There's still a lot left to cut, but we've begun.

Run Free!

The chickens are not yet laying, as they reached maturity a bit late in the season last year. Today we let them free-range for the first time since winter fell, for some sunlight and a meal of early bugs. Mr. Tailfeathers there was getting mighty frisky, so with any luck, spring will soon catch up to the hens as well. It's time to order spring chicks, and we'll be doing that next week.

Greenhouse Frame

We had hoped to build our greenhouse today, but the wind was a bit too blustery and the baby a bit too needy to stretch the plastic over the frame. The frame is a salvaged swing set, and the shelf is a rolling garage door panel (also salvaged) The top portion will be covered with heavy greenhouse plastic, and the space under the shelf will house our composters (built from reclaimed tires - not pictured). The frame faces south, and occupies the northwest corner of our garden. 

All in all, a productive and encouraging day and a welcome respite from the winter.

All work and no play...

Time to Gear up for Spring!

It's been a long time since we've posted. Our winter has been unbelievably unlucky, and the bad luck has kept us hopping from one crisis to the next without much time for blogging.

Fortunately, things seem to be starting to look up and we're excitedly planning our garden for this year. We're new to all of this, so we're frantically tapping all the resources we can. This plan was drawn using the free trial version of Mother Earth News' garden planner with information from many, many resources. The quick reference guides we used extensively were The Self Sufficient Life and How to Live It, by John Seymour, and this chart on Wikipedia.
Plants in this garden plan were arranged, to the best of our knowledge, to benefit one another, and help keep pests under control. It is very much a work in progress, however, and constructive criticism and advice is more than welcome!

Without further adieu: please check out garden plan v. 1.

Our Chickens

We "rescued" our chickens from a private parochial school in June.  We were told they were about four weeks old at the time. The teacher didn't know what breed they were, and thought that possibly four were female and three were male, but she couldn't be sure. Some of them looked like the picture above, and some like the picture below:

Despite our best attempts, we were unable to figure out what kind of chickens we had. Based on the second picture, we theorized that some of them were perhaps leghorn, but as the rest of the down fell out and the feathers came in full, that seemed less and less likely.

They are now about 13 weeks old and all their feathers are in. We lost one of the cockerels a few weeks ago to an excited dog (we ate him, though there wasn't much meat on him). With all their feathers in, they are much easier to identify. This is what they looked like a week or so ago:

It now seems clear that these chickens are indeed sex-linked chickens of some sort. Likely Red Star. Here's what we've learned about Red Star chickens:

While Red Star Chickens do not breed true (future generations will not be able to be sexed by colour) and are not a recognized breed according to whoever it is that recognizes these things, they are productive layers, laying large brown eggs. Further, they do not tend to slow down as much as other chickens as the weather gets cold and the days get shorter (great news for us, as they won't be old enough to lay until late fall). They do not often get broody, which might make any breeding difficult, but will keep us in eggs.  They are also apparently great foragers, with a high return in eggs for the amount of feed they consume.

Sex Linked Chickens are bred by mating a red breed (Rhode Island Red is common) male and a light breed (ex. Delaware) female. Why that makes white males and red females isn't clear to us, but it does. 

Check back soon for news on coop completion and egg production updates!

Profile Information

What kind of HOMEGROWN are you?
Earth Mama, Dirt Under My Fingernails City Slicker
A bit about me:
Just beginning on my path to sustainability, learning as we go and sharing what we learn
Latest greatest meal cooked at home:
rainbow trout poached in milk that was then used as the base to a white sauce
Currently reading:
Tom Robbins
Currently listening to:
the hum of the fan
My latest DIY project:
building a "playpen" for my chickens around the base of one of my fruit trees.
Web site I recommend:

Deezwin Greens's Blog

Repair, Resell or Replace?

To circulate the air in our house on hotter days, we use a Honeywell commercial-grade fan. It has been in our service for about 4 years & each summer, we've had at least a couple weeks where it was pushed to its mechanical limits. About a week ago, the blades would no longer turn when switching the fan on. Instead, we'd hear an electrical hum of the motor trying to soldier through.

At that point, I assessed our options: 1 - consider it dead & purchase a replacement, 2 - take it… Continue

Posted on July 12, 2011 at 4:31pm

Comment Wall (1 comment)

At 9:32am on July 30, 2011, Ginny Hopper said…
Wonderful pizza! Thanks for posting it!

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