September 24, 2013

Urban Farm Magazine subscription $8.99 a year, today only!

urbanfarmmay2013

Today only, you can subscribe to Urban Farm Magazine for $8.99 a year (69% off the cover price)! You can order one year at this price. Just enter coupon code QUEENBEE at checkout to get the special pricing. I think it’s worth every penny and would probably buy it off the news stand at full price I like it so much.

Magazine description: A guide for those in cities or suburbs looking to become more self-sufficient by growing some of their own food and treading lightly on the environment in the space they have. Articles include how-to projects, gardening basics, composting, beekeeping, roof-top gardening, preserving and freezing, and time and money-saving ideas.

This offer expires Tuesday, 08/24/13 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

August 28, 2013

Urban Farm Magazine $8.99 a year

urbanfarmmay2013

Today only, you can subscribe to Urban Farm Magazine for $8.99 a year (69% off the cover price)! You can order one year at this price. Just enter coupon code QUEENBEE at checkout to get the special pricing. I think it’s worth every penny and would probably buy it off the news stand at full price I like it so much.

Magazine description: A guide for those in cities or suburbs looking to become more self-sufficient by growing some of their own food and treading lightly on the environment in the space they have. Articles include how-to projects, gardening basics, composting, beekeeping, roof-top gardening, preserving and freezing, and time and money-saving ideas.

This offer expires Thursday, 08/29/13 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

August 24, 2013

Saturday in the Garden – More tomatoes, all the baby chickens are laying!

Sweet-Girl-Sweet-Cherry-Tomatoes

Things are really winding down in our backyard. The grass is hibernating (dead and yellow), the raised beds are empty with the occasional weed or lettuce gone to seed. We didn’t plant pumpkins this year (see ours last year) and I’m regretting it badly now (I just never got around to it).

BUT this morning my sweet girl and I harvested nearly 2.5 pounds of cherry tomatoes. They are every size possible, down to the itsy bitsy. My kids will eat this raw all day long, so instead of doing another batch of roasted marinara sauce, I think we’ll just enjoy these raw in salads and as snacks.

Cascading-color-cherry-tomatoes

I find it slightly magical the way cherry tomatoes so naturally cascade in a rainbow.

So-many-cherry-tomatoes-Northwest-gardening

And although all my plants have fallen over and they are on the ground, they still seem to be thriving – by the grace of something other greater than myself, since I haven’t been paying them much attention. Lots of green ones left, so we’ll have another couple weeks of harvests, I think.

Tomatoes-Weighed-2-25-pounds

We probably picked 2.5 pounds after you figure all the ones we ate while picking.

All-baby-chicks-laying-eggs

AND we are now getting TWO green eggs a day (for a total of 6-7 a day) so now we know all our baby chickens are now laying! So excited. Aren’t they glorious? We got these babies back in March, you can read more about there here.

So that’s what’s happening in my backyard. Humor me and tell me what’s happening in yours. . . . 

Beautiful-cherry-tomatoes-northwest

August 17, 2013

Saturday in the Garden – Our first green egg from our Ameraucana chicken

ameraucana-green-egg

Today’s Saturday in the Garden is short and sweet. My lettuce has gone to seed, I picked a bunch of tomatoes and made Roasted Marinara Sauce and the chickens are all doing marvelously.

The most exciting news from the yard this week – happened this morning, when the kids and I went out to check the eggs. We found our first GREEN egg! Wahoo. I’m so proud of it, you would have think I laid it myself. This gem of an egg came from one of our Ameraucana chickens – which lay either blue or green eggs.  I think all but one of the baby chicks that we got back in March are now laying. We are still waiting on the other Ameraucana.

The white eggs are from our Leghorn. And we still have a Barred Rock that is laying next to the waterer, not sure what’s up with that. My daughter was telling the Barred Rocks this morning (in a rather mothering way) – “you gotta put your egg upstairs, k?!”  By upstairs she means the nesting boxes in the hen house. If it was only that easy. We’ll see if they get it figured out.

I will tell you – getting eggs from the coop never seems to get old. We’ve had chickens now for about 13 months and every single day feels like a blessing. I’m serious! We love our chickens and the eggs that they lay for us – and no matter how many times we open the nesting box, it still feels like opening a present on Christmas.

Ameraucana-Leghorn-chickens

This is one of our Ameraucanas. I’m not sure which one is laying, but I’m betting the other one isn’t far behind.

So that’s what’s happening in my backyard. Humor me and tell me what’s happening in yours. . . . 

August 3, 2013

Saturday in the Garden – Harvested nearly 6 pounds of onions! Plus, how do I get baby chicks to lay in nesting box?

I-grew-walla-walla-onions-nw

The exciting news this week is I harvested five pounds 12 ounces of Sweet Walla Walla onions. It’s about 20 onions. And I’m still in shock that I was able to grow them. I have never seen better lookin’ onions. I suppose it’s like having babies – you always think your own are cute. And just like a new mom, I’ll be posting entirely too many onion photos in this post – hope that’s okay. I haven’t cut into the onions yet, so who knows just how they taste, but at this point, I’m not really sure I’d care.

onions-bowl-full-august3

Right out of the ground they are dirty little buggers.

Beautiful-walla-walla-homegrown-onions

I wiped them off with a dry towel to clean them up. I have no idea what I’m doing, I should probably Google it.

[Read more…]

July 27, 2013

Saturday in the Garden – Our baby chickens are finally laying eggs! Onions almost ready

Young_leghorn-barred-rock-eggs

This week was an exciting week in the chicken coop because we started getting eggs from at least TWO of our baby chickens. Sweet little Dora, our Leghorn laid her first egg and one of our Barred Rock laid on egg. We know because Dora’s eggs are white and she’s the only chicken that lays white eggs in our flock. The small brown egg must be from a Barred Rock because the Ameraucana will lay green or blue eggs – so they are still holding out.

Our chickens are just turning 21 weeks today. That’s pretty standard for when chickens start laying, although it depends on the breed. Pretty soon all six babies will be laying!

Looking at the photo above, you can see the size difference. The egg to the far left is from one of our second year chickens – meaning they just started laying last year. They are a typical “large” egg style that you’d find in the grocery store.

free-range-chicken-yokes

You can see how much smaller the yokes are in this photo. The eggs, and yokes, will get bigger, as the hens grow. And in case you’re wondering there are extra egg whites in this photo, it’s not just two eggs. Notice how bright yellow the yolks are. This is standard for backyard, free range chickens. I should take a photo and compare it to a store bought egg – you’d be shocked the difference in color – all because of the freshness!

4-month-chickens-june-29

After sending Apple (our Rooster) and two other chickens to our friend’s farm, here’s what we currently have in the flock, 8 chickens:

I don’t know why we haven’t named our Barred Rocks yet. What do you think we should name them?

Onions-walla-walla-get-ready-to-pick

As for the garden, I’m letting my sweet Walla Walla onions dry out, like many of you suggested last week. I can’t believe I grew onions. 🙂 Wonder what they taste like!

Tomatoes-Turning-Red-July-26

My tomato plant is large and in charge. It’s completely overgrown and under watered. But the tomatoes seem to be growing and turning red – no thanks to my attention or love.

Tomatoes-Starting-to-Ripen-July-26

Yummmm. . .how are your tomatoes doing this year? Seems like they are turning red earlier than last year, but I can’t be certain without checking. Do you recall?

Tomato-Mess-of-a-Plant

This would be two tomato plants. It’s one big mess. Do you think less of me now that you know I’m a horrible tomato mom? Hope not. 🙂

Cleaning-Up-Kids-toys-in-back

We did a LOT of work cleaning up the back area of the yard where the kid’s stuff hangs out. We sprayed down the Step2 Neat & Tidy Cottage and used a rake and leaf blower to clean up the pine cones and needles that drop back in that area. We trimmed some of the bushes and returned all the big rocks to their spot (what is it with 6-year-old boys and rocks?). We picked up all the toys that were spread across the yard and I predict they’ll be “cleaned up” for about 24 hours before they put back into good use.  Even if it’s short lived, I’m glad to have it cleaned up.

Hobby-Farm-Home-Magazine

One of the highlights in our mail this week was the latest copy of Hobby Farm Home magazine. If you’re at all into gardening, urban farming, chickens, canning, recipes – this magazine is great. In fact, I like it so much I asked Discount Mags for an exclusive discount for you – and so this weekend only you can get it for $7.50/year with coupon code QUEENBEE at checkout. You can order up to one year at this price and his offer expires at Sunday 07/28/13 11:59 p.m. EST. You can find it here: Hobby Farm Home magazine

So that’s what’s happening in my backyard. Humor me and tell me what’s happening in yours. . . . 

July 20, 2013

Saturday in the Garden – Apple moves to a “real” farm, growing lots of weeds, are my onions ready?

Rhode-Island-Red-Rooster

On Wednesday, after returning from a 10-day trip and flying all night, we fell into a deep sleep around 7:30 a.m. and literally woke up to this at 10 a.m.

(You’ll need to turn the volume up. If the video doesn’t display for you, click here.)

Our sweet Apple had found her his voice. We had debated whether Apple was a rooster for weeks – with my first post as early as April. Many of you said that Apple was going to be a rooster and I just was holding out hope that she had manly features. Ha! Not so much, our Apple has been a boy all along and he just now figured out how to tell us.

So what to do when you find out your hen is actually a him? Well if we lived in an area without close neighbors, it would be no problem, and although we live in the county (not city limits), we still do live in a neighborhood with bylaws and convenants. I didn’t want to risk the whole coop because of a rooster ruffling the feathers of our neighbors, so we made the hard decision to give Apple to my friend who has big ole farm, not too far from here.

[Read more…]

July 6, 2013

Saturday in the Garden – A whole lotta lettuce, some radishes, baby birds and more

Lettuce-pile-of-lettuce

There is not a lot going on in the backyard this week. Except. . .I’m up to my eyeballs in lettuce. So much for succession planning. I finally cut back eight beautiful heads of green, romaine and red leaf lettuce. Nom, nom, nom.

Lettuce-kid-bomb

My daughter photo bombs my lettuce shot, making it infinitely more interesting.

Lettuce-bagged-from-garden

I washed and dried all the lettuce. Then I put it into gallon size Ziploc bags, each with a folded paper towel inside each one. I don’t know why, but I’ve always done this – seems to keep the lettuce longer by pulling out moisture from the lettuce. Anyone else do this?  We were able to give some away to grandma and grandpa, and our neighbors! Yay for sharing!

We also had a bag full of VERY SPICY radishes. Do these get spicier the bigger they get? How does that work? I have no idea. This is the last of our radishes.

Saturday-Egg-Checking-July-6

My daughter, checking for eggs, her favorite thing to do every day. Do you see the random chicken in this picture? That would be Apple, our Rhode Island Red, who was running around the yard.

Apple-Rhode-Island-17-weeks

I got a lot of feedback last week when I posted this picture that she looks an awful lot like a rooster. People with Rhode Island Red hens say our Apple looks nothing like theirs. From what people are telling me, we probably have a rooster on our hands – but she (or he) has not crowed yet, thankfully. Only time will tell – we are waiting for an egg or a crow!

Baby-Birds-July-6

The baby birds in our hanging basket out front are getting so big, so quickly! There are four of them. They now have eyes, are starting to get real feathers and are lookin’ pretty cute.

Are-you-my-mother-give-me-food

She wants a worm. Ha! Can’t help her there.

Mom-or-Dad-in-nearby-tree

This is their mom or dad. I have no idea. It’s the bird who yells at me every time I try to peak at the babies. She/he keeps a very close eye whenever I peek. Does anyone know what kind of bird this is?

Lily-on-last-leg

And one more photo, an orange lily in our yard on it’s last leg. Most of it’s friends have shriveled up for the year, but a few blooms are left.

Another great week in the yard! So thankful for the bounty of the lettuce, the beauty of the baby birds and the mystery of our hen/rooster. 🙂

So that’s what’s happening in my backyard. Humor me and tell me what’s happening in yours.   What’s going on in your yard this week?

Send this to a friend