Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Chickens and Herbs

The photo on the bottom is of my new hens. They were born mid-August and will start laying sometime in March. The golden ones are buff orpingtons; the white are ameraucanas, which lay blue eggs; the gray and black striped ones are barred rocks and the black ones are black australorps. They are foraging on what was once collard greens and radishes.  You can kind of see the raised beds and footpaths, though all the chicken foraging has squished the beds a bit.  The photo on top is a Rhode Island red standing on a matt of cut pea shoots. I grow pea shoots and sunflower greens in trays in the greenhouse, and after I cut them, I feed the leftover stems and roots and leaves to the hens. This allows them to eat a lot of greens all year. Of course, they also wander around outside eating whatever they want. You can see a little bit of the white fencing in the corner of the first picture. It is electric fencing that is made to take down and set back up in a short amount of time. This allows me to move the hens around so that they always have greens and other things to forage.  Two weeks ago this area was covered in grasses and some beets and turnips that didn't
grow large enough to harvest.  In about a week I will be moving their fence.

The photo on top is thyme and the other is sage. In my herb plot, I also have chives, oregano, rosemary, parsley, garlic chives and lemon thyme. Last week I was harvesting chives when the guy who sold me my pellet stove came by. He asked me what I was doing and I told him that this is where I grow all of my herbs. He became very interested and looked at me suspiciously. In addition to selling heaters, he is also some sort of law enforcement guy--I think a probation officer. Also, there's a big Carl Paladino sign next to his store.  I guess I'll meet his colleagues when the swat team arrives for their oregano samples.  I'll let you know how it goes.  The pellet stove is great, though.

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