Friday, March 25, 2011

Spindly Broccoli...arg

After reading all the garden sites I've found I know that my seedlings are too far away from the light. However, I didn't find much on how to save them. I have them up very close to the lights now but so far they don't seem to be getting stronger. I'm thinking I'll be losing more than I figured. I keep trying this seedling thing. Year after year I go in with a box full of seeds, and more and more that I HAVE to buy. I'm a collector of seeds. I need to admit this to myself. I'm not a great gardener, but I AM a great planner and collector of seeds. Well, it's something.

We had a few nice days up here in frigid central NY, before all the snow and freezing weather came back. I had my broccoli out to get some sun and wind. I read that a fan blowing on the seedlings would help the base get stronger. I think the wind was a bit much for a few of them.  I'll have to get more seeds I think. I want tons of broccoli....broccoli everywhere! I'm starting the Jillian Michaels Master Your Metaboloism diet and you can eat unlimited broccoli,,, so that's what I want to do:) My husband and I could eat it every day. Groceries have gotten crazy expensive. I spent 3X's what I normally do on lettuce. I have two trays going now.

One of my Sussex chicks is sick and all I know how to do is set her up in her own little hospital. They are about 5 weeks old now. Wow they grow fast!! I am going to have to put a few on They go fast on there and they are coming off heat soon, so it will be easier for someone who just wants a few. I'd like to get a few small coops built that I could sell complete with a couple of chicks. They are so expensive and I could sell them cheap and get more of us chicken lovers started. I would like to be able to pay for my own chicken and gardening habit.  Right now I use my online teaching to pay for my supplies, but my student loans are coming due....WHAT DID I DO???? My Master's degree will take me the rest of my life to pay off. I hate to think of my kids being strapped with student loans, but let's be real....4 kids...and they are going to college when we are thinking about retirement...they'll have student loans. That's life.

I'm a bit chatty today.... time for more tea:)  

Monday, March 21, 2011

Snow and tears

It is so difficult for me to try to be positive after a few really nice days followed by snow and a forecast for another cold week. My husband and I talk about getting out of here a lot, and he wants to go so he could hike when he wanted to, so it's not just me. The boys love it here, but I think once they got past the transition they would both be just fine. Where is that perfect place??? The summers are close to perfect up here. They get hot, but the nights are cooler. I really do love that time of year up here even though the area it's self is so depressed. We don't do much outside of our yard anyway...yes, that is problem. The killer is though that nice weather lasts maybe 4 months it seems.

Last frost isn't until close to the end of May and with such a short growing season it's very hard to grow enough food for a family of 6. It's not just the gardening, but I need to see sunshine. I've always gotten a bad case of self diagnosed S.A.D. in the winter. That's one reason I swore I'd never live up this way again. What was I thinking????  My husband would like to try out Seattle, and I'd go. I just wonder about the lack of sunshine out there. It won't be as cold though. If I had a magic wand we would be in Colorado or North Carolina again. I loved Colorado and in my heart I feel as though it is home, but he likes to go more with what he knows and if that means N.C. then I'm fine with that too. Hiking wise, I think Colorado offers a heavenly array of opportunities, but in N.C. he used to hike about all year and loved it. I might be able to have a better garden in N.C..

I'm done complaining. I just really need to make some changes in my life and I don't know where to start. Balance...I need balance. I'm going to a job fair today to see if I could be an Adjunct Instructor at the community college. I would love to find something where I could use my mind in the evening hours and still be home with my babies during the day. My husband would have more diaper duty, but he's good at that. Maybe I'd be happier with an outlet out side of my little island.  Wish me luck:)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Barking at a Fox

Well, a fox will just look at you funny if you bark at it. I thought I could scare it away nicely, but it just stood there and I could tell it was mocking me. I don't dislike foxes except for the fact that they would eat all my chickens given a chance. I don't like them walking around my house and facing me down in my own back yard though. I was surprised to see it at 8:00 A.M. I have seen footprints every day, so I'm actually very glad it's a fox that does the perimeter of our house as opposed to those coyotes. Those coyotes really scare me. Still, I am a chicken keeper and there isn't room for a chicken killer in my yard.

A fox has to be one of the most beautiful animals I've seen. I'll get a better picture next time. My youngest son was able to watch it with me; he laughed at the barking thing also. I really would like to keep them out of the yard now that my hens are back in their outdoor coop. I let them winter in the garage too long last year, so I got them out early this year. I feel that the coop is safe and I hadn't opened the run door yet, but I feel sad that I can't let them run any more. For a whole year they had the run of the whole yard and I never lost one. Now I can't let them out unless we are out playing with them.

(this picture was actually from the last time our visitor was here.)
Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Can chickens get colds?

A few days ago I went downstairs to my basement barn/garage and my pet Easter Egger, Eastie, wouldn't come to me. She always comes running to me as soon as I open the door. I've had her 2 years and she has never come to me before. She just sat there and fluffed up her feathers.
The day before was a sunny "warm" day. It got up to about 50 degrees so I walked the girls out to the real coop and run. I hate having to keep them penned up, but these coyotes around here are crazy. I walked them out there and left them out for a few hours. It was wet out, but still, I figured that the best thing for them was to get them out as much as possible. The back garage isn't heated at all and it still gets cold enough for the water to freeze if it's really cold, so they aren't being totally pampered. I know that I'll have to get them reaccoustemed to being out, but at 50 degrees I would have never thought they'd get sick. Maybe it's the hay on the ground of the run??
After I went over and got Eastie I saw that her mouth was a bit open and she was "gurgling". She sneezed and snot came out of her nostrils. This seemed like a cold to me. I saw on the boards that chicken don't get colds. Maybe they meant that they don't catch them from us?? I wrapped her in a towel and brought her into the house to find information on the computer. My husband kind of looked at me funny when he noticed I had Easter wrapped up like a baby on my lap. He gets it though:) The man is just glad that I have my chickens to keep me happier living up here. It's the only benefit I see to living up here in the "Arctic Wasteland". I found some posts that mentioned an antibiotic. I needed something now and with 4 kids I can't take her to an expensive vet. We have a shortage of vets up here in the first place.
 I've had parakeets most of my life and when we had one get sick a few years ago with respiratory issues I got her some Ornacycline from Pet Smart for like $7. The package says "safe to use with all species of birds." Chickens are indeed birds, though they don't seem to be sometimes.  I kept her in the heated basement in a dog kennel for 2 days to keep her warm and to keep her away from the other 4 girls. Her breathing got totally better after a few good snot blow outs:P I had to give her the medicated water with a dropper to get it down her throat. 
I went down first thing this morning to bring treats to all of them and now they are all gurgling. I put treatment in the water and just gave a days worth to them so I can keep it fresh and add more in the morning tomorrow. It says to treat for 5 days. I have to look up how long to dispose of the eggs if they lay any. I should have known something was up when I didn't get any eggs at all yesterday. It breaks my heart. I have to get down there and totally clean out all the hay but I can't with 2 feet of snow on the ground. I saw so many people say that hay was good, but now I see more that says not to use it. From now on I will only use the pine shavings. I am really hoping this week will warm up so I can clear out everything and start fresh.
Please Spring....I'm waiting........

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

20 happy chicks...let the coop building begin!

I've decided on a coop design. I'm going with a town house set up so I can take the coops apart and bring them with us when we move. Yes, we WILL move. I know some people like the cold, I am NOT one of them. I love NY in the summer but the winter lasts for 5 months and I can't take it.

I'm going to keep a walk through to the two...maybe 3 coops. I have 20 chicks and my 4 hens. I think the older girls will keep their own coop. I can always separate the coops if there are behavior issues that I have to deal with. I've been looking at all kinds of pictures of coops but I'm going to design this myself to get exactly what I want. I've seen the crazy prices on some of the coops too, so I hope to make some extra of the small size coops to sell on Craigslist. There are some on there, but I can charge a lot less and get more people keeping chickens. I think everyone should have a few chickens in the yard. We'd be a better country if we all took some responsibility for our own food.

It's very depressing today as I plan my coop and gardens. The wind is crazy and the snow is coming down's MARCH..stop this!!! A few more years so I can stay home with my girls in this cold. I can do this...I can do this..I can do this.....