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Monday, August 28, 2006

Fig Season

The figs are starting to ripen here in my yard in Northern California. We have two fig trees: a Blackjack fig and a Brown Turkey. Both trees are about five years old.

Here is a photo of the Blackjack Fig tree.

A few figs are ripening every day. Here is a photo of a ripe fig, ready to pick.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Plum Loco

Everywhere, everywhere there are plums around here. In five gallon nursery containers, in one gallon nursery containers on the floor of my kitchen; in bowls on the counter and even in glass baking pans:

The two French prune plum trees we have were overloaded with beautiful plums this year, and we have been drying plums, giving away plums to friends and neighbors, making plum chutney, plum butter, spiced plums, and plum tarts as you see below:

Yum, yum, yummy plums. Plums, plums, plums for our tummies... plums...

Friday, August 18, 2006

Heirloom apples

The first photo below is of my Pink Pearl apple tree. The apples are just ripening now. The flesh of this apple has a mottled pink color and these make delightful pies and applesauce with a pink tint!

The above photo is of my Cox's Orange Pippin Tree, a tart apple that ripens about now in the San Francisco Bay Area. An Irish visitor to my garden was so thrilled to see this apple tree. She told me that in Ireland it is a very special time when the Cox's come in!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Some blogs I have been reading

I have been reading blogs about cooking, vegetables, gardening, and knitting recently. One of my favorite blogs is Kalyn's Kitchen. Kalyn has wonderful photographs and recipes. She has done the South Beach diet (which I want to try out), so many of the recipes are South Beach diet-friendly.

Another blog I enjoy is I'm Mad and I Eat.

Check these out!

Also, feel free to leave comments for me whenever you'd like...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Chickens at the Hen House Door

Here are Buffy and Lacey at the Hen House door. Buffy is often the first one out of the hen house in the morning and starts searching for bugs and food. It is unusual for both hens to be at the door together like this photo.

Friday, August 11, 2006

A Shandy

I read about this great drink on Fresh Approach Cooking, a blog by Rachael out of Los Angeles. The other day I tried the recipe. The afternoon was very hot, and this was a great thirst-quencher.

It is also a pretty drink. Half lemonade and half beer. Remember to pour the beer in slowly to form the layers! Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


This is Lacey, our Golden Laced Wyandotte. She is also about 14 months old and usually lays one egg a day, however she has been broody the last few weeks and has not been laying. When a hen goes broody, they sit on the nest for much of the day and night. They don't even seem to eat as much as usual and they don't lay. They want to be raising chicks and are kind of stuck.

In order to attempt to break up this stage, we often removed Lacey from her nest during her broodiness and she would walk around slowly and cluck often. Her feathers were also quite fully puffed out during this phase. She seems to be coming out of the broodiness now as she is spending a lot more time foraging for food and off her nest.

She had claimed the best nesting box while she was broody. This seemed to upset the other hens a bit.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Terry Golson's Hen Cam

A few weeks ago I discovered Terry Golson's hen cam. Terry is an author who lives a little west of Boston, Massachusetts. She and her husband set up a hen cam so the world can watch their 11 hens. There is a web cam outside and another inside the coop. The inside one gives three different views of the hens as they lay eggs, roost, or nibble on their laying feed.

I find myself watching the hen cam quite often throughout the day. It is soothing to watch the hens go about their day, and since we don't have a hen cam to watch our own four hens, and I am often at my computer, I find myself clicking on Terry's site. I have put a link to Terry's hen cam on the sidebar of this blog.

Terry Golson has written several books, but her most recent is The Farmstead Egg Cookbook. I want to get a copy very soon!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Overloaded Plum Tree

We have two French Prune Plum Trees. Both are very loaded with plums this year. They are ripening later than last year, but they have bent the branches and look quite dramatic!

The prune plum is very, very sweet with purple skin and yellow flesh. We eat the plums raw, dry them for winter use, and I often make plum butter and chutney, as well as plum tarts. Last year I even made a plum liqueur that was quite tasty.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Garden Harvest

Here are a few things from our garden: lettuce, Sweet Success cucumbers, San Francisco Fog tomatoes (doing very well although we don't get much fog here in the East Bay), French prune plums, Mediterranean cucumbers, an egg from Buffy (brown-shelled), and one from Little Connie (blue-shelled), Gold Dawn zucchinis, and a lemon.

We got our tomato plants in very late this year, due to the heavy rains. The plant that is doing the best is the San Francisco Fog, although we have harvested some Early Girls and Green Grapes as well. The Sweet Success hybrid cucumbers are producing like mad. Here is a photo of the plants:

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Big Connie

This is Big Connie. She is another Araucana and is top of the pecking order for our small flock of four hens. We obtained both Big Connie and Little Connie from Craig's List last October. A family in San Jose was selling their older hens at $4 each. I think we took these hens on their first car ride ever down Mt. Hamilton. Big Connie lays blue-colored eggs, about two or three per week. Younger hens lay every day, but older hens slow down. She is three to four years old, we think.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Morning Glories

This is an early-morning view of morning glories in our front flower garden. The darker purple one is an heirloom, "Grandpa Ott's" and the lighter one is called "Milky Way." The botanical name is Ipomoea purpurea.

Some consider morning glories a noxious weed because they can be persistent once planted.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


The last few years we have been trying to plant sunflowers in the vegetable garden. During August and September we have many of these cheerful flowers blooming and towering over the vegetables. They lift our spirits and provide many edible seeds for the birds and this year for the new chickens!

Here is another glance:

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Little Connie

This is Little Connie. She is an Araucana and probably about three years old. She lays about 2 eggs per week, and although she is not the lowest in the pecking order she is missing a lot of feathers on her neck, most probably from being henpecked by the other chickens.

Little Connie likes to be annoying in the early morning. She jumps up on a lawn chair in the chicken coop and crows at the neighboring cats. She crows even though she is a hen, not a rooster. I have been told her crowing is not as loud nor as incessant as a rooster's crowing.

She lays bluish-shelled eggs.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


This is Buffy, our Buff Orpington Hen. She is 14 months old and lays brown eggs. She is quiet and very industrious. She loves to go outside the chicken coop, so we have to be careful whenever we open the door because she may just scoot outside very quickly.

August 1, 2006

First day of my first blog ever!!! Chickensinthegarden....Well, we do have chickens and a garden, and we have just started letting the chickens out at dusk so they can enjoy their dust baths and search for bugs. Don't want to let them out unsupervised yet because we don't want them wandering all over and eating up our vegetable garden.

The vegetable garden is exploding with cucumbers this summer. We are also harvesting Gold Dawn zucchini and several other kinds of zucchini. The garden got in late this year due to the heavy rains. The tomatoes are just starting to ripen and we are enjoying Early Girl and San Francisco Fogs so far.

Well, that's enough for my first try here. I'm intending to write about our chickens, our garden, cooking, and more.