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Friday, December 12, 2008

A Treegator

The above is a photo of a Treegator that the Under Gardener is inspecting during a walk in Washington DC. While back in DC in October, we noticed these "Treegators" around young trees, designed to help with irrigation.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

President-Elect Obama's New Home

This photo was taken on 10/24/2008 during our trip to Washington DC.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Five Eggs!

Hi there,

We have set up lights in the henhouse so that the hens get enough light to lay. The three new hens were just about to start laying when the seasons started changing, so now with the new lights they are all laying eggs. Yesterday we had five eggs, a record number for one day for us!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

New Hens!

A few weeks ago we drove up to Sebastopol and brought back three young hens to augment our number of chickens. There are two White Orpingtons and one Australorp. The first week home we kept them in the coop to adjust. Now we let them out in the yard in the afternoons to search for insects and to snack on greens. They can fly and I've caught them in the plum trees eating ripe plums (they also love eating the plums that fall to the ground -- the ones we don't pick up in time before they are let out). The three new hens have formed a small flock and stick together pretty much. They are still adjusting to the three older hens, but the laying hen, Lacey, also hangs out with the new ones.

Friday, August 01, 2008


Today marks the second year blogiversary of chickensinthegarden! It is great to review past posts to see how things have evolved since we started raising chickens. We should celebrate this two year anniversary!!

This summer the chickens have been hopping the small fence we constructed to protect the vegetable garden. Lacey ate the first two ripe tomatoes this year, and they were ripe before the fourth of July. The fence is too short to keep out the hens, but it deters them sometimes.

Lacey has started laying again. We are getting about one egg a day. Two weeks ago we drove up to Sebastopol and purchased three young hens, about 13 weeks old. They are two white orpingtons and one Australorp, a black hen with some green sheen on her wing feathers. Australorps hold the world record for number of eggs laid in a year, I believe it was 364. These young hens should start laying towards the end of August to mid-September. After about a week, we started letting the new hens out in the afternoon, as we do with the older hens. All six hens run to the fresh plums that have fallen underneath the French prune plum trees. I try to pick up the plums before the hens get there, but there are always some left for them. The plums are ripening quickly now; if one touches them on the tree, they fall off in your hand.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Off to the Peace Corps!

Our 26 year old son is off to the Peace Corps. He landed in Niger, West Africa, today. He will be there for about 27 months, helping to increase opportunities for education for youth. You can read about it on his blog:, although he won't be adding to posts soon as he is in a two month training session before his assignment.

Niger is one of the poorest countries, or least developed countries, in the world. Starvation and malnutrition are not uncommon and the lifespan is about 45 years, although many die in infancy.

This photo was taken at a rest stop off Interstate 5 in California during a recent trip north from Tim's sister's graduation in San Diego.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

All Done

This past week we attended our daughter's graduation from UCSD. She's been very active and busy for five years and graduated with a double major in Biology and Political Science. Emma received the Outstanding Senior award for both her college and for the university, given for her contributions to the life of the university.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Green Gulch Farm

This Mother's Day we journeyed over to Marin County to visit with the number one son who is residing at Green Gulch Farm and Zen Center. He is a work apprentice, learning some kitchen skills as well as how to make those beds hotel-style.

The day was gorgeous and the people were friendly and interesting. But what I was most looking forward to, aside from seeing Tim, was seeing the gardens and farm. Green Gulch grows many of the vegetables served at Greens vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco. It turns out that they grow 14 different kinds of lettuces, and many other vegetables too. We wandered around the gardens and farm and walked to Muir Beach.

It was a wonderful day!

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Because I am a library science student, the U.G. (under gardener) of this family insisted on taking photos of every library we encountered on our recent trip to Italy in January. This topic seems to have nothing to do with Chickens or Gardening, but I have decided to show you a few of these library photos. The first photo is of the library in Florence.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Those Pesky Gophers

Hello again,

Those annoying gophers, it turns out, LOVE garlic. They have eaten 6 whole heads of our garlic this year. I applied a castor oil solution to their holes near the garlic. That seemed to keep them away for a day and a half, but then they returned. I loaded up our gopher/mole repeller with fresh "C" batteries and placed it right near the garlic. So far it is keeping them back a little bit, it seems.

The gophers also seem to have killed our Blackjack Fig Tree which was a great producer of black Mission-type figs. The gophers ate the roots of the tree last season, and the tree was quite wobbly, but we thought it would survive. The Under Gardener staked it up quite well, but I noticed a few days ago that the tree had not leafed out at all, while our other fig tree has both leaves and some small figs. I weeded around the dead stick of a tree and watered well, hoping to bring the thing back to life, but I think it is a goner. I'll keep an eye on it for a few more days, as there may be some roots left (and there was a bit of budding at the end of each branch), but it looks like it is headed for the wood pile.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Spring!

The vernal equinox was Thursday, and I have a new nephew born the same day! Today is Easter Sunday and it is in the 70's outside. The beans have sprouted, roses are starting to bloom, the crabapple tree is in full bloom, and it is just gorgeous outside.

Happy Day to All!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Spring is On Its Way!

The asparagus are starting to come up and we'll be eating them soon. We've been enjoying beets and chard from the garden, and the garlic is growing very nicely. Last night, we tried some of the Romaine lettuce that we are growing, and it was quite good. I'll have to do something about the slugs, though, as they are starting to hang out inside the lettuce.

I jumped the gun and planted pole beans very early and they have started to germinate. We had a spate of very warm weather the week before last, before it turned cold again this week. Tomorrow is supposed to be a little warmer although things remained unsettled--it has rained on and off all week.

It is time to think about more serious spring planting though. When the weather is dry we have been weeding the beds to prepare them for more planting. I'm a little late at starting any seeds inside, such as tomatoes and peppers. Got to catch that spring fever and get busy!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Gardens are "Sleeping" in January

As we were told on a garden tour years ago, the gardens are "sleeping" in January. This view of a formal garden maze was taken in January in a small town north of Rome.

Water features, garden mazes, fountains, columns, hedges, trees and shrubs were designed in the garden by a Cardinal Crayfish.

More from the Italy Trip

There is so much beautiful art in Florence, Italy--everywhere! This wonderful statue was near the Santa Croce church. It was one of the last photos we snapped when in Italy in January. Seems to be bidding us arrividerci.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What is This?

Doesn't look like a chicken in a garden, does it? No! It is a performer from Opera Extravaganza, during a performance in the restaurant at Palazzo Catalani in Soriano nel Cimino, Italy, in mid-January. This small opera troupe sang several famous arias. This one obviously had to do with a bird. I'll need to look it up and get back to you.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Walking We Will Go

This photo is from awhile ago, but with the beautiful weather right now--close to 70 degrees--days are wonderful for good walks. Annie, the dog, loves her walks, and she usually gets nice long walks on the weekends. The photo was taken in Newark, near the lake.

Friday, January 25, 2008

It's Cold Here...

Well, I know it is nothing like New England or the midwest, but it has been bitingly cold here in northern California. The chickens are chummier with each other, and our son thinks it is because they must snuggle at night to keep warm. It has been very rainy as well since our return from vacation.

In late December we took off for two weeks in Italy. What a fine time we had exploring Florence, Venice, Siena, and Soriano nel Cimino. When we took trains between the cities we first would spot the gardens in the countryside. Artichoke plants were easy to notice, especially in Tuscany. They appeared to be a bit more closely planted than our plants here. South of Tuscany we saw more cabbage and broccoli plants in the vegetable gardens.

I'm just about to give our artichoke plants some fertilizer. They should start producing some artichokes by February. A few of our plants are an Italian heirloom purple artichoke, a kind we also saw in a few of the vegetable markets on our trip.