Sunday, December 2, 2012


We thought for sure that we'd have to wait until the days got longer in February for eggs, since the girls hadn't produced by mid October. But then last week Ruby started to make a lot of noise. She looked fatter, and her comb was redder and larger than before. Desi was also looking a lot more grown up.

I didn't think anything of it until Alex texted me this picture on Tuesday:

Between Tuesday and Saturday, Ruby laid 4 eggs! It's so exciting. We tried the eggs for breakfast on Friday, and they are absolutely the tastiest eggs I've ever eaten. The shells were nice and hard and the yolks were deep yellow, almost orange. This is a good sign, meaning the girls are getting enough of the right nutrients in their diets.

I watched Ruby yesterday to see how she acted before laying. She squawked a bit, ran into the coop, stayed only a short while, came back out to scratch for a bit, and repeated that cycle for most of the morning. Finally, she stayed in the coop for about 25 minutes. When she came out, she looked a lot littler, so I ran outside and found a warm egg waiting in the laying box.

The shells go either in with the worm compost (they like the calcium) or into the black plastic yard waste compost bin. We really need to amp up our soil production for next growing season, so food scraps feel like gold.

Cold Frame Construction

This happened a while ago, but I'm just now getting around to posting the pictures. We wanted to insulate one of the raised beds from the cold so we could keep seedlings in there to overwinter and get an early start in spring. We'd liked to have harvested cool weather greens all winter, but didn't get the plants developed early enough, so that isn't a possibility. 

We made the cold frame so that we could easily install it each winter and break it down each Spring. We drilled brackets into the inside of the raised beds.

Then we used PVC pipe to make the skeleton of the cold frame.

Then we draped polyethylene plastic sheeting over the whole thing. We weighed the sides down with bricks to keep it in place.

The right side was mcGyvered since we didn't have enough plastic sheeting to have it be one continuous sheet (we'd used too much for drop clothes on house projects.) 

Inside there are spinach, kale, and arugula seedlings. There's also a sad little enormous broccoli that may or may not ever produce. The sheeting will protect against frost, but let enough light in that we should be in business pretty quickly for next season.

The seed catalogs came on November 28th, so planning is already underway.

The Chicken's Life

Now that the garden's done for the season, we're allowed to scratch in the beds to find yummy treats. 

If we eat grubs now, they won't hatch in Spring and be a nuisance for the plants.

This is a hard life.

What is happening with this black box that flashes light. Is it food? I'd better check.

Sometimes our humans insist on holding us. We hate it, but there are treats after.

Cabbage leaves aren't our favorite, but the little bug eggs on them are pretty thrilling.