Yeah, that's a really bad photo edit of a "dead chicken." Seriously, I have to have a sense of humor about the whole thing, because otherwise, I'd probably cry: all of our meat birds were killed. About a week before we had planned to butcher.
Needless to say, the blog post I had promised about sharing the butchering is not happening. Something managed to get into the coop and killed them all (we had around 30 chickens). We're thinking it was probably a weasel. Now we are stuck with a loss; all the money we spent on feed, the time my husband put into building new feeders and setting up a watering system--poof!--gone.
I guess that is the nature of farming, whether it be chickens killed by weasels, rain washing away your seeds, or frost killing off all your apple blossoms. Mother nature doesn't play favorites. But, as Babe Ruth said, "Every strike brings me closer to the next home run." The only thing you can do is figure out how the chicken murderer got in, predator-proof the coop, and try again.
Just as dreary as the loss of our chickens, so has been the weather this year. Rain, rain, rain! This delayed the planting of our garden, but luckily, it is finally in.
This year, the theme in our garden seems to be "vertical." Can you guess what these are?
|The sides off an old crib have been upcycled to create some lovely trellises.|
If you guessed squirrel ladders, you're wrong.
But if you guessed the sides of an old crib, you'd be right! My mom-in-law was selling an old crib, and it sparked an idea in that huge, churning brain of my husband's. Trellis! And so it was.
Another idea for you:
|A ladder and some buckets can be used to grow cucumbers vertically.|
This one's pretty simple, just a ladder with buckets placed inside the rungs. We have cucumbers planted in these buckets, and are hoping that the cucumbers will cascade down the ladder. Don't forget to drill drainage holes in your buckets!
Speaking of ladders, try this one on for size:
|Ladders can be used as trellises; here, birdhouse gourds have been planted beneath the ladder, and will be trained to climb upward.|
I realize that this just looks like a ladder sitting in the middle of our garden, but it is much more. Remember, we're thinking vertical here; we have to make good use of our space on our little city farm. Birdhouse gourds have been planted at the base of this ladder, and they will be trained to grow up it.
But ladders aren't the only vertical grow spaces we have in our garden. We also have a special spot for our carrots:
|Carrots are grown in planters attached to a pallet.|
These large rectangular planters are attached to a pallet, and filled with loose dirt in hopes of growing long, straight carrots.
And finally, I will share with you a re-purposing idea I had:
|An old chimney liner gets new life as a planter.|
This was a ceramic chimney liner I saved and turned into a planter. Growing from my chimney planter are peas and scarlet runner beans, with some marigolds planted in the middle--they were a gift from my son. I am hoping that they will flow out and down the sides of this old chimney, giving me some pretty red and white flowers that turn into edible treats as the season progresses.
Along with our garden projects, there are also many online projects I have come upon that are worth sharing:
A perfect summer drink: lavender lemonade with raw honey from They Call Me Oystergirl.
A recipe for rose wine--who could refuse that?!
Learn how to make an alcohol-free hand sanitizer from Naturally Mindful.
Make your own homemade mayonnaise and save yourself from the healthy industrial oils used in commercial brands.
Do you raise chickens? And have you been thinking about making your own feed? I know I have! Especially since GMOs have become so common in commercial animal feed. Try this recipe for Homemade Chicken Feed from the Elliot Homestead.
Any pizza lovers out there? Try this recipe for whole wheat pizza crust from Natural Family Today.
And finally, have you given any thought to making your kitchen a paper-free one? I have, and Whistle Pig Hollow has some great tips if you are considering going over to cloth.