Springtime fun!

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Yesterday, all 4 hens laid eggs!

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We almost have a full dozen saved, and we’ve been eating them! 🙂 I love spring with chickens! Whiney laid a beautiful brown egg with dark spots…we think this was her very first egg because we haven’t seen those before. 🙂 I think these girls enjoy their free-ranging time around the yard. They come back so full! It helps us too because they forage for food in the afternoon instead of eating pellets twice a day. Plus, they’re getting lots of nutrients that are possibly not in their food.

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Anybody local (Triangle, NC) want some mint plants? I’m thinking about selling veggies/plants in the next few summers and this is one plant I would include. Mint grows very well in a pot, but unless you want it to take over a large area, don’t plant it there. 🙂 Mint is a pretty garnish, or you can use it in drinks, salads, rice, etc. For ideas on what to do with mint, click here. 

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I planted cilantro and echinacea in an old bird bath and they’re starting to sprout! I have lettuce growing in the little white dish. If you get veggies from the store/farmers’ market that have the base part of the plant still on them (celery, lettuce, etc where the stalks come together…the part you chop off, or green onions with the white part on the bottom), cut off what you will use, and drop the ends in water. I’ve had green onions for months and I just keep cutting them and changing/adding water! I’ve done it with garlic cloves as well. We got a huge bag of garlic (2 lbs!) from Sam’s for about $3-$4 and by the end of it, some of the cloves were sprouting, so I dropped them in water and up they went! We just planted that clove-plant in the garden and it looks great. 🙂

I just came back from the garden and everything was looking GREAT. The tomatoes are growing very strong, the sprouts I left are doing great, the sprouts I transplanted in Solo cups (to give them more room before they’re committed to being left in the earth) are getting bigger and stronger, and the rest of the plants I grew from seed and planted in the ground are looking AWESOME! I’m just keeping an eye on the weather and I’ll cover the cold-haters (like tomatoes and small plants) with mini-greenhouses (jugs & bottles with the bottoms cut out) if it gets too cold. We placed the rest of the ollas and they are still working great as evidenced by the water line in a circle around them. Now that we know they work well, I think we’ll need to make a few more this weekend!

New Developments on Baconbits Ranch…

I just gotta say how amazing it is to grow our own food. Not only will we eventually not depend on the store for every little thing, we’ll know that our food/food growers are treated with care and we’ll know exactly what’s in/on our food. What’s IN the chickens is anything they find on the ground in the woods where they live (bugs, plants, grass) and what’s on our veggies is NO pesticides.

If we have any problems with bugs eating our plants this year, we are armed with a hot pepper spray, and other options as well. (I’ve used cinnamon and garlic as pest control in the past.) Hopefully, that will do the trick for whatever is trying to eat them…and if not, we’ll continue to research and pick farmers’ brains about what to do naturally. I love that we will have fewer chemicals entering our bodies through our mouths and skin.

We also have a huge big-top tent for part of the garden this year. Last year, we had a bigger garden than the year before, and it was our first in the ground in NC. (We had previously lived in apartments and used the container gardening method.) We had a huge problem with animals eating our food! The squirrels, rabbits, and deer ate just about all our tomatoes and every single last Brussels sprout (I checked…that spelling is correct) 😉 on our healthy, 3-5 ‘ plants. Huge bummer. SO, we’ve armed ourselves with the circus tent and are hoping this will work much better! If not, we will be having squirrel stew! 😉 We are also toying with the idea of a small greenhouse.

Here’s to learning as we go!!!