Chickens, Garden, Homestead

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

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Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow? Actually pretty well this year so far! I’m shocked! It’s been many years since I’ve had a proper garden and it’s been a long time since I was able to grow a garden successfully in containers. Wait. Let me correct myself. I’ve never been successful with container gardening. But so far this year, I have a pretty darn good-looking garden! We might actually get something out of the garden this year! It took me a while to get going but once I got it all together it seems to be working. Everything is on the back porch which gets decent sun light. I move some of the containers around chasing the sun, which is one advantage to container gardening-it makes it easier to move. Some of the plants aren’t going to make it because of the containers holding too much water. I didn’t want to drill holes in the containers because I had visions of reusing them, but the rain became too much. I thought they would dry out during the heat wave but that dirt and those containers just held on to the water. Not a bad thing if the plants wanted to take a swim. But I gather they don’t like swimming. So I drilled holes and the water drained. I think I’ve only really lost one brussel sprout (out of 5) and about 3 peppers (don’t know how many I planted…maybe 8). Not bad so far. One tomato plant is struggling but I’m hopeful it will make it. So if I can keep this going we’ll definitely have something to show for it.

Most of the flowers in the pictures above are from the flower beds at the fishing lodge. I didn’t plant them but they are too pretty not to share with you all. I did plant the marigolds in buckets though. The sweet peas are probably not going to make it. They are super sensitive to transplanting and then they were water logged as well. Apparently flowers don’t like swimming either.

And the chickens. The two partridge rocks are not faring as well. Elsie has either a tumor in her abdomen or ascites. My guess is ascites. But she’s doing okay. She’s moving, eating, drinking. So I’m going to let her be. Obviously she’ll eventually succumb to it but in the meantime I’m going to let her be. I know you can drain the fluid and keep them going for a while but I can’t imagine she’ll let me touch her long enough to stick a syringe in her and drain fluid. I guess if it gets bad enough she won’t care but when she has the fluid build up (because I’ve since realized this has been her problem all along), she wants nothing to do with me. But at least now I really know what’s going on. I think that at some point the build up must relieve itself because she was laying eggs just fine two weeks ago. But I’m guessing it takes months for it to relieve itself long enough for egg production. So she’ll just live the best life she can until it’s time. Then we’ll give her a proper send off.

Clare E. Clare, my other partridge rock, can’t roost anymore. I noticed this about a month ago. She wouldn’t get up on the roost at night but rather was laying underneath the roosts. Now Clare is a big girl. She’s always been big, but that must be affecting her now. So I have been diligently putting her on the roost at night and she gets down in the AM by herself. Until Friday morning. She was stuck on the roost and couldn’t move. When I lifted her down she was stiff legged and could barely walk. But after a while she was fine. So I’m wondering what’s going on with her. I think time will reveal all, as it always does. In the meantime, I’ll build her a little box for underneath the roost so she can sleep peacefully and not get pooped on.

Oh. And did I mention that Little Girl still lays soft shelled eggs? She had two in her the other day! One was completely formed, but soft, and the other one was empty. Which means the insides were inside her. I normally let them sort things out the best they can. I’ve found that I tend to make things worse if I interfere too early on. But when I noticed Little Girl sluggish, I  brought her inside and sure enough within 10 minutes she was trying to poop out the egg. And the empty shell followed. Which means she absorbed the rest of the stuff into her body. She’s pretty resilient that’s for sure!

But, this leaves the question of why am I having so many issues with this flock of birds. There’s only 4 of them and 3 have consistent issues. And they just turned 2 in May. Is it the feed? I feed them organic, non-GMO layer feed. But I free feed which means they have 24/7 access to food, both in the coop and the run. They don’t free range as much as they, and I, would like for them to. Mainly because they need to be supervised. I give them treats of food scraps, mostly fruits and veggies, rarely table scraps. They do get mealworms on occasion and sunflower seeds. Sometimes scratch in the colder months. I put a light on them in the winter but that shouldn’t affect them now. I put grit and calcium in the bottom of their feeders plus they have free choice grit and calcium. What am I doing wrong? I know it can be genetics, they are hatchery birds after all. When I had my farm hatched birds, I never had issues with them. But there has to be something that I can do to prevent these things from happening. Anyone have any advice? I want to add to the flock but at the same time I’m thinking I might just let these birds live out their lives and then start all over again.

As for the rest of the homestead, I’ve been busy making laundry detergent and prepping for soap making. I’ve collected daisies and chamomile and am infusing some olive oil in hopes of making a daisy soap and a chamomile soap. Stay tuned for details on both these things. I have rose soap ready to make and also dandelion soap. Both of these are on my to-do list for next week. As is making more gin. And I just found a new pick-your-own place near me that has tons of things to pick. I’ll be making a stop there for peas and beets this week too.

Oh! How could I have forgotten to tell you all? I learned to drive the tractor!! I will eventually do some of the mowing here but I’m so excited to have learned how to drive it!! I’ll have to take some pics and post soon.

I received a book on foraging for my birthday. That’s exciting! Now I can learn all the things about foraging.

My knitting has slowed down the past couple of weeks but I’m starting to pick it back up. I need to get some things done for the etsy shop but knitting and pool sitting don’t seem to go together.

I think that’s it for now. I’ll update you on all the progress soon.

2 thoughts on “Mary, Mary Quite Contrary”

    1. No worries on the chicken front. There’s not much to be done other than letting them live their little chicken lives with as much care and fun as they can. I like knowing at least what’s going on with them! I’m happy with the garden as well!

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