Sunday, December 30, 2012

Chickens and chicks, yes we've got em!

I have been asked how the chickens and young chicks are doing so I thought a few photos would be the best way for me to answer. Even though the rainy seasons has slowed the winds are still making it hard to get good photos. With my recent medical issues I cannot spend much time in the cool weather and the wind so I haven’t even tried to take photos. Today it is still windy but fairly warm so here is a little photo update of the flock.

Here is a good photo of the yard boss, Juan, and one of the young pullets. Juan has filled out very nice as is the pullet.

Juan, the black beauty (don’t know what to call her) 2 of the young pullets and 1 of the young chicks.

A fair photo of the black beauty.

This really shows some of her awesome markings.

The best side shot I manage today.

A few of the 10 week old chicks, some are getting to be a nice size. You can just see part of Momma PJ’s head in the brooder pin, there were several of her eggs and others in the nest when she started setting, it will be interesting to see what comes forth when they hatch soon.

Another older pullet, nice size.

One of the pullets that had to have her wing clipped.

The light green leaves are on the golden dewdrops, the chickens, chicks and guineas spend a lot of time under them when the winds blow like today and also when it is raining. You can’t see her here but one of the pullets is under the golden dewdrop behind the orange pullet.

The chickens and the chicks are doing great on the fermented feed. Some of the pullets have started to lay eggs which for pullets are large; the yokes are a nice bright reddish orange, standing tall with whites that don’t run all over like store bought. The hens’ eggs are large to extra-large and of course have the same coloring and firmness. Good strong shells even from the pullets. It will be interesting to see the first eggs from the chicks in a few more weeks. I’m hoping they lay eggs similar to the black beauty hen, nice large eggs. As I’ve mentioned we plan to keep 10 of the chicks and one roo. Having to figure out which roo gets to be the daddy of future chicks will be the hard choice unless they both produce the good traits we are hoping for.

The garden has 2 tomatoes, 2 lima beans and 1 jalapeno growing, photos to come. I don’t know what happened to my bell peppers, they just didn’t sprout, I guess I’ll have to fix a hot house just to get the going. I need to do that soon.

Tickle it with a hoe and it will laugh into a garden....

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Time has slipped away again!

Would you believe???? Well it has been too long and there have been a few things happen. I could list them but they would just be excuses for not doing what I should have done. The weather hasn’t been bad for a rainy season till hurricane Sandy came along. It seems like Sandy was pulling air/moisture from the Pacific across the country giving us lots of rain. The 6.6 shaker didn’t help to settle the nerves either. I did not realize how long it had been since the 7.6 shaker that I updated the blog, oops! Trying to keep up with everything else has been interesting too. The sun is shining now, hopefully that will last all day, we sure could use a drying spell.
I sent some an update on the chicks we finally got after 4 months, they are sure something. Of the 30 we only lost one. Momma PJ did it again, she really surprise me. She was in a nest box in the brooder area of the coop when I brought the new chicks home. They immediately tried to get under her, they were hatched in an incubator but still had the “I want under momma” instinct. That was the morning of the 10th, sometime either during the night or 1st thing in the morning she abandoned the nest to momma the chicks.

Would you believe that all of those chicks were trying to get under her and she just kept making her momma clucks. This was the morning of the 11th.

This is what they should look like when they grow up. She is a good layer, nice size eggs and she has good weight to her. These have been bred to be a dual purpose chicken, good egg layers and good meat cockerels. I did ask and they don’t have a bred name, they are just called “general utility chickens” or something like that in Spanish. The plan is to keep one roo and 10 hens that should provide all the eggs we can eat plus eggs to share with our neighbors. I also plan to hatch 6 to 10 chicks right along, some for replacements and some to share as well as some for the freezer. I got caught with the first hens I bought (ponedoras), I did not know that those hens were good for only one laying season and then you can’t fatten them up so they wouldn’t even be good for the stew pot.

This is the flock this morning the 27th. They have grown a lot and are eating a lot. The second green tray hadn’t got cleaned out yet. There were two heat lamps till one of the bulbs broke/came apart at the base now a water container is in its place. Probably don’t need the heat lamp that is in there now but it is a just in case thing.

The chickens and guineas are doing very well with the fermented feed and the yogurt (in the dog bowl), they will have both cleaned up by dark. Notice the yogurt splattered on the metal siding. BTW, the trough for the FF is a piece of 4” PVC pipe cut in half length wise, it is 24” long with caps also cut in half. The chicks are also eating the FF every day and I think their growth shows that it is a good thing for them too.

I’ve got plants started in the window greenhouse, the lima bean plant is taking off for places unknown. I started them just to see if the seeds/beans were viable, now I’ll have to see if they will transplant OK. There are tomatoes, flowers and peppers growing, some soon will need trans-planting.

Caroline thought that I should include this photo she took of me napping with Aly sleeping on me and Miss Kitty sleeping behind me on my easy chair. It doesn’t take much for me to sneak in a nap, it was nice and warm and of course with my two amigas snoozing too who could pass up the opportunity????

I’ll be squeezing in the garden work and maintaining the chicks and the rest of the flock.

Oh, something that has me really upset is someone took a swipe at Desi with a machete, cut the side of her face and broke her left K9s. I would really love to let that person know what I am feeling, perhaps they will fall and knock out a couple of their teeth.

It takes a coward to hurt a nice lady like this. Here she is following me around the yard, while I’m fertilizing plants, telling me to make sure I do it right. I brought her home from the vet early (took her in yesterday), she spent at least an hour on my lap, she usually doesn’t spend that much time being still.
The other night when it was raining Caroline thought she could hear mewing out in our front yard, going to check this is what she found. . . . .

Four wet and cold little kittens, someone had stuffed them thru the top part of the gate allowing them to drop 4’ onto the concrete. Sorry about the photo, I was trying to get all 4 in one shot. They are lapping up the raw milk yogurt that I make, good stuff for them. We are busy trying to find homes for them. I will take a better photo and send it, if anyone would like 1 or 3 (1 of the girls is spoken for), give a call, 2445-1565 and I’ll deliver. There is another person I would like to share my feelings with. If Caroline hadn’t heard them they most likely would be dead, lucky for them we had a nice fire going in the sunroom with the ceiling fan going so they dried off and warmed up right away. They do appear to be in good health except for a load of fleas, they are being powdered and will be free of fleas soon.
Well I guess that sort of brings you up to date. As I said I will take more photos of the kittens and plants. Prayers for Desi and the kittens will be gladly appreciated.
Tickle it with a hoe and it will laugh into a garden....

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Getting Plants and Planting Plants is Good Therapy!

Some say a good therapy session is the best thing after something earth shaking can help so Sunday we started our therapy session by a short trip. We took a trip to one of the viveros near Alajuela and bought some herbs for the holes in the cement blocks. We also bought 4 trees, two pomegranates and two bougainvilleas. Herbs, estragon, tilo, ruba, albahaca, lavanda, tomillo and sliva, I haven’t learned the English names for them yet. Something I started working on is taking the list of plants for the Ark herb farm and putting it in M$ Excel. In one column set it starts with the English name, the second column set starts with the Spanish names. Both column sets are in alphabetical order. I will make it available to anyone after it is done (may be a few months till I finish).

Algunos dicen que una sesión de terapia buena es la mejor cosa después algo temblores de tierra pueden ayudar para el domingo empezamos nuestra sesión de terapia por un corto viaje. Tomamos un viaje a uno de los viveros cerca de Alajuela y compró algunas hierbas para los agujeros de los bloques de cemento. También compramos 4 árboles, dos granadas y dos Buganvillas. Hierbas, estragón, tilo ruba, albahaca, lavanda, tomillo y sliva, que no he aprendido todavía los nombres en inglés para ellos. Algo en que comenzó a trabajar es tomando la lista de plantas para la granja de hierba de arca y ponerlo en M$ Excel. En conjunto una columna comienza con el nombre en inglés, el segundo conjunto de columna empieza con los nombres españoles. Ambos conjuntos de columna están en orden alfabético. Pondrá a disposición a nadie después de hacerlo (puede ser unos meses hasta que termine).

The herbs were planted in no order, it is all to see how this way of planting them works.

Las hierbas fueron plantadas sin orden, es todo para ver cómo funciona esta forma de plantarlas.

As they grow they will be clipped for starts and expanded unless we find more kinds to plant (hint, hint LOL).

A medida que crecen serán recortadas para arranques y ampliados a menos que encontremos más tipos de plantas (sugerencia, sugerencia jeje).

Caroline thought she would try some lettuce and carrots where the zucchini was, even some carrots in the block holes.

Caroline pensó que ella trataría de algunas lechugas y zanahorias donde era el calabacín, incluso algunas zanahorias en los orificios de los bloques.

Hauled in another load of black dirt and have mixed in sawdust and sugar cane abono/compost, all set for more plants.

Transportados en otra carga de polvo negro y se han mezclado en caña de azúcar y aserrín abono/compost, todo listo para las plantas más.

The old pamagranate may still be alive so it is was replanted, the main tap root had gotten damaged when it was first replanted. I bought the new ones as they have been raised in Costa Rica and should be acclimatized.

El pamagranate viejo aún puede fue replantado vivo por lo que es, la raíz principal había llegado dañada cuando lo primero fue replantado. Compré los nuevos ya que se han planteado en Costa Rica y deben ser aclimatados.

Red and pink bougainvillea’s.  

Rojo y Rosa bougainvillea.

From my neighbor farmer, Juan Nango, I bought this hen and her 4 chicks, slowly building the flock.

Desde mi granjero vecino, Juan Nango, compré esta gallina y sus 4 pollitos, construyendo lentamente el rebaño.

This poor guinea hen is sitting on her eggs and the eggs of the other hen, the other hen does sit with her once in a while which if the extra eggs don’t hatch that will be OK as what are we going to do with 10 or 20 more guineas. They will all be up for adoption when they can care for themselves.

Esta pobre gallina de guinea está sentado sobre sus huevos y los huevos de la otra gallina, la gallina otra sentarse con ella de vez en cuando que si no incuban los huevos extras que será OK como lo vamos a hacer con 10 o 20 guineas más. Todos estarán en adopción cuando puede cuidar de sí mismos.

One of the things I haven’t mentioned is with all the herbs and or jasmine I’m hoping to fill the area with some great smells, all suggestions and location of more herbs and plants are very welcome. We’re hoping that many of these plants survive in the new way we’ve planted them which could help others deal with similar situations and plants. Oh, one type of plant I’m looking for is something like rock moss to put in the holes for the pomegranate trees in hopes that it will shade the blocks and the trees roots.

Una de las cosas que no he mencionado es con todas las hierbas y o estoy esperando para rellenar el área con algún gran olor de jazmín, son muy bienvenidas todas las sugerencias y ubicación de plantas y hierbas más. Esperamos que muchas de estas plantas sobrevivieron en la nueva forma que podría ayudar a los demás nos hemos plantado les tratan situaciones similares y las plantas. Oh, un tipo de planta que estoy buscando es algo como rock moss para poner en los agujeros de los árboles de Granada con la esperanza de que serán sombra los bloques y las raíces de árboles.

Hopefully tomorrow I’ll get more work done in the garden area. I’ll see if the sun shines.
Esperemos que mañana voy a más trabajo realizado en el área del jardín. Voy a ver si el sol brilla.


Tickle it with a hoe
and it will laugh into a garden....

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Major 7.6 quake delays posting!

Most folks already know that Costa Rica has had a major earth quake. For those that didn't know it was Wednesday morning at 8:42AM. There have been over 700 aftershocks. There was major ground movement, the ground near the epicenter rose over a meter. We were sitting outside in back talking about how well things were doing in the raised beds when it started. It kept building and building, I got up a staggered to the enclosure for the garden and hung onto the end post and the door to keep from falling. Caroline came up behind and hung onto me. The shaker lasted over a minute and a half here, it gave me time to look around and see what was happening, the ground was moving like waves of water, them being at least a foot high. Our home was swaying back and forth and so were the new trees, I thought they were going to fall over. Miss Kitty and the kittens were trying to figure out where to go but they were getting tossed around. It was interesting to be able to see what was going on, do I want to see that again, noooooooooo way! That was the most movement we've ever experienced, Caroline was born in California. A funny thing was I don't remember hearing a sound, perhaps it was because my heart was pounding so hard. We came thru OK, there was some glassware breakage and things moved around a lot. Two TVs fell over but the main one is OK while my little one now has lines in 3 places going from top to bottom, it may last, who knows. Three of our cats disappeared for 5 hours. Did the animals warn us, nope, not a word. 
  Sometime this week I will get up a new post, it has taken a few days for this ol' guy to settle down. Here are some photos of things that fell or moved.
Stuff fell out of the pantry.
There were things that fell of the shelves in the laundry room. The stacked washer and dryer didn't move, neither did the chest freezer.
The TV fell over backwards but seems to be fine. the entertainment center didn't move.
Lots of things fell out of the entertainment center.
I had some wood drying in the sun room, the cat shelf saved the window.
The saw Caroline uses to cut fire wood ended up outside of the wood shed on the ground, still works though. My drill press also fell off my work bench in the car port.
Some of the wood in the wood shed is ready to fall, my electric chain saw fell but it landed in saw dust, no problem.

We have only felt one aftershock, no complaints though. It seems that there was damage coast to coast. 

Folks I'll get some more photos of the yard plants and get busy on the water system, till then, Tickle it with a hoe and it will laugh into a garden....


 I thought perhaps you didn't know where the epicenter was. I had to enlarge this picture so it is a little blurry.Our home is to the right, about center of the picture you see the town of Alajuela (a little north west of San Jose), our home is about where the "A" is.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Things are growing so fast!

Sometimes it is hard for me to realize that a lot of time has passed without my keeping up my blog. It is not that I am so busy that I don’t have the time, I take photos for the blog or think of things to put in but then the sun comes out and off I go. Something that I plan to do from now on is to put in a Spanish translation of my post. I hope my Tico friends reply back to me as to how well the translation comes through.

A veces es difícil para mí da cuenta que ha pasado mucho tiempo sin mi mantenimiento de mi blog. No es que estoy tan ocupado que no tengo el tiempo, tome fotos para el blog o pensar en cosas para poner pero luego sale el sol y apaga voy. Algo que planeo hacer de ahora en adelante es poner en una traducción al español de mi post. Espero que mi respuesta de amigos de Tico a mí acerca de cuán bien la traducción viene a través de.

Per a suggestion from a garden friend the pomegranate was replanted in its own raised bed. Caroline had to put these rocks in to keep the chickens from scratching out all the new dirt. The holes in the blocks will be filled with the planting mix and some type of moss or vine planted to shade the blocks for when the dry season arrives.

Por sugerencia de un amigo de jardín la Granada fue replantada en su propia cama elevada. Caroline tuvo que poner estas rocas mantener los pollos de arañazos a la nueva suciedad. Los orificios de los bloques se rellenará con la mezcla de siembra y algunos tipos de musgo o vid plantada a la sombra de los bloques para cuando llegue la temporada seca.

Antes que

Under the wire is ginger which Caroline uses a lot of to help with her tummy. The zucchini didn’t make it so it has been removed and Chinese cabbage seed planted. I picked up some of the jade’s leaves after it was moved into the garden area and inserted them in the planting mix just to see if they would make roots and grow, if they do then I will give them to friends.

Bajo el alambre es jengibre que Caroline utiliza mucho para ayudar con su barriga. El calabacín no hace por lo que se ha quitado y repollo chino semilla plantada. Recogí som de hojas de jade después de que fue trasladado a la zona del jardín y les insertada en la mezcla de siembra sólo para ver si se hacen raíces y crecer, si lo hacen y luego les daré a amigos.

When I got up and walked outside it was so foggy it was hard to see the fence, a half hour later this was what it looked like then in about an hour later it was bright and sunny.

Cuando se levantó y caminó fuera de ella fue tan brumosa era difícil ver la guía, una media hora más tarde, esto fue lo que parecía entonces en aproximadamente una hora más tarde fue brillante y soleado.

The sun is always welcome!
El sol siempre es Bienvenido!

The horseradish is loving its new home, I’m hoping that the blocks are enough to contain this rapid spreader. The oregano that was broken off by the kittens is doing well in the lower left hand corner.

El rábano es amante de su nuevo hogar, estoy esperando que los bloques son suficientes para contener este esparcidor rápido. El orégano que fue roto por los gatitos está haciendo bien en la esquina inferior izquierda.

The spinach is doing real well, we’ve already eaten some in our salad, it is so good. We’ve added even more starts so we have lots for salad, maybe it will take over the whole bed. Desi the silly ol’ cat loves to roll in the celery root plant but is seems like it is not bothered by her attention and pops right back up. There is also a sweet potato going in the lower right hand corner.

Las espinacas se está haciendo realmente bien, ya hemos comido algunos en nuestra ensalada, es tan bueno. Hemos añadido aún más comienza así tenemos muchas para ensalada, tal vez tendrá sobre la cama toda. Desi el tonto gato OL ' ama a rodar en la planta de raíz de apio pero es parece que es no molestarse por su atención y COP derecho copia de seguridad. También hay una batata en la esquina inferior derecha.

It is said that the turmeric can grow up to 5 feet, over 1.5 meters. It will get transplanted out in the yard except for one plant that will be kept trimmed to shade the spinach.

Se dice que la cúrcuma puede crecer hasta 5 feet, más de 1,5 metros. Se va obtener trasplantado en el patio excepto una planta que quedará recortado a la sombra de las espinacas.

This new bed has artichokes planted in it. They should do well when the dry season comes. The screen keeps momma PJ from scratching, she and the keets are allowed free run of this area until the sun dries the grass in the rest of the yard. The wire also keeps the cats from using the bed as a potty box.
Esta nueva cama tiene alcachofas plantados en ella. Que lo hagan bien cuando llega la estación seca. La pantalla mantiene a momma PJ de arañazos, ella y el keets están permitidos libre correr esta zona hasta que se seca en el sol el pasto en el resto del terreno. El cable también impide que los gatos utilizando la cama como un cuadro de ir al baño.

I saw Momma PJ in a nest while one of the keets waits for her, they don’t let her get too far away.

VI Momma PJ en un nido mientras que uno de los keets espera por ella, no la dejes llegar demasiado lejos.

Miss Kitty caught a moth and was playing with it and the rug at the same time, she has a great time with it.
Miss Kitty atrapada una polilla y estaba jugando con ella y la alfombra al mismo tiempo, ella tiene un gran tiempo con ella.

I’m off to fertilize and scatter more cal-dolomita.  Even though we have spread ashes around the plants it seems like the cal-dolomita has made a big difference to some of the plants. Perhaps the ol’ clay soil really needs the boost from the cal-dolomita, well it will get more now that I’ve seen the improvements in the plants. I’ll get busy and show the new water system when it is finished. I’ve also been thinking about what I want to use to water all of the new plants when the dry season comes. I prefer to give things a good soaking once or twice a week rather than a quick squirt with the hose.

Me voy a fertilizar y dispersión más cal-dolomita.  Aunque nos hemos esparce cenizas alrededor de las plantas parece que la cal dolomita ha hecho una gran diferencia a algunas de las plantas. Tal vez el suelo de arcilla OL ' realmente necesita el impulso de la cal dolomita, así obtendrá más ahora que he visto las mejoras en las plantas. Voy a ocupados y mostrar el nuevo sistema de agua cuando haya terminado. También he estado pensando acerca de lo que quiero utilizar para todas las plantas nuevas de agua cuando llega la estación seca. Prefiero dar cosas un buen remojo una o dos veces por semana en lugar de un squirt rápida con la manguera.

 Tickle it with a hoe and it will laugh into a garden....

So much to do so little time!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Things are doing well and moving along!

The morning has changed a lot since I got up, the sun has been out for a while but now it is mostly overcast. I have mentioned that I was planning on fertilizing twice a month with 15-15-15 so this morning I did the second round. Today I also added cal-dolomita to the fertilizer figuring every little bit helps.

In the middle, hard to see is a red hibiscus that was broken off the main plant by the kittens maybe a week ago, it is doing well already. Also you can see the cal-dolomita that I scattered around.

Brought out the chicken’s roost to allow the rain to help clean it up. The other roost was put on the coop till this one is clean. One of the ladies is inspecting the cleaning job, “not good enough” she says.

One of the little Mapolas was beaten up pretty good by the hens scratching, it is coming back very good. You can see the grains of fertilizer on the rightside of the base.

Caroline moved these plants as they were shading the new truenos trees. Got to get Juan to write down the names so I can post them and someday remember.

This trueno is really doing well, it likes its new home and of course likes the fertilizer. These are supposed to grow quickly, we’re hoping they with become a back stop for the ball field.

The little tea tree is doing well, most likely will have to remove the queen of the night growing behind it.

This pomegranate has not done very much. It has been where it is for almost two years. It is doing better now than it ever has, perhaps the cal-dolomita is helping a lot.

This Mapola is really happy, almost 3’ tall already. That is lemongrass sticking thru the fence which BTW is about ready to head out, it sure looks good when it does. It is almost as tall as the roof of the garden.

One of the blackberries is hanging over the fence, we should be a few berries this year.

The elephants ears are doing well and spreading out, I had to remove the cage as the leaves were caught in the wire.

Now here is a surprise, this little running or traveling iris is thru the fence into the chicken’s area but they haven’t bothered it.

I haven’t seen this before, the mint is flowering, I don’t know if there will be seeds as it is so easy to take cuttings and start them plus wherever it touches the ground it roots and takes off from there.

The white rose is blossoming out all over. The blossoms like the red rose get so heavy I have to prop up the cane to take a photo, pretty isn’t it?

The kittens love to scratch, they will scratch on the little stick in the background so I put this up for them to mutilate, they haven’t touched it yet. Perhaps I insulted them, cough, cough!

I took this shot from my chair just to give you one of my views. In the background is my little 4’X8’ trailer that gets the dirt and such for the yard and hauls the wood trimmings for our wood stove. So far it seems like all of the plants transplanted to the little raised beds are doing well. Soon you will see herbs of some sort growing in the holes in the blocks (holes filled with dirt of course) following the suggestion of Donald Rose. As always, anyone who has a question, suggestion or comment, don’t hesitate to email me, I appreciate all the comments. Folks sometimes see things that we don’t or have good suggestions on growing things like we have but we could do it better. Tomorrow the cars should get their yearly inspections then I can start putting in the water system in the garden and get something growing. I need to pick up a couple of gallons of bleach to clean the white cloth and the poly roof so things can get sunshine to grow with. Oh yeah, the kittens are doing great, Miss Kitty just got up on the back of my chair, she’ll snooze there till it is time to play some more.
It just started sprinkling, no more outside work, Miss Kitty is on my left shoulder purring and nibbling on my ear. Tickles like crazy!!!!

I think that is it for today. Take care, be well.

So much to do so little time!

Tickle it with a hoe and it will laugh into a garden....