Garden Chick - Notes from the Garden

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What a Difference 12 Weeks Make

I wrote about the baby chicks in March. Thank goodness we had an early spring and warm weather so that I could get them out of the house and into the barn. They are to stay inside and under a light until they have their true feathers. 
Take a look at them now.  They have plenty of room to roam around and I try to feed them a varied diet to keep them happy. They are finished with their chick grower and have moved on to laying feed. I supplement it with scratch feed which is just cracked corn and provides no protein. But chickens like to scratch, and this fulfills that need. I also take them bread, and tonight they had the seeds and pulp from a cantalope I cut, along with some sliced tomatoes from the refrigerator after I had cleaned out. The temperature is 93 degrees and chickens drink a LOT of water. My waterer is a gallon and they will drink that in two days. Hopefully they will return my good care with some eggs this fall.

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

Chattanooga National Cemetary
My Father who served in the Navy during
WW2 is buried here.

Are they dead that yet speak louder than we can speak, and a more universal language?  Are they dead that yet act?  Are they dead that yet move upon society and inspire the people with nobler motives and more heroic patriotism?  ~Henry Ward Beecher

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Friday, May 25, 2012


I planted Tansy in my herb garden about three years ago, and it was really pretty this year. It grows very tall and will droop over if you don't provide a support around it.  I originally planted it next to the patio because I understand that it repelled mosquitos. At our house with this wet, humid weather, I would have to sit smack dab in the middle of hundreds of tansy plants to get the benefit. It is pretty and adds yellow daisy like flowers in the spring. I am going to cut it back about 1/3 and see if it will bloom again.

When I was reading about tansy, I found that it was most often included in the cloistered gardens of the monks in medieval times, and is in fact found in the garden at the Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum in New York City.

If you want to increase your Tansy plants, dig them up in early spring or late fall when they are dormant.  Use a sharp knife or spade to divide in half, then if the plant is large enough, you can then divide again into quarters. If you don't want to dig the whole plant up, use the spade to cut down the middle, leaving the other part intact.  Replant the divisions immediately, or keep the roots moist, and out of direct sun until you can plant them.


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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Attracting Butterflies to Your Garden

Attracting butterflies to your garden is easy. Just follow a few simple to steps to make it butterfly friendly.
Plant in a sunny spot that gets at least 5-6 hours of sun each day. The butterfly plants flourish in the sun, and planted in the sun, provide a place for the butterfly to stop and warm up. The butterflies wings must be a certain temperature to allow it to take flight.
Your butterfly garden does not need to be very big but should contain groupings of plants and a variety of plants to attract the butterflies. Groupings of butterfly flower containers could be used on a sunny deck if you are limited for space.

Two types of flowers will need to be planted: Nectar producing flowers to provide a source of food for the butterfly and "host" plants which will provide a place for the butterfly to lay it's eggs and also a source of food for the caterpillar. Butterflies prefer bright colored flowers such as reds, oranges, yellows, purples and dark pinks.

Your plants MUST be pesticide free. Pesticides kill not only the offending pest but the good critters too.
Butterflies cannot land in birdbaths, etc., to get a drink of water. They like to "puddle". You can provide a wet area in your garden, or fill a shallow bowl with a mixture of sand and soil. Add enough water to create a puddle. Place a few small flat rocks for the butterflies to land on. When you first set the bowl out you may want to add a bright flower petal in the bowl to attract them.
After you plant your garden, keep a journal with pictures, writings etc., that identify your visitors.

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Monday, May 21, 2012

You Have to Kiss a Lot of Frogs to Meet the Right Prince

After a hot day in the sun, and a new sprinkler from the Dollar Store, my granddaughters couldn't resist catching some frogs. They catch frogs everytime they come over. I believe I recognize this one from last week.

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lavender in Bloom

I took a walk outside this afternoon after a brief thunderstorm. It had been so hot, over 85 degrees. In fact, I had watered and fertilized my annuals, and was going to water my herb garden later in the afternoon.  The storm came up suddenly, and even hailed.  Afterward, everything looked so crisp and clean, and the lavender especially enjoyed the hard shower.  This lavender is about 4 or 5 years old and gifts me each year with bundles of lavender for my bath products and sachets.  The blooms are also a great treat for the bees. I tried to photograph a huge bee on the blooms but couldn't quite get him zoomed in enough.  Someone's going to have some great lavender jelly.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

What A Difference A Week Makes

I left for the beach on May 7th, and my herb garden was just fine. Five days later?  What happened? The yarrow is out of control and taken the St. John's Wort, and Oregano with it!
All of this needs to be cut back, and the flowers removed. I will use the St John's Wort little yellow flowers as an infusion, but the oregano, should not be allowed to bloom. I think I will cut the

 yarrow about a third of the way down.  When you are trimming your herbs, you should only take about a third of the plants.  There is tansy in the corner which was blooming little daisy like fowers when I left, but these have now long died.  Tansy is good to plant beside the steps or patio to help deter mosquitos. In the background is blue salvia, and catnip.  My lavender has begun to bud and bloom.  These will be cut and dried for sachets and bath teas.  Looks like I have my work cut out for me.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Garden Whimsy

 I have had this old black bike for quite a while and the area around the tree was hard to keep weed free.  Three years ago I planted two small pots of ivy, and you can see how it has grown. The area goes all the way up the driveway to the road, and I hope to have most covered with the ivy in a few years. I found the blue stop sign in someones trash on the side of the road and grabbed it up. If you look closely behind the back wheel, you will see Emma, my stray hen, who doesn't want to be confined to the pen. She comes and goes as she wants, and sometimes I won't see her for weeks.  Now that I have the baby chicks in their pen, she meets me down at the barn every evening to go in, eat a snack, and come back out.  Occasionally I make her stay overnight, so that I can get an egg.  I have no idea where she lays them the rest of the time!

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Beach Trip and Lower Alabama Caviar

This is the view from a friend's beachhouse at Fort Morgan, Alabama, at Gulfshores. I spent 5 days of fun with some great friends, but was glad to get home, and back to my family. Whenever we go to Gulfshores, we have to eat at Lulu's. Lulu Buffett is the sister of Jimmy Buffet, and has created a great restaurant which is a fun place for everyone in the family.

I had never tried fish tacos before and her Mahi Soft Tacos with Chipotle Sauce were delicious.

I purchased her premiere magazine Lulu's which was choked full of great recipes and I need to order her cookbook to find the chipotle cream sauce recipe and purchase her chipotle taco seasoning to complete the recipe!!!!! Oh well, she knows how to sell her merchandise!
I will however, leave you with the LA Caviar (Lower Alabama) and encourage you to visit the beautiful gulf coast. There was no lingering damage to the beaches from the BP oil spill, and workers were out there daily combing the beaches. My friend Dena who owns the house, reports their beach has never looked better.  Be sure you visit Lulu's while you are there.

LA Caviar
Serves 20-25

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Place all dressing ingredients in a jar, cover tightly and shake to
dissolve sugar.  Set aside.

4 (15 oz) cans black eyed peas 
1 cup chopped each green, red, and yellow bell pepper
1 cup chopped red onion, 1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered.

Place peas in a large glass or stainless steel bowl
Add peppers, onions, parsley, and tomatoes.
Pour dressing over the top and toss well
Transfer to a plastic bowl, cover and chill for at least 2 hours
before serving.

Serve with tortilla chips or saltine crackers.


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