Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pictures and Updates on the Tin Can Garden

 A while back, we moved the plants out from under the  lights and into windows.  The peas went to the front windows, while the onions and tomatoes went to  my son's room, since he is living on base several states away and his windows are free game.

The sugar snap peas are THRIVING! As you can see, we had to extend the climbing strings to the ceiling, and if you look close, you can see our first flower at the top of the vine!

The other variety of peas are not doing as well - we're not sure why.  Daughter said when she grew them last summer, they were also very slow. But they are still growing, so onward and upward!  We plan to get some more sugar snap peas seeds soon and plant a whole bunch - a window full of vines!

The tomatoes and onions are doing well as well - slower growth because it is not ideally warm - you can see the frost there on the window - but they are thriving. The room smells like tomato plants.

More pictures of our snow:

This is the view out the back windows, and this is the youngest dog pining to go out and run, even though he'd been out earlier and had a rousing run around for a couple hours, and had only come back in the house just minutes before this picture was taken!

I was not the only one unhappy about the snow - it caused the chickens some stress, since they did not want to go out in the storm, and we had some egg issues.

Someone clearly had issues with this egg being in their nesting box when they wanted to use it. You can see the peck spot right there.  The egg inside was fine and uncompromised, and we had it as part of our dinner.

 This egg, however - the oddities that can happen with eggs when a chicken is feeling stressed - and clearly one of our New Hampshire Reds was feeling stressed.  Note the very elongated form, and the odd wrinkle at the end.  This egg was also just fine inside. But it is a fine indicator when one or more of your chickens is unhappy.  In this case, they were literally cooped up too long for their liking.

But due to judicious planning and some heavy shoveling on my part early this morning, a large patch of dirt was clear by early afternoon, so they could run outside and peck up some gravel and grit.  One of the hens was so happy to be outside in the sun, she sat down in the muddiest spot of the yard and proceeded to do what we call the "broken chicken act"- where they lay sideways and stretch their wings out to catch the full warmth of the sun.  Of course, when she came back in, she ruffled her feathers and shook, and looked at me all offended, like I'd planned mud to upset her day.

They didn't want to stay out more than an hour, and they seemed happy to come back in, tracking their muddy feet everywhere.

A couple of our local door knockers - they will peck the door when they've been out long enough.

The incidence of feather pulling had stepped up though, during our bouts of snowy days.  They're getting enough protein; I think it's just cooped up syndrome.  I'll be able to pick up the right elastic tomorrow so we can get a jump on those chicken coats!

Oh, I haven't done an egg count lately - today was 6, and we've been pretty steady between 4 and 6 eggs every day, even with the lesser daylight.

Soon, it will be baby chick time at the feed store and we'll be picking up some new girls in hopes of making our flock bigger form the coming year.

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