Tag Archives: planting

Marigolds, chicks, and ducks

Yesterday when Buddy was treasure hunting behind the garage, he found a few pretty purple flowers, which I shared with you in my last post. He told Papa he wanted to plant some flowers, so we told him we could plant flowers when we started the rest of our seeds.

Being rainy, there weren’t too many projects Papa was able to do today, so he got us all working on starting the starters. First came the marigolds in special pots labeled “Nemo” and “Daphney”, then came the oregano, rosemary, coneflower, peppers, tomatoes, and onions. We have about 8 more varieties of herbs to plant indoors, which Papa and I will be working on later this evening.

What is a day of farming without new chicks? Papa took Buddy to “the chicken store”, a.k.a. the Tractor Supply Company, intending to purchase six Golden Comet pullets to add to our collection of layers. Because we are required by Maine state law to purchase six at a time, we fully anticipated bringing home six chicks, but as it turned out we were able to buy six Red Comet chicks for the price of four, because two of them were runts, so Papa picked out two ducklings as well.

The kids were very excited, of course. While the two men were off on their assignment, Girlie and I prepared the chicks’ (and ducklings’) new home, a rubbermaid tub we used for the last batch of chicks. When they arrived the chicks and ducklings jumped around their home, were held a few times each I’m sure, and settled in for a nap.

Unfortunately, one of the runts has already passed on. We knew she looked sickly and as time went on she was responding less and less to stimuli. We talked to Buddy about the possibility that she might not live through the night, and he was fine with that, provided that we give him the chance to hold her after she died. He did, and he put her in the brown paper bag that we’ll bury her in tomorrow. She was just a chick, and we didn’t even know her, but it’s still sad. I told her runt “sis”, she has to get stronger and live well for her lost friend, but we have a feeling she won’t make it much longer either.

Quite a day of farming adventures really. Life, death, learning, adjusting, and moving on.

Enjoy this video of our six chicks and two ducklings when they first came home.

Update – Both runts died, so we’re down to four healthy chicks and two ducks, and I forgot to mention that Buddy named the ducks (of unknown gender) Maiko and Teaka!

Building starter trays

Ah, yes it is time to start getting our garden stuff out and into action. This time we will be going full bore as if our lives depended on it. Recently we made an eBay purchase for 300 4″ plastic pots and plastic trays with 480 individual cells, and it was delivered to us all neatly stacked together taking up maybe a couple square feet. I sat proudly and thought to myself “Yeah…..we are gearing up for this homstead project” as I gazed upon our growing arsenal of self-relient STUFF. Yet, there was a nagging thought barking in my left ear saying “What are you going to do about getting these seeds started in time when you don’t have any trays to put the planters in, no money to buy them, and really have not a decent location to put it all at this point?”. To get this clear it was not Mama barking in my left ear but a reality check smacking me around!

So after kicking a few ideas around in my head I came up with a solution that would not cost more than $30.00 and hold 680 individual starter pot/cells. I, being king of cheap, decided to use a sheet of luan plywood , 1×4 #4 grade pine (my favorite solution for everything duct tape won’t fix), a few 1 1/4″ screws, and six trash bags to build my six waterproof trays. The day was 4-4-11 and I remembered, “ahh haa!” I had a Lowe’s coupon to get $10 off a purchase of $50 or more expiring that day. However, I did not want to spend an extra $20 just to get $10 off because it seemed too….something or other. Needing to start a fire I went outside to split some wood while pondering what I could do and still be finacially prudent, when “CRACK” the head of my splitting maul fell right off and into a slushy puddle. “Oops! That sucks!” I yelled, and looking up I saw Buddy staring through our door at me with this cunfused gitty look on his face. I went back inside only to have Buddy, trying very hard not laugh, start muttering some alien words describing what just happened. Agreeing with his laugh I too started laughing and said, “well I’m gonna be going to lowe’s. Who wants to go with me?”. It really didn’t matter who wanted to go because it was Girlie’s turn to ride with Papa anyways, so off we went.

The trays I built are 25″ by 33″ and 2 1/2″ deep and have a separated trash bag liner which is secured using staples. I dumped a gallon of water into one and found that it has about a 5/16″ water table height. This good to know for watering purposes. The tray also held water without a problem, even as I sloshed it around during the trip to the drain. Eventually I will most likely build some sort of greenhouse rack system for the trays, but for now we have something to start with.