Wednesday, May 4, 2011

4 May 1957 “Growing Chickens, Budding Fruit Trees, Stone Walls, and No-Rise Bread”

maraneggs1I haven’t shared any chicken news with any of you lately. If you recall, back in January I ordered a dozen fertile French Copper Maran eggs. You can see what a lovely chocolate brown they are. I put a few in my incubator and a few under my broody hen. What I learned is I should have put them ALL under the hen. The three I gave here all hatched, while only one in the incubator did so. Obviously Nature over Machine won out this time.
montychick1As I have also mentioned my dogs LOVE chicks. Here you can see my little Chi, Monty, happily snuggling with the little grey chick. She is one of my own chickens fertile eggs. A purebred Blue Orpington from my rooster. The sad tale with Monty’s love affair with the chicks, is once they become full sized hens, they no longer love him, often chase him and he runs squealing away. Yes, my chickens can beat up my dogs, what can one say? READ MORE

  newchickens1Here they are today. The grey one is the little chick you see above. The other two are the Marans. They are now three months old,  or twelve weeks. By six months if they are hens they shall lay (let’s hope) or “if they Crow, into the Pot they go”. They are lovely birds, though not as tame as my other hens that were raised by me rather than mother hen.
maranchick1Here you can see they are almost as large as my full size hens. Buttons in on the left. She is the friendliest and cheekiest of my hens. I have lately built an additional enclosure around their closed in pen. This allows them to free range outside of that pen but to keep off my terrace where they make a mess. However, Buttons is an escape artist and yesterday I was in the garden and Hubby got home and said, “come here you have to see this”. There Buttons was, happy as a pig in mud, walking about the kitchen looking for crumbs. I had left the door open, as it is so nice so the dogs could go in and out.
She happily comes to me when I call, however, so I scooped her up and back she went. I can’t ever express how much joy chickens are.
ruth   Here is my darling broody hen, Ruth. She was named by my MIL. I gave her two of my hens last year and this one, dubbed Ruth, became broody. I was excited and so swapped her out for another of my hens. She is a wonderful little mother and a week ago she went broody again. So, I collected up a dozen of my chickens eggs and she is now sitting on them happily. She is a Blue Splash Orpington. This means she carries the Blue gene (Really pretty slate grey) and when she pairs with our Blue Splash rooster almost all of her chicks will be true Blue, as evidenced by the little chick with Monty in the above picture.
The more I have fun with our little mini 1/4 acre farm the more I want an actual farm. One never knows, with this economic climate, you may find me picking up and moving again. Trading my little cottage by the sea for an old farmhouse with acres and barns.
Many things are blooming around here. My dwarf Gala Apple tree is littered with beautiful hot pink buds.galabudsHere is the espaliered apple tree which has 4 varieties grafted onto one root stock. I believe these are the fuji apple blooms.fujiblooms
  gooseberrybud I am rather excited, as my goo0seberry plants purchased from our local farm last year are full of blooms. You can see the lovely little green fruit beginning to form.
 bleedingheart1I love bleeding hearts and I have both the traditional red as well as white variety. This plant here is quite large and its blooms are so romantic. Rather Victorian, really.bleedingheart2 I think it would make a great water color study in a Ladies Garden Journal.muscari As well, would these Muscari, blooming like bad all about the lawn. They reseed themselves and only bloom for a short period in early Spring, so I let them have free reign of the garden.
stonewall On our staycation a few weeks ago, hubby and I were happily and busily building and repairing stone walls around here. I love a stone wall and was rather proud of our results.
Now, to round this post out, I thought I would share the Easiest bread recipe ever. I use this rather a lot. It doesn’t have the same lightness as a kneaded and risen dough, but it also is not as dense as a dessert bread. I believe I got the recipe online some where. I can’t recall but it couldn’t be easier.
In this loaf I replaced the honey with maple syrup. I have also replaced it with molasses as well. You just need to provide the sugar for the east to eat.
norisebread EASY NO RISE BREAD
3 c. flour (whole wheat, rye, soy, any kind)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 pkg. dry yeast
2 tsp. baking soda
2 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. honey
2 tbsp. oil
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease 1 loaf pan. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. In a separate bowl combine liquid ingredients. Put liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix for about 100 strokes. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake 1 hour. Test with knife to make sure center of bread is baked. Remove and let cool about 45 minutes (if you can wait that long). Great to make with children.
On the website front, I have added, as you know by now, daily news at the bottom of this page. Well, today I have added a button that takes you to a page to make comments on the news. If you want to share  your thoughts or what have you on the daily events. They will be preserved on the page and can be added to indefinitely, as each day the daily news becomes an archive page accessed by the News Archive button. So, comment away if you so desire! I just like the idea of building community.
Happy Homemaking.


  1. Your comments on raising baby chicks reminded me of the mother duck that I had sit on some chicken eggs. My Mother in law told me that ducks are wonderful sitters and that I should put some of my chicken eggs under her along with her duck eggs. Everything went wonderful(it was so much fun watching the mother duck waddle around the yard with the baby ducks and chicks). That is until mama duck decided it was time for swimming lessons in a mud puddle. I came out and found the baby chicks half drowned in a the puddle. I brought the chicks in and put them under a heat lamp which was unfortunately too hot for them and they died of heat exposure. I felt so bad. It was from the puddle to the frying pan.
    Amy f.

  2. That's a funny but sad story. Ironically, I actually have a couple duck eggs under my hen (This is a better set up as mother hen just gets upset when babies swim, but no dying possible). They are from the farm Gussie works on. We are not really certain they are fertile, but if so what fun.

  3. I am trying to learn as much as I can in preparation for raising chickens myself. We moved to Oregon almost 6yrs. ago and it has always been my dream to have a small hobby farm like my grandparents did when I was young. They and an aunt, uncle and three cousins all lived next door to us on the same three acres of land.

    Do you think its easier to let the hen incubate eggs and raise chicks or buy chicks and raise them yourself? Do the chicks you purchase and raise have the same mother instincts of hen raised chickens?
    Also where is a good source for Maran chicks or chickens? (I live in Oregon).
    Thank you for all your help. I love your blog and have added it to my favorites.
    Janet W.

  4. Well, to start out with your chickens, the ole' chicken and the egg adage might apply here, but rather be "What do you get first the hen that sits on the chicks or the chicks to become hens that sit on the chicks?"
    There are many ways to start out and getting full size hens is always an option.
    For me, however, I have always like the joy of raising a chick from day one. If you handle and play with them and begin using a phrase such as "Chick chick chick" when ever you give them food, you are in essence training them to come to you. If you free range even sometimes, this is helpful skill.
    My current chicks started out both as fertile eggs I ordred (ebay, though local farms often have fertile eggs as well and you can also order such eggs from various hatcheries). But Buttons and her sister Edith, both came to me as hatched chicks. A local man bought a large batch and sold what he didn't need through criagslist. They mingled fine with my hatched chicks (they were merely days apart).
    As far as broody hens, that is more the breed than the handling. There are many breeds that are prone to broodiness. And in fact those that aren't simply had that breed out of them. As farmers wanted layers not setters.
    Chochins and Orpingtons are two great breeds known for broodiness. My favorite broody hen is an Orpington. Both of my cochins went broody, but I disrupted it, as I already had my Orpington started.
    Bantams are notorious setters. If you would like a few setting hens, that a couple Silkie Bantams will hatch out ANYTHING, though they are smaller, so be sure to raise the chicks with full size to make sure there is not too much aggresion. Or you could keep a mini flock of setters, say two silkies and a chochin hen or some such.
    I love marans and right now, not sure why, they are SO sought after that to buy the chicks is next to immpossible and the eggs sell for $50 and more a dozen. The best bet for that is ebay for fertile eggs.
    I say, if you like the idea of hatching, try the mixed bag like I did. Get an incubator and some fertile eggs. Then time them so you can get a few hatched chicks around the time they are set to hatch. Then they can live together.
    Local grain and feed supplies often get in large batches of chicks early Spring. You might, as well, find signs up there for Farmers with eggs for sale.
    I have a chicken keeping section in the corner store. Here is the direct link if you want to browse around a bit.
    Good luck, I love chickens. And I love to Talk chickens, most chicken people do. It is a subject we can go on and on about, obviously.
    I Hope this helps.

  5. I am enjoying your new background and layout! Looks very springy! My husband and I have talked about getting chickens because nothing is quite as good as fresh eggs, but we haven't decided to make the plunge just yet. Our apple trees have already bloomed about 2 weeks ago (we live in KY) and I'm just hoping that we don't get any frosts that will be hard enough to kill them out! I love my apples!

  6. dang, love your tree! did you graft that branches on yourself? and your poor dog. having his chicks grow up and hate him. haha!

  7. Thank you for the info on chickens. I must read some of those books.
    I'm also interested in espaliered fruit trees. I'd like to surround my raised bed garden with espaliered fruit trees (cherry, pear, apple, peach, and apricot). Did you espalier your own trees? How old are they now? How long does it take for the trees to start producing fruit? And could you recommend a good book on how to do espalier a fruit tree? I'm in my 60's and want to get started as soon as possible.
    Again thank you for all your information and for this great blog!
    Blessings, Janet W.

  8. Last year at our local plant and garden show I bought a black currant bush in a 2 gal. pot. Right away it started blooming with ever so tiny yellow blossoms that had a wonderful strong clove fragrance. I'm not much for currants but I'd buy several more bushes just to smell that heavenly fragrance again. This years blooms are just beginning again. Can hardly wait.
    Blessings, Janet W.

  9. I just stumbled upon your blog. I LOVE it!!!<3
    Now following:)

  10. I love your posts about hens. I have never liked hens and now I want to have some! :)

    Bleeding Hearts, what a lovely name. In Denmark they are called Lieutenant Hearts. It is a very old fashioned perennial, at least here in Denmark. It is quite hard to find it at the plant schools. I wanted one many years ago, since I try to keep my garden “vintage styled” too. Now it is quite big and looks gorgeous.

    Your stonewall is lovely, congratulations on a well done job.

    Wishing you both a lovely weekend. :)

  11. My friend and I use to shop every single day, filling our closets with meaningless "stuff". The simple old fashioned way of life makes us much happier :) Working full time, we manage to keep a clean house & our husbands love the home cooked meals every day with the occasional home made bread or dessert. Your blog is amazing & you're such an inspiration. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!


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