Friday, April 2, 2010

Blooms and Muppets

I've been quite preoccupied with the addition of our flock, but thought I'd share a bit of what's going on in the back garden. I'm fully aware that much of what is currently blooming will need to be protected from the bulldozing activities of the "Muppets" once they're allowed to free range in the backyard. So until then, I'd best enjoy it! 
Tulipa 'Flair' was the first to spring up this year and has already been opening during the day to show off its artsy inside. However on these cloudy days it pretty much stays tightly wrapped.
'Fringed Elegance' tulips are making their appearance, although they've yet to open. Looking back through my archives, I can't find a photo of these in full bloom. Hard to believe I would have ignored that, but not entirely impossible.
Unknown tulip that has been in a pot nearly as long as we've been in this house. I always mean to plant it in the garden somewhere but find it easier just to move the pot around where I need a bit more spring color.
Bleeding Hearts still blooming strong. I really want to add the native variety to the woodland garden. But with the new chickens and plans to add the coop in a portion of that space, I'm rethinking the area's design.
White Anemone slowly opening.

And now to introduce the "Muppets." As I had dubbed one chick Miss Piggy, my husband thought we should go with the theme.
Miss Piggy. Our lone Barred Plymouth Rock. I fell in love with the coloring of these chickens, the black and white striping. In my research I've learned they're one of the first, true American breeds, originating in New England. Hens can reach about 6 pounds to 7 pounds, and lay roughly 200 eggs in the first year. They're considered a very curious bird, which I'm already seeing signs. Miss Piggy is the first to bounce up when someone walks near. Rather nosy girl.
Beaker is the littlest of the trio. A Silkie bantam, she'll likely only grow to 3 pounds. While I first thought she was the shyest of the flock, she seems to have settled in and happily pecks at anything in her path. We cover a portion of the brooder for added warmth and it's funny to watch her beat the side trying to explore the towel.
Honeydew is our other Silkie who is proving to be the most elusive. She really objects to being picked up, as you can see in this photo. She was really giving me the what for until I returned her to her friends. Silkies can go broody, preferring to sit on eggs or anything like that as part of a deep seeded mothering instinct. They lay about 100 eggs in the first year, but are sometimes used to care for the eggs of other breeds.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

It's a chick thing!

 White Silkie
After almost two years I finally have my chickens. I first started hinting that they'd be a nice addition to our little urban garden after doing a story in 2008 on "City Chickens." My husband was firmly against it since we weren't a year into parenthood and had two dogs and two cats. Soooo, I was resigned to oooo and ahhhh over others' poultry prizes. Then just last week as I again mentioned another chick adoption, he suddenly gave in. It's likely because our little guy is almost three now so less hands on work, and dad has his own beer brewing hobby now, but I'll take them any way I can get them!
The little guy, like his mom, is very excited about the latest additions to the household. He quite enjoyed setting up their new temporary home and playing "mama baby chicken."
He wasn't quite ready to hold them in his hand but was more than happy to have one on his lap. He first cozied up with the Barred Plymouth Rock. I've unofficially dubbed her 'Miss Piggy' because if anyone else is eating, so must she!
So happy with his new babies.
Miss Piggy came in for her close up. She's a little scowly thing, don't you think?
Our so far bashful black Silkie. The smallest of the trio, but holding her own.
A quick, much supervised intro to the pups. So far they showed no real interest, but they won't be on our list of babysitters ... ever! They're good boys, but there was an incident with a baby crow I would rather not repeat.
So not a bad way to start out April. I hope to share more information on these particular breeds, and update on their progress and all it involves, as well as a bit of gardening!