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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Our New Melon Garden - Stage One: Tilling and Planting


I've been growing a few select vegetables in my herb garden for years now - things like peas, tomatoes, hot peppers and eggplant - sort of tucked into a corner of the garden as an afterthought, but never really had a separate garden dedicated to the 'roving' veggies, i.e. melons, cucumbers and squash. They take up so much room that I didn't dare plant them in my herb garden. I tried growing some in our compost pile, but it doesn't get much sun and the deer or rabbits ate all the blossoms, so that was a bust.

But when my husband got a new tractor this spring with both a rototiller and front bucket loader attachment, I made him promise that the first job we would tackle with it would be rototilling a corner of our horse pasture so I could plant some squash and melons. He agreed and I couldn't be happier with our new garden! Come take a look!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Week in Farm Photos July 13th - 19th


Whether you live on a 1/4 acre or 100 acres, whether you raise a whole barnyard of animals or just a small backyard flock, whether your 'garden' is a 6-acre field or a single pot on your kitchen windowsill, you should feel a sense of pride in everything you grow, and raise or nurture.  I love putting together this post each Saturday evening, because collecting photos all week to share makes me stop and appreciate my surroundings and the beauty that is everywhere ... if you just take the time to look.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Fizzy Orange Vanilla Bath Bombs


After a long day in the garden or working around the farm, a hot bath is often in order. These homemade, all natural fizzy bath bombs are sure to help your aches and cares float away as you inhale the intoxicating scent of sweet orange and vanilla. And best of all - they're chemical-free and super easy to make!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Got Flies? I Don't Anymore Thanks to Spalding Labs Fly Predators

When Spalding Labs contacted me several weeks ago and asked me to try out their Fly Predator product, I have to admit I was intrigued. I had heard of Fly Predators, but never really done much research into them, instead battling the flies using lots of homemade soda bottle fly traps, herbal fly sprays and repellents including herbal wreaths and mason jars filled with mint and vanilla with varying degrees of success, but since each summer we battle flies in our horse stalls, duck house and around the chicken feed, I eagerly agreed to try the Fly Predators out.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Fresh Brewed Herbal Sun Tea


Staying hydrated is so important in the summer, especially if you spend lots of time outdoors sweating, but plain water gets boring and store bought soft drinks and other beverages are full of sugar and other unhealthy ingredients and can be expensive.  Why not brew your own tea this summer using herbs and edible flowers? It couldn't be easier!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

A Week in Farm Photos July 6th - 12th

Photo: I like pretty things.

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Charles Dickens sure hit the proverbial nail on the head with those famous lines. This week brought some wonderfully good news to us here on the farm (details soon, I promise!), our gardens are producing some beautiful tomatoes and basil ... and then our week culminated in some major damage from a storm that seemed to appear out of nowhere late Friday.  We spent the last two days cleaning up tree debris from high winds, hail and driving rain. But all of our animals, house, coop and barn are just fine...and Mother Nature rewarded us with a beautiful post-storm sunset...was she perhaps saying she was sorry?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Herbs for Hens™: Bee Balm


The latest video in my brand new series Herbs for Hensfocuses on the edible flower Bee Balm. I grow and use bee balm, also called monarda or bergamot, in my natural chicken keeping. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Urban Coop Company Round-Top Chicken Coop


Several weeks ago I was contacted by the Urban Coop Company and asked if I would like to 'test drive' their Round-Top Chicken Coop. Truthfully, I had been eyeing their adorable coops for awhile and was thrilled to say yes!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fly Repelling Fresh Herb Wreath for your Chicken Coop


Flies are such a nuisance, not to mention the carriers of germs and diseases. But on a farm, you often can't (or won't) use chemical fly sprays around your animals. Fortunately, there are a whole host of herbs that help to repel flies naturally. Make this easy herbal wreath to hang in your coop, horse stall or even on the back door of your house to keep flies away this summer. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Week in Farm Photos June 29th - July 5th


Photo

Happy Fourth of July everyone!  Hope you all have a safe and happy holiday. We are enjoying cool, clear weather this weekend after a bit of a hot spell and just enjoying a quiet weekend at home. Our chicks are growing, the little ones will be laying eggs soon, and we're expecting ducklings in a week or so. Enjoy this peek at our week.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

My Top 10 Favorite Blogs - My Choices Might Surprise You!


I love blogging. I really do. I also love reading other people's blogs. I have discovered so many wildly talented bloggers as a result and met so many nice people by chatting with them in the comment section of their blog. I get asked pretty frequently which are the blogs I read regularly, so I thought I would share my top ten favorite blogs with you. And it might surprise you, but they aren't all chicken blogs! (although I will be sharing my favorite chicken-centric blogs at a later date, so stay tuned for that).

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Herbs for Hens™: Echinacea


First in my brand new video series Herbs for Hens, I focus on the edible flower Echinacea. I grow and use echinacea in my chicken keeping, as well as for beautiful, hardy cut flowers in the house all summer. Touted for it's immune system-boosting benefits, echinacea is an ingredient in many commercial cold medications, and can benefit your flock similarly.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Danger of Feeding Too Much Spinach to Backyard Chickens and Ducks

spinachandacv

Ducks love spinach. Or rather, I should say ‘Ducks love pretty much anything green, especially if you float it in a tub of water!’ But truthfully ducks do love spinach, as do chickens. I have been somewhat hesitant to give them too much because spinach frequently appears on the list of foods to avoid. However, spinach is high in calcium and other nutrients (along with collards, kale, chards and Brussels sprouts), so I really wanted to find out if spinach could be a healthy part of my ducks’ diet.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

A Week in Farm Photos June 22nd- 28th



This week we combated the southern heat and humidity with plenty of cold water, shade and frozen treats for our animals - and delicious homemade ice cream and thirst-quenching beverages for us. It's summer in Virginia... you would think after more than a decade here we would be used to it!  Enjoy a peek at our week on the farm.