Thursday, March 31, 2011

Interesting Tomato Facts

Tomatoes have been a staple of the American diet and with good reason.

These healthy fruits contain powerful nutrients that help protect against heart disease, premature aging, and certain cancers, especially prostate. Lycopene, the pigment that gives tomatoes their rich reddish hue is a powerful cancer-fighting agent.

Starting with the basics, tomatoes contain large amounts nutrients. A single tomato contains 53 percent of the daily value (DV) of vitamin C. They also contain 15 percent DV of vitamin A, 8 percent DV of potassium, and 7 percent of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of iron for women and 10 percent RDA for men.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tomatoes In!

We planted almost all the tomato starts yesterday.  After we redressed the tops of the pots with more compost, we brought up the little guys and placed them ever so gently in their new homes.  We are doing a lot of tomatoes this year with the intent of making and canning tomato sauce.  I found these great heirloom varieties at the Feed Store where I buy the chicken's food and scratch. We planted Arkansas Travelers, Violet Jaspers, Moneymakers, and a Roma type that I don't remember the name of.  Here are some pictures that I hope our tomatoes will look like.  So we had the rain, now let's get that sunshine and heat that these little lovelies need.  Fingers crossed.

Tomato Arkansas Traveler
Arkansas Travelers
Violet Jasper
Money Maker


Monday, March 28, 2011

Yahoo, another layer!!

I was so happy to find three eggs waiting for me in the nest boxes this afternoon when I got home from work.  We are almost positive it is Juniper who layed the new little brown egg, as she has been acting very strange the last week or so, and I remember Soupy acting the same way right before she started laying.  Either way, we will now be collecting 21 eggs a week. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What is that coming down from the sky?

Um, I don't know if anybody has noticed, but it's raining, a lot, buckets in fact.  My poor little starts that we planted yesterday are under water.  We'll see how they do.  We also transplanted many of the tomato starts, Arkansas Travelers, in old oil containers that Taylor cut in half.  We'll see how they do, that is, if they don't float away.

Friday, March 18, 2011

With rain comes the sludge

I have been loving all this rain we have been getting.  It's making everything super green and lush on the hillside, the apple tree is coming back and enjoying a good drink, and the local reservoirs are about to start spilling over.  It's wonderful, except for one small little detail, the huge puddles of water in the chicken's run, which mixes with their poop and mud, and turns to sludge.  I don't think I can explain just how disgusting it is to watch them drink out of their poopy puddles, but I've talked to other chicken people and they say that it's normal and it won't kill them.  It may not kill them but it's grossing me out!  Anyways, thank you Talaya, Mari, Inanna, which ever goddess of rain you would like to thank for all this wonderful rain, despite the poopy, sludgy situation my chickens find themselves in.

Friday, March 11, 2011

What is the Spring Equinox


The Spring Equinox, more commonly known as Vernal Equinox, is at the start of spring and the days and nights are each approximately 12 hours long.  Every year the earth goes once around the Sun; that is, after all, the definition of a year. The earth spins on its axis, and the axis happens to be tilted about 23.5 degrees relative to earth's orbital plane. As a result, sometimes the northern hemisphere is tilted toward the sun and sometimes the southern hemisphere tilts toward the sun. The change isn't severe, but it is enough to cause the seasons. When the north is tilting toward the sun we generally experience warmer weather in the north. When the south is tilted toward the sun then the southern hemisphere generally experiences the warmer weather.  According to the Almanac, the first day of Spring is March 20th, but I hold true to the belief that all the solstices and equinoxes land on the 21st.  The term equinox can also be used in the broader sense, meaning the date when such a passage happens.

Spring is coming!

Things have been pretty quite on the property lately.  The chickens are growing day by day, and we are eagerly awaiting one of the Red Stars to start laying.  The flock has bonded and works together as a cohesive group and there doesn't seem to be any more harassment towards the new chickens by the older ones.  Although, Juniper does like to remind the others that she is no longer on the bottom of the pecking order, nor will she ever be again.

I will be heading back up to Bee Kind on the 26th to check out a free class on how to install the package bees I will be picking up in April.  I will also be buying the second hive box at that time as well, giving Taylor and I sufficient time to set up both hives.

I am enjoying all the sub jobs I have been getting, telling students all around Marin about the chickens and our garden and all the things we plan to do.  

As for our vegetable garden, our starts have been growing slowly in our makeshift greenhouse and hopefully we will be able to plant in a week or two.  I turned the dirt in the garden plot and found the fallow ground to be fertile and ready for action.  I can't wait!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Interesting Bee Facts

Honey bees have four wings and five eyes.

Honey bees can count to four.

95% of all honey bees in the hive are worker bees, and all worker bees are female.

Worker bees start off as house bees, processing the nectar into honey.  They graduate to guard bees, guarding the entrance to the hive.  And then they graduate to foraging bees, going out and finding pollen and nectar to bring back to the hive.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


That's right, it's almost bee that time.  Yesterday I went up to Sebastopol and attended an Introduction to Beekeeping class.  It was a very informative three and half hours.  The man talking about bees not only completely engaged and excited me, but by the end, I was pretty overwhelmed, but ready to keep the two colonies that I will be picking up on April 16th!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

EarthWorms Beware!

Big Spoon's latest discovery is the plenitude of earthworms that live in the compost piles.  When I was raising earthworms last summer, as an experiment to learn something new, I eventually released them into the garden and compost piles.  I think vermiculture, feeding earthworms your kitchen scraps as a way to compost, is useful for people who can't have larger composting systems, but since we were able to set those up, keeping the worms just didn't make sense after a while.  So, we set the thousands of little red wigglers free, and they set out to inhabit our garden soil and compost piles, that was, until Big Spoon set her sights upon them.  Now she roves the grounds, searching for compost piles to pilfer, and Soupy and Stella have learned from her example and follow suit.