Friday, June 28, 2013

Mama Hen Update - The Final One

Mama Hen kicked the kids out today.  I've been wondering when it was going to happen.  The little guys are now about 4 weeks old, and in that gawky in-between stage where they have more tiny feathers than fluff.  I guess that officially makes them pullets.

I first noticed the issue this afternoon when I took corn out for everyone to scratch.  Most of the pullets were huddled together in a corner of the upstairs part of the Egg Cart'n, while Mama was down stairs.  After I threw in the corn, she greedily pecked it up, but the pullets seemed afraid to go close to her.

I confirmed that Mama was finished tonight.  6 of the pullets were downstairs, while one was desperately trying to get under Mama's wing in the nest box.  Mama pecked and kicked until the poor little one retreated to the empty next box next door. 

I decided the best course of action would be to return Mama Hen to the Chicken Barge with the other hens, and give the pullets a bit more time on their own to grow.  I set Mama on a roost in the Barge, and she settled in for the night without another peep.  The pullets, however, needed a bit of convincing.  I finally got them settled in a nest box with extra fluff.  They were all snuggled up and quiet when I left them.

I'll post a new picture of the pullets one of these days.  They certainly look different now!

In the meantime, we've received almost 2 1/2 inches of rain in the past 72 hours.  Mom, the girls and I worked down in the garden for several hours after the first rain fall.  I am please to say that the lower section that we meticulously dug sorrel out of, then amended with manure and lime, is doing wonderfully!  I decided to plant beans down there in order to help fix nitrogen in the soil.  We have lovely cabbages and a huge crop of various beans growing down there now.  There are also LOTS of weeds, but hardly any of them are sorrel.  We are slowly getting the area weeded and mulched with straw.

I've had to tie the asparagus back so that it doesn't shade my beans!

I also thinned the carrots, and mulched there.  We have a big bag of fresh, organic baby carrots to munch on for awhile!  Along with carrots, I gathered peas, spinach, a small zucchini, and a handful of blueberries and asparagus.

The strawberries are about finished, but the blueberries, as well as the wild black raspberries, are coming right along.  The garden is looking really great these days...lush and green.  I'm really quite proud of what we've accomplished in there so far!

With all of the fresh spinach, I made one of my favorite spinach salads from my Extending the Table cookbook.  Here's the recipe:

Sesame Spinach Salad (from Korea)

1 lb fresh spinach, steamed until tender
1 T sesame seeds, toasted
3 T soy sauce
2 T sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T sugar
1 T rice wine vinegar
dash black pepper

Strain and squeeze spinach to remove most of the water, then coarsely chop.
Add all ingredients except spinach and sesame seeds in a small jar, and shake to mix thoroughly.
Toss dressing with spinach and top with sesame seeds.  Serve chilled.

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