Month : December 2012

Chickens Gardening Stories from Our Nest Tours

A New England Snowy Morning

Last night I could hear the winds whipping and the rain falling.  Then all of sudden around nine o’clock in the evening a serene silence fell upon my ears.  The pounding sleeting rain had turned to snow.  Wonderful huge heavy snowflakes fell from the evening sky.  This morning I woke to streams of brilliant morning sunlight dancing through the windows.  The storm had left the wet heavy snow clinging to all in sight.  The wild birds were awake, alive and singing songs from their hearts.
By the time I journey out, the snow on the chicken coop had begun to melt.
Snow covered branches were beginning to melt.


Branches heavy with snow bent from the weight.


Singing chickadees were some of the first to arrive at the feeders.


Two regular Red Breasted Nuthatches came to investigate too.


Of course, my heart always feels a sense of peace when the Carolina Wrens are visible at the feeders.  We have been sustaining a few generations now of these little ones.  It is not often that they overwinter in the Northeast, but they are happy here in our yard.


The vegetable garden now sleeps.  The trellises are now covered in snow.


I scooped the snow away from our beehive entrances and left the rooftop snow for insulation. The morning sun was just beginning to reach and warm the hives.
We are expecting more wintry weather over the next few weeks.  The magic of winter is upon us.
“What good is the warmth of summer, 
without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
 ~John Steinbeck

Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest

Chickens Health Issues

Reasons for Missing Feathers on Backyard Chickens

Feather loss and missing feathers happens within every flock at one point or another.  Suddenly, one day you happen to notice that one or more of your chickens are missing some feathers. Missing feathers should always cause you to do a bit of detective work.  There are reasons for missing feathers.  Some reasons are obvious, while others require you search a little deeper into the underlying cause of the missing feathers.

Breakfast Recipes

Pecan Sticky Buns

I love creating old and new traditions with the family on Christmas morning.  One such tradition that started about 5 years ago was serving Pecan Sticky Buns.  Christmas morning is the only day that I make them and I love it when out of the blue the kids think of them and ask me to make them.  I know that this is one of the things that they look forward to all year long.  We have other traditions, but I always think that no matter how old you are, the emotions, love and memories shared over a delicious holiday meal are cherished forever.

Tilly'sNest-barbacoa beefwp
Main Dishes Recipes

Barbacoa Beef Tacos and Nachos

Tilly'sNest-barbacoa beefwp

Barbacoa Beef is one of my all time favorite meats to put in tacos and serve on nachos.  It takes a bit of cooking in the slow cooker but the end results will provide your family of 4 with two dinners.  You might even try serving this on New Year’s or on game night creating a make your own taco/nacho bar.  It is great fun!

Chickens Health Issues Seasonal Care

How to Free-Range Chickens with Supervision

Two fluffy butts free-ranging in the woods.

Other than a good dust bath, there is no other place that a chicken would rather be than free-ranging about their environment.   Chickens love to scratch in the dirt. They love to discover bugs, worms and tasty grubs as they explore their surroundings. However, most folks never free-range due to the risk of predators.  Those that allow their chickens to roam freely on their property accept and understand the risk of losing members of their flock from time to time.  This was not an option for me nor was it a risk that I felt comfortable with. One of the best solutions that I came up with three years ago was supervised free ranging.  Supervised free-ranging allows your flock to be out and about in the yard as your presence keeps predators away.

Tilly's Nest- bulbs and garden dibble
Gardening Plants

How To: Planting Bulbs and Garlic

In the late fall as soon as the weather chills and temperatures drop but just before the ground freezes it is time to plant bulbs that will grow in the spring.  This is a fantastic way to see early blooms in your garden and also provides a pollen and nectar source for honey bees that are beginning to emerge from their hives.

Sometimes people overlook that garlic is just as easy to plant as flowering bulbs.  It is also planted at the same time.  This morning, I got busy planting bulbs. I planted Tulips, Daffodils, Hyacinths and garlic all with a new handy tool that made bulb planting more enjoyable. It took me about half of the time using the dibble verses a small garden trowel.  The old saying is true-Having the right tools for the job, make for smoother sailing.

Tilly's Nest- bulbs and garden dibblewp

This is my latest tool called a garden dibble.  Okay, I am in love here folks with this simple, elegant sleek bulb planting tool.  This is a large.  They come in small and medium too and are handcrafted by Bepa’s Garden in Connecticut.

Tilly's Nest-planting flower bulbwp


Dig a hole for your bulb at the appropriate depth found on the packing.
Tilly's Nest-flower bulb placementwp

Be sure to place your bulbs in the hole with the flatter roots side down and pointy side up pointing up to the sky.  If they are placed in upside down, they will not grow.  Cover with soil and continue on with the next bulb.  I like to plant a bunch of bulbs very close to each other.  This puts on a better show in the spring as clusters of bulbs make more of a visual impact. Next it was time to plant garlic.

Tilly's Nest-vegetable garden fallwp


So many of our cold weather crops are still producing in the garden.
It was almost difficult to find a place to plant the garlic!
Tilly's Nest-planting garlic cloveswp
Tilly's Nest-planting garlicwp
This is garlic that was harvested this past spring.  Split apart the garlic bulb into individual cloves.  You can also use supermarket garlic.  However, use organic only. Non-organic garlic can be treated, just like potatoes, to prevent eyes and stems from forming. These will never grow in your pantry or your garden.
Tilly's Nest-planted garlicwp

Using the dibble I made holes and popped a garlic clove into each hole and then covered each one with soil. Garlic is harvested in the spring, after their blooms die off. I hope you will try to plant some bulbs this year.  They are such a welcome sight in the spring.

 Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest