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Giveaway: Chicken T-Shirt


Once again, the generosity of this family run business, Louise's Country Closet, has provided us with another wonderful giveaway.  We are so lucky to have them as one of our sponsors!  Louise's Country Closet was founded based on a need.  There needed to be a way to protect hens from aggressive roosters; enter their hen saddles.  There needed to be a way to keep a chicken in the house,for those that desired, and not worry about them pooping on everything; enter their perfected chicken diaper.  From there, the company grew to offer so much more! It's not hard to see why they have been able to expand their successful business by offering rabbit, guinea pig and ferret harnesses, collars, clothing items, personalized items, key chains, homemade soap, crafty purses and so much more.  The best part is that they currently are offering a 15% off discount on all orders to fans of Tilly's Nest!  Enter "Tilly" at the checkout.

Today's giveaway is for one Crazy Chicken Lady t-shirt in the size of your choice.  This t-shirt is fabulous for anyone who owns chickens, a loved one who keeps a flock or to be given as a gift.

Here's How to Enter!

Four entries can be earned for this giveaway.

1.  Visit Louise's Country Closet on Facebook and tell them Tilly sent you. (1 entry)
2.  Become a follower of this blog, see options on the right side of this blog. (1 entry)
3.  Visit Louise's Country Closet's website and tell me what you would put on your wish list. (1 entry) When you take a moment to visit their website, don't forget to bookmark it. You never know when you might need them!
4.  You must leave a comment here below this post with an email address to reach you (1 entry-required). If you have done any or all of the above, please mention it in your comment. Thank you.


Good Luck!


Contest ends 9/5/12 at 12 midnight EST. Item ships to US address only. 1 entry per person.  1 winner will be randomly selected.  Remember to check back on 9/6/12 when the winner is announced.  


Photo Credit:  Louise's Country Closet

The Pilgrim's Chickens


Yesterday I took the kids to Plimoth Plantation on an outing. We love visiting this hands-on "living" museum about the lives of the original colonists and the Wampanoag Indians.  In the 1600s, when the pilgrims sailed across the Atlantic Ocean on the Mayflower, they brought with them many things from England.  This included items such as pottery, metal cooking vessels, furniture, fabric, clothing and beer.  They also brought various animals as well as heritage breed chickens for meat and eggs.  Once ashore, their chickens spent their lives free-ranging about the plantation.  This might explain why the older heritage breeds to this day have hens that grow spurs.  Protection was very important.

As we walked the grounds, my children paid little attention to anything except for the chickens.  They took great pleasure in finding the chickens dispersed in the vegetable and herb gardens, along the rock walls and tucked into corners underneath planks of wood.  We saw many chickens running away as tourists tried to approach, yet somehow the chickens were never afraid of myself or the kids.

We walked up to them gently, cooing chicken talk.  Despite not knowing us, somehow they did not fear us. We spent a good half hour or so, sitting in the garden to the side of the cottage watching some of the world's best composters and exterminators till the earth and eat a found bug here and there.  A cool breeze blew off the ocean and we sat amongst the chickens on the ground.  As we sat they came and looked around at us.  Eventually, we were surrounded by about five chickens or so, all happy to have new company at their garden smorgasbord.

Somehow, those hens knew, that we were "one of them".  Did they smell our chickens on us?  Could they understand our gentle ways or the way that we spoke to them?  People that walked through the garden asked how we got the chickens to come so close to us.  My kids smiled and said, "Maybe they somehow know that we keep chickens too."

Photo Credit:  Tilly's Nest

Loving Bonds


Most of us in our lifetimes have had to deal with someone that we love suffering from a chronic illness. My heart has always found it more difficult to cope with chronically ill pets and children.  I don't think that they can completely understand what is happening, why they feel the way they do and why we subject them to visits at the doctors.

I can remember almost immediately after I had my first baby, our family dog became ill.  She was at the near the end of the expected life span of a Schnauzer.   Our little "fur person" was such a part of the family.  She was a wonderful dog.  Yet at this time in her life, she was suffering.  She began to develop sores on her body out of nowhere, her appetite declined and she lost her peppiness. As I rocked my new colicky baby in my arms, I found myself sitting on the floor by her bowls feeding soft food and water to her with a spoon.  We even had to carry her outside as her legs had difficulty supporting her down the steps.      

I had thought for a while that she had become diabetic.  We were now new to Cape Cod and we had to find a new vet.  I became so sad.  I was almost certain that it was her time.  We spent the next couple weeks bringing her to the vet and soon it became apparent that there was nothing more to be done.  We were going to have to let go and put her to sleep.  Sadly, six months before our move, our other dog was put to sleep after a stroke.  All I could remember was him licking me as I held him and he went to sleep.  His rough sand paper tongue was thanking me and loving me.  Slowly it stopped and he was gone.  Two dogs in six months were so much for my heart to bear.

With time hearts heal and chicken soon entered our lives as well as another baby.  A few months ago, Tilly became ill.  My heart felt that familiar sadness.  Proactively, I brought her to the chicken vet just to make sure.  She had a full blown case of broodiness.  It lasted for months.  Her comb was dull and she lost almost half her body weight.  As soon as she was through with the broodiness, she went into her fall molt.  I wondered how much her body could take.  Broodiness and molting are two of the most difficult natural processes for hens.  Her comb, an indication of how she felt, should have been bright red.  Instead, it was a limp pale pink like the color of the combs that you see in factory hens.  I could do nothing but be supportive, not knowing if she would pull through.  We spoiled her with high protein snacks to help her gain weight and replenish her feathers, sunflower seeds, meal worm, Worms and Harvest Flakes, scrambled eggs and the like.

Yesterday, she emerged from the coop with no tail feathers.  She has reached the end of her molt.  She was talkative, happy and her comb stayed a brilliant deep red every time I went out to check on her.  Her crop was full and almost pendulous.  All the while when she was ill, I had to come to the place in my heart where I could accept losing her.  I was there.  I also realized that my heart, after almost nine years, is ready to have a new dog in our lives.  You see, the love and happiness that pets whether chickens, mice, guinea pigs, cats and dogs is magical.  It is pure and true.  I imagine this is why sometimes losing them can hurt so much.  Yet, it truly is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.

Photo Credit:  Tilly's Nest

Bed of Nails



I came into the house a few days ago after running errands in the afternoon. The kitchen smelled as if a skunk had just been over for a cup of tea.  Thank goodness the windows were closed and locked in my absence.  I could only imagine what it would have smelled like if they had been open.  In broad daylight, it looked as though a skunk had wandered through our yard.  It must have been visiting the bees.

Then the wheels started turning in my head and I made the connection.  The skunk must have been stung by the bees and let out a defensive spray.  Within a few hours the smell dissipated.  I was going to have to do some research.  I knew that skunks could kill chickens but what did they do to bees?

Skunks have a diet filled with insects.  They especially love to dine on bees. How irresistible they must find insects filled with a bit of honey.  In the evenings, they go to the entrances of the hives. Their face, noses and paws are sting resistant as well as their heavily furred bodies.  They scratch at the hive entrance until guard bees come out to investigate, little do they know that they are about to be eaten.  This activity goes on for hours as new bees arrive ready to protect their home.  This decimates a hive rapidly.  Eventually the skunks will bring their young and teach them to feed on the bees as well.  Immediately, with new knowledge I went out to take a quick peek around the hives.

I did not find the hallmarks of a skunk visit, no scratches on the ground, no scratches on the landing board or hive boxes and no evidence of digging.  I soon realized why.  It has been hot outside.  To cool themselves, the bees have been bearding outside the hive.  All along they have been easy pickings!  Could the skunk also be responsible for my bees being so defensive last time I had opened the hive over a week ago?  It seemed as though both colonies were on edge.

Later that afternoon, my neighbor next door called and asked if I could smell the skunk.  He was surprised that they were eating the bees.  I had to brainstorm a solution and I had to do it quickly.  There was no way that I could get honey this season with this craziness going on outside my kitchen window.  I just wondered how long this had been occurring.

Three ways exist to help deter skunks.  You elevate the hive to three feet above the skunk's reach.  You can fence around the hives or you can create a bed of nails at the entrance.   The latter seemed the easiest.  I called my neighbor back. He is frequently my partner in crime for home/yard improvements.  He was going to make two beds of nails.  As the skunks stand to reach over the bed of nails, their vulnerable bellies receive stings. This is eventually enough to let them know that the bees are no longer available for a midnight buffet.

With visitors in town, my neighbor decided to make the two foot long bed of nails for the hives while we and our company went out for ice cream.  We returned after dark and decided to place the bed of nails in front of the hives that evening.  We went over to the hives.  It was pitch black. I could smell a skunk.  I was so nervous!  I shined the flashlight near the entrances and in the surrounding areas.  I saw nothing.  I walked past the back of the hives.  The bees were keyed up!  They landed on my back.  My husband freaked out as one buzzed his face and he jumped off a 6 foot high wall into my neighbor's driveway.  It was clear I needed to suit up for this.  My friend and I went to the garage and I suited up in the suit, gloves and big boots.  He shined the flashlight while I worked to place the boards.  The bees were buzzing all around me.  They were angry and on high alert.  Quickly I slid the boards into place and left.  Our work was done, but would the bees be safe?

As of today, the boards have been in place for two evenings.  Today the morning sun was brilliant.  I decided to open the hives and take a peek at the honey collecting boxes (honey supers).  With open hives, the bees were happy, docile and could care less about me being there. I did not even have to use the smoker!  Quickly I inspected them and learned that one honey super is about 25% full of honey.  The others are still being built out with wax.  The bees seemed back to normal.  The beds of nails seem to be working. We haven't smelled any skunks for days!




Resource:
Blackiston, Howland. Beekeeping for dummies. New York, NY: Hungry Minds, 2002. Print.
Photo Credit:  Tilly's Nest

This post is linked up to the Beeline Buzz Hop.

Winner: Worms and Harvest Flakes

What a popular giveaway!  I don't know who loves Treats for Chickens more, us humans or our chickens!  We love it because we are able to spoil our chickens with health delicious snacks that are actually good for them.   I also got a lovely email from the folks over at Treats for Chickens letting us know that from now until August 27th midnight PST all of our fans will receive 25% off their entire order by clicking on this link for this limited special offer.  Everyone is a winner in their book and ours.  So, who won the 3 pound 5 oz bucket of Worms and Harvest Flakes?

Congratulations
Linda
(palkrendl...)
You are our randomly chosen winner!
Please check your in-box.

Thank you so much to everyone who entered and participated.  Now head on over to Treats for Chickens by clicking on the discount link above and treat yourself and your flock!


Photo Credit: Treats for Chickens

Tilly's Nest Debuts on HGTV

Click here to read my first post about plants that thrive on the coast.

I am so very proud to share news with all of your that I am now one of HGTV's guest bloggers.  I was invited to blog about the unique challenges and joys of coastal gardening.  I am their Coastal Gardener!  I am having so much fun and wanted to take a moment to invite you over to see my first two posts. You can also follow the link here to read all of my posts that will be featured on their website over the course of the next few months.  Thanks so much to all of you for your support, friendship and encouragement.  I am so grateful to each and everyone of you.  I hope you enjoy following our latest adventures in the garden over on HGTV Gardens.  While there, feel free to leave a comment!  I'll be sure to respond over there too.

Click here to read my second post as Oyster Cracker and I enjoy the back garden.


Photo Credit: Tilly's Nest

Gardening with Tiny Hands

One of the favorite things that my kids like to do is pick the vegetables and fruit growing in the gardens.  Even though we had done a thorough harvest a couple days prior, they could not help but want to be involved.  I find that children are more likely to eat things that they have nurtured and watched grow.  How could I possibly say no?   So, out we went.



We pulled a bunch of beautiful onions.  The onions gave way from the soil very easily.  Even my five year old had no problem pulling them.  We placed them on some newspaper to dry out a bit before we use them.  Then the kids went on the ultimate scavenger hunt to find any remaining cherry tomatoes.  They did have some success.



When we went out to pick, I noticed that my daughter was toting the egg collecting basket from the chickens.  She asked me what kinds of eggs it could hold.  I told her lots of different kinds.  She filled it with eggplants.



With all the onions, eggplants and tomatoes that we have picked the last few days, I think that we are going to have to make some Ratatouille.  Last night, we had tomato pie.  It was delicious!

What are you picking and cooking from your gardens this week?

Photo Credit:  Tilly's Nest

Tour de Coop: Mike and Wendy in West Barnstable


I met Mike two years ago when he came over to my house on business.  As he was leaving, he inquired about the chickens in the yard.  Of course, I had to take him over to the coop, introduce him to the girls and give him my 15 minute schpeel on the glory of keeping backyard chickens.  It wasn't long until Mike emailed me to tell me the news, they were the proud owners of baby chicks!

Mike soon sent me pictures of the beautiful coop he and his wife had made for their new flock. As time passed, they added new members and their flock has grew from four to ten.  The chickens were officially members of the family with names to match their personalities and looks.  I was also happy to hear that, Mike and Wendy are now the proud parents of two call ducks, Fletch and Flash.  Yesterday, I was invited over to visit their human and feathered family for the first time.  I was so excited to meet everyone.


The yard is beautifully landscaped.  Fruit trees, a Kousa dogwood and a spectacular koi pond lace the property.  The koi pond is gorgeous!  The sound of the waterfall fills the air.  Lily pads, water hyacinth, cattails, assorted koi and the occasional bullfrog croak are all part of this magical oasis.



Their flock of ten chickens is a combination of Buff Orpingtons, Australorps, Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks and Golden Laced Wyandottes. With names like Patches, Honey, and Puddles, you can tell these chickens are well loved.

After researching many different internet sites and books, Mike and Wendy designed the coop, making sure that it had plenty of ventilation, windows and easy access for cleaning.  One of the challenges of building their coop is the slope of their backyard.  With a little bit of innovation, Mike and Wendy leveled the coop and built the run into the hillside.  



Inside the coop, there is plenty of room to roost and three nesting boxes.  A large hanging feeder is in the corner and the waterer sits perched upon some blocks in the center.




They created windows covered with plexiglass.  I love this!  This coop has windows on three sides and all can open and close depending on the weather.  They are screened with hardware cloth.  The run is over 32 feet long with the width matching the coop.  It was created in eight feet sections covered with a corrugated roof, pitched for snow and rain run off.  The run is enclosed with hardware cloth. Hardware cloth also lines the outside perimeter of the run.  These extra measures, help ensure that the run and coop are predator proof.  Living in a wooded area, it is not uncommon to see coyotes and fox running through the yard as well as hawks overhead.




All of the chickens are docile and gentle.  They are lucky enough to have chickens that love to be held by the kids and receive snuggles. One of their chickens loves to swing on the swing set with their eldest little one.  This sweet chicken below fell asleep in Mike's arms as we chatted.




Of course, my visit would not have been complete without meeting their two male call ducks, Fletch and Flash.  These two are the newest members of the family.  


Mike and Wendy built their duck coop with left over scrap lumber and supplies from the chicken coop.  It has a house with an attached run and a swimming pool just for the boys.  I learned that male ducks are much quieter than females.  With a bit of handling, these boys should become just as docile as the chickens.

Soon enough, our visit was over.  They always seem to pass too quickly.  It was a lovely afternoon and I was so overjoyed to see how much happiness the chickens and ducks have added to this family's life. One of Mike's friends from work plans to come over this week for a tour of Mike and Wendy's coop and run.  He too is planning on adding a flock of his own to his yard.  One thing is for sure, with a little inspiration from a friend that keeps chickens, it is so easy and clear why keeping a small backyard flock is not only possible but incredibly rewarding.

Click here for all the Tour de Coops featured on Tilly's Nest.


This post is linked up to Homestead Revival's Barn Hop.

Photo Credits:  Tilly's Nest

Giveaway: Worms and Harvest Flakes



If you are like us, we love to spoil our chickens!  One of our favorite companies helping us to do just that is Treats for Chickens.  Even before they became a sponsor of ours, we have been loyally placing orders for so many of their amazing products.

One of our girl's favorite products is the Worms and Harvest Flakes.  Made with assorted oats, wheat and dried meal worms this product is perfect for a protein punch as your flock begins to enter molting season.  Molting season can be a very stressful time for your flock with the demand for both new feather production and eggs.  This is one treat that I feel good about sharing with my flock as it's crude protein analysis is 53%!

Our girls love the Worms and Harvest Flakes...
tossed directly into the run.
mixed with a cup of plain yogurt.
sprinkled into warm oatmeal in the winter.
sprinkled on top of scrambled eggs.
added into a treat ball mixed with some scratch.

Today's giveaway is for a 3 pound 5 oz bucket, a $39.99 value, surely enough to get you through molting season.

Here's How to Enter:

1.  Become a fan of Treats for Chickens on Facebook and tell them Tilly sent you. (1entry)
2.  Follow our blog (1entry).
3.  Visit Treats for Chickens and find a product you would like to try. (1 entry)
4.  Leave a comment here below this post with an email address to reach you  (1 entry).  If you have done any or all of the above, please mention it in your comment.  Thank you.

Good Luck!

Contest ends 8/23/12 at 12 midnight EST.  Item ships to US address only. 1 entry per person.



Disclosure:  Treats for Chickens has provided complimentary Worms and Harvest Flakes for Tilly and the girls to try.  However, all opinions regarding these products are entirely mine and my chickens'.

No Place Like Home

Chicken Abbey Road

It is always such a wonderful feeling to return home after some time away.  I am always eager to check on the girls and see how they adapted to life without us.  We are fortunate to have some of the best chicken sitters around, but somehow, I can't help but think they can never replace us.

I often wonder if the chickens even care who feeds them, who waters them or, especially who gives them treats.  I tend to think that for them visualizing a handful of fresh greens can help them overcome any fear.  Yet, time and time again when we return from being away the girls,we are greeted with giddy excitement.

As we pulled the car in the driveway, the girls must have known and made a bee-line to the coop door.  Wiggling, dancing and stepping on each other's toes, they could not wait to get out and be reunited with the family.  As we quickly got the youngest one's shoes on, the girls were calling out.  My husband and I busily unpacked the car as the kids went over to see the chickens.

Once unpacked, I grabbed some fresh greens, a tomato from the fridge and some celery tops that had seen better days.  There the girls were, with the kids so happy.  I could feel my heart smile.  I sat down near the coop and the girls showered me with their affection.  Oyster Cracker could not wait to sit in my lap.  I took a peek in the run.  Just what had the girls been up to during our absence?

They dug holes; big, huge, all consuming holes in the run.  Dolly and Autumn as suspected went broody.  Tilly is done with being broody and continues to molt terribly and the rest seemed to just as they were when we left.  Despite the heat, they had also laid a dozen eggs.

Our two families were once again reunited.  It is amazing how much you can miss feathers and fluff, but somehow, it happens the same every time.  The chickens know and love who we are as much as we feel for them.  Home is a feeling that you get deep down inside; when you feel content, in a safe place and loved.  Returning "home" for us happened yesterday outside the coop sitting in the grassy lawn.

Photo Credit:  Tilly's Nest

Tomato and Cucumber Relish

Arugula dressed with relish and feta cheese

If you are like us, you now have an abundance of cucumbers and tomatoes from your garden. One thing that I like to do is make this relish.  It is so quick to make, versatile and delicious.  We use the relish in many ways including:

As a side dish
Place it on top of a bed of mixed greens sprinkle it with feta cheese and make a salad.
Use it on sandwiches
Serve it with fresh crusty bread
Use this instead of salsa with tortilla chips
Toss with fresh pasta-serve hot or as a cold pasta salad
Add a generous spoonful to the top of grilled meats prior to serving

The best part is that it takes no more than ten minutes to create!

Ingredients:

Three medium tomatoes-diced
1 cucumber cut into bite size pieces
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 tbsp of fresh basil cut as chiffonade
2 tbsp capers
3 tbsp diced kalamata olives
drizzle of your favorite balsamic vinegar
drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preparation: 

Combine the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, basil, olives, and capers in a medium sized bowl.  Drizzle the vinegar and oil over the top.  Add salt and pepper (don't skimp on this one) and mix well.  Store in the refrigerator for up to four days.(but it probably will not even last that long once you try it).


Photo Credit: Tilly's Nest

TV Show Pays Tilly and the Girls a Visit



A few months ago, I was contacted by our town's local television station.  They were doing a three part series on Backyard Chickens and they asked me if I would like to be part of it.  Of course, I agreed immediately!  I thought that this would be a great way to share how easy keeping backyard chickens really could be, especially for those interested in exploring keeping chickens but not yet ready to take the leap.

On one of the hottest and most humid days in June, the filming crew and T.V. host arrived at Tilly's Nest for a morning of filming.  Despite the heat, we had great fun.  I was able to introduce the girls, give a tour of the coop and run, answer questions and even talk about my newest adventure beekeeping.

You can see the entire show here.

Enjoy!

Planting Cold Weather Crops


As August first arrives on Cape Cod, many gardeners begin to think about planting cold weather crops.  Due to the insulating effect of the Atlantic Ocean, we usually do not see a good frost until November.   This means that we can grow one last set of crops before winter arrives.

Prior to setting out the seed store, we made a cold weather crop wish list.  We turned it into a scavenger hunt for the kids.  We would plant what we could find.  Not only did they remember what was on the list, they also now have made the connection that these can grow in the cold.  I love it when they learn things without even trying.

Carrots
Potatoes
Cilantro 
Parsley
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Lettuce
Swiss Chard
Mixed Greens
Mustard Greens
Cabbage
Brussel Sprouts
Beets
Parsnips
Kale
Spinach



A few days ago, in the blistering heat, the kids and I prepped the raised beds by adding a fresh layer of compost.  We use our own composted chicken manure from the girls mixed with a fresh layer of  lobster compost. Yes, even lobsters are compostable!  Surprisingly, gardening using only organic products and techniques has been much easier than I had imagined.  Not only was it for the sake of the bees and the environment but also for my family.  I love that there are companies out there that make going organic so easy. 

This week during the mini-heat wave, the mustard greens began to sprout as well as the cilantro.  The lettuce and greens should be ready by September and the rest of the crops sometime in October.   This makes me a very happy girl.  There is no where else in the world I would rather be than in the garden with dirty hands, curious kids and sweet chickens waddling about the yard.


This post is linked up to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop.

Photo Credit:  Tilly's Nest

Winner: What's Wrong With My Vegetable Garden?


Good Morning Friends! Thank everyone who entered to win this awesome book from Timber Press.  We have just begun planting our Fall cool weather crops and have already implemented some growing strategies from What's Wrong With My Vegetable Garden?.

We are trying polyculture in the garden and will be sharing a post on our website this week all about this concept that helps to keep pests populations at bay and help protect your crops.  This is just one growing technique explained and recommended in the book.  As our crops pop up I am sure that we will be implementing even more suggestions.  I just love learning new things about gardening!

Finally did you remember to ask the experts your gardening question in Timber Press' GPS giveaway?  Don't be afraid to ask that question that has had your curiosity for some time.  No questions are every too simple and you never know, you could win on of their fabulous prizes.

In the meantime, with a little help of our random number selector one lucky winner was selected to win their very own copy of What's Wrong With My Vegetable Garden?.

Congratulations!
Thelma Winger

You are our lucky winner.  

Please email us at: melissa@tillysnest.com with your US shipping address.


Photo Credit:  Timber Press

Welcome Back Tilly

Tilly in the background 
Finally after an almost record breaking eight and a half weeks of being broody, Tilly has emerged from its spell and is now taking back her place as head hen.  Sunshine who happily filled in during her absence has agreed that Tilly truly does make a better head hen.  It's not too bad being second.  Plus, there are always lots of goodies and treats to go around for everyone no matter where you are in the pecking order.

Some people will try and break a hen from being broody because when they are broody they cease to lay eggs.  Some breeds go broody all the time, like my Silkies; especially Dolly.  Other breeds rarely go broody, this is because the instinct was bred out of them over the years.  To breeders, egg quantities over the instinct to rear chicks were more important.   Plus there were now incubators to do the job of the Mother Hen.  Some farmers will even cull hens that are broody as they are not seen as being a financial asset.



Only when their lives appear to be in danger from lack of eating and drinking would we ever consider breaking a hen.  With four Silkies we have broody hens all the time, for us, it is just a fact of life around here.  Dolly goes broody about every 3 weeks.  We always are sure to give them extra food and water with vitamins and electrolytes near the nesting boxes.  Plus broody hens truly make the best mothers.  In fact, if we had more room, we would have let her have some chicks to raise.  Under the cover of night, you can easily slip a few chicks underneath of them and create an instant family.

Interestingly, when Tilly was broody the Silkies were barely broody at all.  When one of the Silkies felt the urge to go broody, it never lasted longer than a day or two.   I would find that they had snapped out of it.  I guess having a nesting box next to Tilly was too much for them to handle.

Yesterday, when I went out in the afternoon to check for eggs, Tilly was perched up in the run on her favorite branch.  Inside the nesting boxes, I found all the Silkies piled on top of one another in the nesting boxes.  They all could not wait to be in there without Tilly.  This morning, Tilly was happy to be back to her regular self.  Autumn and Dolly are officially broody and I would not want it any other way for them.  Being broody is a big part of who they are, who am I to tell them not to do what comes natural?

A bit slimmer than before, she will gain back the weight in no time.


Photo Credit: Tilly's Nest

Pollinators at Work


“How doth the little busy bee 
Improve each shining hour, 
And gather honey all the day 
From every opening flower.”
~Issac Watts

We are in the middle of another heat wave.  I think the bees actually like this weather the best.  The sun is shining.  There is not a cloud in the sky and the humidity is soaring.  Everywhere I turned  in the yard today, I saw my bees.  As I dead-headed some of the expired blooms, there they were busily flitting from flower to flower.  They say bees visit 50-100 flowers to fill the pollen buckets on their hind legs in just one trip.



When I went to the front gardens, I found myself mesmerized, watching.  The bees were hard at work on my favorite Coneflowers.  I must have been standing there for a while.  The kids finally came out and asked what I was doing.  The honeybees' spell fell on them as well.  There we were, all three of us watching the bees hard at work.  Time passed quickly and we must have watched them for at least a half an hour.  The bees did not care that they had an audience.  I loved making this memory with the kids.





I might even be tempted to say that watching the bees was almost as entertaining as watching the chickens.

Photo Credits:  Tilly's Nest

Chickens Need Love Too



I believe they are capable of  
love, compassion and empathy.
They never cease to amaze me.

Photo Credit:  4JPhotography, GLC

Giveaway: What's Wrong with My Vegetable Garden?


I could not have gotten my hands on this book during a better time.  First of all I just LOVE that it provides organic solutions to common gardening problems.  Now that I keep the bees, this is so incredibly important for their population to thrive in our yard.  

This book is very well laid out and organized.  It begins with an overview of the all the necessary requirements to make a vegetable garden successful.  Next, the vegetables are broken down into their own section, "Plant Portraits". Here you can find photos, descriptions, growing requirements, planting techniques and problem solving suggestions unique to that particular vegetable.  Then the book transitions to 70 pages or so dedicated to eradicating pests and disease from your garden.  The book's final section provides organic solutions to common problems including soil and watering requirements and crop rotation.
My favorite part of the book is the photography.  Numerous photos accompany every topic and plant throughout.  Better than illustrations in my mind, these photos do speak volumes.  I find this book to be a wonderful resource for myself and I know that I have already had to use it to find new organic ways to treat  powdery mildew, aphids and beetles.

Finally, Tilly's Nest is proud to partner with Timber Press in their GPS Campaign. The GPS, or Garden Problems Solver, allows readers a chance to ask the experts their own gardening questions. With each question you ask, you will be entered to win a weekly prize as well as the grand prize-an iPad!  Feel free to submit multiple questions: we know we all have them and the best part is you just might be "rewarded" for your question. Readers of Tilly's Nest will get an added bonus. Enter below to win your very own copy of What's Wrong With My Vegetable Garden?

Here's How to Enter:

1.  Add Tilly's Nest to the blogs you follow.

2.  Visit the Timber Press website and take a look around, hey while there, enter the GPS contest if you like.

3.  Return here, leave a comment with your name, email address and the title of one book that you would like to read from Timber Press.

Good Luck!

This item will ship to US addresses only. 
 One entry per person. 
 Contest ends 8.7.12 at 12 midnight EST.
One winner will be randomly selected.


Disclosure:  I was sent a complimentary copy of this book from Timber Press for review, however the opinions above are entirely my own. 

Photo Credit:  Timber Press