Yesterday, I took a quick trip over the bridge from Cape Cod onto the mainland. I was on my way to visit my dear friend, Deb. I was inspired by her this Spring when she set out to start her very own backyard cutting garden from seeds. Like myself, she spent the winter researching her new interest. She read books, thumbed through countless magazines and gardening catalogs. Today, I had the pleasure of seeing her gardens in person. She upcycled and made eight raised beds with her family. Even after the heavy rain storm a few days prior, the beds are bursting with amazing flowers. Between the butterflies and bees, it is simply magical, heavenly and intoxicating. Time melted away.
Of course, I had to pull myself away and say hello to her girls. The coop called to me through the flowers. I could not believe how much they grown since the coop tour!
Deb has been so inspired by her latest gardening passion that she is planning on authoring a book about her cutting garden. I can’t wait! Don’t you just love it when you take a leap of faith into the unknown and not only succeed but find pleasure, reward and gratification in ways you did not even imagine? This is what happened here, all in Deb’s backyard. Sometimes, life blooms in very unexpected ways.
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
Whatever happened to April showers bring May flowers? This April we have set a new record for dry weather on the Cape. It has been over two weeks since we have had any rain. Living on this little strip of land jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean, many of this year’s Spring storms somehow seem to have just missed us. The grass is dry. Flowers need watering and the gardens have been slow to emerge from the ground. However, last night a storm arrived.
Social media is a wonderful thing when it has the ability to connect people that live so close to one another that never would have met if it weren’t for the power of the internet. One such person is Susan from Itzy Bitzy Farm. Susan is one very talented horticulturalist who moved up North from the South only two years ago. She is an amazing gardener who can grow and teach you about anything that grows in the dirt. The other afternoon I had a chance to swap chicken advice for gardening inspiration and plants. It was a wonderful day. We started off touring her garden. First stop was the greenhouse. As she rolled up the door, the warm steamy smell of fresh mulch filled the air. Love that! Susan also shared an amazing tip. She keeps an oscillating fan on low blowing across her seedlings. This helps to make their stems strong and sturdy against the wind.
|Tiny asparagus ferns|
|New peas emerge from the warm soil.|
On the enclosed porch sits a lovely brooder that Susan built with her son for her newest family members; eight little ones altogether in assorted breeds- Buff Orpingtons, Delawares, Silver Laced Wyandottes and Speckled Sussex. Susan picked them up from a feed store 30 minutes from her home. She also was able to purchase a coop for her girls there too, but they are still too young. They are only one week old. For now they must remain in their brooder. Susan and her son created the brooder using plywood and hardware cloth. Inside, 12 inch tall corrugated cardboard surrounds the outer walls preventing drafts from entering. A heat lamp hangs from above. One chick feeder contains feed, while the other is filled with water and marbles fill the water tray to prevent accidental drownings.
As soon as Susan opened the brooder door, her little ones came to cautiously say hello. Her Buff Orpingtons are the most curious. Soon enough, one hopped up onto her leg to examine a treat.
It is so clear to me how much Susan has already bonded with these adorable one week old babies!
Susan has done her research and it has paid off. She has even found a wonderful feed store that makes its own feed locally.
I am thankful for the role that social media plays in the world of chicken keeping. In fact, I wish that lived closer to so many of you. Oh, how I wish we could shrink this big wide world we live in. To me, there is something to be said for meeting in person. Those are the connections that bring things full circle for me. Of course, there is something to be said for the chick fever that sets in when I meet them in person too! How can you resist coming face with this?
Susan is new to blogging but has so much to share. Please take a moment to stop on by her blog and leave her a word or two of encouragement, for a new blogger they mean so much. Also, don’t forget you have just a day or so left to enter the coop giveaway! Click here to enter.
Photo Credits: Tilly’s Nest
We got in from vacation two days ago and it seems that I have so much that I want to share with everyone! We have so many wonderful things coming in the days ahead including a huge giveaway starting April 2nd. You will not want to miss! But first, we have some catching up to do.
A couple weeks ago, I made the trek to Boston for the annual flower and garden show. Over the past few years, this show has had a rocky existence. A few years back, there was no show. It was a huge disappointment to many of us who looked forward to the show each year. However, despite the struggling economy and times, I am happy that the horticultural society revived the show continues to make an effort. Gardening is timeless. It is therapeutic and always trendy. Whether it be grand or quaint, it can make a huge impact. Much of my inspiration for the Spring and Summer seasons ahead come from gardening shows.
Of course, I am always searching for chickens at these shows, because they are the heart of my garden. They are the personalities that make the garden come alive amongst it’s splendor and color. They are the humor. They are the moving composters and exterminators who flit quietly and sometimes quickly across the scene.
Photo Credits: Tilly’s Nest
I was so excited to to make the hour long trip to Rhode Island for this wonderful annual flower show. This show always helps me get over the Winter hump to Spring. This year’s theme was Simple Pleasures.
|Simple garden trellises save room by growing vertically|
|Herbs and lettuce take up little to no space at all.|
|Fido’s doghouse has a green roof!|
|Every year the sand sculptors wow the crowds.|
|Breast Cancer Awareness Garden|
|Garden whimsy flying a kite|
|Woodland fairy garden.|
|Classic New England gardening shed|
The only thing that would have made it better, would have been some backyard chickens tucked away in one of the gardens. To me, they are the simplest pleasure you can add to your garden.
Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest
|$5 a bunch, one of my favorites on the Cape|
One of the things that I love about Cape Cod are the amount of farm stands that seem to crop up during the summertime. Preying on the tourists, these lovely little homegrown stands of love, are filled with families’ delights that they wish to share with those lookie loos wandering down New England’s winding roads once traveled by horses and wagons.
Typically, these farm stands have assorted produce that families place at the top of their driveway to sell. They are a surplus to the family’s need and are placed there for passersby to purchase, usually on the honor system. What intrigued me the most though, is that people who raise backyard chickens are now placing their eggs on the side of the road in a cooler for sale. Some of the farm stands are elaborate and others are simply a Coleman cooler filled with ice packs and a coin jar holding payments and sweet little instructions.
The time that you spend there is brief. There is no dialogue and small talk between you and the seller. There is not pomp and circumstances in the purchase, having it nicely wrapped in brown paper and twine.
However, this is what is magical about these honor system stands. These farm stands take you off the beaten path. They make you feel as though you have just discovered a secret treasure. Knowing the quantities are small and limited, you feel excited and lucky to have found this little cart. I love discovering these hidden gems in my travels. They are a reminder to look forward to the journey as much as the destination.
The warmth of summer is upon the gardens of Tilly’s Nest. It seems as though we have had a late start this year as compared to last. The coral bells greet you at the gate as you begin to enter the gardens.
Finally, as we make our way through the garden we reach Tilly’s Nest. The fennel and marjoram are growing nicely and the lovely flowering tree by the coop is done with its show of beautiful white little flowers.
I enjoy gardening very much and love the addition of backyard chickens to the gardens. I believe that gardens and backyard chickens compliment each other beautifully.
Photo Credits: Tilly’s Nest