Friday, July 11, 2014

Coop Tour 2014


The demand for farm fresh eggs has been so great we decided we needed more chickens! The first step in that direction was building a place for them to live. We modified a plan for a 10' x 12' shed to include some windows and a door we found at ReStore. We built fence posts from 2x4 scraps to create paddocks around the coop we can rotate the hens through. Finally, we purchased thirty young white rock hens just starting to lay.
The pullets (young hens) are learning where to lay their eggs and where to roost. They are laying some beautiful little eggs!  We hope to continue to supply eggs to our loyal customers and expand to farmer's markets or CSAs. Take a look at the tour and tell us what you think!




Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Spring Has Sprung!





Lately, there has been lots of new life at the farm. One animal our family recently fell in love with is a little painted turtle. This reptile is the most widespread native turtle of North America. But we love him because of his incredible cuteness.





Mom found him on the side of the road during her bike ride. She stopped to pick the little guy up, and ended up biking 6 miles home with a turtle in her hand. We decided that he would be happiest in our marsh, so that's our turtle's new home.



Female Oriole


Another new creature on the farm is the Baltimore Oriole that has been visiting our hummingbird feeder and feasting on orange slices we set out.  Something unique about Orioles are their nests. They make a kind of hanging basket, so when the wind blows, their chicks don't fall.





 Our Shiitake mushroom


Recently, we purchased a mushroom log from Mushroom Mills at the Backyard Abundance Plant Sale. What is a mushroom log? A mushroom log is a log that is hand inoculated with mushroom spores. After soaking our log in water for 12 hours, we were instructed to lean it upright in a shady place, and it was supposed to fruit after about a week. Our log is producing Shiitake mushrooms.





Monday, March 31, 2014

What a difference two weeks makes!

All ten chicks frenetically eating!
Two weeks ago we brought home an assortment of chicks to replace the older layers we sold to a family to get their small flock going. We have had many different breeds of chickens, but for laying skills and a little variety, we decided to go with three breeds: California whites, Rhode Island Reds and black australorps. Twelve peeping chicks with straight little toes and lots of energy made their way home with us. Over the last two weeks, two of them have died. We have never lost a chick before and we can't find a reason now - we are chalking it up to bad genetics.



Look at the beautiful feathers on this RIR
We posted several photos of the day old chicks on Facebook, but they never made it to the blog. (Click the Facebook button to the right to see the original photos) Today we have photos for taken at about two weeks. Look how many feathers they have now! Chicks don't stay cute and fluffy for long. You can also start to see their little combs coming in. They will stay in their brooder in the basement under their heat lamp until they are fully feathered at about six weeks. Hopefully it will feel like spring then and they will be comfortable outdoors! Stay tuned for further adventures and see who gets to attend the Johnson County Fair in July. Or who lays the first egg!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Battling the winter weather

There have been too many days of bitter cold and north winds howling across the fields! The chickens have been good sports and continue to lay beautiful eggs in exchange for a little extra light and protein.
When frozen noses and frozen soil keep you inside, it frees up time to get involved in other creative projects!

Unfortunately one of my dear daughters was home with a cold. Fortunately she wasn't too under the weather to spend some time adding some new features to our blog! We are going to try our hand at adding a Pinterest site and Twitter account here at the Golden Egg. Join us!





Our youngest DIY queen has been hard at work~ she created some adorable Valentine's for her classmates.



Natalie with Angie J at Home Ec


She also attended the first half of a great class at Home Ec with Angie Jordan to learn how to knit a beautiful new hat.  Home Ec has a series of awesome projects coming up!  I hope we won't need those wool hats too much longer....





Mother Nature provides a chance to look to valuable indoor activities!  In that spirit, I had an opportunity to spend some time with Backyard Abundance as they assist community members on brainstorming ideas to develop an edible landscape in the Wetherby Park neighborhood.
These blustery days are also nice for doing some online shopping for their annual plant sale!

Today I'm off to the first Women, Land & Legacy event. I'm looking forward to connecting with other women who are caring for our land in Johnson County.  This Saturday is the Growing the Local Food Movement forum sponsored by the Johnson County Local Food Council. It's a chance to learn about and discuss farm conservation, edible landscapes, local food impacts and policies to support farmers in Johnson County.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Murphy the Marvelous

About three weeks ago, we got a new addition to our family. We adopted Murphy, a  two and a half month old Border Collie mix puppy!  We adopted him from West Hancock Canine Rescue, which is a volunteer run non-profit organization based in Illinois.  Click here for their link.

Murphy goes to puppy class every week, and we work on sit, stay, come, lay down, and have puppy play time. At home, he loves playing with chew toys and running in the pasture with Rosie. Everybody has fallen in love with him because he's an adorable little puppy (except for when he gets mouthy or chews shoes)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Paw Paw Trees

Tropical fruit.......... in Iowa?! Yes, there is a VERY unique tropical fruit that can grow in Iowa, and it just so happens that we planted two of those trees recently! They're called paw paw trees. Did you know that the paw paw is the largest fruit native to North America? Their fruit is very interesting because it is a combination of a mango, a banana, and a pineapple. Paw paws are considered a very nutritious superfruit. Be careful when you are eating it though, because the seeds are poisonous! These fruits grow in clusters, and the trees can get up to 15-20 feet tall!
The cover over the paw paw is to temporarily protect it from harsh wind and sun.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

PRAIRIE

Caroline mixing up a batch of seeds.


This April we took on a project we had been wanting to do; restore an acre of prairie in our pasture. To make a plantable seed mixture, we had to combine one part seed to ten parts sand. Then we sowed the seeds all by hand. With the help of Mother Nature, the prairie is growing. 



partridge pea



One of the plants that's blooming is called the partridge pea. This plant usually blooms in mid July to mid August. Interesting factoid about the partridge pea: the leaves fold up when touched. This flower offers nectar from small orange glands at the base of its petals for honeymaking.



Black-eyed Susan

We also have some black-eyed Susans springing up.
We'll keep you posted on the flowers and forbs in our prairie.