Tag Archives: rooster

Harvest Monday

January 19, 2015

We are only getting a few eggs/day. That and wild onions are our only harvests.

I told my kids I would pay them 1c/onion. They went right to work ๐Ÿ™‚ยฉ Nieto Photography - Nietophotography.com - 919.495.5916 - Christopher Nieto(8, 5, & 4yo holding up their harvests)

I did ‘harvest’ chicken manure by cleaning out the coop this week. I either need to clean it out 10 more times before spring (not going to happen) or go get some horse manure to finish prepping the garden for planting.

Speaking of chickens, a friend of ours had an extra rooster she offered to us this week. It is about 7mo and is beautiful. It is getting picked on quite a bit, being the new guy and all. Such is life.ยฉ Nieto Photography - Nietophotography.com - 919.495.5916 - Christopher NietoOur other rooster, Whitey, we hatched out ourselves, this past March.ย  ยฉ Nieto Photography - Nietophotography.com - 919.495.5916 - Christopher Nieto

Another new critter on the homestead is Chip. She (yes, she. they thought she was a he when they named him/her. poor cat.) was brought to us when a relative had to move and could not take her with them. We have her in a dog crate this week and are giving her lots of yummy food so hopefully she will know this is her new home.ยฉ Nieto Photography - Nietophotography.com - 919.495.5916 - Christopher Nieto

This week finally warmed up enough to start planting in greenhouses. I planted some onions and some celery. The soil I use is stored outside in covered buckets. I was only able to plant two greenhouses because most of it was frozen solid ๐Ÿ™‚ I put it out in the sun to warm and I will hopefully be able to plant more later in the month.ยฉ Nieto Photography - Nietophotography.com - 919.495.5916 - Christopher Nieto

What are you up to this week? Are you harvesting? Check out what other gardeners across the globe are doing at Daphne’s Dandelions.


Harvest Monday

June 30, 2014

I only get about an hour every day that I can work in the garden; basically from sunup until the kids wake up. By the time I feed the baby, feed the kids breakfast, and get the baby down for a nap, it’s too hot already! I go out a couple more times for various small tasks but that is the only time I can get a large chunk of picking done.

I picked blueberries for one hour every day this week. In one hour, I was able to pick 3 bushes and got 8 Quarts of blueberries. It took me 5 days in a row to get through our 15 blueberry bushes (we have about 30 in various stages of maturity but 15 that are large enough to fruit). I’m calling it: It is officially blueberry season!

I got through all of the blueberry bushes in 5 days and other than the ones I just recently picked, they look untouched! It is hard work! But a good problem to have ๐Ÿ™‚ Starting over…

From the 40 Quarts we picked this week, I guesstimate the kids ate about 2c/day each (10c/day: 50c this week). We also have about 5 1-gallon freezer bags full of blueberries in the freezer.

A typical day’s worth of harvests this week would be 8 Quarts of blueberries, a handful of strawberries, and a cucumber (starting mid-week). Considering we thought we would not get to harvest our own strawberries until the fall or even next spring, this is quite a treat ๐Ÿ™‚ They are VERY sweet ๐Ÿ™‚

DSC_4617 DSC_4588(This was our first cucumber. They have gotten larger as the week has gone on.)

I also harvested all of our beets this week. We are going to plant more this fall and A LOT more next year!DSC_4618 DSC_4619(Small but respectable, considering the hard ground some of them were planted in.)

For breakfast Saturday morning, we had beet juice, beet-blueberry pancakes (made with the pulp from the beet juice), scrambled eggs (from our chickens), more blueberries, and one strawberry. ALL from our garden/chickens!!! ๐Ÿ˜€ I LOVE eating meals like this ๐Ÿ™‚

We also had honey-whole wheat pancakes and seconds of beet-blueberry pancakes were had by all! Btw, they are all cleansed now ๐Ÿ˜›DSC_4623(This is how I serve everyone so I don’t have to reach across the table. Ready to eat!) DSC_4625(Picture does not do the blueberry-beet pancake justice. It was a beautiful pink!)DSC_4631(Everyone loved the beet juice as well ๐Ÿ™‚ )

We also harvested a lot of kale this week. We always make mean green juice with our kale (we also eat kale salads & saute our kale to eat) but this week, we were able to add beet greens as well to the juice.DSC_4616

We are still buying our cucumbers for juicing because one/day is not enough for all the juicing we do but we are enjoying munching on our cucumber for lunches. Nothing is going to waste, that is for sure!DSC_4615

Remember those sweet potatoes I pulled up last week? No sense in those going to waste! I was not sure which were my ‘seed’ potatoes so I was unsure what they looked like on the inside after growing slips for 2 months. I decided to cut them up and roast them with cinnamon.

Along with that, we had baked beans made in the crockpot, green beans from the garden and salad from the garden. I apologize for the picture. The darkness makes it look less appetizing than it was. It was yummy! ๐Ÿ™‚DSC_4612 DSC_4614Oh yeah, that was the other thing harvested this week! Pole beans! I planted pole beans all throughout the corn patch. I can only pick those that are on the outside because everything has grown so densely but the point of them was to vine up the corn to keep the raccoons away so I am okay with only harvesting the outsides. They were leftover seeds anyway ๐Ÿ˜‰

I think that’s everything! I look at people’s vacation photos and am jealous — I so long for a week at the beach! — but at the same time, I would never want to go on vacation when there are so many wonderful things to eat from the garden! Maybe in September when harvests slow down a bit…we’ll see…

We are getting about 16 eggs/day. We had to get rid of the lovely rooster this week. It attacked my 5yo when he went to give compost to the chickens one day ๐Ÿ˜ฆ scratchWe are hoping our white chick (we’re pretty sure it is a roo) will not attack our little people. We would LOVE to have (and keep!) a rooster one day :\

Head on over to Daphne’s Dandelions to see what others are harvesting and how they are consuming their harvests ๐Ÿ™‚

Harvest Monday

June 9, 2014

Garden Chores

Last week was all about weeding. The main chores for this week were planting sweet potatoes and spreading mulch. We were in the 90s almost every day so pretty much everything needed to be done by 9:30am or so for it to be bearable.

I decided to spread three loads of mulch each day, covering bare spots in the garden little by little. I finished the garden by the end of the week and my husband helped me finish the blueberry patch one day when he was off work.

I planted sweet potato slips just about every day this week. I filled up the sweet potato patch, a raised bed, and part of the ‘overflow garden’. I’m in the process of writing a post on the whole sweet potato experiment…

Other chores completed this week…

  • Bush beans planted
  • Tomato plants pruned (bottom leaves)
  • Squash eggs, nymphs, and bugs picked (yay for Duct Tape!)
  • Potato bugs picked and fed to the chickens


I planted two rounds of peas in March. I pulled up the first round this week. The aphids were swarming!..and only three lady bugs in sight. I tried to collect as many aphids as possible and feed them to the chickens. They enjoyed their treat of aphids and pea shells very much!

We are eating peas fresh every day but can’t eat them fast enough so we went ahead and shelled, blanched, and froze these.Nieto Family - June 06 14 - 0852(the 3yo has been really helpful in the garden this year!) Nieto Family - June 07 14 - 0086The second round still looks healthy. The pea shells are much longer than the first round and are plumping up nicely. I wonder if that has more to do with being planted at a better time (mid-March vs. early March)? or if it has to do with spacing. The first round were planted WAY too close while the second round were spaced properly.

When the second round is ripped up, I am planning on putting a tunnel on it and letting a few chickens eat the rest of the aphids and prepare the plot for some more planting. ๐Ÿ™‚

I harvested more lettuce, kale, and spinach this week. Nieto Family - June 02 14 - 0005 Nieto Family - June 08 14 - 0122Some lettuce was from my daughter’s garden. She was excited to make her first profit of the season ๐Ÿ™‚

We have been eating a lot of spinach this spring for many reasons:

  • because lettuce takes longer to grow
  • because we planted so much spinach and we don’t like it cooked (so freezing’s out)
  • because it has a shorter season than lettuce
  • because we like spinach salads more then lettuce salads

I am starting to rip up the first plantings of spinach (planted in mid-March). The spinach planted under the apple tree (mid-April) is doing really well. Too bad I only planted 5 or so plants under there :\ I’ll have to make a note for next year to plant more under the tree.

Everything seems to like it under the apple tree! The kale, spinach, beets, lettuce, and carrots planted under the tree are ALL bigger and grew faster than those seeds planted in full sun. I am not very surprised… I’ll have to be sure to prepare other trees this fall so I can have more places to plant shade-loving plants next year!

By the end of the week, I had ripped up about half of the spinach plants (bolting) and the lettuce seemed to be ready to harvest all at once so we had a BIG lettuce harvest — it should last us about a week…Nieto Family - June 07 14 - 0004

Egg production has slowed a bit as we have three broody hens and have been in a heat wave recently. We only put eggs under one broody hen (too much to keep up with otherwise; for me, at least) and are trying to discourage the others from sitting for the time being. I am welcoming the ‘slowing’ of egg production as this means we are only getting a dozen a day instead ofย  one and a half dozen a day ๐Ÿ™‚

A friend gave us one of her roosters that her granddaughter is afraid of. She thinks he’s fine (not aggressive) but since her granddaughter is afraid of him, she offered him to us. I was wary but my husband said we’d try him out ๐Ÿ˜‰ The kids are scared of him, just because of their last experience with a rooster. Hopefully they’ll get over that. The good news is, if he works out, we won’t have to borrow any fertile eggs for our broody hens anymore! ๐Ÿ˜€Nieto Family - June 08 14 - 0533

Check out what others are harvesting at Daphne’s Dandelions!

Harvest Monday

June 2, 2014

I’ll start with the sad news. Not a single egg hatched for our poor broody hen. Another hen went broody, however, so we went ahead and put some eggs under her. Per usual, we’ll wait and see ๐Ÿ™‚

The good news is, the two chicks that hatched a couple of months ago are sister and brother! We have a rooster ๐Ÿ™‚ Hopefully, it will be a docile one, as we had to kill our last one for being too aggressive. I can’t wait to hear crowing again! I love that sound ๐Ÿ™‚ AND we won’t have to borrow fertilized eggs from our friend anymore (eventually) when more hens go broody! ๐Ÿ™‚

We are still enjoying our spinach, green romaine, and red romaine salads. DSC_4281 DSC_4274Kale is being consumed while juicing and sauteed.DSC_4303 DSC_4312Peas are eaten raw as a side for lunch or dinner (the kids love shelling them so I just put some pods on their plate every day)._DSF9554 I was curious whether some carrots were ready to harvest or if I needed to continue to buy carrots at the grocery store so I pulled some to see how they were doing. The first one had obviously hit a rock so I pulled a second and then pulled one of my daughter’s carrots to show her how hers were coming along. DSC_4311They still need more time to fatten up but they are nice and long! Much longer than last year! Just goes to show how every year the soil is getting better and better. Praise the Lord! I am growing lunar carrots, a variety of orange carrots, and purple carrots.

Eating from the garden…only…

I was talking to a friend about how people used to provide food for their families. I couldn’t understand how they did it because I am working so hard and we still have to buy from the store! I know we have 6 kids but that was pretty normal for the time period we were discussing.

I used our blueberries for an example — we have 45 bushes…we eat them fresh and freeze them and we still have to buy frozen blueberries from the store about 4 months out of the year.

She went on to mention they did not have freezers back then either…then it hit me: even though my goal is to eat in season, I still have convenience engrained into me so that (as previously mentioned) if I want carrots and ours are not quite ready in the garden, I’ll pick some up from the store until they are.

How did people eat from their gardens alone back then? I know it was hard work but if we only ate in season, 45 blueberry bushes would be MORE than enough for our family and our neighbors! Since I have access to a freezer, I will continue to preserve by freezing (I HATE the taste of anything canned!) but I am trying to be more purposeful about eating in season.

For example, last year, when peas were in season, we would eat peas as an ‘extra’ thing on our plate but we would still eat our ‘normal’ veggies that were not in season (like green beans). This year, since peas are in season, peas are on our plate. It makes perfect sense! So why did it take me this long to realize it was an option? Because eating in season is not natural anymore. I am happy to retrain my brain and raise my kids to know what fruits and veggies are in season, when.

I know a lot of my fellow gardening bloggers’ goal is to eat fruits and veggies only from their gardens…hence the impressive amounts of produce they blog about each week! Check out what others are harvesting at Daphne’s Dandelions.

Garden and Chicken Update

November 25, 2013

Almost two months later and…I am feeling almost normal! I am 16 weeks pregnant. For me, this means:

  • eating every 3 hours
  • only getting sick about once a day
  • taking only one nap most days
  • doing school with the kids again
  • cleaning the house again
  • gardening a little (like 30min/day)

Garden News

I thought I had planted enough lettuce, spinach, carrots, and kale to last us through the winter. However, because I was sick and so very tired, I had my 7yo go cut the lettuce, without instructing her how to do the ‘cut & come again’ method. She cut all the lettuce down to the nub so it is not growing back.

I planted some lettuce and carrots the other week & covered them to keep in some heat. Because of where we live (NC), the weather fluctuates enough that some things can continue to grow throughout the winter. We have been having 60 degree days on and off so I thought maybe I could grow some more lettuce…but none have germinated. I am planning on starting to set up all of my greenhouses in December so I’m sure I’ll get some more greens then. Until then, I am very happy with all of my fresh, organic carrots! ๐Ÿ™‚

October 23 13 - 0237Chicken News

We had the chickens in a tunnel system this summer. We moved the tunnel to new grass every month or so & it worked out really well. As soon as fall hit, they were getting out of the tunnels, no matter what we did. We made sure they had plenty of grass but it did not stop them. As we were still trying to figure out how to make the tunnels more secure, the chickens got in the garden and ate ALL of my greens. They left one cabbage and all of the carrots are fine. However, no more lettuce, spinach, kale, or broccoli. I am so sad ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Fresh greens are my favorite!

October 20 13 - 0141(digging up my new potato patch – no potatoes in there yet so that was okay for the time being) Ocotober 30 13 - 0004(when they get out of the tunnels & have no way of getting back into the coop to lay…)

We finally decided to keep them in the run for the time being, probably until spring. The Australorps, my best layers, keep flying out of the run but the Orpingtons are staying in. I have no more netting and the fence is 7ft tall already…eventually, I’ll have to figure out how to keep them in for good. I can’t find where they’re laying either (the ones flying out). We are getting about 10 eggs/day right now from out 19 chickens. Is that good b/c we have only 11hrs of daylight or a bad number of eggs for that many chickens?

Our last chicken news is that we finally had to get rid of our rooster. He was great until the chickens started laying. Then he got VERY protective. When the chickens were in the tunnel, I just told the kids to make sure the rooster was out of the coop when they checked for eggs. However, because there was a stretch when they were getting out of the tunnel & free ranging, he started attacking the kids.

I showed my oldest (7yo) how to keep him away but he eventually kept attacking, no matter what. She was screaming one day as she was waving a stick at him, keeping him from attacking her, but he was not letting up. I came outside & grabbed a metal garden rake & swung it back & forth at him. He continued to come at us. I swiped him a few times in the neck and he never backed down. Finally, I hit him hard enough that some feathers flew & he backed down. I decided that was it. We had a friend take him & she made stew out of him. I am sad we do not have a rooster anymore because I really wanted to be able to have chicks one day. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

October 23 13 - 0009(Rooster – he would only NOT attack my husband) October 25 13 - 0003(Rooster after we had had enough!)

How are your gardens growing? Check out Daphne’s Dandelions to see what everyone is up to with their Fall & Winter gardens.