As we march towards winter, the days are getting shorter, the girls are still molting and the temperatures are hovering very close to freezing at night. No snow yet, but soon... Egg production is still pretty pitiful since our spring layers haven't all started laying yet. But it's a gorgeous time of year here in Maine, so we're loving each and every day. Last weekend I wrapped up my last trip of the year, speaking and signing books at the Mother Earth News fair in Topeka, Kansas. Now I'm looking forward to staying home for a few months and working on my next book this winter. Take a peek at our week.
My mother is a fabulous cook and baker, and one of my favorite childhood food memories is when she would bake brown bread - right in a tin can! Delicious and moist, and studded with raisins, it was the perfect accompaniment to a plate of baked beans. Having grown up in Massachusetts, to me this was the quintessential fall dinner, so when I ran across this recipe recently, I decided to try my hand at baking this time-honored favorite.
Keeping your chickens warm in the winter can seem daunting, especially if you live in the far north, but in reality it's not difficult nor expensive to do. I was asked by the folks over at Lehman's® to share my top five tips that I use to keep my chickens comfortable during our long Maine winters. Curious as to what they are?
This week brought more foliage, more molting, our first clam bake and a bit of fall decor to our coop. This weekend I'm in Kansas at the Mother Earth News fair and hopefully next week I'll get some good news about my next book! There's always something going on here on the farm. Stay tuned for more news about my new television show too in the coming weeks...and in the meantime, take a peek at my week!
Lots of you raise backyard chickens that are allowed to roam your backyard, either supervised or unsupervised, and might wonder if your existing landscaping is okay if your chickens happen to nibble on it (which they are prone to do!). I'm frequently asked what kinds of plants, bushes and trees are safe to plant around chickens.
With nights dipping into the high 20's, the cold weather is really setting in. The garden has been turned over and mulched with the straw bedding from the coop that I raked out last week, and most of the herbs have been picked and are drying in the barn. The chickens are almost done molting, thankfully, in preparing for winter. The fall foliage here in Maine has already peaked and the leaves are starting to fall in earnest. Here's a peek at our week!
If you raise your own chickens or buy eggs from a local farm or farmers market, this has probably happened to you on occasion. You crack an egg into the frying pan and notice a bright red blood (or meat) spot on the yolk. You might have assumed that meant the egg was fertile (not true) or that the egg isn't edible (also not true). At the very least, it's a bit off-putting.
Autumn is my favorite season, and autumn in Maine couldn't be more spectacular! We had our first frost so that did it for the garden. I picked all the pumpkins and corn to use as porch decor and then got some garlic planted. I cleaned out the coop in preparation for winter and used the straw bedding to mulch the garlic. See how that works? Chickens, gardening...it's a complete circle! The chickens are all in various stages of molting and have requested no photos until they're looking beautiful again, but I managed to sneak in a few! Enjoy this peek at our week!
The weekend before last I made the trip to Seven Springs, Pennsylvania to appear at the Mother Earth News Fair. It was my second year at the fair and I have to say the Seven Springs ski resort is the perfect venue. Over the course of the weekend I presented talks on raising chickens naturally, adding ducks to your flock and gardening with chickens to standing room only audiences. I also signed books and got to meet so many of you in person.
As we herald in October, we also welcomed our first frost. My peppers and eggplant succumbed to the cold, but I've still got some lettuce and kale going strong in the garden. I had covered my herbs so everything made it through the night, although the basil is not as happy as it could be! The chickens are all in varying stages of molting, so they basically stand around looking miserable and aren't laying many eggs. But the state of Maine is in her glory and we're loving the cooler temperatures. Enjoy this peek at our week!