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Monday, September 12, 2011


HELLO & Welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! I just thought I would take a moment and mention to you that one of the two Standard Cochin pullets FINALLY laid yesterday, Sunday. I have been waiting on these spring pullets to get started and one finally got down to business. It was a nice, pinkish color, rather small, like a little pullet should be with a very rounded small end. It was not large enough to think of eating, having just one. So I fed it to the dog in his food. Now, I wait on the other Cochin, one Ameraucana pullet and the remaining 6-Welsummers to start laying I will be happy.
By the way, I still have the 3-Cuckoo Marans hens I reared from day old chicks last year. They have stopped laying for a bit as one is in molt and the other two just stopped after it got so terribly hot this summer. Those 3 hens are being donated to the St. Jude Chicken Chase that will take place the end of this month on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011, in Alamo, TN. Small kids will chase some chickens and they keep all they catch. It is for a good cause of course as well as a good way to move some birds out of your flock you might like to cull and NOT harvest!
URBAN FARM UPDATE ON VEGETABLES: Just about gone. Getting some few small tomatoes from this garden home and still getting a little okra from the community garden. Hoping to clear off the urban farm next week one day, then add some lime, triple 13 then till up, water in good then maybe plant something cool weather tolerant...either some turnips or go ahead and start some more sugar peas I think. My luffa gourds NEVER did even bloom to date and I think I held them in their starter pots too long and they just got messed up is really what happened. I plan to make sure I have some next year and start them really early. I want to get some luffa sponges out of them at some point. It takes over 100 days for them to even bloom I hear and start making a pod so we will hopefully see next year.
I leave you today with our ongoing urban farming affirmation in mind and hoping for more eggs very soon: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Friday, September 2, 2011


HELLO & Welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! Well, my little Buff Orpington hen ended up hatching only 4-chicks out of an 8-egg clutch. Two eggs were infertile, one was not viable after breaking through the shell in the 100-degree heat yesterday afternoon and the last was abandoned too early, and appeared to need a good 2-days more to be ready to hatch. Little Mama was ready to go this morning with her small brood of 4-chicks and get out of the enclosed space for her nesting area and she got off the nest, started covering up the unhatched eggs and looking to get her and the brood out of that area and into the rabbit cage - converted into brooder run.
Below in the top photo, you will see two of the new hatches of Cuckoo Marans chicks. MOST of the time, in these Marans and some other breeds one can almost sex the chicks based on coloring as mentioned before...not always. But it appears in a lot of cases, that with the Cuckoo Marans, the lighter, more grey chicks like the one in the foreground of this top photo is more than likely a little rooster. You can see his silvery-grey coloring. This is probably true in the Barred Plymouth Rocks as well, as they are very similar in chick coloration. See the darker chick in the background...that is probably a little pullet.

In the second photo, below, you can see two darker chicks and they are most likely also little pullets. Even though, the one in back MIGHT be slightly lighter, I feel if you see it in real life/time is is still darker than the one in the upper photo.

Now in this last photo, you can see the little roo-boy (probably) in the foreground again with the 3-darker little pullets in the back...can you see the difference? You can really see the grey on him in this picture. Of course there is Mama Dorothy, the little Buff Orpington hen that did such a good and faithful job of keeping them warm for 3-weeks to get them here

UPDATE: ALL 18 NEW CHICKS ARE WELL AND VERY (!) HAPPY TODAY. I gave them a little heat last night, a 60watt light bulb hanging in one corner, as it got down to around 82 when I was heading to bed after Master Gardener meeting last night. It bottomed out to 71-degrees this morning and they were all in the heating area and warm and snug in their new digs this morning. After my early breakfast today, I went and unplugged their heat as it was already way up in the 80's by then and they were happy with the natural heat. I think once they get more real feathers grown out and less fluff in about two weeks I may not need heat if we do not get any really cool nights...though there is some talk of next week a few nights into the 50's in which case they will surely need some night time heating for a little while.

On to gardening updates...the urban farm remains in drought conditions and I am working hard to not overwhelm my utility bill again next month with watering, as we have to pay waste water even when there is none that is going into the pay a percentage of what water you use as in most city utility systems. But then again, if I want ANYTHING left to either freeze or eat I must do some watering. Not wishing ANY bad luck or problems on anyone, but we sure could use SOME of the rain from the east coast and what appears to be heading to NOLA from the Gulf. If you earlier followers remember, I moved back to Tennessee 5-years ago after a 2-year stay in Pensacola, Florida, and that was because of the 4-hurricanes and 2-tropical storms affected the area so much both housing cost and rentals and insurance made it nearly impossible to remain in the area and have anything left to live on! I am hoping we get a break in this late summer heat and drought we are in again this year. As for the community garden, it has been a disappointing season there, with many external issues stemming from the area of town it is in and the community we are working so hard to help and teach gardening skills to. We have been able, between this urban farm and the community garden, give to our local soup kitchen at least a small amount of produce, mostly squash earlier in the summer, and some tomatoes and okra and peppers as well. Not as much as last year of course. Most ended up coming from this urban farm and I am glad I planted some 34-tomato plants and was able to share with neighbors and the RIFA Soup Kitchen as well as enough for my freezer and some even went to an assisted living facility in Millington, TN, and to some employees in Humboldt, TN, at the TN. State Veteran's Home there. So even though the community garden ended up this season not as I had hoped it would, my own garden was able to assist many and that in itself is well worth the effort.

I will leave you followers and newcomers then with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

(I apologize, but my spell check here on this site is not working properly today so forgive any misspellings you might find in this posting...I will check it later and correct any errors!)

Thursday, September 1, 2011


HELLO & Welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! I got a nice doorbell ring this morning early from the USPS delivery of my 18 new babies...they arrived and it was already getting hot. I took them out to their new brooding home, removed each, dipped their beaks into the water fount to give them the idea to drink, then turned them loose to watch all those little things start stretching those legs and fluttering their wings. Those tiny bantam Mille Fleur d'Uccle chicks are so small that the larger standard chicks almost seem like a truck when they run into the little things. All are happy and enjoying the larger space now more than the shipping box tonight! In the bottom photo, you can see one of the tiny banty chicks that has fallen asleep. The truck trip from the hatchery wore them out I guess and after filling up on cool water, several heads were bobbing in a sleepy state....they were so sweet this morning!

And with the arrival of these chicks, I was out looking in on the little broody Mother, the Buff Orpington hen, Dorothy, and low and behold out pops 4 little heads from under her! Talk about a surprise...I did not expect anything to happen until late tomorrow or on Saturday even maybe into Sunday morning early. But what a big chick day. Unfortunately, during the hottest part of today, when we reached 100-degrees here in Jackson today, hatch # 5 was breaking out and had pecked its' way all around the shell but when I found it, it was too late and I think the heat did not allow the membrane to break completely on the inside of the shell and it had stopped moving when I found it. I tried rubbing it and even put it between my hands and blew on its face some, trying to revive it. I had been looking in every little bit and when I first saw it, it was still peeping with most of the shell still around it. Then the next time I looked, it was already gone. Then tonight here about 8:45pm I went to look at all the babies after returning from my Master Gardener monthly meeting and think I saw a tiny peck hole in another of the 3 remaining eggs. I cannot interfere with what nature will do and will just hope for at least another one or two hatches by morning or later tomorrow. We will see! Mama will be ready soon to move her babies off the nest and into the other part of her confined area to start feeding them better and allowing them room to grow. She will not wait much longer if no hatches happen after tonight I feel.

I leave you today, a chicken-rich man with good, healthy and evidently happy chicks and a little Mama as well, with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG (AND LOTS OF NEW BABIES) AT A TIME!"