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Tuesday, August 23, 2011


HELLO & Welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! Yes I can hear you all now...screaming at the top of your lungs as to what am I thinking. But I called yesterday, Monday, to verify my order last week of the Black Sex Links & Rhode Island Reds (6-each) and was on the hatchery website at the time of the call, looking at the pretty Belgian Bearded Mille Fleur d'Uccle chickens and just "shot the moon" and added 6-bantams of the breed.

Isn't she beautiful? (online stock photo - NOT MINE!) Feathered legged, bearded and oh so pretty! By the way, "MILLE FLEUR" means "a thousand flowers" OR "tapestry of flowers" depending on which definition you go with. And of course looking at the little hen above, is that not one thousand flowers on her? Roos of this breed on average run around 26oz. while the hens run about 22oz. I am hoping for some small little pullets...I have threatened on my club site, West TN Poultry Club, that I might have to move one or two roosters, if there are any in the order, to either my spare room upstairs or to the basement so I can have a rooster to breed the hens to. Don't think I would not try that too. But I have some fellow club members who will take any roos I get in the order of straight run chicks. This hatchery only allows straight run orders of all bantams. As a reminder to you, most hatcheries allow either rooster orders, pullet orders or straight run chicks which are you get what you sexing will be done on the chicks to give you all roosters or all pullets, etc. I should be saying "cockerels" meaning young rooster, like a young hen UNDER one year old is a pullet UNTIL they are a year old.

Also, we are still on day 11 or 12 of "hatch watch" depending on how you are counting. I think the full 21st day will be Saturday, September 3rd around noonish or so is my take but will keep a close eye on the little Buff Orp hen all Friday and Saturday morning. But remember, Friday, Sept. 2nd, all these chicks are arriving...let's see, I currently have 13 hens, 8 eggs being brooded, 18 chicks on the way...that totals : 39 chickens here at the urban farm...WHAT AM I THINKING? Really it is not that bad, as the 8 eggs a'hatchin' are going back to the person who gave them to me are just for the hen to brood over, the 3 Cuckoo Marans are being sold (I hope) this coming weekend, the banty Mille Fleur d'Uccle chicks I am planning to put into the current compost bin that I will convert, as I have mostly been putting the compost stuff straight into the garden anyay.

So I will leave you today with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Friday, August 19, 2011


HELLO & Welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! As I said in the title...I KNOW, I KNOW...I have just this morning ordered MORE chicks from IDEAL POULTRY in Texas, set to hatch on August 31 and arrive here at the urban farm on Friday morning, September 2nd. But guess what? My little Buff Orpington hen is still faithfully sitting on her little clutch of 8 fertile Cuckoo Marans eggs and her 2-golf balls and they are due to hatch either late on September 2nd or early on Saturday, September 3. If they hatch on Friday afternoon I will give her the new chicks I have ordered or hold them under some heat until Saturday after her hatch is complete and then slip them in as well. And remember, I am not keeping any of those 8 chicks she is trying to hatch..."not counting my chicks before they hatch" by any means!
What I decided to do is go ahead and order 6-Black Sex Link pullets and 6-Rhode Island Red pullets, again due to hatch on August 31st. That way, when the Welsummer pullets are really laying over the winter and into spring, these new fall chicks will just be starting to lay in January or so 2012. I plan to move the 3-Cuckoo Marans hens I currently have off to the West TN Poultry Club sale on Saturday, August 27th @ TSC here in Jackson and make at least some room for getting these chicks in later on. If they do not sell I might just put them in the freezer! They lay a very nice large dark brown egg, really about the color of milk chocolate or a lighter brown with dark spots on them, either of which is really pretty but their laying to feed ratio is really terrible.
Why you ask have I done this? After thinking I would get some meat birds all along and after talking with some family and neighbors, and after getting no good response to anyone going in on halves with me on around 25 chicks to brood off for freezing, I decided to add more efficient layers to the mix and just stick with eggs till spring. I will order some meat birds, as many or few as I want, from my local feed store that has been so helpful with this urban farm obtaining all its' birds.
I would like to explain to those novice keepers out there exactly what a "sex link" chicken is. I will use these Black Sex Link chickens as an example here: You take a Barred Rock hen and cross it with a Rhode Island Red rooster and you ONLY GET these Black Sex Links. But the best part about these crosses, whether they be Black, Red or White crosses, the males and females are distinguishable at hatch. The Black Sex Links are all black but ONLY THE MALES have a white spot on the top of their heads, otherwise both males and females are all black. When the Black Sex Links grow to maturity, the females are black with SOME red on the hackles (feathers around the neck) and the males take on the appearance of the original Barred Rock hen with lighter colored hackles. But if you breed these hybrids you will NOT get another sex link offspring. They will revert to some kind of other cross or back to the original, more or less.
These Black Sex Link pullets are very vigorous and rugged brown egg layers and are often the layer of choice for commercial production. They do well in confinement as well as free range and are a dual purpose bird, in that once egg production is over for them, they can be harvested for meat. I have added below a link from YOUTUBE that was loaded from CACKLE HATCHERY with information about this Black Sex Link bird for your convenience:! In this video, you will notice what I mentioned about telling the males, or roosters, from the pullets, or hens, by the males having the white or yellowish spot on top of their head.
That will give this urban farm a total of 6-Welsummers, 6-Rhode Island Reds, 6-Black Sex Links, 2-Standard Cochins, 1-Blue Wheaten Ameraucana & of course, Dorothy, the pet Buff Orpington setting mother hen.
So, I leave you today not only on day 8 of "hatch watch" but also on chick delivery count down with our ongoing urban farming affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG (really 8-fertile eggs & 2-golf balls) AT A TIME!"

Monday, August 15, 2011


HELLO & Welcome to GARDEN DADDY here at the urban farm! I thought you might like to see some new photos of Spring 2011 chicks, now almost all grown up. But the first photo to share with you is of my favorite little hen and the most calm of all, "DOROTHY", the Mother-To-BE Buff Orpington hen that is now on day 4 of "hatch watch", while she sits on her 8 Cuckoo Marans eggs and 2-golf balls. I made her a nice nest myself of some wheat straw I keep on hand for the chicken house nest boxes and she has barely moved since putting her on the nest of eggs.

The photo below is of the white Standard Cochin pullet that was in the spring bunch of chicks I ordered in March this year. The Cochin breed is very slow to mature so she is lagging behind the Dutch Welsummers' a bit. I thought you might like to see though she is larger than the other pullets and also get a kick out of the large feathers on her feet. I call her and her buff sister, "clown chickens", as it looks like a clown in large shoes trying to walk

The photo below is of the Standard Buff Cochin, also born in March of this year. She is the same age as the white one above. She is a darker gold color than the Buff Orpington breed. Behind her, is the back end of one of the three Cuckoo Marans...they are called Cuckoo because of that mottled black and white in all mixed up and not like a Barred Rock hen, where there is a more definite pattern. Thus the term, "cuckoo"....meaning "crazy or mixed up" pattern!

The bottom photo shows again the White Cochin pecking along with some of the 5-Dutch Welsummers (named for the town of Welsum in Holland) which are really getting close to laying for 2 or 3 of them. They are an attractive bird, with golds and rich brownish walnut colors on them along with some tones of mahogany in places.

Otherwise, today I cooked some turnip greens, frozen store-bought over this weekend, and a friend gave me some south Alabama water ground corn meal. I plan to make some "fried bread" in a few minutes to go with it. In other words, like a fried hoe cake. Continuing some recipes, I would like to share with you an "okra pancake" recipe I think is just wonderful and another way to use okra. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE okra...I like to add a small amount of oil in a pan, get it hot, add some chopped onion and okra, salt & pepper, add about a teaspoon full of lemon juice and a little crushed garlic and then stir fry it until it almost gets blackish on the edges and tender....yummy! Well, I tried to add the okra pancake in a download but it would not cooperate for some reason. I will try to add it later and just type it in freehand in another posting.

So, I leave you today with our ongoing urban farming affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Saturday, August 13, 2011


HELLO & Welcome to GARDEN DADDY here at the urban farm! I told you yesterday I had a HUGE tomato harvest yesterday morning that I would have to process today. Well, boy-oh-boy did I ever. I ended up with right at two gallons of the best sauce/soup mix I ever made I believe. It is so rich with tomato aroma and taste and I strained the seeds out of this batch to see the difference. You know, gardening is ALWAYS a testing ground of everything, right? So is preserving. Again, this will cool down then be boxed up in freezer containers and then added to the winter larder for soup stock, spaghetti sauce, chili fixin's and the like.
I just wanted to share this with you while I had a quick moment and stopped to eat a late lunch sandwich. I will let you know how many freezer boxes I get from this batch. I might have to start giving some to neighbors for their freezer as mine is about to overflow at this posting. I tried to find some bush green bean seeds (well, I hate to call them true seeds but I guess for now I will as they are called "seeds" and that meaning is "anything that can be sown, e.g. "seed" potatoes, "seeds" of corn, sunflower "seeds", etc....another whole posting I fear) today earlier but was shot down on every turn. I had planned to put in a late crop of bush beans this next week but it appears that will not happen. So off to the feed store again next week and thinking of just going ahead and getting some turnips/greens started...I like both tops and roots. I can cook the roots and eat them alone or cut up into the greens. But the roots are also good if you "quarter" them in chunks or even slice them about like you would potatoes for an 'Au gratin dish, put in a large bowl and add some olive oil, salt and pepper, a little garlic powder to taste, stir till all is covered then put in a single layer on a large cookie sheet and roast at 400-degrees for a bit, watching from time to time especially if you slice then and not in larger chunks to keep from burning the edges, but then bake till a nice roasted color and aroma...stirring occasionally. Basically do like you would if you were "roasting" any winter vegetables...what was I thinking?!?
This Garden Daddy has been giving so many recipes over the course of this site that "me thinks" maybe your Garden Daddy needs to stir around the idea of a future "THE URBAN FARM COOKBOOK" by Garden Daddy....thinking....huh? Laughing all the way to my next seasonal project...
I leave you today again with our ongoing affirmation in mind as always: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG (& RECIPE) AT A TIME!"


HELLO & Welcome to GARDEN DADDY here at the urban farm! I just wanted to share with you that I finally was able to run up on a decent deal on getting a few Garden Daddy tee shirts printed up. My order says they will arrive this next Tuesday, 08-16-11, and I cannot wait! I know you are probably thinking "how foolish" but thought it might be nice to pass around to family and close friends...maybe later if I got enough request I could put some up on this site if anyone was interested in making another order.
Well, we are on DAY #2 of "hatch watch" as we wait on the 8-eggs and two golf balls to hatch...kidding of course about the golf balls! I do not know the exact "laying date" of the 8-fertile eggs but knowing the person I got them from, who happens to be one our of poultry club officers, I am sure they are very viable and fertile. In case some of you did not know, one can gather and hold fertile eggs for up to around two weeks before setting or incubating. 7 to 10 days is the IDEAL optimum time and after that your mortality rate decreases a little each day. Also, you should store with a temperature of no more than 66-degrees F, as any higher temps will start the development of the embryo BEFORE you are truly ready to set. Also they should be stored IDEALLY on a 45-degree angle and turned daily, with pointed end DOWN. This keeps the air sack on the large end. You should also store your own eating eggs in the refrigerator with the small or pointed end "down" in the storage container or carton.
By the way, if you need egg cartons, all you have to do is tell a few friends or church folk and you will have all you can ever hope for. Seems people every where are looking for something to do with those little cartons and are more than happy to save them for me, I know!
So I will leave you this Saturday morning, looking forward to tomato processing today, with our ongoing city farming affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Friday, August 12, 2011


HELLO & Welcome to GARDEN DADDY here at the urban farm! For the past 5 days, counting today, Dorothy, my pet and favorite hen, has stayed in a bottom level nest box and has gone broody again! She is the Buff Orpington hen that went broody in the spring and was sitting on the golf balls that I then swapped out for nine 2-day old chicks I ordered from the feed store after 23 days, which are now almost ready to start laying that I mentioned earlier this week. I got busy yesterday and emailed a member of the West TN Poultry Club and today she brought me 8-fertile Cuckoo Marans eggs. I do not want any more birds here but this will make the little Mama happy again, won't really cost me anything, except she is not laying anyway and this will break her from being broody and fulfill her motherhood need once again.
At least I know she will always be a good brooder for future need if she will hang on for a few years and nothing out of the ordinary happens to her. We will see how she does with real eggs now instead of golf balls. When I took her from the chicken house this morning and isolated her back into the converted rabbit cage and add on secluded nesting area, I took the two golf balls she was sitting on with her and added them to the nest I made of wheat straw & 8-eggs and she sat straight down on the entire thing just as happy as she could be and went to work to hatch her "brood"! So you are now assigned to "hatchery watch" with is day one...mark your calendars! 20 or so to go now.
I also harvested just at 127 tomatoes today...I have not had time to process anything today but will tomorrow. I am free all day and can concentrate on that. I have given away a lot of them today to neighbors and yesterday, having picked around 47 then, gave most of them away as well. That has been the point here at the urban farm of planting so many plants almost to overcrowding is to help feed so many neighbors as well as give some to the local soup kitchen. Next year though, I am not looking to plant so much but to make the garden a little more formal and less FULL and less to share but ease of tending for me is my plan.
So I will leave you today with day one of hatch watch underway with our ongoing affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


HELLO & Welcome to GARDEN DADDY here at the urban farm! For the last two days I have harvested another large batch of tomatoes. It appears that I am heading back into the kitchen to process more sauce for the freezer for winter soup mix and sauce. Not complaining by any means. In fact, quite looking forward to the cold weather to come now. I have been able to put back some good bit of frozen product of green beans, corn, some squash, snow peas from early spring, and tomato sauce. At least this gives a basis for some good winter soups, fresh-frozen vegetables and some savings from the grocery store and of course the envy of some neighbors when I take them some vegetable soup or some good hearty minestrone! I am thinking of trying a late green bean crop even now with all the heat we are still having to get a little more to eat now and for later. And of course a fall crop of snow peas for the cooler weather and then maybe a few greens then as well....planning anyway, depending on how long the tomato crop lasts.

Still waiting on the new pullets raised from day old chicks to start laying. There is one of the Welsummer pullets that is really showing her comb and wattles now and her ear color is starting to turn as well and hopefully it should not be too long till she will start laying now and others soon to follow. I have shared with you that I had two standard Cochin pullets and they are somewhat slow to mature so I do not expect them to start laying until on into September at least. In fact it will probably be September I imagine before any of the new "girls" start laying. These type of birds are a little slower to mature and so taking longer to begin laying. My plan for next spring is to get some of the Cornish Rock X chicks that will be so fat and large by about 6 or 8-weeks old that they cannot even hardly move and get them ready for the freezer...I am thinking maybe around 25 or so early in the spring. My middle brother and I have talked about splitting the flock for each of our freezers if I will raise them...I say no problem. Then if these new pullets are not the layers of the egg color I am looking for from them, then they will go the way of a poultry club swap sometime and be replaced back with what I have already decided if the need arises, a whole flock of Wyandottes, either Golden Laced or Silver Laced. Remember, I had them last year and they were excellent layers even all winter.

SORRY....I just stopped posting and looked at the IDEAL POULTRY site for fall availability dates and now the thought comes I might like some good, non-medicated & steroid-free chickens for the freezer. For all you poultry keepers out there, they can be ready to "dress" at around 6-lbs in around 6 to 7 weeks. It would not cost much, some high protein/high fat broiler feed and with this time of year so warm still, not much heat in a brooder and with supplement from garden refuse, cost would be minimum. Jumbo Cornish Rock X ("X" means cross or hybrid) broiler flock photo below (not mine of course)...notice they put more energy into growth and not much in feathering, etc. And they grow so fast they often have trouble even walking and moving. Grow, baby, grow!

I will leave you today with our ongoing urban farming affirmation in mind as I think more about this late summer/fall broiler idea....hmmm, let's see, by the first week of October for sure I could be dressing out a freezer FULL of chickens...hmmmm: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"