Almost there

Mark helped me put the new garden beds in place this weekend.

I ordered these beds from Natural Yards and I'm really pleased with them. They went together very easily and seem quite sturdy. Notice that in the corner of the bed in front a pin is sticking up? Those pins are a great feature. They slip into the corners of the beds, holding the boards in place. And they will also serve as great anchors for PVC piping that will form the frames for hoops to support fabric for row covers, shade cloth, or bird netting…to keep hungry chickens off the plants. Now all I need is some soil to fill them.

In the foreground is the big bed in which I plan to plant 2-3 blueberry bushes. If I add 3 bushes, I'll have to space them slightly closer than is typical, but I'm sure they would be OK. Going clockwise, the next bed will be for asparagus. It's a 4 foot X 6 foot bed, so I should be able fit enough plants to provide asparagus for me and a few friends. The four beds across the back are all 4 foot X 8 foot beds for rotation of various annual veggie crops. I built the one bed around the cinder block bed I had used this year, so it's already pretty full of soil. I'll plant garlic there later next month.

The cold frame I picked up through Craig's List will fit in the 4X8 beds very well, so if I can get some soil fill in them soon, I may be able to grow some cool weather greens until the bitter cold starts.

Here's another view with the Eglu in position.

I plan to move the Eglu to the other side of the blueberry bed for winter. By then I should hopefully have the soil and blueberry beds in place, and they could then provide more protection since they'll be on the north side of the Eglu. In the summer, I'll move the Eglu back to this place where the leafed out blueberry shrubs will provide more shade.

Although…I also have some grand ideas for a passive solar greenhouse with attached chicken coop for next year, too…I guess I have this whole permaculture vision thing going now. So far, I haven't found any sort of kit that will fit with my vision of a lean-to type greenhouse fitted snugly up against the garage and oriented to catch the most sun on it's south end. I may end up having to design this myself.

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Just like jelly

I found a "softie" in the Eglu today.


I'm thinking this is Selma's since the other egg in the nestbox had a darker brown shell, and Maisy usually lays the eggs with the darker shells.


This egg was on the floor of the Eglu. It had obviously been laid on the roosting bars (which Selma has done before) and then slipped through. The contents were perfectly intact, but the membrane was a bit gritty and dirty.

While I was showing it to Mark this evening, the dogs took a keen interest in it. I made mistake of holding it out so they could sniff it and then quick as can be Sadie nipped the top off! Hannah got a lick in before Sadie moved in for final gulp and swallowed the rest. Well, I had thought of giving it to the dogs, and I guess this settled it!

It's perfectly normal for pullets to lay these soft eggs every once in a while. I'm just glad that it didn't break or get broken in such a way that the chickens would get a taste of it. Sometimes chickens get a taste for their own eggs and will eat them before collection.

Luckily, my girls don't seem so inclined. They'd rather that I bring them more fishy stuff like the salmon skin from our poached salmon. Yep, they eat just about everything!

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