Monday, July 6, 2015


This fluctuating weather is making us crazy. The excessive rain and then heat have things blooming early, ducks happily digging in mud, and plants growing out of control. I genuinely can't keep up with pruning and containing my tomato plants. Some are growing into all three surrounding tomato cages! Our little tomatoes, pictured to the left two weeks ago, have a hundred tomatoes on each plant. Which is just about enough for me to snack on while weeding, pruning, and harvesting a few to bring inside.  I've also got an abundance of cucumbers flowering and growing all across the garden. It truly is a beautiful thing! I certainly won't complain about too many edibles.

Sully meeting Charlie for her 6 month photos
Our ducks, which we purchased in late May are really growing up nicely. They grow much more quickly then chickens, so we were a bit unprepared. They've been outside since week 3, it's certainly warm enough outside for them. They share space with some of our very spoiled chickens in the "little kid house." This is where newbies go and our most spoiled hen, Sully. It's a tough life for her here on our little farm. 
Our neighbor purchased a great duck house for our ducks, so once it's fixed up a bit, they'll have their own space and safe house to sleep in. Here they are growing out nicely, and enjoying their kiddie pool.

Besides an abundance of fruits and veggies, some amazing flowers are in full bloom. We've had flowers since april it seems, but these I've been really looking forward to. A lily, calla lily, and morning glory growing in among my tomatoes.

Incubating: take two

First hatched chick
A chick unzipped from it's shell

Well, incubating: take one was quite the disappointment, so we tried again. This time we did things a little differently, with dry incubation. Instead of adding water every few days to keep the humidity around 50% we added none, left the vents open (in very humid NJ) and allowed the room to control it. The incubator is kept in the bathroom, at a steady temp inside and outside. Because of this, humidity stayed between 25-30%. 

This second batch from the incubator:

Charlie helping me take pictures
I had 30 eggs inside and 20 made it to lockdown. Pretty good statistics for the obvious infertile eggs and a sizable gap of no electric. Half hatched, 5 others pipped but didn't make it, and the rest didn't make it all the way. I'm pretty happy with these results, we've got another Cream legbar, 2 araucanas, and a few more polish on our chick porch. YUP I've re-named the porch seeing as we've got twenty little chickies running around out there!

To the left is my frizzle polish from the first batch.
To the right is my legbar pullet (90% sure it's a pullet at least!)

Mama and her chicks
So the humans had a 50% hatch rate... My broody hen outside on the other hand had a 100% hatch rate. I gave a first time mom, 8 eggs the same time we started up the incubator. She's a few years old, but hasn't been given the opportunity to hatch eggs, and she did a fantastic job. When I had checked her eggs before I thought only 6/8 were progressing properly, so imagine my surprise when I found seven chicks this morning! Clearly mama hens are better at hatching then we are, even with 3 thermometers and two hygrometers.

 More lessons learned, more chicks on the farm. Pretty soon we'll be selling a few of these polish chicks, if interested, stay tuned!

On another note, my beautiful lilies are blooming: