The Garden Roster

The other day, on a whim I decided to write down all the edibles in my back yard. After months of feeling like I was missing this or that plant, I was startled to discover that my efforts had brought me to over xdozen plants, not including those that had already been removed. Some of these are still in my propogate on area, just starting to root, but most are planted and even producing.

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Following is a complete list of the edible plants I am currently growing. In upcoming posts I will write up plant profiles of a few specific ones and if you’d like to know more about anything on this list, I would be happy to elaborate on them!

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Herbs:
lemon thyme
english thyme
yarrow
greek oregano
rose geranium
purple culinary sage
culinary sage
marjoram
comfrey
bronze fennel
mullein
catnip
lemon balm
nugget hops
lemongrass
taragon
rosemary
lavender
chamomile
stevia
lemon basil
sweet basil
echinacea
italian flat parsley
tobacco
chives
skullcap
coneflower(echinacea)

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Other Edible Perennials:
rhubarb
artichoke
thornless raspberry
blueberry (sunshine blue, misty, jubilee)
everbearing strawberry
elderberry(york, nova, black beauty)
canna
oca
yacon
blackberry
olive tree
dwarf Taro
purple Taro
borage
currants( Crandall, black, red, white)
jostaberry
asparagus(UC-127)

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Edible Annuals:
red indian corn
sweet bicolor corn
sweet yellow corn
peacevine tomato
cherokee purple tomato
variegated collards
russian kale (red and white)
lacinato kale
curly kale
cajun jewel okra
zucchini
cucumber
scarlet runner bean
celebration runner bean
blushed butter oak lettuce
hopi red dye amaranth
garlic
scallions

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I am already experiencing a bountiful summer. I have a constant Harvey of zucchini, have picked the Indian corn an some of the bicolor corn, eaten young scarlet runner beans sautéed with butter and garlic, and of course used lemongrass in curries. I’ve also come up with a great herbal bee food using only things in my back yard, water, and sugar and it has given my bees a great advantage this spring. It is so rewarding to benefit from the work I’ve put into my garden!

Picking Up Chicks

Last fall we got chicks and now they are full blown hens and one lucky girl is trying to become a momma herself!
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Inky, our old lady australorpe (adopted from another flock) has been sitting on her nest for almost just over the 21 day incubation period. She actually stole the nest out from under Ginger, the Mille Fleur D’Uccle Bantam, and I added some eggs at that point so they might be hatching late. Ginger had 16 eggs under her tiny body and I think she just couldn’t keep them warm enough. I have been candling and periodically removing bad eggs and the 6 left are heavy and warm. Fingers crossed, and we shall see what hatches if anything at all.

Meanwhile, we are adding new birds to the mix that my Mama picked up from Just Struttin Farm in Novato, CA yesterday. The two that are mine have gotten their names already.

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Meet Georgie! She is a 12 week old Calico Cochin pullet who weighs next to nothing. She is a little shy, sweet and falls asleep in my lap once I’m holding her.

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Kiki is a Mille Fleur Leghorn cross hen. Her coloring isn’t spectacular, but I think she fits right in with our other two Milles. She’s a bit of an escape artists and quite curious. Last night she escaped her temporary run and roosted on the tin roof of the main chicken run about 9ft up. Today she is relishing exploring the run with the rest of our flock, already comfortable and settled in.

The second pullet we brought home is the one that instigated all the new additions. My mother and I had been searching for Black Orpingtons for months. Last fall we visited another urban homesteader’s property and my Mama fell in love with the breed. I practically had to pry our hosts hens from her embrace!

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The way she cradles this beautiful gal, I suspect it will be much the same in our own back yard. Though she doesn’t have a name yet, she has already proven herself a perfect fit for our microfarm. She comes up to me in the coop and is anything but skittish, almost asking to be picked up.

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This is the last of the new girls, a double blue laced barnevelder. I fell in love with the blue laced red plumage on wyandottes but because of my busy schedule I didn’t feel ready to raise them from chicks. Luckily, Deann had one hen the needed a home who has just the feathers I wanted and serene, people oriented personality to boot. This photo really does no justice to her sensational coloring.

The rest of our flock is of course our Mille Fleur D’Uccle Bantams in the middle of this photo, Cinnamon, and Ginger.

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These two are quite the troublemakers, occasionally upsetting our neighbors with 6am wake up calls and daytime squawking and honking as well as the loudest crow I’ve heard from such a tiny rooster. We like to joke that he is compensating for his size.

The Ameraucanas we raised from chicks, Hawk and Mary Kate.

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Though both the same breed, and from the same breeder, they look quite different and so do their eggs. It’s fun to have such variety in the egg basket!

Last but not least is the 3+year old matron of our flock, Pinky. She came to us along with Inky and two others that we decided to cull out (Blinky, and Dot).

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Despite her poor laying, we decided we really like her and she gets to stay by virtue of being our top hen an one of the friendliest. She too loves being held, a trait we obviously appreciate in our hens.

Fava Feast

It is spring and tons of plants going in the ground. That means it’s time to get rid of the winter cover crops. For us that means FAVAS!

I pulled all the plants from one of our beds and chopped up the root to let it nitrify the soil. The stalks got piled onto the patio table to be defoliated and stripped of edible size beans.

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I came away with roughly 4lbs of beans and 1lb of braising greens. A few years ago I made an incredible fava and citrus salad. This time, who knows.

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I’m open to suggestions!

Artfibers yarnsplosion!

This post was supposed to go up February 14th but yet again, I was foiled by technology. The following was written while in line for a total of 4 hours.

It’s a sad day when an incredible yarn company goes out of business. The only bright side is the sale. At 9am February 14th they opened the doors to their workshop in order to clear out the last of their stock, supplies, and equipment. Fortunately this closing was by choice, not hard circumstances, and the owners are moving on to new projects and less responsibility. That means no guilt for those of us benefiting from their closeout!

I came with a budget and am blowing that out of the water but it is well beyond worth it! I have pounds and pounds of silk, viscose, modal, bamboo and alpaca undyed yarn cones coming home with me along with a couple amazing super-skeins of luxury yarn that I would normally never be able to afford.

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Of course I’m not the only one who came to Vallejo, CA to score. I am 2/3 through the line and have already been waiting nearly two hours.

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We’ve camped out in yarnville and kind coconspiritors have taken to passing around cookies and holding places during bathroom breaks and last minute additions.

Suffice to say I’m excited and will of course be starting up my active knitting life again. One project has already been completed.

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This scarf for my partner Michael is made entirely from my handdyed and handspun yarns. I’m proud of it despite it being messy because it’s the first project I have finished in a couple years. I’m expecting many more to come.

Puppy-Time!

Please welcome our newest addition to the family, Otto! He came us in October when this post was originally supposed to go up. I’ve updated everything with new photos and anecdotes.

At 2am I get a text message from my mother (who I live with) that says this: “careful not to let the new dog out” with this photo.

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I groaned and rolled over to settle into bed. To understand that reaction you have to know that my teenage years were filled with stray dogs and fostered pups. Every month or two I would come home to a new dog that we had found or had been abandoned with us or once had actually been offered to us on the street by a distressed woman who was at wits end and moving to where she couldn’t keep her pooch. It was an incredibly rewarding but heartbreaking emotional roller coaster as we fell in love with those wet noses and dirty paws and repeatedly had to return them to their owners or find them new homes because they never meant for us to keep.

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I fell in love right away. I called shelters and advertised on Craigslist to make sure he wasn’t missed anywhere else. It’s been a few weeks now. Without any answers to his origin, I’m pretty sure he’s mine.

[edit] Months later he is definitely a permanent member of my family. We have had him neutered and vaccinated. Treated and cleared of the tapeworm and fleas he came to us with, Otto is a healthy and happy dog.

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He loves nothing more than cuddling up with us in bed or on the couch and gets along famously with the family dog, Shadow.

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