Category Archives: Backyard Orchard Culture

Fruits of my Labor

Today was a big day, I harvested and consumed the very first fruit ever from my orchard!

Mulberries fresh from the tree!

Mulberries fresh from the tree!

We had a big wind storm last night and this morning I found several ripe mulberries on the ground around my trees. This weekend I had noticed one or two were starting to turn colors but not on the tree I found these under. All total I found a good handful under the 2 trees outside the chicken run. They were very sweet but lacked any sense of tartness. Not exactly what I was expecting but very good for my first mulberries ever.

These were hidden in my #1 raised bed.

These were hidden in my #1 raised bed.

Sunday I had chopped and dropped all the cover crop/weeds in my #1 half-assed hugel bed, under all that muck I discovered 3 strawberry plants doing well with ripe fruit on them. The strawberries were a bit tart but balanced out well with the sweet mulberries.

I think we are up to a dozen now!

I think we are up to a dozen now!

Silkie Chickens

Momma sure makes it hard to get an accurate count.

While they aren’t technically “fruits” and I didn’t experience “labor” in their creation these little puff balls are definitely another milestone for my little endeavor. They are the first chicks produced by my girls without any outside assistance. I love my fluffy butts that are hatched out in my incubator but there is just something magical about these little puff balls.

 

 

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There is Funk in the Orchard

A few weeks ago i made a post, There is Fungus Among Usin which I outlined my entry into the world of Korean Natural Farming. About a week later my post, IMO aka Indigenous Micro Organismsoutlined the second step in creating microbial rich preparations for application. Today’s post is about the final step of stabilizing the two microbial cultures, Lacto-Baccilus & IMO, that I initially collected/captured then refined.

The Milk/Lacto serum mixture after two weeks in the closet

The Milk/Lacto serum mixture after two weeks in the closet

You can clearly see the separation of the curdled milk solids from the refined Lacto-Bacillus serum. This process grows the Lacto in an environment friendly to them and less friendly to the other microbes that were caught in the initial rice-wash water phase.

Separating out the milk solids

Separating out the milk solids

This stuff STINKS!!!! Bryan McGrath in his YouTube video, Korean Natural Farming-Lacto Bacillusmentions that he once tasted this “cheese” and it wasn’t bad. I’m calling Bullshit on that! My chickens gobbled the stuff up but the reek was/is horrid. The serum got mixed 1 to 1 with unsulphured molasses to create a shelf stable liquid that is supposed to be good for a couple of years.

The inoculated rice mixed with brown sugar after fermenting for 2 weeks

The inoculated rice mixed with brown sugar after fermenting for 2 weeks

The IMO stuff was heaven compared to that stinking Lacto concoction. The above mixture was combined with water at a rate of 10 to 1 then the solids strained out.

10 to 1 mixture

10 to 1 mixture

The solids from the IMO fermenting process

The solids from the IMO fermenting process

Again the chickens gobbled the dregs down, all of this funky stuff the girls are gobbling down should be good for them in that it really is just probiotics for the farm.

The ingredients of my pulsing spray

The ingredients of my pulsing spray

I applied my first full-bore pulsing spray to my orchard, garden beds, and coop area today. The ingredients were 5 ounces of my recently stabilized IMO/Lacto concoction, 2 ounces pure cold pressed Neem oil with a dash of organic dish soap to emulsify it, and 4 ounces cold processed liquid fish.

Sprayer

All of this was mixed with enough chlorine free water to fill my 2 gallon sprayer and applied to my fruit trees thoroughly. After the trees were soaked to the point of runoff the garden beds and coop areas were sprayed with what was left of the second sprayer full.IMO10

One of the Comfrey plants I thought I had lost

One of the Comfrey plants I thought I had lost

IMO13

Look at the worms in the roots of this Comfrey plant I'm relocating

Look at the worms in the roots of this Comfrey plant I’m relocating

All of the microbes in this mixture are going to fed and energized by the fatty acids in both the Neem oil and Liquid Fish and hit the ground running, breaking down organic material into compounds less smelly and more useful to my plants. Additionally these beneficial microbes should colonize the bark, leaves, and mulch crowding out harmful microbes. I’m looking forward to blogging about the results both positive and negative. Initially I have one negative that I will have corrected before my next application, that little 2 gallon sprayer killed my back bending over to pump it up. There is definitely a 4 gallon back pack sprayer coming to my tool shed soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There is fungus among us

Organic Gardener, Holistic Orchardist, Sustainable Agriculture, What exactly do these terms mean? Are there rules and regulations that must be adhered to? I don’t really know nor do I really care. The “system” or “method” I practice is the one that my head puts together from resources that make sense to me. My chickens are currently being fed fodder, fermented scratch, weeds, cooked rice gleaned from a local restaurant and leftovers from the weekly cleaning of the fridge. The orchard/garden is watered with grey water from my laundry and mulched with shredded waste from local tree service companies. Why do I employ these “practices”? #1 cause I’m cheap #2 because certain aspects spark interest in my brain and finally #3 because they are effective/efficient. Happy productive chickens, healthy trees, and productive gardens is the goal and at least currently the outcome.

As has been mentioned several times lately on this blog The Holistic Orchard (fruits and berries the biologic way) by Michael Phillips has really captured my attention. Basically Mr. Phillips is advocating and trying to educate about the benefits of treating the whole orchard holistically. Focusing on the overall health of everything from the soil to the foliage in an effort to minimize the susceptibility to both pests and disease. Backyard Orchard Culture as refined and practiced for my area by the UNCE experimental orchard lends itself to embracing these holistic idea(l)s, at least in my little world. One thing that really clicked with me was the idea of “random” mulching, this is using whatever you come up with as you come up with it as mulch. Shredded paper? OK, Shredded/Chipped tree waste? OK, Straw? OK, the idea is to promote a diverse environment for beneficial bacterial and fungal soil cultures to thrive.

That brings the agenda to spring and pulsing sprays. I wish I could do more than regurgitate stuff from The Holistic Orchard but right now that’s where my knowledge is from, maybe this fall I’ll be able to make an informed and insightful blog post about all of this….we’ll see. Pulsing sprays are used to spark a “pulse” of action in the microbial world inhabiting the soil of the orchard and the bark of the trees, encouraging the beneficial ones to thrive and therefore outcompete any bad ones that come along. Ingredients recommended for this witches brew is liquid fish (are you thinking of SNL and the bass-o-matic?), cold pressed Neem oil, and EM-1. Liquid Fish was easily found and reasonably purchased from SF Organics, cold pressed Neem oil is all over E-Bay, but EM-1 proved a little tougher especially for a frugal individual. The stuff is not available locally and both of the proprietary makers apparently think this stuff is very special. I was willing to cough up the $23 SCD Probiotics wanted for a liter of this stuff but when I went to check out at their exclusive online distributor and found that shipping was going to double the price my gag reflex kicked in, likewise at Teraganix.

All of his has been leading up to my initial topic for this post……clandestine culturing of microbes. While I couldn’t find any reliable instructions for knocking off these companies products I did discover that this concept stems from Korean Natural farming techniques in general and specifically to Lacto-Bacillus/IMO culturing. Ironically it was a question asked on one of my favorite blogs, Scratch Cradle, that lead me to the answer I was looking for. Two youtube videos, Korean Natural Farming- Lacto Bacillus, and Korean Natural Farming-IMO part 1 provided me with a wealth of information about creating inoculant cultures for use in the orchard. A less detailed (there actually four parts of the IMO series) but very practical explanation can be found on IMO Farming part 1 . Following the procedures outlined in these highly informative videos has lead me to attempt to start my own cultures.

Rice Wash Water hopefully collecting and culturing Lacto Bacillus

Rice Wash Water hopefully collecting and culturing Lacto Bacillus

 

Funky rice water hopefully stored where Karen won't find it

Funky rice water hopefully stored where Karen won’t find it

1st ingredient of IMO: Forest Litter (actually dirt and mulch from the oldest section of the UNCE orchard)

1st ingredient of IMO: Forest Litter (actually dirt and mulch from the oldest section of the UNCE orchard)

2nd ingredient of IMO: hard cooked rice

2nd ingredient of IMO: hard cooked rice

IMO ingredients together: Top tray has lots of holes drilled in the bottom so that microbes can migrate to rice beneath

IMO ingredients together: Top tray has lots of holes drilled in the bottom so that microbes can migrate to rice beneath

IMO incubator hopefully located where Karen will overlook it

IMO incubator hopefully located where Karen will overlook it

Now all I have to do is let my stuff funk up and culture for a week or so then move onto the second phase of refining and fortifying the captured cultures. That process may take a little more ingenuity to keep beneath my Sweety Karen’s radar but I think I’m up to the challenge.

Oh by the way IMO stands for Indigenous Micro Organisms

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Orchard Layout

 

 

 

 

This first layout is an as built just after I had finished planting all of my trees.

2012 Orchard Plan

 

This is after this years plantings. It really isn’t totally accurate or scaled very well seeing as how the chicken run now takes up the whole length of the south end of the area and the Grenada & Kasmir Pomegranates are inside that run. It is accurate as to varieties and locations. The pink dotted Splash, Flavor Supreme, and Flavor Grenade are Pluots an interspecific cross of plum and apricot. Purple dotted Emerald Beauty, Santa Rosa, Burgundy, and Beauty are plums; Orange dotted Early Treat, Florida Prince, O’Henry, and Babcock are peaches along with my lone Arctic Star nectarine. Gold Kist,Royal Rosa, Katy, and Tomkot are apricots with Cot-n-Candy & Flavor Delight being Apriums another interspecific cross of apricot and plum the leans more towards the apricot. 2013 Orchard-Plan

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Do I dare trust my GUTS?

While I do suspect I may be trying to get the Flu, fear not! there is not a single BM pic in this whole post.

Some of the GREAT people at the orchard!

Some of the GREAT people at the orchard!

The University of Nevada Cooperative Extension runs an amazing demonstration orchard here in Las Vegas, the Master Gardeners are absolutely amazing! Over a close to 20 year span they have tested almost every fruit and growing method you can think of and are truly the authorities on growing fruit trees in our harsh conditions. Every year they bring in fruit trees from Dave Wilson Nurseries for sale to interested gardeners. They focus on making available the varieties that produce good fruit here, which aren’t always easy thing to find.

Due to a slope in my orchard that I ignored last year I lost nine trees due to wet feet. The remediation plan was laid out previously in my What to Do? post. Basically I built 2’x2′ raised beds for the new trees to minimize the slope and give the new trees and area above the mucky soil below.

The raised beds started as 6' cedar dog eared fence planks

The raised beds started as 6′ cedar dog eared fence planks

 

My nephew Steven was a huge help. He is always a pleasure to be around!

My nephew Steven was a huge help. He is always a pleasure to be around!

Steven and I cut up all the material then assembled all of the boxes. Originally I had planned on using steel T-posts but my cheap side kicked in and we ended up using 1″x2″x24″ wooden grade stakes 25 for $7! During the planning of this modification of the garden/orchard area I came to realize that for me function is more important than form/style. Over engineering had been bogging me down until it clicked that last years “Grand Plan” was all being changed and for me “pretty” comes from healthy trees, healthy chickens, and tasty veggies. I am truly jealous of those that are able to create a masterpiece/showcase in their garden but I finally came to the understand that my mind doesn’t work that way. Basically I am CHEAP and hate spending money on something that I can’t wrap my head around it’s contribution to productivity.

Yeah there's only 3 stakes holdin that box up, I told you I was CHEAP!

Yeah there’s only 3 stakes holdin that box up, I told you I was CHEAP!

 

A good overview of the Orchard

A good overview of the Orchard

A secondary goal was reconfiguring my narrow raised beds that I installed last year. The idea was they were situated to the downhill side of my irrigation lines and would therefore require minimal supplemental irrigation. Come midsummer in an effort to minimize the soggy ground at the base of my orchard area I actually ended up diverting my Grey Water irrigation supply to a separate cobbled together system that didn’t really do anything well.

The Upper end of the "raised" bed

The Upper end of the “raised” bed

The plan for the area between the rows has morphed into a traditional raised bed 4′ wide and 10′ long. As can be seen in the above picture the upper end of the bed is actually only slightly above grade.

Truly "raised"

Truly “raised”

The bed is level both side to side and end to end, consequently the lower end of the bed is slightly above grade. Hopefully by the time my trees shade this area out in several years the level of the surrounding soil will have leveled out via the copious additions of mulch.

The sun is going down and the days work is done.

The sun is going down and the days work is done.

The raised bed was filled with the last of the compost and the accumulated muck from the floor of the hen-house. Last year about this time I put about 6″ of mulch in my 10’x10′ coop. Two bales of straw, a couple bags of shredded paper, and a bale of alfalfa had made it’s way in there during the intervening months. It had dried out quite a bit (I wet it down weekly during the summer) and I realize it is probably very “hot” due to all of the chicken poop, so I watered it down well to kick start the composting action.

The two little boxes are Comfrey plants that fell outside of the new bed.

The two little boxes are Comfrey plants that fell outside of the new bed.

Today we went back up and staked the new trees, did a general cleanup, mulched the first row, and then planted the new bed. To try to mellow out that “hot” soil I sowed several handful’s of red wheat and oats, then I planted bush beans, swiss chard, and beets Square-Foot Gardening style through the pasture seeds. Why? I’m not really sure, it just felt right and that’s the theme I’m trying to stick with. Educate yourself as much as possible then go with your gut!

 

 

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Work Day

Actually now that our brutal winter appears to be over (man that was a miserable 2 weeks!) pretty much every Saturday and Sunday will be a WorkDay for the foreseeable future.

Steven the ChainSaw Master!

Steven the ChainSaw Master!

Karen was focused on getting the mess from cutting down the diseased trees in the front yard cleaned up. Our nephew Steven came over to help cut up some of the brush and logs. He did a great job except for his answer when his Aunt Tuey asked him how many times he had operated a chainsaw before, the answer s should not have been “never”. These two fruitless mulberry trees were infected with sooty canker so we are trying to get as much of it hauled off in the dumpster rather than grinding it up for mulch.January7

Brian brought his own tools for todays work party

January 22

Just about ready for concrete

Just about ready for concrete

My son Brian and I focused on getting the Bathroom(s) ready to have the floors repoured. Additionally we removed the doors, who in the world puts 24″ doors in bathrooms?, and got the rest of the drywall down and in the dumpster. We have decided to focus on getting the bathrooms completed then moving on rather than the shotgun approach we had started out this renovation with.

Raised boxes for the new bareroot trees

Raised boxes for the new bareroot trees

An E-Mail from the UNCE orchard staff that the bare-root fruit trees I ordered will be coming in within the next two weeks, possibly as soon as next weekend has created a bit of urgency in my orchard. Above can be seen the 4 raised boxes that were installed to get the replacements trees roots up a bit to avoid the “wet-feet” problems that cost me so many trees last year. I ordered 10 new trees this year to replace the 9 that didn’t make it last season, 3 just never leafed out and the remaining 6 I drowned. Hopefully this years “raised boxes” plan will alleviate the drowned issue. January6

Sundays first collection

January5

Saturdays haul!

Saturdays haul!

Operation Rooster Removal has started paying off already. The girls are putting out between 4 and 9 eggs a day now. Plans for the coop area include setting up another isolated run and get some form of rotation going so that at least during the spring and fall the girls can cycle through some pasture area. Also on the chicken agenda is figuring out a breeding pen arrangement, I would really like to expand my GCM flock without expanding my mutt flock.

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Blahhhhhhhhhh………..

Well I think the title pretty much sums things up right now. (note: Blahhhhhhhhhh is pronounced properly with a full extension of the tongue ). Busy season has hit hard at work, the remodel is trying to absorb every spare minute , I am the secretary for our clubs Field Trial in February, and trying to find time to finally close out my Pop’s Trust has been just about to much. But on the bright side the Holidays were wonderful! All of my sons were here along with my sister Lorri’s annual pilgrimage (which I secretly look forward to every year) making things complete.

This weekend I was supposed to be working on plumbing at the Clayton Annex,

The new drain stack

The new drain stack

 

but I kinda played hooky and messed around at The Fruity Chicken instead. It was refreshing to start getting some of the things done that have been hanging over my head in the orchard. The first thing I noticed is that my Hen to Rooster ratio is way outta whack again! Just a rough count turned up 8 horny Cocks trying to mount anything that moved and half the hens hiding in the Hen House. Those poor girls are seriously underweight from stress and hiding out. I chased down four Roosters and headed up to the feed store (the Santa Ria Priest didn’t answer his phone) only to find out that they are closed on Sunday now (maybe they go to the same Church?).

Rooster behaving badly

Roosters behaving badly

 

 

Plan B: Lock them suckers up. All of the Roosters are in the area where I tried to grow winter wheat. That plan didn’t work out to well due to shade. Hopefully it will work to confine these horny bastards for a few days and give my hens a chance to recuperate. Who knows I might even start getting some eggs again. Two of the girls in my juvenile pen are laying now and all I can figure out is stress keeping the other girls from getting it in gear.

 

The Kool Krew meets The Ducky Ducks

The Kool Krew meets The Ducky Ducks

My baby ducks, The Ducky Ducks, got turned out into the main run last weekend. They immediately went and tried to make friends with The Kool Krew,

Poor Ducken

Poor Ducken

right off the bat the Buff Tufted drake in the Kool Krew grabbed the black tufted baby by the beak and held it’s head on the ground for about 30 seconds! Now the Ducky Ducks are allowed to follow along respectfully but not get to close. Poor little Ducken still aint sure what he is.

 

Planting Boxes

Planting Boxes

 

Last Year I lost several trees to wet feet. I hadn’t taken into consideration the slope of the ground and most of the trees at the bottom of that slope succumbed to root rot. To rectify this situation I am creating raised bed’s for the replacement trees, these are being suspended at roughly the same level as the last healthy row. The plan is to fill these suspended boxes with compost and soil then heavily mulch around them. Over time the surrounding area should form a gentle swale up to the level of the trees so that the boxes can be removed.

Compost

The Orchard in Winter

The compost pile is shrinking

The compost pile is shrinking

Overall it was nice to get back into the orchard/chicken ranch, it kinda gave me my focus back a bit. Those couple of hours inspired me to come home and start reading The Holistic Orchard by Michael Phillips, Lorri got me this book for Christmas. I can’t say that I would have bought this book for myself but that’s why everyone needs an intuitive sister. After the first hundred pages I am already searching for unpasteurized liquid fish and cold pressed pure Neem oil.

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What to do?

Humidity is dropping, temperature is moderating, and sadly motivation is waning bit. Shoulda got up and got a load of mulch but didn’t, coulda headed up bright and early to clear out vegetation but just veged. I did make it up to the homestead kinda later in the afternoon and found 10 eggs, woo-hoo. Yeah it’s kinda like that but it won’t last, motivation is right around the corner. I can feel it bearing down on me like……….well I don’t know like what, but it’s comin! Mother Nature took another swing at the Orchard/Chicken Ranch but thanks to my sweety Karen & daughter in law to be Shanda it was a swing and a miss. They braved raging flood waters (4″of rain in an hour) to clean out the grate on the storm drain and narrowly diverted a repeat of the Great Flood of 012! I still have a soggy stinky mess in the chicken run though, primarily in the juvenile pen so my goal tomorrow is to relocate it. The chickens have done a great job of turning the compost piles and I need to get all of that mess back in to the bins.

I need that compost to amend the back-fill for the raised beds/boxes I am going to create for the replacement trees in the orchard. It would be nice to get those made, hung and filled so that I can put some winter crops in them to condition the soil before planting new trees next February. By hung I mean that the plan is to build 3’x3′ boxes out of 2″x6″‘s then hang them from 3’ T type fence posts on each corner so that I drastically reduce the relative slope of the orchard. The hanging boxes which will probably end up about 6″ above the existing ground in the lowest area then be filled with amended soil and surrounded with a heavy layer of mulch. Will this plan work? Hell if I know but it sure aughta.

Did I mention I got a 22 lb watermelon out of all that mess of vegetation? I’m pretty sure there’s at least on more in there along with some punkins and zucchini. So really it’s not a matter of “What to do” it’s more a matter of getting my butt up and doin it! Tomorrow, yeah tomorrow.

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Sweaty Guerrilla

It is back to yuck again today! The monsoon is on its way, humidity over 30% and 116′ at 9:30 am. Yeah I know the weather channel says it’s only 90′ in Vegas, Hooey on that! That’s my shirt after half an hour and my shorts were soaked through (how’s that for a visual?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The girls are really diggin the fermented feed, especially on those days that I have cooked rice mixed into it. My basic mix is 50% high protein, no corn, whole grain pigeon feed and 50% scratch. When I have it I combine my basic mix 50/50 with cooked rice. After being allowed to ferment overnight the resulting “mash” is fluffed up and not quite as sour smelling as the basic mix is. The sour smell I am talking about is not a bad thing, more like a very strong sourdough starter. Which makes sense because that is basically the goal of fermenting livestock feed, a cooperative effort between yeast and bacteria to partially digest the raw feed and create compounds more digestible to the animals. With or without the rice my chickens absolutely love fermented feed though, as to the claims of firmer less smelly poo? I never really had a problem with that.

Look at all those purdy birds goin after my homemade slop! The one right in the middle along with the 2 on either side are 3 of my 5 Golden Cuckoo Marans, in fact the little white one in the center is a GCM also. Why is she white? I don’t have a clue, but when I get a chance I’m going to ask Heather over on her excellent blog Scratch Cradle. Heather’s series on Chicken Genetics has been not only highly informative but easy to understand and enjoyable to read. Her post on Fermented Feed helped me better understand what I was really doing in those smelly buckets. I don’t think she will be able to explain though why out of 10 Black Copper Marans I have successfully hatched out I only have 1 hen! Anybody around Vegas looking for a nice BCM roo? I can hook you up! Maybe I’ll get lucky and all 5 of my GCM’s will be pullets, yeah I know, wishful thinking.

About a month ago I took some culm cuttings from a clump of Oldham Bamboo and tried to propagate them. My goal is to get enough plants to create a screen for my chicken/orchard area that will not only block the view from the street but also provide afternoon shade. Of the dozen cuttings I potted up only 1 put out shoots ( those two teeny little green wisps coming out of the node) Today I prepared another dozen or so cuttings. After cutting them to the proper size, 2″-3″ above the node and 4″-5″ below the node, they were soaked for 15 minutes in a 5 gallon bucket full of water with B1 and rooting hormone mixed in. Finally they were put in pots with fresh potting soil buried to the point where the node was halfway covered. Hopefully I will get a few more viable plants from this batch.

That covers the Sweaty part of my morning now lets talk about Guerrillas! My greywater system has been working fairly well, though there have been a few problems. The main problem has been one of balance, while I don’t believe this would be an issue for established trees I do believe it cost me several newly planted trees do to saturated soil. My orchard plot has a slight fall from N-S consequently the southern end of the orchard stays wetter. Additionally I have a bit of a valley right down the middle, guess where I lost trees? Yup those in the valley and on the SW corner which is also a low spot. There are a combination of factors that caused this and I believe I have some solutions. But for today I wanted to show my short term fixes.

In the top of this picture is the main 3/4″ distribution pipe for my greywater system, you can just make out where I tapped into it with standard 5/8″ poly line.

This line travels down the center of my orchard and branches out into the sunken beds I have blogged about previously. Traditional flag drippers are used in these beds and now the greyawater is routed to here 5 days a week and only into the orchard mulch beds twice a week. The results have been dramatic.

The Squash, Comfrey, Melons, and Pumpkins in these beds have gone crazy, and the mulch beds in the Orchard have gone from soggy and a bit slimy underneath to pleasantly moist. The earthworms are still working their butts off and the remaining trees are looking very healthy. This revisiting and discussion of grey water was inspired by another Greywater Guerrilla over at Grasshopper Sense. Blog Posts tagged about greywater, grey water, or gray water are few and far between  and it’s encouraging to see someone else starting down the same path you find yourself on.

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Barney(s), Comfrey, and Mullberry’s

My Barney hatching went off OK I guess. A 25% hatch rate ain’t great but at least I got 4 cute little Barnevelder chicks in the brooder. WOW that sucks! I just went in to take a picture of my 4 Barney’s and noticed that two of them are having leg issues. 😦 Karen and I just put hobbles on them but I don’t have very big expectations, I tried this once before and all it did was delay the inevitable.

You can see the one in the foreground that is rocked back on his bum, him and the one behind him are the two having issues. They were fine yesterday, I wonder if I am doing something wrong during incubation? Karen thinks maybe the flock they came from is inbred? If you have any ideas let me know!

Tomorrow I am going to plant my two Mulberry trees, one positioned on the west end of my orchard to provide shade from our brutal afternoon sun. The other I am going to plant just on the outside of the Chicken run so that eventually its canopy will overhang the run to provide some shade and drop fruit into the run. Both trees need a little trimming so I bought some rooting hormone and am going to try propagating a couple new trees. While I’m at it I am going to cut a stalk from my Timber Bamboo and try potting up several cuttings to see if I can get the start of a windbreak going.

The 4 comfrey plants are going to be planted in my orchard, two at the head of the lanes between the first two rows. I think I am going to put the last two at the bottom of the center two lanes where the ground dips a bit causing the area to be a little moister than the rest. I’m not quite sure on that though, the idea of putting in a fourth 4’x4′ raised bed keeps popping back up in my head so we’ll see.

Lastly I am struggling with an egg eater(s), I have isolated the likely culprits but my egg production hasn’t gone back up. Before putting them in quarantine I would find 4 or 5 broken eggs a day now I’m not finding any broken eggs or shell remnants but am only finding 1 or 2 eggs daily.

If you have any advice I could sure use it on any of these issues.

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