Tag Archives: Bamboo

Life’s a Beach

Last Wednesday Karen and I escaped Vegas for an excursion to Southern California. As usual neither one of us is ever able to totally escape from the day to day grind but we sure tried. Running her own business, Gotbirds?, Karen has to take every opportunity she can to pick up supplies, we took the truck this time in order to deliver a bunkbed for our niece and nephew so we stopped at Magnolia Bird Farm. Frank and all the rest of the staff there are fantastic people and always treat Karen like she treats all of her customers. 600 pounds of seed, 3 pair of cinnamon zebra finches, and 2 pair of button quail later we were back on the road.I’m not sure if Arwen’s reaction was for us or the bunk beds but it was certainly great to see her, Grady and finally get to meet our newest niece, 3 month old Tess:We did manage to fit in a little beach time:Timber Bamboo also found a spot in our agenda thanks to Karen’s single minded focus. She knew I was looking for some to screen my orchard/chicken ranch from the street, but when we found it outrageously priced at a wholesale nursery in Oceanside I was ready to call it quits. Not Karen though, she somehow conned the guy helping us to call one of his “sources”. We ended up at Bamboo HQ in Vista. What a great place! I am so blessed to be married to Karen, she truly does not let anything stop her when she’s on a mission. They not only had the Oldhami Bamboo I was looking for but also a beautiful Jacaranda Tree that Karen had been trying to find for her sister.Saturday on the way to ride the train the kids helped me find a Mulberry tree at a nursery in Escondido. All in all we had a great extended weekend and came back with desperately needed supplies for Karen’s business along with plants for my Orchard/Chicken Ranch project.The Mulberry Tree replaced the very first one I planted this past spring that didn’t make it. This time I added more compost in a bigger area and also raised the planting a bit so as not to let it get wet feet.The bamboo went in slightly behind the pomegranates to provide screening during the winter. Once the Mulberries, Bamboo, and Pomegranates get established I plan on removing the evil, nasty oleanders that flank the gates and currently provide the bulk of the screening from the street.

Tagged , ,

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.

Tagged , , , ,
Laura Rittenhouse's Gardening Journal

Keeping Track of What's Growing When, Where and How

Sharon Salzberg

Life at the fruity chicken

The WordPress.com Blog

Life at the fruity chicken

The King of Isabelle Avenue

Tales from the hood

The Greening of Gavin

Life at the fruity chicken

the eff stop

Adventures of a shutterbug

The Fruity Chicken

Life at the fruity chicken

Crunchy Chicken

Life at the fruity chicken

Desert Horticulture

Life at the fruity chicken

My Pet Chicken Blog

Life at the fruity chicken

Beetle and Swan

Musings of awesomeness.