Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Urban Farming Frustrations

AKA "Building Your Own Raised Beds"

This project seemed so simple at the beginning. We plotted out exactly where we wanted the beds, their sizes and wrote down the building materials. Then we want to the local hardware/building supply center on the Saturday of Fourth of July weekend. We thought we could buy all the materials and have the beds finished over the holiday weekend - ha ha ha ha ha ha....

First it took us forever to get someone to help us. Then we realized we couldn't fit the boards for the long sides of the beds into our car (16 feet long into a CRV - I don't think so!) so I arranged for delivery on Monday morning. I still had hopes we could build these suckers Monday afternoon. Well, Monday morning comes and I pull out from my car the small boards that did fit into my car, and noticed they are the wrong size. I wanted 2x6s, they gave my 2x4s. I had to call Anawalt, as they were going to deliver the wrong size long boards in the next few hours. I got the lumber issue sorted out and all the correctly sized lumber arrived that afternoon, along with a bout of the flu for my husband, resulting in instant building postponement as this is definitely a two person job.

So, last weekend we finally completed ONE bed! Yes, one. This one bed took 40 bags of organic potting soil ($$$$) so the resulting vegetables will officially be known as the "world's most expensive vegetables" - that is, when we get vegetables. We have so many other things to do that our slow progress and the overwhelming expense of this project is really annoying! We have to lay down wood to secure the bottom of the chicken wire fence (those little monsters keep escaping under the fence) and we haven't even begun to landscape the front yard. Arghhhhhhh!!!

Enjoy this slideshow detailing our pathetic journey in building one raised garden bed:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Line at the Ladies' Room

Looking out the back door the other day, I witnessed a line up at the door to the Eglu! It seemed all the ladies had to lay an egg at the same time. :) Maude was in the nesting box and Wanda and Lottie were waiting their turn outside. Eventually everyone got their time in the nesting box and we got three eggs that day.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Neighbors' chickens ruffle feathers in Bishop -

Interesting article on chicken-keeping in the LA Times. I can't believe Bishop of all places is up in arms about this! It's in the middle of nowhere.

Neighbors' chickens ruffle feathers in Bishop -

Friday, July 2, 2010

Hen Habitat

So, what started out as removing dead grass from our front lawn turned into a whole yard landscaping project. I mean, once you've rented a dumpster you might as well get rid of EVERYTHING you don't want, right? (...and install new sprinkler systems, and add manure, etc. :)

So, the hens have a new habitat. Instead of running amok and pooping on our patio, they are now confined to their own special area at the back of the yard. Don't feel too sorry for them, because they will soon have a hen paradise back there! All the dead sod has been removed and composted material has been rototilled into the soil. They have about 500 square feet of dirt bathing heaven now. The other half of their back area will be planted with alfalfa so they can graze to their heart's content. We'll rotate them between the two areas, giving the alfalfa time to grow before it is pillaged by the ladies. Here's the new setup:

We're going to put two raised beds in the area in front of the hen habitat, and also plant a bed next to the garage at the right of the front area. A gravel path will extend between the two raised beds to the hen habitat. This place is REALLY starting to feel like an urban farm!

The front yard is getting new, drought tolerant landscaping, consisting of lavender, rosemary, sage and an orange tree. Yippee! I'll post before and after photos once there's something to look at.

Although I'll miss the ladies' little faces at the back door, I won't miss their big, messy poops on the patio!

P.S. - If anyone else is interested in taking out their sod or putting in a new sprinkler system, Mike the Rototiller Guy is AMAZING! Here's his website: and he has a ton of positive reviews on Yelp.