Grabbed the camera and went for a walk around my beautiful gardens and snapped pictures of what grabbed my eye. I just love how our place is creatively evolving ❤
This was planted from a mixed Asian greens seed packet, but i’m guessing that it’s Pak Choi… Oh joy!!! ❤
Our cold frame full of baby plants: heirloom tomatoes, green ice lettuce & black seeded simpson lettuce, green sprouting broccoli, garnet amaranth, and kentucky wonder & burgandy bush beans. Outside the coldframe you see our strawberries beginning to get ripening berries and runners!
Another greens patch- this has many kinds of Asian Greens Mix, and Lolla Rossa Red Lettuce and Green Ice Lettuce. Also returning from last year we have New Zealand Spinach (yum!) and this other leafy plant that I am not so sure of it’s identity yet. I thought Viola, but am not so sure. Also, the coldframe behind it, is being prepared to plant into for a summer harvest of maters, lettuce, basil, onions, & carrots.
Our carrot bed.
Another greens bedded in a small cold frame
Coldframe Cluster Spring 2016
After we planted a couple hierloom maters (solar flair & pink berkely tie-dye maters to be exact)
Hardy Kiwi maddness
Blueberry bush, behind it is my wormwood, and on the other side of the path you see our main strawberry bed.
Looking in the trailhead to the orchard. You see the kid’s pool and the Orchard Colony.
Wormwood maddness! Behind the wormwood you see one of our peach trees.
We call this the V-colony, nestled into the hillside in our front yard.
Horseradish madness! Behind it you see my catnip plant. The cats roll around in the catnip and chew the leaves, so cute.
My hill-billy goats enjoying their hillside full of browse.
Basil munching on the elm sapplings.
Marlee saying praises to our domestication of our wild blackberry bush! YES!
We used one of the sidewall rings left over from when we used the tire as a garden bed.
Grapevine, this is the Reliance vine
A pic from the other side of the orchard, looking at the Orchard Colony.
I ❤ our orchard 🙂
Yard Long Asian Green beans, Zuccini, and sweet corn
Our corn cluster- lined with marigolds, sweet peas and nasturtiums
The same corn bed from up the hill a lil bit
The Marshmallow I have growing just above the raspberry canes and grapevines.
The Heritage Red Raspberries
Elder, just above (North) of our tire terrace.
Shiro Plum tree with a crazy happy comfrey growing at the base.
Marlee with our new cucumber beds, planted also with bush beans and marigolds.
Marlee in front of the grapes.
Marlee behind one of my heirloom Mt Barnes Yellow tomato plant.
Armenian cucumbers, radishes, sunflower & peas
Hard Shell Tomatoes
My billygoats, doing a good job
Down the hill from the V-colony, we can see the growout pen of phase-1.
Our main strawberry patch
The catnip bush
Citrouille De Touraine Winter Squash
Growout cage, mama and her babies, getting ready to be weaned.
growout pen of phase-2
Planted our keyhole beds with tomato seedlings, pepper seedlings and direct sowed basil.
The back of the original rabbitry. We finally got Virginia Creeper to climb the wall of our rabbitry, this will help keep them cooler in the summer, and be beautiful. Just behind the wall, you see our Red Maple we planted the first year we got here. It was a tiny 2 ft long twig… now look at it!
The ducks (Dinky) testing out our little seedling protector cages.
holding up! The day after we planted the peppers and maters, some of them were squashed flat. The ducks like to walk around and eat bugs out of the beds. So instead of sticking plastic forks pokey side up in my garden beds, we made these mini-cages to protect the plants so the ducks can keep on free ranging.
Tomato seedling protector – made from scrap wire fencing.
A pepper all safe
My lettuce bed again, I love greens 🙂
Pole beans, beginning to shoot out their climbers
baby green ice lettuce plant, protected from slugs with egg shells
Got the poles up for the trellis on our keyhole beds
Now we are excited! Today we got the colony out in the yard ready for rabbits to live in, and we moved in our Mother of all breeders and two of her granddaughters into it! Today was the first time her cute little feet have touched the earth! It feels so good to finally have her out of a cage, she has sure earned it. We are calling this one ‘Colony V’, because the doe of whom I speak is named Violet, and ‘V’ is my nickname for her. Her granddaughters are Poppy, and Rowan. This is a big step for us, moving the breeders out of hanging cages into these super fun colonies where they can have happier lives.
Exploring their new digs
Such my cute girls
We built a platform on the end where the steep slope makes lots of room between the ground and the top of the run. This increases their floor space, and gives the girls a chance to “get away from each other” if they need to.
The beginning of Gram’s Garden. What can I say, I love circles, and repurposing old “throw away” stuff. A friend of ours had a whole bunch of old tractor tires and said we could have them. I thought they would be perfect for the Memorial Garden for my beloved Grandmother, Dorothy Lake.
Tim used a drill to poke a hole near the edge of the tire, where we wanted to cut out the wall, for more space for growing flowers. Then he took his trusty little jig-saw and made it happen.
This took a while, these tires are huge, and thick, but he managed.
As a side note I decided to put together some cold hardy seedlings in our cold frame/hot beds just to see what happens.
Almost done, when the saw blade broke and we had to search to find more.
Luckily Tim had a couple extras and was able to finish.
Now to place the tire. Time to dig, since living on a slope makes everything tilt, we had to make a level spot.
Yay, rocks, and roots and clay, oh my!
Cute little Milkyway being curious as ever
Finally got it level, now the next step, cut the other wall out.
Done! Lookit all that space we must now fill… oy
To show how big these tires are, my cute little super-sheros, Rynae & Marlee
Using what we’ve learned from our experience with hugelkultur we rounded up some well rotted logs and sticks and lined the bottom.
Threw the dirt back in
Marlee being cute
Here is our progress on Gram’s Garden so far. We have some time yet to finish filling the bed with our constant flow of rabbit manure, goat manure and compost before the weather is ripe for planting.
How super exciting for us! We just moved 2 bucks into their new homes today, both of them seem to like the change.
Such a beautiful day to spend in the orchard building rabbit colonies with my hubby, and kids. The girls enjoyed painting together while we worked on this project.
The girls enjoying today’s wonderful weather to paint with their water colors.
Being friends and sharing colors
Where we started this morning on this colony. These smaller areas are for the breeder bucks. We keep them in their own mini-colony box & run, so we can still control breeding within the colonies.
Sancho in his new home. This was the first time he has literally touched the earth since we’ve had him… quite possibly his first time ever and he’s over 3 years old. He had so much fun digging and rolling in the dirt 🙂 It’s nice to see him get to express his bunny habits
Both the boys in their hidee-holes. On the left you see the broken black buck, his name is Pedro. Then there is our starbuck, Sancho.
Their cages as the sun sets
They seem to like their new digs.
Magik beans, given to me by a friend, I’m excited to get them going, and collect seeds 😀
We hoped to get this colony finished before any of the does in our other colony kindle, we hoped that we could finish up today so we could move 3 of the 6 into this one. So tomorrow we are determined to get this colony done, and possibly the buck box next to it.
We are using 1/2″x 1/2″ welded wire to secure the perimeter walls, and 1″ chicken wire lining the bottom to prevent digging out. Tomorrow we’ll build a frame for the top, put the welded wire on it to enclose the run. This way the rabbits can enjoy outside anytime they want, day or night. We are excited to get our entire herd moved out into these cute little colonies.
Here is the space we picked to dig in and permenently set this colony cottage (known now as Colony Cottage Alpha)
We dug out the area so the cottage sat level
Put in the gate
Put in the gate
Attached some ‘j-feeders’ for pellets and oats
Here is the temporary run
Cute bunnies enjoying the cottage
Here is today’s progress. The run area is temporary, we plan to build a much better enclosed run so the rabbits can go in and out of the cottage day or night. We just needed to get this temporary run in place to accommodate the rabbits we bought from another rabbiteer recently.
We are in the process of building our second small colony, we plan to locate this one out in or orchard. Here is the little doe house we built out of free pallet boxes. We’ll put a big enclosed run off the front of this once we carry it out there, dig into the hillside to make a level spot. Here is how far we have gotten. We are calling these Colony Cottages!
We are planning to build a cluster of these colony cottages with enclosed pens in several locations. We hope to convert our entire rabbitry to colonies… this is where it starts.
My first Rabbit Stew was incredible! The kids were begging to have the left-overs for lunch today 🙂
One 3.75 lb rabbit made a stew that will feed us 3 times, I was able to store 2 meals worth of stew in the freezer for future dinners after eating a big helping the first night.
Recipe: I started first thing in the morning, took my big stock pot, put the dressed rabbit (bones and fat intact) in the stock pot, filled the pot with water and 1/4 cup of raw apple cider vinegar, and one coarsely chopped medium red onion and about 10 cloves of garlic, chopped and smashed. I put the flame on med-high till it began to boil, stirring occasionally. Then I turned the heat down to low and let it slow cook all day, half the day with the cover on. By early evening (around 4pm) the meat was falling off the bones nice and easy, so I picked out all the bones, added chopped carrots, celery, chopped potatoes, a cup of rice and some noodles. Then I added salt, pepper, turmeric, parsley, a pinch of rosemary and let the noodles and rice finish becoming tender. Then I threw together some from scratch biscuits.
I read many recipes for rabbit stew and all of them called for chicken stock, well I wanted to taste the rabbit, not chicken so I made the stock from the rabbit bones. DELISH! I can officially say, Rabbit Stew is my favorite! Still tastes a lot like chicken, just slightly different. Hard to put a finger on how it’s different, it just is. lol
This time of year homemade soup stock is so healing and great for the immune system, I love homegrown!
Here is a picture of the stew I made out of the rabbit soup.
From what I have read about growing fodder, is that it doubles if not quadruples in weight upon sprouting for 7-10 days. So I decided to do an experiment.
I took 1 cup of wheat berries and weighed them, then again after soaking 24 hours, then again each day, up to day 5. I didn’t go past day 5 because the sprouts draw flies, so I moved the experiment outside rather than the counter inside. This climate change seemed to adversely affect the sprouts, so I’ll have to start over again and try to make it to at least 7 days.
Here is the info I collected over the 5 days.
1 cup of dry/dormant wheat seed = 7.5 oz or 0.46 lbs
Sprouting day 1, After 24 hour soak = 12.02 oz or 0.76 lbs
Sprouting day 2 = 12.7 oz or 0.79 lbs
Sprouting day 3 = 13.8 oz or 0.86 lbs
Sprouting day 4 = 16.2 oz or 1.0125 lbs
Sprouting day 5 = 14.7 oz or 0.918 lbs
So the mat of wheat berries lost a little weight on day 5, but I hadn’t watered it yet, so that may have made a difference. Plus I don’t think the wheat liked the container I had it in. I will update this post after I have more data.