Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chicken Rental

Meet Gladys and Clarice, the chickens who lived with us for about a week and a half.  Since my brother starting raising chickens, I've wanted some, too.  But we have significantly less space in New York City than he does in Arizona.  

Now that we do have an outdoor space, though, we decided to have a chicken test run--maybe it would work out.  We were ready: we built a coop, bought some hay and feed, then went to our friend's Connecticut farm to pick them up.  They came home and got comfortable pretty quick; we had our first egg later that day.  The cats were both excited and terrified, but were certainly fascinated about the new strange things in the yard. By the end of the week, however, Melvin was comfortable enough to lounge out under the coop.

Our first egg was Clarice's and it was blue.  She's the darker Ameraucana, and Gladys is the brown one. Poor Gladys  tended to get pecked by Clarice, but she was definitely the more friendly of the two.

They both went crazy for greens.  We donated our cilantro to keep them away from the ferns and bleeding hearts, and then we bought them some kale which they devoured with crazy intensity.

When the cats first would get too close for comfort, the chickens would start making this "get away" cluck, and then the cats would get scared and run off.  Eventually Melvin realized that the chickens were too big to be food, and he was allowed to be outside if he ignored them.  I'm sure that if there was a scuffle, the chickens would come out on top, though.

They were great to have, but they did decimate some of our plants (see above)  and while the mess didn't really bother me (chicken poop is way easier to clean up than dog poop), the flies it attracted did. There just wasn't enough open space to get away from the flies. So we took them home again and came home with easier to care for plants. But one day we will continue our adventures with chickens.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rainy Garden

One reason we've been busy lately is that we've spent every free moment (and there haven't been many) on our garden.  When we first got here, it was a tiny concrete slab surrounded by warehouses. Remember the baby ferns from the first teasings of spring? Some of them have grown up, but some are still unfurling.  I've also been on a fern buying spree for the past few weeks; every time I see one I like, I'll snatch it up... but now I'm having a hard time placing all of them!  

We've been planting hosta, sedum, moss, impatiens and morning glory.  Hopefully it can stand the shade until it becomes tall enough to catch the sun--they all have string trellises to climb.  And I want to get some begonias, but I'll have to build some more wooden planters, since I'm out of container space right now.

We repurposed the planter in the back (it was an old media center that was about to get tossed to the curb) and we will be building benches one day soon, but my favorite place to sit is the swing:

It's the perfect place to sit and have a cup of tea in the morning. We made a small table that sits next to it and is perfect for a cup and plate of cookies. There's also a surprise that will be coming soon...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It's that time of year again

And another visit to trash beach.  I love the waste knob and the sugar tongs.  The pawn was a pretty fabulous find, too; it's solid iron! These were found on a miserable day a few weeks ago, but now that it's a bit warmer I'll have to go again soon...

 yay trash!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Spring Forest

I know, it's been a while, but there has been a lot going on lately.  Last Sunday we took a break from life in the big city and toured the forest upstate. It was a lovely day, and the weather couldn't have been more perfect: warm and sunny in the morning, cool and overcast in the afternoon.

It was so nice to spend time outside in nature (well, as nature as it gets around here)

a morel mushroom?  We didn't test it out.
I really did love the ferns--they were everywhere!

These tiny red ferns were growing on a patch in the middle of a stream;
I only saw them once and they were my favorites.  
Liverworts and moss (some of my favorites)
But my favorite was the salamander who was hiding in an old, rotten log. Isn't he cute?