We received the rest of our chickens yesterday — two Okazaki Ouhan chicks that are two days old as I write this. Gisele and Patrice are doing well, and I’ll start gradually introducing them to their sisters in the next week or so.
Speaking of, the other chickens are getting much bigger and more feathery. They are now just about a month old. With the arrival of the two new babies and the nighttime temperatures gradually increasing, they spent their first night in the coop last night. They’ve been spending the days outside for the last week or so and then coming inside at night, which made them increasingly unhappy in their cramped brooder box. I wasn’t worried about the Boris Browns, since their feathers have come in pretty well. But I had some reservations about putting the Silkie out all night. Her feathers are still a little sparse, and she’s so much smaller than the other two. But they were all in a good mood when I opened the coop this morning to let them into their run, and they all resisted when it was time to lock them down in their coop this evening.
Sparkle and Mia
Kinu the Silkie, holding her own.
My garden is also in fine form, looking somewhat foresty from the right angle, and extremely green no matter where you are.
I planted my summer crops last week, and although it’s been quite rainy it hasn’t been very warm, so everything is in a holding pattern. The perennials, on the other hand, are going crazy.
My Black Locust is flowering for the first time, and oh my, does it smell fantastic. Can you spot the spider legs?
I hope spring is springing where ever you are. Happy Mother’s Day!
I was pleasantly surprised on Friday when the homecenter called to let me know that some of my chickens had arrived a week earlier than expected. Not a problem. I rushed over after work and chose two Boris Browns and 1 Silkie from two different boxes. My chicken-picking skills leave something to desired though. The Silkie I chose refused to eat and just stood unsteadily in one place crying. My zoo-keeping-bird-expert neighbor came over Saturday morning and gave us some pointers on how to try keeping the chick alive, but wasn’t too optimistic. After a call to the homecenter I went in and exchanged the ailing chick for a healthier one.
Getting these chickens a week early is fantastic, but I also learned the other two chickens I ordered, 2 Okazaki Ouhan, will be delayed until the middle of May. That might make things a little tricky raising two sets of chicks that are several weeks apart in age, but I think once they are all adults it should be fine.
I feel like you need to be careful when it comes to naming chickens. There are a lot of big time cliches, and I want to be able to address my chicken with pride. I planned on letting my children come up with names, but then my wife decided she wanted to name one, too. I’m reserving naming rights for at least one of the Okazai Ouhans, focusing on which Boston sports hero is most deserving of being the namesake of my chicken. But that’s conversation for another day. Without further ado, the three chickens, whose names I had nothing to do with.
Boris Brown #1 — ‘Sparkle,’ named by my son Ray.
Silkie — ‘Kinuko-chan,’ named by my wife, who, in a shocking turn of events, now spends most of the day hovering over the box of baby chickens muttering ‘kawaii.’ Kinu means silk in Japanese. Clever!
Boris Brown #2 — ‘Mia,’ named by my son Leo, after a Power Ranger.
After a few spits and starts, spring is fully underway here and, judging by the weather forecast for the next week, is here to stay. I’d say this is my favorite time of year, but I think I like high summer the best, when things are fully established for the season and growing like mad. The best thing about spring is that it eases all the anticipation that builds up for me waiting for the weather to warm up enough to spur things my garden back to to life. Here’s a load of pictures.
Maple, which will turn green once the leaves grow a bit.
Black Locust, one of my favorite trees in the garden, taking its sweet time.
Comfrey, coming on strong.
Cattail, dead and alive.
Wild Strawberries, looking especially genki.
Today I gave the white clover in my pathways its first haircut of the year.
I mixed the cut clover into my vegetable beds along with cow manure. I’ll plant veggies in two weeks or so.
The potatoes I planted a few weeks ago are already popping up.
Japanese Alder, which is competing with the Black Locust as the fastest growing tree in my yard. It also fixes nitrogen and will eventually provide some nice shade in the summer.
Side yard looking nice…really need to obscure that cement monstrosity though.
Spring, baby. Dig it. Off to bed with windows open.
I’ll get some more garden pictures up soon since things are starting to POP, but for now all I’ve got to offer is Episode 3 of my podcast. This week I’m talking about elementary school in Japan, and I’m also starting a new feature called ‘Plant of the Week’ in which I introduce some of my favorite plants.
The second episode of my new podcast is now online, in which I try to explain forest gardening as I understand it. There’s also a video tour of my garden on The Beanpod Podcast Facebook page. Check it out!