Wednesday, November 28, 2012


For those of you who think summer is the time for high garden yields, let me introduce you to fall in coastal North Carolina. I am buried in produce. I pulled up the one pepper plant, as a freeze was predicted, and found a heavy yield of late fruit hidden in the leaves. My first broccoli head was a full 10 inches across. I have fennel, lots and lots of fennel bulbs. Not shown here: two kinds of kale, arugula, and those mixed lettuces, plus a bed full of volunteer (self seeded) flat leaf parsley and a happy thyme plant! All I have to do is remember think of all this in August and September, planting time for my fall garden, and the rewards are great.

Oh, and now both of the young hens are laying. We are getting two eggs a day, as the ladies seem to be alternating days. What a thrill, but now I am back to figuring out what to do with 14 eggs a week.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Inspired Response

In response to the new hens' inspirational production of cream and green eggs, one of the pullets has graduated to hen! The first small pullet egg is on the right. It always is so much fun to get the first egg from a young hen. I am not sure, but I suspect this is from Frederica, who is a bit larger and more mature than Petronella. Soon we will see 4 eggs a day; well not too soon, but when the days lengthen.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Egg report!

Diana's eggs are pale greenish blue, and Michelle's are creamy beige. Now that we have two laying hens in the coop, maybe the youngsters will get the hint and start laying!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Let me introduce you

Before the big news from the garden, I have to mention that it is pecan season, and I purchased my annual 5 pounds yesterday. Sadly, I found that Mr. Gooding, the gentleman that I saw each year for this purchase, died last winter. These are not quite as perfectly shelled and picked over, but the new owner of the equipment is learning. I toasted them in a 350 degree F oven for 15 minutes, and will freeze them after they cool. Both processes keep the natural oils from going rancid.

So, now the big news: I was offered some beautiful hens. Not just averagely attractive, but gorgeous and just under one year old. I could not pass this up! So I asked a friend who told me that a lovely gentleman that I know would take my older ladies to his little farm. For now they will join the laying flock, especially Lena and Pauline, who still lay regularly. They will free range and make friends with the other hens and goats.

In their place, let me introduce Michelle (the black and gold) and Dianna (the "blue" Americana). As soon as I see what color egg each lays, I will share it with you!

I sneaked the new ladies into the coop and onto the perch in the dark of night, when all 4 were in that dopey stage chickens go into at night. This morning is going pretty well so far!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Salad Days

The salad days of fall are in full swing in my garden.  The bed of mixed lettuces is thriving, and we have a salad every night now.  The leaves are so tender that I must take extra care not to bruise them when I wash off any grit!  Fresh chard leaves (from the ONE plant that survived) fit in perfectly.

Here you see freshly washed and spun lettuces, the 4x3 bed where they grew (more than enough for two and for occasional gatherings), plus my first ever fennel and celery salad from that beautiful fennel you saw in the last post.  It was spectacular:  very mild and crunchy and fresh tasting.

There is not much else going on in the gardens.  The tide came up around the beds during the storm, but the soil was already saturated, so I am not seeing any signs of salt injury.  The hens (and new pullets) remain on strike due to short daylight hours and fall molting.  I am starting to really miss fresh eggs, so I hope the new girls, Petronella and Frederica, get in gear soon and don't wait till spring.  All in all, it is a lovely fall in the gardens and coops.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hidden things

Every year I forget the carrots, quietly hidden underground below feathery tops. Then, on a day like today, I notice them, and check, and find a few sweet beauties ready to eat. These were great! At about 6 inches long they are tender and sweet. You see the garlic growing in the background.

The other photo is my dock, usually 3 feet above the marsh, almost hidden by the tides that came with the edge of last week's hurricane. She stayed far out to sea as she passed our coast, and we lost only one small board from the dock.

Friday, November 2, 2012

After the storm

We had lots of wind and high tides from hurricane Sandy, along with rain. As always, the wind is my worst enemy in the vegetable garden.

The fall vegetables with thick, waxy leaves, like kale and broccoli, came through well. Although the huge broccoli plants did blow over on their sides, I think they will be fine. The fennel, as you can see, was unscathed!

The story is different for the lone squash plant, with it's big tender leaves. It is a mess. With almost no time before frost, it is unlikely to produce much regrowth.