May 26, 2012

Backyard Poultry, Iris and Harvesting Spinach


THE GARDEN IS ABUNDANT AROUND MEMORIAL DAY - SIBERIAN IRIS' STRUT THEIR STUFF IN THE PERENNIAL BORDER BUT CHORES START EARLY IN THE MORNING AND END LATE IN THE EVENING.

Why does it all have to happen at once!  Last week, the weather was cool and damp, this weekend, hot, humid and suddenly, everything in the garden takes off.  We all know that in America, Memorial Day marks the time when anything can be planted in the garden - tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, peppers and most every summer vegetable as now the night time temperatures shift from cool to warm. But is always surprises me how in just a few days, everything can grow. The cut flower sweet peas are growing about 4 inches a day, in the garden, turnips, radishes and spinach are being harvests, and this week will bring the first of the spring green onions. The solstice may be three weeks away, but suddenly, it is summer.


SPINACH FROM ONE RAISED BED HAS BEEN HARVESTED, FILLING TWO LARGE STAINLESS STEEL BOWLS. 
 I harvested the spinach last night. It's been a few years since I've grown spinach, as one needs to plant long beds in order to get enough for a few meals. Spinach is a treat. A half pound of seed sown seven weeks ago in just one raised bed planted will feed two of us, barely twice. A very impractical crop for the home gardener, it should be grown just for pleasure, and not for survival.  As I've mentioned before, I try to grow a few treats just for guilty pleasure ( sure - and health, but then, it's only one meal of health! So who am I fooling?). The spinach bed, now harvested, will be planted with a new crop of pickling cucumbers tomorrow, but before that, we enjoyed a lunch of 2 pounds of spinach. That's it. Our indulgence.  Spinach, freshly rinsed by a spring rain was simply sauteed in butter which, OK... is completely deviating from our whole food plant based diet ( no butter or dairy), there are just some deviances allowed - since these are seasonal treats - fresh garden asparagus, spinach and sweet peas in spring, deserve fresh, dairy butter and salt, so we splurged, and lived for a moment of garden bliss.

TWO POUNDS OF FRESH ORGANIC GARDEN GROWN SPINACH COOKS DOWN TO A MERE ONE CUP, BUT OH, SUCH A TREAT.

NO SPINACH  FOR FERGUS, HE JUST HAD TO WATCH HOWEVER BEGGING FOR EVEN JUST A LEAF. HE WAS GETTING SICK OF BEGGING FOR TOFU.

WE SERVED THE SPINACH ON TOAST, AND POACHED TWO DUCK EGGS ALONG WITH A GOOSE EGG TO REALLY POLISH OFF THE LUNCH BEFORE HEADING BACK OUT INTO THE GARDEN.

BABY TURKEY'S ARRIVED!
Our late Margaret loved 'raising' her own brood of geese, ducks and chickens, but not Lydia. She has already killed some pheasants and quail, to her, they are just peeps. So we need to keep an eye on her. Fergus just gets jealous because these chicks are getting food and he isn't.

POULTS, OR BABY TURKEYS SPENT THE DAY ON THE LAWN IN THE BACK GARDEN, UNTIL THEIR NEW COOP COULD BE FINISHED NEAR WHERE WE KEEP THE PHEASANTS AND GEESE. THIS IS A BUSY WEEK IN THE GARDEN HERE, CHICKS ( THE BLACK CHICK ON THE LEFT) OF BARRED ROCK HENS, TURKEYS. DUCKLINGS AND BABY PHEASANTS ALL COMING AT THE SAME TIME.
Our poults arrived today from two farms in Rhode Island along with some chicks so we can have chickens. We decided to raise turkeys this year, selected three heritage breeds to raise this year for Thanksgiving and winter meat ( I know - vegetable based diet? Only until July!). Joe chose the Narraganset poults since they are not only a local breed, they will be sturdy given our climate here in New England. We stuck with local breeds, adding in some Barred Rock chickens, some crosses between local breeds, as well as two other turkey breeds that I forget not ( I'll have to ask Joe in the morning). It takes 28 weeks for turkeys to get fattened up for market, so these poults really will be ready for slaughter ( eew - that will be another issue!) by the winter holidays.

THIS BLACK CHICK IS A BARRED ROCK CROSS.



A PRICKLY HORNED POPPY BLOOMS IN ONE OF THE ALPINE TROUGHS.

2 comments :

  1. The photo of the dogs checking out the turkey carrier is absolutely priceless!

    ReplyDelete
  2. hopflower10:19 AM

    Little Fergus is adorable. And what a range you people have to cook on! That is a dream come true.

    ReplyDelete

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