chickens…not in my back yard!

i bought 5 layer chicks in march or 2014 and gave myself a year to try out backyard livestock, however after 10 months it was time to cut the experiment short. the birds were easy and provided an abundance of eggs, too many in fact (or not, if you are one of our neighbours.) in hindsight i think 3 hens would have been plenty.

there is no denying that fresh laid eggs are the best! i might also add that home-grown chickens soon become another pet and are fun to have around with their constant banter and attractive plumage.

the reasons for ending the experiment are three-fold:

cost to maintain – break even or loss for feed, bedding and other supplies vs. value of eggs. i can buy fresh, free range eggs locally at a competitive price.

maintenance – as an avid gardener i looked forward to the « free » fertilizer i would get from the chickens. alas, there was much more than i bargained for. the volume was overwhelming my compost with the mixture of dropping and the shavings that i used for the coop floor. it did not help that my water system popped and flooded the coop, adding to the chore.

nuisances – rodents! in a short time i had rats even though i was diligent in storing feed and cleaning the area. within a two week period i trapped 5 large rats and discovered a nest in my garden with 5 young ones. since shipping the chickens off i have had no further signs of rats or even mice. the second nuisance was odour! and this i blame on both the volume of wast and the size of my yard. i believe it is best to have a fairly large property if you are going to raise chickens, ideally large enough to move the coop, run and compost well away from your residence. unfortunately the coop was a mere 8 metres from the house and the compost even closer!

finally, commitment. unless you have very obliging neighbours or friends you are pretty much committed to staying home year round. it is critical that the birds be fed and watered routinely and that a safe environment is available, which entails letting them out in the morning and locking them up at night.

the chickens, should you be concerned, were sold to a pleasant woman who has a five acre free range operation not far from where i live. i suspect the chickens are much happier with so many friends and more space than i could ever give them.

next task, take down the coop and run and create another garden for more vegetable…i’m sure it will be productive as it will have been well fertilized.



tomato sauce…

the taste of summer in january!  priceless.

yesterday we roasted another 40 pounds of tomatoes from our summer harvest. today we put it through the food mill to make sauce.  so tasty with garlic, olive oil, herbs and seasoning.  my partner  is busy preparing  kidney beans we grew, for a large batch of chill,  which will go in the freezer. the only thing not from the garden is the roast beef!  if i had a few acres that would be home-grown too:)

to top the day off, tony, our neighbour dropped off a couple of kilo of home-made smoked italian sausage…i think it’s a reward for all the smoke that comes our way…kidding, he’s just a nice guy.  i had one for lunch simmered in tomato sauce…heaven!

bon appetit


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chanterelle mushrooms

we have the best neighbours!

aside from the many lessons and food gifts we get, our neighbour tony and wife dora are too generous by far.

we ate the last of the pine mushrooms we got from them this morning, in an omelette.  just in time to dry sauté the large bag of chanterelles they gave us yesterday!  i love the nutty smell as they release and reabsorb the moisture they hold….mmmmm.  after sautéing them for about 10 minutes i chop them finer and portion them for freezing.  we’ll use them up by early next spring.

with thanks to good neighbours.

chanterelle mushrooms
a kilo of fresh chanterelles
it takes two to start
it takes two to start
chanterelles being sautéed
so good…mmm
chanterelles chopped
chopped ready to portion
chanterelles portioned to freeze

our first fig!

…actually our only fig:)

our neighbour, tony,  gave us a young fig tree last year which successfully rooted.  alas it produced only one fig this year but promises greater abundance next year as it has several immature figs spread about its branches.

i split it 50/50 with my partner.  it was delicious.  happily,  tony’s wife dora gives us enough of theirs to keep us content.

lone fig for2013
lone fig for 2013


feels so good…

gardening has been a fantastic experience for my first year…still a while to go too.  tonight we are having sautéed broad beans with bacon and onions thanks to our next door neighbours Tony and Dora with homemade bread thanks to my partner to be followed by fresh (early) apple pie from another neighbour Lois and Ed.  All passed over the garden fences.  yesterday i gave beets to the  neighbour behind us so they could make borscht with their mom and lettuce and carrots to Rick across the street.  With tonight’s dinner we will be drinking home made merlot from yet another neighbour two houses down from us Randy and Cheryl.   Gotta love living in small town b.c.   we sure picked the right spot to build our house on.  call me happy;)

p.s. i bought a fishing rod and hope to have fresh salmon before the season ends…only a block from the back door.