Wednesday, September 30, 2009

eggcellent news from the hippychick universe - egg prices bringing a smile to you!

hey hey hey hippychick is ready to share some eggcellent news that is good for you!


hippychick's super-d-lovely organic eggs can now be had for the most eggcellent price of $3.75 per dozen. (formerly 4 bucks per doz)
  • save a quarter
  • eat organic
  • eat local
  • enjoy enjoy
  • meet your farmer *all eggs delivered by hippychick herself

super-d-lovely eggs come in fresh from the girls each and everyday
hippychick's cheery chickenychickenchicas are raised in small town bastrop texas


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

ms. darla it is

here she is folks - ms. darla - the newest addition to the hippychick universe - a sweet young lady armed with charming affections that may break even her toughest challenger, mr. termite. he seems quite smitten with the little lady actually.

it looks like the he-man woman hater's club may be down one member. there have been witnessed nose touching sightings and evidence of the two fuzzy creatures sleeping on the cushy bed at the same time. mr. t has so far allowed ms. darla to eat out of his foodie dish as long as the favor is returned.

opera is proving a bit harder to charm. time will tell on that front but up to now, he has no interest what so ever in the newly moved in female. he is a declared bachelor all the way and besides it is his turf yeah?

she's a sweetie. she conquered me in a short 48 hours. then again, i am the softest of the bunch.

i love them all - and i miss them - this on the road thing, away from the creature family is tough. i look forward to a quick return. cheers folk

Sunday, September 13, 2009

taste test





the up and comers - hippychick's wee victory chickens

the future victory chicken kiddos currently growing strong in the brooder

Easter Eggers - are not a breed per se, but a variety of chicken that does not conform to any breed standard but lays large to extra large eggs that vary in shade from blue to green to olive to aqua and sometimes even pinkish. Easter Eggers vary widely in color and conformation, and are exceptionally friendly and hardy. Since they are usually quite friendly to children and humans in general, they are a great choice for a family flock.

New Hampshire Reds - New Hampshire Reds are derived directly from Rhode Island Reds, and over the years they've changed so much from selective breeding that they've come to be recognized as a new breed. The New Hampshire Red differs from the Rhode Island in that it's faster to grow and feather out, it matures early and it's even more vigorous.

Marans - Marans are "chocolate eggers" meaning their eggs are a deep chocolate brown color. Marans are a "must" for your flock!

Ancona - The Ancona has a "mottled" color pattern of black with white spots, and both Single Comb & Rose Comb varieties are accepted by the American Poultry Association. Like other Mediterranean breeds, Anconas are closely feathered, active, good foragers and good layers. The Ancona is also extremely hardy in cold weather. white eggs - excellent layer

Buff Minorca - developed in Spain, Single Comb Clean Legged, white skin. The Minorca is an excellent hot weather bird, early maturing, is a layer of large white eggs. Largest Mediterranean, extra large eggs.

Australorp - Australorps are the Australian take on the Orpington breed. They are calm and friendly, and excellent layers of light brown eggs. The Australorp's exceptionally soft, shiny black plumage has hints of green and purple in the sunlight. Peaceful and dignified, Australorps are an absolutely delightful bird which we highly recommend to anyone who wants a pet chicken that lays dependably.

Speckled Sussex - The Sussex have everything: they are great layers of tinted or light brown eggs--and they lay right through the coldest weather. They are dual purpose birds, though: fat-bodied and not prone to flying when mature, so they are easily fenced. In England, they used to be THE standard table bird, before the modern Cornish Crosses came along. They forage well and are economical eaters that are friendly and easily handled. Their curious nature means they will often follow you around the yard if they think they can beg a treat from you. The "speckled" variety offered here has plumage that gives them some camouflage from predators, too. Many tend to get more speckles after each successive molt, so they just get prettier with age. Seriously, what more could you ask for in a chicken?

Golden Laced Wyandotte - Golden Laced Wyandottes are a wonderful example of American breeding. They are beautiful, productive, and a favorite amongst backyard flock owners for their dependable egg laying, easy going nature and cold hardiness. Each feather is tawny gold edged in beetle black, similar to Golden Sebrights. The hens look as if they're decked out for a night on the town! Wyandottes have a heavy body and small rose comb which makes this breed perfect for cold climates because they are not prone to frostbite. The hens are hardy, energetic and faithful layers.

I wish to thank my pet chicken and the folks who keep up the henderson's chicken breed chart for their great collection of chicken breed information.

victory chickens - 10-12 week rare & heritage breed chickens available


hippychick's victory chickens - all birds raised on coyote creek organic chicken feed - twelve and ten week old organically fed rare and heritage breed pullets and 1 welsummer rooster.

most girls are at twelve weeks old with a hatching date of june 21 2oo9.

the welsummer pair are younger - they are at ten weeks of age with a hatching date of july 5 2009.


* appenzeller spitzhauben - developed in switzerland centuries ago. beautiful speckled ladies with black fluffy top head feathers. layer of white eggs. (2 available)


* barred plymouth rock - developed in america in the middle of the 19th century and was first exhibited as a breed in 1869. layer of brown eggs (2 available)

* welsummer - developed in holland in the 20th century. layer of terracotta colored eggs. (1 pullet & 1 rooster *sold as a pair* as it is clear that they have bonded)


also two girls who are not rare or heritage in breed but are great egg laying birds to add to your flock

* black sex link - is the result of crossing two purebred standard breeds; the rhode island red rooster and the barred rock hen. - (2 available)

$20 per bird
all sales cash only
limited numbers available - claim your babies now
please email your breed preference to hippychickenfarmer@gmail.com

there's a new kid in town

i think the girl is sticking around - boy oh boy did she know the right home to stop in at - sucker-ville right here! now we ponder her name - i have asked her what she thinks - i am sure she'll let me know as the days pass.

she's got herself a home - a home right here in the hippychick universe. that makes two boy kitties and a wee little girl kitty - let's hope she can sweeten up the boys as she sweetened up me. termite surprisingly is doing quite well with her - fingers crossed that opera warms up too.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

wee baby purrkitty needs a home

looking for a home for this wee sweet thing

this wee little babe stopped by today - mewing and mewing - skinny thing - smart enough to know just the right home to visit

she's cute as can be - loves her belly rubbed - loves kisses on her forehead - is a good eater - purrs constantly and cuddles cuddles cuddles
llllllllllitykppgzss5 - she enjoys walking across the laptop
- sleeping on my chest and has a super sweet little mew -

she'll be staying with me until we find her a good home
if you are in and around the bastrop/austin texas area and are interested in adopting this little cuddle button do let me know.

she is for sure, a heart breaker
and
free to a good home



transition and growth

aquamelon, red - green okra and pablano peppers

good news folks - rain has blessed bastroptown. the rain began early last eve and continued on through the night til near 6am. i woke several times through the night falling quickly back to sleep thanks to the gentle pattering of rain upon the roof above.

this morning's stroll about the yard was mushy and green. the bees were sticking close to home yet out and about ready for the sun's breaking through. there is action now around hive 2. more action than i have seen in a while. i'm making efforts to leave the hive be for a few days before peeking in. best to wait for a sunny dry day so as to disturb the hive's inner temperature least.

i have been freezing the frames that were plagued with wax moth larvae - freezing knocks them out but preserves the food stores the bees have worked so hard to collect. some of the frames were so plagued that i think better to freeze, then scrape the whole lot out before offering it up to the hive. better a fresh start in some cases. for now they work with fresh wax frames in a fresh super.

i did return the first cycled frames to the hive yesterday. i checked in on the queen and noticed that she had not yet made it out of her traveling package. the candy had not been eaten through enough so i pulled it out and gave her a little nudge out. i am going to give her a week to see how things go. i may then pull bees in a super from hive one to combine with hive two. there is not a whole lot of time for the queen to build up the necessary numbers to survive the winter so i plan to do what i can to help. we are in a milder climate and we are heading towards one of our productive flow periods so i remain hopeful. fingers are crossed.

in other news -
i have removed the shade covers from each of the beds as the temperatures have been hanging in the mid 80's and low 90's. a more than fair relief from our too hot summer.

i pulled apart a garden bed this early morning. i harvested the one remaining aquamelon perfectly ripe and ready for the taking. the greens and vines and weedy bits made their way into the chickeny coops where the girls quickly made way to investigate. nothing like a weekend treat to start the day. the treats included watermelon and muskymelon vines, grasses, purslane, chard, parsley and spent eggplants.

i've now hoed and turned the soil in the bed. i will next add a good dose of compost before replanting. that's all part of today's plan. i'm thinking this may be a good root bed. i will go in with a garden fork to make sure the soil is good and broken up way down deep before dropping seed.

a new group of cutie chickies arrived yesterday - 16 in all. sweet little beings who will join the flock in the metal shed brooder. this group includes a few golden laced wyandottes, australorps, buff minorca and speckled sussex.

time to get out and about - i will be back later with the days news

4:45pm

- bee update hive 2
  • the big split and mix
  • i spoke with a bee sage/mentor this afternoon. it was suggested that i go forward and make efforts to pull bees from my strong hive to add to my weaker hive. the sooner the queen is given support by young nurse bees the better. the bees in the existing hive may not be nurser bees so better to move a new group in as soon as possible.
  • the key to the mixing - be absolutely sure that you do not pull the queen when pulling bees from one hive to the other.
  • i moved one super full of bees and brood from strong hive 1 to weaker hive 2. i placed newspaper between the two supers with small cut slits in it in order to allow the bee pheromones to mingle while the bees slowly eat away at the paper. the theory is that the by the time the bees actually mix - having eaten enough paper to pass through - the pheromones have mixed and each group then considers each other family. hive 2 accepting the transplants from hive 1 and the bees from hive 1 accepting the queen in hive 2.
  • the bee sage/mentor believes the above should do the trick - fingers crossed this works
- bee update hive 1
  • as noted above, i robbed a super full of bees, honey and brood from hive 1 for hive 2
  • in turn i added a new super filled with new waxed frames
  • hive 1 is really doing well - loaded with honey and brood - i may be able to pull a harvest this fall which is very exciting.
  • the creatures were most agreeable - not a single sting to report
- garden update
  • i turned compost and composted manure into one of the garden beds watered it in and planted beets - shallots - pickling cukes and winter savory
  • i stopped by the locally owned garden nursery and picked up some herby plants - lemon balm, german chamomile and pineapple sage. i placed those kiddos into the keyhole garden in and around the carrot and onion rows- should be nice once they build growth - maybe we'll get some flowers for the fall
  • i put in a coral vine along the fence line. this is a flowering vine that bees simply adore. it's a summer bloomer and from all those i've seen around incredibly prolific.
  • i moved an elderberry into the front walkway garden. this gives it better soil and room for stretching.
  • i trimmed up the spent sage flowers - should be plenty of time for several new flushes before season's end
the chicky-girls were treated with wee little melons pulled from the spent vines from the west side garden. they were more than pleased to help clean up.

the day has been misty and mild - the mosquitoes are out with a vengeance - but just the same i am happy for the cool air and the drops of rain. i hope to spend the rest of the day reading. i have a lot to learn about the bee babies and other varied topics. so the plan is to get comfortable in the homey sweats, find a nice spot on the sofa and play like a student of nature.

cheers

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

got me a little bee problemo

bee lessons continue

discovered at the end of last week o9.o4
hive 2
smaller hive
recently lost her queen - i have not found her body so i can only guess she chose to move on or passed and was quickly cleaned up by her own attendants.
also
signs of wax moth were found in 80% of the frames
we have the perfect climate for wax moth
the hive is weaker
nervous keeper

wax moth frames in the deep freeze
rotating them through before returning them to the hive
wish to save the bees their hard collected food source
wish to destroy the wax moth problemo

new queen arrived today
i have replaced all frames with fresh clean frames
same with the super
the number of remaining bees concerns me
nervous keeper

installed the queen
hope the others accept her
hope she sticks around
hope they survive
numbers are low
nervous keeper

pondering the splitting of my large hive to build numbers into the smaller hive
pondering the newspaper method to do so
means no honey harvest this year
willing to trade honey for a healthy hive
wondering - am i even on track

will have to make sure i do not transport the queen from hive 1 to hive 2
hive 1 queen is marked - have faith you can do it
nervous keeper

don't know until you try
saturday - splitting a hive to save a hive
determined keeper

feels right in the gut
my only wish to help the bees help themselves
damn if i am not attached to these winged kiddos

* * * *
if you are a beekeeper and know better the path i should follow - please oh please - contact me via comments.

* * * *
if you know a beekeeper - please oh please - ask them to take a peek here and point me toward the proper path

thank you - sincerely

moving at the speed of...

days at the speed of hummingbirds - passed by in a blur - energy burned - on to the next flower - more nectar - another blur

wednesday already and i feel the burn. every minute every moment has been claimed. yesterday rocky faced moments - climb and descend is all one can do - today i hope for a smoother path - maybe to hear the creatures in the trees

first time in over a week - i turn back to coffee - it's ok i tell myself - it's just one cup

Sunday, September 6, 2009

prepping for a homestead gathering

we've got company coming for a visit tomorrow. hippychick is throwing a labor day get together. i've spent the morning shopping and prepping the goods.

here is what is on the menu so far - home made everything of course
  • babaghanoush
  • tabbouleh
  • hummus
  • fresh cut veggies for munching - radish, carrot, celery
  • tomato salad with basil and fresh made mozzarella cheese
  • wilted spinach, mushrooms and crumbled eggs with a sweet bacon balsamic dressing
  • farm fresh quiche - cheese and herb
  • roasted salmon now curing with brown sugar, salt and dill
  • dogs on the grill - buns, katchup, mustard
  • fresh greens with a vinaigrette dressing
friends and neighbors will be bringing
  • fresh made tater salad
  • hatch pepper salsa
  • sweet melon
  • grapes
  • guacamole
how many folk will come i am not sure of - we should have plenty though - we always do - should be fun

Saturday, September 5, 2009

electrifried universe

rain - lighting - thunder - boom - crack - thud - lights out - lights on - boom - crack - thud - lights out - smoke - ei ei ei live wire

well it went something like that. i was over visiting with the neighbors when the crack thuds and failing power began. the repeating thuds drew our curiosity out of the doors. i then noticed smoke around the home. you can imagine i picked up my pace. no fire just smoke but with things so dry, i was not yet satisfied. then we spotted it the live wire sitting directly in the drive.

first thoughts - get your feet out of water - look up - are there any other wires looking like they might let go - step out of the way - call in the electricity troops.

the troops did arrive and all sets well once again in the universe. one of my live oaks got a heck of a trimming - a trimming for the good. take a look see yourself.



other news - the fall garden has moved in - plantings today include
  • spicy mesclun lettuce mix
  • red cabbage
  • chinese cabbage
  • broccoli
  • carrot
  • beet
  • kohlrabi
  • red mustard
  • green mustard
  • spinach
nice to have the rain cooperate today - as soon as the starts and seeds went in, the rain began to fall. we experienced a fine pour for a while then a nice steady fall for a spell. every bit helps. i sat for a while and watched the rain fall - thought about napping but never got round to it.

i did get a good bit of beekeeping prep accomplished
  • painted four supers - while the fellows fixed the wires - i painted
  • painted a top feeder
  • set foundation in 24 frames - would have set more but i ran out of foundation - more on the way - i have got to be ready because the one hive is really kicken' it now - lots of daily action - big flying and collection days ahead.
i hope tomorrow to swap out a few of today's freshly painted supers with those currently in use so that i might give those currently in use a good protective coat of paint before placing them back out for overwintering. i had, in spring, treated all the supers and equipment with a double coat of clear poly finish but it seams that the heat and harsh weather have really eaten it away. i'd like to keep my beekeeping equipment in fine working order for as long as i am able so it's time for another coat - this time paint.

it will only take a few rotations to have all supers freshly painted. it's the bottom boards and stands that have me scratching my head a bit. how the heck will i manage a new coat there. i will figure something out.

for now - chill time - relaxing on the super soft sofa - pretty close to nodding off off off

yeah yeah i like the sly side

nice to see another tru blu wizenheimer in the family
go on hazel - say it with me now
forgetaboutit

Friday, September 4, 2009

look about look about

little man opera helping out with the morning's garden tasks

early september a.m. harvest

purple sages loved by the bees

wee greens honor the sun

hello beet!

look at this soil - beautiful - we are getting there
huge populations of worms beneath
this is good good good good news.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

and the days go by...

and we are off and running - the work season begun - the daily calendar filled - the mornings earlier - the evenings later - remaining happy - feeling healthy - enjoying time at home as time allows - thinking on family - and generally moving in a direction one might refer to as forward

our focus is clear
fall is near
and we are doing this thing we call adventure toward sustainable living.

on the front burner
- insulating the underside of this pier and beam home

the reality...
the insulation is necessary - the current bit is all torn up, half hanging down and not doing much of what is designed to be doing. i spoke to my neighbor's local handyman this past weekend to see if he knew of any folk who might be good for the job and poof! instantly, he had just the guy who had just finished a similar job on a house just down the way - woo hoo

this after i had for a while now been unsuccessful contacting insulation companies in both smalltown and bigtown texas. same story each time - they will insulate attics and garages but will not work beneath previously existing pier and beam homes only new construction. wonder if they fear snakes too - but don't you think in these times they would have at least one snake whispering insulation master on their team? nope! not that there are snakes under there - don't know - don't wish to know thank you very much.

lucky for me this fellow calls and is interested in the insulation project -now we are talking - working out costs - dates - details - etc. then i come to find out that this same folk is a fellow rainwater harvester - greywater believer and practitioner. he's got his own high volume rainwater - greywater system going at his own home. super fantastic - eggcellent and all that i think.

- while they are under there... might be a good time to commit to a greywater system
- may be a great time to get the collection tanks set up too
looks like a save water collect water save energy hat trick option

i do plan to check his system out before asking him do the work here just to be sure. i hope it turns out well. maybe i'll learn a few things upon visiting - always good to learn. baby steps baby steps

all this means continued scrimping and saving of funds but that's just fine. the saving now will save more in the longer term and that's what it's all about. this is an investment worth scrimping for.

fingers crossed