Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Farewell, Floyd

We said goodbye to Floyd this morning. Thanks to social media and a network of fellow farmers, we found a home for our silkie rooster. Marissa spent some time with the flock yesterday, and this morning, packed Floyd up in a box and brought him to Jay's friend, Richard's house in Madison.  Richard then drove up to his farm near Wonewoc, Wis. with Floyd.

I'm sorry to see Floyd go, but I'm gad that tomorrow morning we'll hear muffled clucking, but no crowing. We may replace Floyd with another silkie, this time making sure it's a female. Marissa is checking into our options.

 April 9, 2014

 April 27, 2014
June 12, 2014

 Aug. 17, 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014

Garden party success

It was an absolute pleasure and delight to participate in my friend Megan's first (and hopefully annual) Summer Garden Party. I've known Megan, also known as The Creative Vegetable Gardener, for several years, and have learned a lot from the classes she's taught around town.

We started at Megan's new home (only been there three months!) where 40 people brought their favorite pot luck brunch dishes. People got to know one another as guests arrived on a perfect summer morning. Megan introduced herself and the three other gardeners, myself, Janet and Brian.

Gardener, friend and blogger Megan Cain.

Megan talked about her garden, what they had done and what they plan to do, and then we drove over to Janet's home which is just a few blocks from our house.

Janet gave us a tour of her front, side and back yards. Janet isn't afraid to try something new, and is an avid perennial food gardener, and has lots of fruit trees and bushes throughout her urban lot.

One of the neatest features in Janet's back is a solar photo-voltaic array that doubles as a shelter, and in the summer, she uses it to dry garlic.

Janet's back yard is a lush canvass of annual and perennial food production. Except for the paths, every square inch is growing something edible or beautiful.

After spending an hour in Janet's corner of paradise, we moved one block over and one block down to Brian's home. Janet told us she "doesn't move dirt" to create what she wants. Brian told us "I move dirt, lots and lots of dirt." He's not afraid to dig and dig until the landscape works for him and the plants he wants to grow.

Brian also keeps bees, is about to erect a permanent greenhouse and is also fond of experimenting. While he's trying to figure out what to do with his front terrace, he's keeping it productive with cover crops such as winter rye.
Brian introducing people in front of his house.

Brian and I both collect coffee grounds from the same cafes on Madison's east side. He piles them in a cool and shady corner of his lot, where red wiggler worms turn it into fantastic compost. Like me, he's still not sure what to do about all those coffee filters.

After spending an hour or so in Brian's yard, we moved one more block over and a few more blocks down to our house. I hurried ahead to greet people as they arrived.

Waiting for guests to arrive. The terrace wild flower and butterfly garden is looking great in its second year.

I gave a tour of the front yard orchard, explaining how we sheet-mulched it and what trees and fruit bushes we are growing.
Showing the side yard and perennial herb garden.
There were only two gardeners with chicken coops on the tour, Megan also had one. As I'm seeing more and more coops here in Madison, I'm now realizing we've build more of a palace than a coop :)

Oh. Boy.

Last week Jay woke up with a start. It didn't take long for me to rise out of a deep sleep.

"What is that sound?" immediately followed by simultaneous thoughts, "Oh oh."

Still in our jammies, we went outside to the coop. The five chickens were milling about in the run, but no one made a sound. Still, it was unmistakable, we heard our first cock-a-doodle-doo. One of those five birds was a rooster.

When we spoke with Matt and Marissa about it, they had heard it too. Marissa said she heard it and asked Matt what kind of animal was "crying" outside. It didn't take long for them to realize what was making the noise.

Saturday morning we didn't hear anything, but Sunday morning it started again.

We went outside but as soon as we arrived the bird quieted down.

Monday morning Jay attempted to get video of it, sneaking his camera around a corner. It was too dark to see who was making the noise and as soon as it saw him, it quieted down. It was as if it knew it wasn't supposed to crow.

By Wednesday, however, he got some video, the proof we needed to know that it was Flora, now known as Floyd, who was making the noise.

Floyd is a Silkie - and we knew the risks when we got him. Silkies can not be gender identified when they are chicks, while the other breeds we have can be gender identified to a 95 percent accuracy.

So now we have a noisy rooster that we have to get rid of. I have a friend who has a friend with a  farm, but we haven't heard if they want the bird.

Do you have a farm? Do you want a Silkie rooster? Let me know - quick. Floyd has to go by end of this weekend!

Flora, now known as Floyd, needs a home.