Notice the tiny chick. It is half the size of the others, and I am hoping that it is just younger, but at this point I don't know. These little guys are much messier than the dual breed chicks we have raised before. I just had to totally remove them from the pen and dump the straw, pine, and yuck, and re-set everything. I've changed the feeding container, too, because they like to lay in the other one I was using, which led to poop in their food. I never had much of a problem with that before. Overall, though, chicks are really not too big of an issue. It's just so much easier to let a mama hen raise them. This weekend, we plan on building an enclosed outdoor area off of the side of the coop. For now, it will be for the meat chickens, but after they are gone, we will let the layers access it (in addition to their regular spaces).
And this may not look like much, but this is the start of mushrooms! We inoculated the logs last fall, and now they are starting to grow.
I'm very excited about this. I will have to dry some, because there is no way we'll be able to eat all of the mushrooms fresh! That's really not a problem, though, since Nathaniel bought me a food dehydrator a year or two ago.
And see how the cucumbers have spread! To the right, you can see the beautiful orange Mexican sunflower, one of two plants I bought from June at the farmer's market. They don't look like sunflowers to me, more like daisies, but they are so pretty. The other one is in my herb garden. To the left are some marigolds. There are tomatillos in the background. They are taller than me! I only have 3 plants, but they have grown so well and will soon start yielding. Last year, the yield from the tomatillos was amazing, and it looks like this year will be as well, just a bit late.
And here is the first pumpkin. It's about the size of a volleyball. It shouldn't be the only one, but it is certainly the biggest. Honestly, it's hard to notice them until they get decent sized, because this plant is in the cucumber bed, and those things are vigorous! I've also harvested one cantaloupe. A second one got bit into by an animal and filled with bugs, so the chickens enjoyed that one. A third is still green, but looking good so far. Golden crescent beans are producing well. I may actually dehydrate some of those, for use in winter soups. The boys are getting pretty tired of eating them fresh right now. The tomatoes have started producing better. We are getting about 2 full-sized ones a day, which is enough for Lydia and I to enjoy fresh, along with tons of cherry tomatoes. Gyunay particularly likes those fresh-picked from the garden. I also just dehydrated some of those, because I loved dried tomatoes and the cherries are too numerous to eat fresh.
I did start some seeds for a fall garden, but the seedlings are not doing well. I am never as good at fall gardening as spring. I do plan to transplant the best ones, and I still plan to plant some seeds of chard, etc, soon. I need to plant more carrots, too, because Lydia has picked most of them.
Also, I can't remember if I mentioned that the younger pullets are laying! We are getting 5-8 eggs a day now, so more than 3 dozen a week. Eggs and cucumbers are definitely in abundance around here. Overall, the garden and animals are doing well, even if the garden has been later than anticipated in producing. Maybe we'll have a later frost, so we can keep getting tomatoes and peppers longer.