Thursday, June 15, 2006

chicks and more

I leave for the Bonnaroo music festival tomorrow! This four-day music extravaganza, held on 700 acres in Manchester TN, has been held annually since 2002. I’ve been twice before and I am very much looking forward to the trip. This year I will also be covering the festival’s greening initiatives for powering down and Groovy Green as a member of the press. Many thanks to Lee Schnailberg for helping me set this up. I’ll be based in the camp-only/no-car section of Bonnaroo with friends if anyone wants to stop by and say hello. We’re planning to build a large bamboo and tarp structure to provide some shade. It should be easy to spot. There will however around 75,000 people so I’ll understand if you can’t find me. More on this when I return…

Spring chicks have arrived, just in time as spring is coming to a close. This past Sunday I picked up 11 baby chicks to add to our backyard flock. I currently have only 2 adult hens and want to add more. At this age (5 days old) it’s extremely difficult if not impossible to tell male from female so odds are we have 5 or 6 rooster chicks. These we can’t keep adult roosters and will be giving them away or selling them once we’re sure of what we’ve got. Ultimately I’d like to add 5 new hens although that will depend on whether I am able to complete a new chicken enclosure planned for early this summer. It will also depend on my wife’s level of chicken tolerance;) The chicken enclosure will be built primarily out of bamboo which will allow me to share information on working with that material as well. In the meantime I want to use this opportunity to share with readers the process of raising baby chicks. A good place to start is my previous post on raising backyard chickens- Chickens Feed Me.

I’ll be posting regular pictures and summarys about the chickens as they grow. I’m toying with the idea of adding a webcam to the container currently housing the chicks. If anyone out there knows anything about what it would take to do this please comment on this post or send me an email. My address is in my profile at the top right hand side of the screen.

I’m beginning to harvest some large rutabagas. Now… anybody know what to do with these things? I tried growing them for the first time this spring as an experiment and I have been successful. I would greatly appreciate any recipes you the reader might have that include rutabagas. I’m am also harvesting two types of onions new to my garden; walking onions and potato onions.

Walking onions or Egyptian onions, also called topsetting onions, produce onion bulbs in the ground but also produce baby onion bulbs at the top of each stem.

If left in the ground long enough the tops bend over and the baby bulbs root and grow more onions. It’s easy to see how they got the name walking onions. They produce smaller in-ground bulbs for consumption but that actually works well for small families like mine. No more left over halves of onions in the refrigerator. As I harvest the edible bulb from the ground I am replanting the baby bulbs in hopes of a constant supply of onions. I have also harvest this year’s crop of potato onions.

They were a gift last fall from a family in the NC foothills. I planted small, individual bulbs and this spring when the temperatures began to rise the tops of the onions died back to the ground. I dug up the bulbs to find large bulbs mixed with small bulbs- they multiplied underground like potatoes hence the name. None of the bulbs were huge like the onions you might find in a grocery store but again they’re a great size for cooking a small meal. I’ve set aside the smaller bulbs for replanting. I’m going to plant a few next week and I’m going to plant a few this fall. I’ll keep you updated on how my replenishing onion supply works out.

Please let me know how your gardens are going this year. Send pictures and I'll post them.

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