Sunday, February 12, 2017

Our chicken coop is in a calendar!

I'm very excited to report that the chicken coop I built for Lily, Daisy, and Tulip is featured on the cover (and the month of August) in Amber Lotus Publishing's Chickens and their Coops 2017 calendar! I think it is hilarious that my little coop sitting in my yard in Hilo, Hawaii made it's way to a national calendar. If you look carefully, you can see Lily's white butt in the picture behind the Polish chicken's tail feathers.

If you want to check out my coop build details, you can find it on on their small coops page. I call it my Cottage Coop. I chronicled the construction and suggested some improvements. I moved the coop to my new home and the chickies (Daisy, Duck, and Rosie) are still enjoying it.

Need a 2017 calendar? Consider buying a coop calendar! They are 50% off!!! :D

Friday, May 8, 2015

Tiny vegetable garden

Veggies anyone?

To be honest, there was a day not long ago that I detested arugula. Ick! Several months ago, I decided I needed to eat more salads so every day, I'd pack my lunch with a huge salad with some kind of protein like chicken or fish (and sometimes some local grass-fed beef). I'd joke that I was loving it but from the look on my face, everyone KNEW it was a painful exercise. Day after day (and I rarely missed a day), I'd pack my salad and something happened about 3 weeks into my new practice, I started to look forward to my lunches. I felt better, I felt good about giving my body organic greens, and I didn't need to use any dressings any more. Amazingly, arugula is now one of my favorite greens! 

My little garden is only 3 ft by 4 ft (12 sq ft) so it's tiny but it's flourishing and although I pick my salad every day, there is always more the following day! 

Friday, May 1, 2015

My Earth Day Project

Earth Day is a time to celebrate the planet we share and to put into practice the things that will care for it. Seeing the pattern of carbon extruded into the air from Asia, the global warming trends, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and human-caused impacts on our environment is daunting. But the eternal optimist in me says that if our thought patterns change about our responsibility for it, one person at a time, we will make a difference. Once our community leaders understand this, our state and country leaders will understand this. Then perhaps real change is possible.

In honor of my planet and my commitment to be less dependent on imported foods, I started another garden bed outside my kitchen door on Earth Day. Yes, it's a small one and no, it might not change the world. But, growing some of my own food has changed ME. Caring for my garden means I am focusing less on my troubles of the day and instead invest that energy positively. I can feed my friends and family and know the care that I've imparted to my garden plants will provide nutrition and sustenance for the people I care about. Trying to grow the plants organically means that I am much more in tune with the cycle of life in my garden. I am willing to share some of them with the critters that come to visit (tho' not slugs ... slugs that carry rat lung disease is serious business here). 

I am a botanist by training and an endangered species botanist by career and I am continually fascinated by plants so sometimes I just stare and admire my garden and nature just outside my door. Native birds sing outside, a native rain forest surrounds my home, and my garden plants thrive in the whatever light that shines through the hapu`u (tree ferns). When I take a moment to appreciate it all, my heart swells and I feel immense gratitude for my garden, for my forest, for my island and state, for my country, and for my planet and the people on it. So no, a tiny garden bed in tiny Volcano Village won't change the world but despite that I'd say, my tiny garden results in very, very good changes indeed.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The pulse of the planet

I live on an active volcano, Kilauea. Being so close to new earth being formed, it is a constant reminder that we, humans, are merely minute participants on this really awesome planet. This is a scene at Halema`uma`u Crater just 3 miles from my home as the crow flies. For this eruption, this is the first time the lava pool has reached so close to the surface that it's been visible from the Jaggar Overlook. Tutu Pele showed us her beautiful display of spewing magma tonight! I am in total awe!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Growing my own food

Manoa lettuce, chives, arugula

My nightly task: picking out slugs and caterpillars with my trusty flashlight in hand. Score: 2 leopard slugs, 5 smaller slugs, 9 giant dark gray caterpillars (edit: they're cutworms!), 6 green caterpillars, and a zillion aphids and whiteflies.

I am in a quandry. Is there a humane way to dispatch them quickly and painlessly? They are all non-native (i.e. don't belong) so taking them elsewhere doesn't seem like a reasonable choice. Any suggestions?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Raised garden bed in Volcano

My raised garden beds just outside the kitchen door

At just under 4,000 ft in elevation, Volcano is nice and cool and water is rarely an issue so perfect for leafy vegetables. So, about 3 weeks ago and with the help from my Goddaughter, I started another raised garden bed for rainbow chard, arugula, lettuce, and spinach. I added some chives a week later. To make use of every bit of space, I snuck in a couple rows of lettuce for microgreens that I plan to collect before my lettuces get too big. I've been eating a lot of salads these days so I'm pretty sure I could eat all of the greens in a couple meals so I'm thinking another bed is in order!

The smaller boxes, started about 2 weeks ago, contain cilantro (foreground) and mesclun (background) and to increase the chances of getting a few harvests before my cilantro bolts, I am trying this cilantro-growing technique that I found on Pinterest. I'm really hopeful and will post pics as my plants mature. :)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Vog 1, Sage 0

There are plants that are just susceptible to vog and that includes sage. Vog is volcanic fog/smog and is comprised of sulfuric acid and other sulfates when carbon dioxide that the volcano emits mixes with water and oxygen. Halemaumau Crater is just 3 miles from where I live (as the crow flies) so you can imagine that we get vog every now and again. One day this week tho', it settled like fog and stuck around for a bit.

My sage had been growing really well with the rest of my herbs in my garden bed but then one vog event and the leaves shriveled and died! The other herbs got it too but the sage got hit the worst. Anyone from Volcano have any suggestions on protecting delicate plants from vog?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Raised herb garden

I've finally started my herb garden in Volcano! It took awhile to find the spot with the most sun but I've gotten it situated to receive just about as much sun as it can get. From top left to the bottom right, I have lemon grass, rosemary, dill, sage, crinkly and Italian parsley, mint, and thyme. I'm thrilled to be able to grow my own food, even if it means starting small with my herb garden. The soil is fortified with prepared rabbit manure (thanks to Murk, my angora rabbit) so I expect vigorous growth soon! :D

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Famous Silkies! Super Stahhhhh!

 Tulip (left), Buttercup (middle), and Camellia (right), above, made it to Huffington Post! They're famous!!!

Tulip, Camellia, and Buttercup at 12 days old

My chickies got their first taste of fame this week when an article about silkies got written in the article, "We just found your dream pet. Its a chicken" in Huffington Post Online. They're the second pic in the article! 

Oh yeah, no one asked to use my photo but I guess I can overlook it this one time. By the way, if you Google "silkie chickens," or any iteration of it, an image of these three are one of the first to appear! SUPERSTAHHHHH!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Duck's a *she* ... Hmmm, I think

That's Duck in the background (and Tulip in the foreground). Looks like Duck's really a *she* ... at least I'm pretty sure she is. Yay! At 6 months old, maybe we'll be seeing some eggs soon. :D

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What a fluffball!

Duck will be 2.5 months old in just a couple days and he (or she) is really filling out!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Duck's First Day

Of the 5 hatching eggs, 3 were viable but only 1 hatched. So, here is beautiful Duck, named by my friend's son. Yes, Duck is a buff-colored silkie chicken. That kid knows irony. LOL

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Candled chicken egg - 6 days

I'm so excited to have found that 3 of the 5 Silkie eggs are fertile and developing well at 6 days. They are all from buff parents so ... *fingers crossed*.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Hatching eggs have arrived!

Woohoo! My hatching eggs arrived from the mainland on Thursday and I picked them up at the post office yesterday. I was so excited to find 2 extra eggs in there! So, that means I have 3 buff and 2 white silkie hatching eggs! The eggs are acclimatizing to my home and ... WERE ... getting ready to be set under my hens. But then ... Tulip and Daisy decided not to sit anymore! No matter the bribing, they just aren't broody anymore. Usually, if there are a couple eggs left in the nest, they will brood in an instant (!). Silkies are great mommas that way. But alas, these two hard boiled eggs and 3 eggs laid by Daisy that were left in the nest to entice the girls to brood resulted in no such luck. 

So, what else is there? A special (and somewhat frantic) trip to town to pick up an incubator from Del's. I'm not going to even mention the cost because I think it's a little ridiculous that I spent so much on 5 hatching eggs. If you're inclined to figure cost ... I got the Little Giant 9200 Still Air Incubator ... 

PLUS, the 6300 automatic egg turner ...

Plus, the 7200 forced air fan kit ...

I've installed the fan and egg turner per instruction and added the water (which I boiled and cooled just in case since I use catchment water). And now it's a waiting game. I am trying to equalize the temperature at 99.5 degrees and suspect it will take me at least 24 hrs. I'll probably set the eggs tomorrow when I get home from church. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Chicken treats


I have yet to set up a composter at my new house so been sharing my compost with my chickies (and bunnies) and since I couldn't remember all the things I should and shouldn't give them, I'm putting the list here. I've indicated the ones that my peeps absolutely *LOVE*. If you have more suggestions, could you please leave them in the comments section? I'll add them to the list. THANKS!

Great treats: mealworms*, cracked corn*, fruits (watermelon*, tomatoes, papayas*, apples, pears, etc.), corn on the cob, greens and vegetables (cut grass, lettuce, kale*, cabbage, green beans, carrot and beet tops*, celery, spinach, etc.), cooked items (oatmeal, eggs, pasta, breads, etc.), fish (fresh parts or cooked), milk products (yogurt, cottage cheese, string cheese, etc.).

Don't give these: citrus, avocado skins and pit, raisins (the seeds are toxic; some might argue they're okay but I don't just to be on the safe side), raw green potato peels, salty and oily things.