Potato Flowers, A New House, and a Broody Hen

Nice picture eh? The potatoes are absolutely gorgeous right now..... not a beetle in sight (knock on wood). We'll be eating new potatoes by the end of the month.

Now on to the exciting stuff.....

As you may know, I've spent the last two weeks moving into my new house. this is the first home I've owned, and I'm more than a little excited about it! The kitchen is larger than the last house, although somehow there doesn't seem to be as much space.... funny how that happens.

The stove is old and leaves a little to be desired, but at least it's gas. I'm not a big fan of the lack of counter space around the sink, and I wish the sink was centered under the window, but nothing is perfect. Other than that the kitchen is great. I sometimes think it's good to have a less than perfect setup, otherwise everything would be too easy.

We've also got this little eating nook in the kitchen.... very nice. It's great to have space!

This isn't the greatest picture, but it's the best one I have of the patio. This wonderful space is wedged between the house and the garage. It's great, especially in hot weather. There will be lots and lots of meals grilled and eaten here in years to come.

The inside of the garage - chicken coop to-be. The chickens are still at the old house. Ben (my carpenter brother), and I went to Menards to gather all these supplies. He's planning to help build the coop this coming weekend. the coop itself will be inside the garage, with a covered run stretching into the side yard.... it'll be a little smaller than what the girls have now, but it'll do. They're still living at the old house... it makes me a little nervous having them be so far removed from me, but they'll be moving over soon.

Speaking of chickens, Ms. Red Hen has decided to go broody on me just in time for moving. Here she is, sitting on the nest. If I didn't throw her out into the run periodically, she'd never get up. She sits on all of the other hen's eggs...... it's sweet. It's a little sad too, since she'll never be a mother but she obviously really wants to be. She has plucked all of the feathers out of her belly (a technique mama hens use to keep the eggs directly next to their skin), and her personality has totally changed. Whenever I make her get off the nest she turns into a real bitch!

If I had time I'd sequester her in a wire cage to try and break her of her broodiness, but I've been too busy. I take her off the nest a few times a day so she can eat, poop, and drink some water. Other than that, she's been on the nest 24/7. I'm hoping she'll snap out of it after she moves to the new coop.

Back to our new house tour....

There were no gardens at all in the side yard, so I had to dig up a little bit of sod to fit the last of my starts in the ground. One black cherry tomato and four tomatillos in this little bed. It probably doesn't get enough sun, but at this point I don't care too much about a heavy yield. There are plenty of tomatoes and tomatillos at the Main Street garden.

I put two hollyhock starts behind the veggies to add some color and height.

All of my basil starts got eaten by some sort of bug, so I bought these healthy seedlings at a local garden center. They're nice and big and should give us more basil than we know what to do with. There are delphiniums behind the basil to balance the hollyhocks on the opposite corner.

The last of the starts to go in were these hot peppers. This was from a seed mix of exotic peppers, so I'm really not sure what I'll end up with. I've got eight pots this size scattered around the house. They're little, but they should grow quickly if/when we get some hot weather.

I've been lax about taking pictures of food preparation these past few weeks, but here's a peek at what we've been eating.....

Grilled venison wrapped with local Willow Creek bacon, a garden salad, and pasta with butter and asiago cheese. This was a quick and easy meal we had in the middle of moving. Didn't taste too bad either.

Pita with grilled local grassfed steak, sauteed farmer's market veggies (sugar snap peas, onions, and chard), with dill mayo (just mayonnaise mixed with fresh garden dill).

Pineapple and tequila grilled chicken, the last of last year's frozen sweet corn, and Wisconsin (not Texas) toast on the grill. The toast was an epiphany. Soft and delicious bread from The Batch Bakery dunked in garlic butter and grilled to perfection. Yum!

Before I go, a few more garden pictures for you.....

It's hard to see in this picture, but the melons and squashes have all germinated at the McCormick garden.

Cute little baby cantaloupe!

We've had plenty of rain, so the Main Street garden is extremely lush and beautiful right now. If only any of us had the time to pull a few weeds! Soon enough.....

Beans germinated and growing like crazy.


Baby summer squash.

Cucumbers getting ready to vine.

The bed in the back of this picture has the tomatoes that Erica's Mom started. All in all we have over 20 tomato plants.... we'll be canning and freezing like crazy in a few months!

This is the pepper bed. Lots of good stuff in here: Dave's hot peppers, my Corno di Torro peppers, and some generic yellow and green bells. Probably planted too close together, but what they hey.....

Tomatillos already flowering!

Have you ever seen such beautiful potatoes? The patch is doing so well, I just can't wait to dig them up and see what's going on under the ground.

The sugar snap peas are flowering. I'm guessing we'll start picking this weekend.

This is the second tomato bed - the plants I started by seed. I was afraid the seedlings were going to be too small, but they've been growing like crazy. These are nice plants too - really compact and healthy. I put the cages up last weekend, just in time.

A salad explosion! We've been eating copious amounts of lettuce out of this little patch. It was planted on an impulse just a few weeks ago....

The little broccoli plants are plugging away. They haven't grown as fast as some of the other things, but they're much bigger than they were.

Whew! As you can see there's a lot going on! New house, new and needy gardens.... and in just a few days we'll start work on the new coop. Look for pictures soon!

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