Did I say the garden was taking off? It is, kind of. And kind of not. Seems like the weather has been cooler, more overcast this year, thus far, and so I’m not getting quite the volume I hoped for. Yet. (Garden photo, LEFT, taken this afternoon — can you tell we live in California? Green roof to left/rear is the chicken coop roof.)
I should try to do as the Dervaes family does down in Southern California and chart my productivity from the garden. Their goal for the year is 10,000 lbs. of produce, including duck and chicken eggs, honey, fruits and vegetables. We won’t get anywhere near that. But so far we’ve enjoyed:
- a dozen small red tomatoes (Early Girl)
- a dozen zucchini
- 3 yellow crookneck squash
- 3 cucumbers
- 4 large sunflowers stalks in bloom (with seeds to come, I hope)
- about a quart of strawberries
- a handful of raspberries
- ONE blueberry that got eaten on the bush (not by a human) 🙁
- green onions, garlic chives, basil, oregano, parsley, cilantro and rosemary as needed (maybe a handful of each since March).
- a dozen artichokes
- one spaghetti squash (just picked today) — a little green to pick, but it got cracked and this was the only way to salvage it
- green beans: half a bushel basket (over several days), with (I hope) more to come
- a dozen lemons
- 6 oranges
- 2 salads’ worth of mixed greens (nasturtium, rocket, spinach, mustard)
- half a dozen small beets and their greens (pictured here)
How many eggs? ZERO. However, I just started giving them laying mash in hopes of waking up their ovaries. Extra vitamins are supposed to help. I also throw in a handful of toasted crushed eggshell (homemade) or crushed oyster shell (store-bought, though I could try to make it at home). Supposed to make stronger egg-shells. I guess the next gag is to toss in some golf balls to trick them into laying.
We like eggs. We want to eat our own eggs. We are a little impatient. How about some photos of those darned chickens?
LEFT is bossy Poppy, a Rhode Island Red who has recently claimed the crown as Queen of the Coop. She pushed Violet (speckled hen, CENTER) out of the way for this job. Violet is second in command, with timid Bluebell (Americauna). RIGHT, a little blurry, is Rosie, the former squeaking runt, now the largest, but still a bit bullied. She doesn’t know her own power. They are very entertaining, except Poppy, who is rather mean. I guess that’s why she’s the boss. I still miss Daisy, who turned out to be a Donald and had to go live elsewhere.
Here are some garden shots, for your gustatory delight.
Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of six books: three novels, one poetry collection, and two women's history. She was the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California, in 2014-17. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. She has a BA in journalism from San Francisco State University, and MA in Early 20th C. British Literature from Cal State Hayward. Julia's articles have appeared on Salon, Thrillist, Paste, Scary Mommy, Narratively, Yahoo News, Your Tango, and Sweatpants & Coffee. Her articles have also run in Redbook, Woman's Day, Country Living, House Beautiful, Town & Country, the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Magazine, Quill, and MadeLocal. She was the founding editor of weekly Alameda Sun and literary zine Red Hills Review. Her poetry has been in The East Bay Literary review, Postcard Poems, Americus Review, Cicada, Tiferet Review, and many others. Julia has been recognized several times by the San Francisco, East Bay and Peninsula Press Clubs as well as the California Newspaper Association for her blogging since 2003.