The Noobie Gardener

Trying to get my thumb green, and going in the deep end!

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Grafting lil chicks and hoping Mama will take em in!

“Would women find vampires even sexier and more romantic if instead of fangs they had rose thorns?  It’s thoughts like these I think of when digging in my garden, looking for my one true love ( If only I could remember where I buried her!)”
Jarod Kintz

HELLO!! Ahhhh a brand spanking new glorious day especially after yesterday, how are you? I hope you’re doing well! My goodness that was such a sad start yesterday but hey new beginnings with a new day!  I am so so so so tired, I know this sounds silly but after last night I couldn’t sleep very well.  But more about that later, in the meantime  let me introduce the other chicks that have come our way. Fresh from my Chicken Guru’s brooder, here is :

the hopefully adopted chicks!

the hopefully adopted chicks!

I know it’s hard to see , from the above picture, in the meantime the one on the far right upper trying to get under Scarlett is Cashew (husbands idea that we should have a brother to Peanut ) she ( i hope) is a Wyandotte silver laced chick, the yellow chick who decided to be in everyones food including herself is a Peckin Bantam called ” Popcorn” and the one next to Mum is another Peckin Bantam called “Munchkin” and way in the back all confused and happy like is , who everyone knows “Pip”. So thats the whole gang! Okay I got pictures of them all!

Cashew; Wyandotte bantam chick

Cashew; Wyandotte bantam chick Pretty shy lil one, always hiding under Mum or runs away!

Popcorn : Peckin Bantam chick

Popcorn : Peckin Bantam chick, bit of a ditzy one.. the only chick i’ve ever seen who does.. circles.. litterally and a bit clumsy. Entertaining and cute to watch! Survived the onslaught of Rosie! the Survivor!


Munchkin : Peckin Bantam chick, bit of a Brat, already today pecked both mums eyes and made her squawk LOUD! Not to mention around her face and a little adventurer. This one is one to watch, I’d call her Cheeky if she didn’t already have a name!


Pip: Peckin Bantam Chick; who looks just like Munchkin although you can tell the difference as she’s a bit smaller. Must’ve been born a day or two after Munchkin but a bit more placid and settled as she was with Mum all yesterday and the day before.

As suggested by my Chicken Guru aka Fleur, we managed to quietly and with as little disturbance as possible swap her eggs out for chicks one by one. However Rosie was in the coop. Now I checked them again at 12 midnight to be sure everything was going okay which they were.. and then woke up first light to check on the coop. Worried however that Rosie was getting into the chicks when we checked this morning. Really pecking at Sunshine ( who seems to be alright) and Munchkin. So we closed up the coop and Rosie is hanging outside for the day. Our dilemma is tonight when everyone has to go to bed, where will Rosie go? As we don’t want her to attack Scarlett or the chicks and also be alone. This is the question that i’m posing to my chicken Guru as we speak.

I guess the reason why I was worried last night was that Peanut when we found him was smooshed. I’ve heard of Broody hens/mama who thought that the chicks were intruders, not theirs, for some reason didn’t belong and killed their own chicks. ( thanks Dr. Google!) But so far so good. I keep checking now and then and rest assured they’re kinda doing okay.  So that’s the chicken side of the story. Any suggestions on what to do with Rosie would be greatly appreciated!

Also the noob that I am in the gardening side, i’m really excited for someone who has never really grown anything that developed vegetables before!

So i’m doing the whole cycle of cleaning out the pen, putting it on the Garden, and letting everything feed my garden and so far even though they’re in pots temporarily the vegies are doing great! So after checking out the chickens, the cats, myself and hubby and I perused the garden and low and behold this morning I noticed some vegetables growing! Baby chicks and Baby Vegies!!Firstly the broadbeans that i’ve planted from seeds are sprouting onwards and upwards pretty fast!

Broadbeans shooting for the sky

Broadbeans shooting for the sky

This is my first tomato! ( great guns!! you would’ve thought that i’ve never seen a tomato before)

Small as a cherry tomato at this stage but hopes for it to grow more!

Small as a cherry tomato at this stage but hopes for it to grow more!

as well as..

My first eggplant! (YAY!)

Yes that purple thing there is a small small teeny weeny eggplant but my first. My dad keeps boasting that his eggplant plant has 15 on it... I'll start with one and hope for more to come!

Yes that purple thing there is a small small teeny weeny eggplant but my first. My dad keeps boasting that his eggplant plant has 15 on it… I’ll start with one and hope for more to come!

Okay okay, i know it’s just vegetables Detty I know, nothing to be really excited about. I guess the difference is that i’ts not from the grocery store, i’m reducing my carbon print by doing exactly what i’m doing now.. growing and eventually eating from my backyard! I’ve never watched vegetables really grow and after looking after and hatching pip, and watching my vegetables grow it’s sparked a deeper respect for where food comes from and how.  We really do take our food for granted and how it gets on our plate.

So other than that, there’s a whole stockpile of clothes to iron, clean, do the floors and recheck Scarlette and the chicks! ( so much to do in so little time!)

Well seeya later alligator!



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“Smile though your heart is aching, smile though it’s breaking, When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by.  If you smile through your fear and sorrow, Smile and maybe tomorrow, You’ll see the sun shining through

For you. ”

Nat King Cole

This morning on this bright and sunny day I woke up, did what I needed to do and walked outside to check on Scarlett , see if there is any new chicks and Rosie. So as soon as I opened the door Rosie bolted through the door as per usual and I started to check on Scarlett. Scarlett and Pip are great. Pip is already eating and drinking and very active and curious, Scarlett is a great Mum. So I started checking if there were any more eggshells underneath her.

My heart sunk as I felt around and found that there were several eggs still underneath Scarlett. As I moved an egg I incidentally heard a peep. On closer observation there was a chick on her back , limp, one weak leg and one strong leg, labored breathing squeaking. As it did this Scarlett saw her and started to attack the chick. I quickly scooped her up as she lay very limp on my hand, unable to hold her own head let alone her own weight she lay there with her eyes closed just trying to breath.  So I did what any irrational person would do, if they saw something that was helpless.. I tried to help. However my gutt instinct was that this little chick wasn’t going to make it. IN comparison to Pip who was up and about and very energetic this little one was completely the opposite.

I rushed in, told hubby to make up a hot water bottle. ( we have no brooder box) and I settled on the couch with the chick I called Peanut. “Common Peanut, lets try today eh?” I said to her.  Not a peep , not a movement, she lay still, limp in my hands with only her little chest moving up and down to indicate that she was alive.

This is lil Peanut as I held her in my hand.

This is lil Peanut as I held her in my hand.

Not a moment too soon after we settled her on a towel wrapped waterbottle on my lap we called the my Chicken Guru. I told her the grim news of what had happened.

“I’m so sorry to hear that Detty, I was so careful to give you the good eggs. Out of my batch out of 9 eggs, 7 hatched the last one did last night. We’ve already went a couple days over the due hatch day so how many eggs do you have left?”

“We have about four left”

“Okay… it’s going to be very unlikely that any will hatch today, a very slim chance.” .. I then told her about Peanut.

“Doesn’t sound good Detty, the best that you can do is keep her warm, a hot water bottle is fine for now, temporary, if you have a desklamp with a globe in it, a warm globe to keep her warm that would be preferable. All you can do is keep her warm, if she opens her beak try dipping her beak into the water to see if she’ll drink. I feel badly for you. Come over tonight with her and I’ll be able to look after her. ”

So all in all we ended the call with my Chicken Guru saying that she will give us some chicks ( for free as she feels horrible how the situation ended up) and we’ll be able to sneak them in under Scarlett tonight and remove the eggs, a good old switcheroo so hopefully in the morning she’ll think the chicks hatched and she can get onto the business of mothering Pip and the rest ( When i’ll see them ill name them too and take pictures to let you know).

My Mum calls and we talk for a while, she mentions that she has a lamp that we could use so she’ll get it now so she won’t forget.  I have youtube up and I play some songs from Madeleine Peyroux. She has this amazing voice, and the songs are easy listening. After Mums phonecall I turn it up a little and hubby and I watch little peanut take every breath. We can see she’s getting weaker, she almost looks tired.

Last night when I was locking up the ladies I heard peeping and I actually thought I heard 2. I realise that must’ve been Peanut peeping away. So she made it through the night but obviously at this point it looked very grim.

I positioned her so she was sitting up and she opened her eyes a bit. I dipped a syringe in the water and dropped a drop of water on her beak, she lapped it up and then went back to sleep.

As I was talking to Hubby this song was playing:

and as I finished I looked down at Peanut on my lap, and she lay still. I checked her little chest.. it wasn’t moving anymore. I knew then and there that she was gone. Poor lil Peanut was now sleeping.

So in such a short short life this furry little ball of fluff made 2 grown adults cry a little bit. Life is ever so fragile and as simply as it can come, it can go in a blink of an eye.

I called my Mum who is on the way now, to let her know what happened and I guess we’re just going to have a little funeral for Peanut. We’ll do the same tomorrow for the unhatched eggs aswell and bury them somewhere in the garden as for Peanut i’ve chosen a place in my front yard near the roses to bury her.

I guess it’s just the way that it goes when it comes to Chickens and hatching. You’re thrust into the space of reality where there is life there is death. Definitely hatching chicks is not for the weak hearted. If someone were to ask me though if i’d ever do it again my answer would be a defiant yes. I would not have missed out on seeing Pip for the first time yesterday or looking after Peanut. And yeah.. maybe in the future if one of them Rosie or Scarlett ever decided to go broody again i’d put in the eggs for them again but knowing that its a continual learning process.

As for the unhatched, reading up on the forums people say it’s a good idea to do an ” Eggtopsy” so to speak.. but I don’t think I could deal with that. I guess just knowing that it was not meant to be is a good enough reason for me at this time.

Pip peeking up from under Scarlett to see what all the comotion was about. Pip and her Mum

We still have Pip and her Scarlett and Rosie, and in the meantime the potential for 3-4 other little chicks to add the little family. I’ll introduce them to you tomorrow as well as the new developments in my temporarily potted vegetable plants.

It’s bittersweet. But as they say and I can’t phrase it better ” It is.. What it is”.

Till tomorrow.




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“We keep moving forward, opening doors, and doing new things , because we’re curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. “

Walt Disney

So you know how i’m a noobie at almost everything existing in my backyard, and I mean everything.  Remember how I have a broody ( wants to be a Mum so much) chicken that decided to sit in her nest so I put some fertilised eggs underneath her and was told that it was going to be due to hatch last Tuesday, and on Tuesday nothing happened? Well if you didn’t you do now!

So my motto which sometimes gets me into a whole lot of trouble is : “When in doubt find out”

Well alot has happened since then! Well.. as any noobie on anything if something doesn’t happen textbook wise.. panick will have set in. SO, i initially panicked, emailed my chicken guru as well as hitting Dr. Google.

Let me tell you something if you’re worried, new about something and care about something or a situation so much.. Dr. Google can help you in some ways.. and in others to stress you out some more!! I tell you what, I have never been so interested in Chicken embryology in all my life, i’ve never been so excited about eggs in all my life… an egg.. period! It’s a bit overwhelming what you can find on the web, if the temperature is off it can delay the hatch, hatch too early there may be something wrong with the chicks, hatch late there may be something wrong with the chicks, they should hatch at day 21, actually they can hatch beyond day 21, oh look someone said her chicks hatched at day 28! Don’t help the chick hatch it could die, do help the chick in some circumstances, if the chicks haven’t hatched these are the bazillion reasons why.. and then what to do with unhatched eggs.. unhatched chick ragu anyone?! (eep!) So while I was reading ten billion miles per hour on every information I could find, every forum post..

I finally got an email from my Chicken Guru which simply stated, give it a couple of days it may take longer for the chicks to hatch. Another thing that i’ve learnt is this: it’s text book for chicks to hatch on day 21, however it may take longer and as any newbie will do ,panic and want to help.. the best thing that you can do is let nature take it’s course. Sometimes intervening can cause more trouble so having patience is what I need to do!

So Tuesday came and went… and that was day 21, Day 22 Wednesday morning, nothing… went to work and came back to a completely empty shell and a “Peep peep peep!” Relief!! However only one egg has hatched! Day 23  today, checked on Scarlett and still some peeping but not multiple peeps. However i’ve replaced the water, cleaned the coop and heeding the advice of others on the net.. and Dr. Google… Leave Mamma Alone!!

So i’m officially leaving Mamma Alone and as much as i want to check on her now and then, i’m just going to work today and try and refrain myself from checking or looking!!

I also feel that if the other chicks don’t hatch by day 25 i might have to check the eggs (candle) to see what’s happening. There also like my plants may be casualties. But here’s hoping the other chicks may be well on the way. So that’s the update! One chick who survived the night and peeping away and hopefully the rest to follow!!

But it’s amazing that natures miracles is happening in my backyard! Do your work oh mother nature and lets hope there’s siblings for the lil chick!

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You have your Good days and your Bad days

“You know Detty, Gardening is the most expensive hobby that you’ll have, but it is by far the most rewarding.”

My Mother

Hey there!

Let me just tell you that today has been mixed up with highs and lows. Nevertheless I’m sitting here at the end of the day with the aim of doing some more planting and watering at night before I go to sleep. Apparently though the night time around Summer is the best time to garden as it takes you away from the heat ( which I wish I had listened to my Mum about), it allows for better transfers and gives your plants ample time to adjust and recover from being transplanted.

So after this I still have some work to do.  But I dont mind this. I have actually found that I like repotting and gardening in general allows you to just zone out and do your own thing. I’ve also learned that your wheelbarrow is your best friend in this whole process and a really nice shovel, gloves and mask.

Mask? You ask? Well using potting mix, lucrene hay, blood and bone and soil , the air can get contaminated with microbes which aren’t fairly particularly healthy for your immune system, or lungs.  So you have to take precautions!

So what went wrong today?

Well.. as I was checking on Scarlett and Rosie ( it is a hot autumn day today so I just wanted to make sure that they were okay) i looked on at Scarlet and she looked really lethargic. Scarlett is my broody hen who is sitting on the eggs ( day 20 ). Anyway, from day 18 to 21 is lockdown you’re not meant to touch them, you’re meant to let them do their own thing. These eggs have to stay warm constantly at this stage and 18-21 days is the last days of the process of hatching eggs.

So I lift the roof of the coop and look at Scarlett who is teaming with mites. I then go to look on what is involved with a broody hen , last days with mites. This in addition to an exceptionally hot day is not good for Scarlett at all. I look online and low and behold it can be quite dangerous for Chickens , in fact broody chickens with mites can be deadly. So it was kinda an emergency. I contacted my lady who owns BookAChook and basically pestine /dust chickens away. I also read that it’s a good idea to change the bedding as well and dust inside as well.

So I get the pestine , the bedding and get back home asap to dust Rosie and Scarlett. I arrive home and quickly make my way to the chicken coop. Firstly I dust Rosie. Rosie is fine she takes the dusting and goes on her merry way into the garden. I then make my way to Scarlett. Scarlett being broody is not in the mood for a good dusting. On top of that she detests and fights but as I dust and set her down she makes her way to join Rosie. I take this oppourtunity to then clean out the coop, dust and replace the bedding and in the meantime put the eggs back in the clean nest.

However as time went by after the clean rosie and scarlett didn’t go back in. They were in a sense.. i guess all knowing that it wasn’t the old bedding or something wasnt quite right. Unfortunately during this whole phase the eggs cooled down considerably. Apparently the temperatures can play a vital role in the viability of a chick or hatching or even death. Eventually scarlett realised that these were her eggs and settled down but by that stage my heart sank as I knew that those eggs cooled down. They are meant to be / due to be hatching tomorrow / Wednesday. So… I guess the rule of thumb is, that if they dont hatch on the specific day, wait a couple more days and if they don’t hatch then there is a question of whether to replace those with fertile eggs. Although seeing Scarlett broody like this , I almost want to also say, lets give her a break so that she can recover and try again at a later stage. It almost kinder that way.

So that was my drama. Otherwise I decided to repot my fruit trees and put them temporarily in pots.

So here’s the before picture of the Right side of my back yard

This is exiting my alfresco to the right. We plan to have this an area that we can keep clear for future kids.

This is exiting my alfresco to the right. We plan to have this an area that we can keep clear for future kids.

So in went the fig, lemonade tree, dwarf red delicious trees and pineapple guava trees. Again it’s only temporary until we  build a permanant plot for the trees to go into. Anyway this is what it looks like now.

Temporary places for my fruit trees for now.

Temporary places for my fruit trees for now.

So for now im hoping that after transferring the fruit trees into a sunny position in the backyard it will flourish for the time being.

Okay well back to it and I guess we’ll see how the chickens go tomorrow.