Gathering the straws of life together

Urban farming

Urban farming

For these past few days I feel like I am a farmer in Tasmania. It is wet and windy and my pink gum boots go with me every time I step out of the house. There is something about putting on those boots that gives me a sense of satisfaction – like I am doing something worthwhile. I am interacting with my environment and in the knowledge that soil, sun and water will grow what I planted. My “One & Only” (O&O) is a great gardener and I like to follow in his footsteps. Although I am not one of those people who like to get dirt under my fingernails. Gardening gloves, it is for me!

My pink boots!

We have a quarter of an acre of land and that is enough for us, at this time of our lives. I like the idea of urban farming. Urban farming for me, is growing some of our own produce and where we can, share it with others. We live in a city, but are tucked away in a quiet treed corner, almost like living in the country. Our fruit trees that we planted are doing well and have flowered with small fruit now appearing. However, with all this wind I thought a couple of them were going to lie down! Instead I am convinced the wind will strengthen their resolve and they will be sturdy as they grow older. We have not got much produce to share yet, but come next winter we should have plenty of citrus.

Following the advice of Sophie Thomson, Gardening Australia, I started keeping our toilet roll holders. Last week I planted heirloom seeds, zucchini, lettuce, beetroot, cucumber, basil and tomatoes in the toilet roll holders. With all the wet weather we are having at the moment, the seeds have germinated. I usually grow from seedlings but this time I have ventured into starting from scratch with seeds. I would take a photo but it is far too wet and windy at the moment! The great part about sowing seeds in toilet roll holders is that, when the time is right, I can plant the entire toilet roll holder without disturbing the young plant.

On our small urban holding, pretending I am a farmer in Tasmania, I go out in my pink boots to check our chickens. The chickens love my pink boots, every time they see them coming they get excited. They have worked out that the pink boots usually comes with a treat! However, at the moment my pink boots are going out to the coop more often than I would like. I have a broody chicken. Another one! We have re-housed two of our heritage chickens because they went broody, now I have another one. It is difficult to manage on a small block when there is not enough room to separate them from others in the flock.

I really love this “wee” chicken, Carmella. I hope she behaves soon and stops her broody behaviour!

When chickens go broody they want to sit in the nest, on their eggs, and hatch baby chicks. However, there are no eggs in the nesting box, as I keep taking them out! Regardless, Carmella has decided she wants to be a mum. I am trying the “ice pack” treatment on her. It sounds harsh, but I have to snap her out of it. I placed two “ice packs” under her and she is sitting on these. The idea is the area around her vent will cool, changing her hormones. Then she will revert to being a happy chicken, laying an egg a day and scratching around in the run.

I just went out to check on Carmella. The “ice packs” are not making any difference! I decided to place her in the run, into the cold (14 degrees earlier, now 16 degrees) and windy weather. The wind might cool her down and the cold snap we are experiencing (we have our wood fire heater going) might snap her out of her broody behaviour. I can tell Lucy is fed up with her behaviour as she is ignoring her now. I closed the doors of the nesting box and roosting area. I then went inside the house and watched her through a window. She tried on eight occasions to climb up the ladder (see photo) trying to work out how to get back to the nesting box. After this, she wandered out into the run. I check once more and she is back inside the coop and up and down the ladder again! I never had any trouble with my Isa Brown chickens going broody. I bought these expensive heritage girls and all I have is trouble! Any ideas, anyone?



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