Monday, May 2, 2016

Shipping Fertile Eggs

A while back Elizabeth from Messy Organic Mum had asked me about sending her some fertile eggs because she wanted to add some Dominiques to her flock. Finding quality Dominique stock can require a bit of searching and therefore we as breeders who hope to preserve the breed standard welcome those wanting to get in to raising the American Dominique. I was happy to help!

But I had never shipped eggs before.  Thankfully, Elizabeth gave me some tips on how best to ship eggs from her experience.  So here's what I did:

I wrapped each egg individually in a little piece of a paper towel and then placed it small side down in the egg carton.

After placing all the eggs in the cartons, I covered them with more paper towels and then taped the egg carton together.

I put the egg cartons in a small box with packing peanuts or some sort of other soft filling so that they won't slide or bounce around. I taped up the box nice and tight.

After addressing the box, I wrote "EGGS" and "FRAGILE" all over the box so that the carrier would know to use caution when handling them.

I shipped the eggs Priority Mail with a note to the carrier that these were fragile, fertile eggs that were being delivered.  The first time I shipped them, Elizabeth said that all the eggs arrived intact! However, the hatching rate wasn't great so this time around I am hoping for a better fertility/hatching rate.

We just had a broody hatch out a couple of chicks so I can't wait to share some pictures with you. They are as cute as they can be!!

Can you share any advice on shipping fertile eggs? What are the best tips for good hatching rates in your experience?

Monday, April 25, 2016

Spring at the Roost

Ahhhh, springtime.  We just returned from spending a couple of weeks in Kentucky with family and since I hadn't posted in a while I thought I would share with you a few glimpses of our spring around here.  I wish I had remembered to capture photos of when the redbuds are all in bloom because it is always so beautiful!

Our chickens have been enjoying the warm North Carolina spring weather.....and (hopefully) we will have some baby chicks soon as we have a broody sitting on eggs as we speak :)

The screened porch is a must-have here in the country and we are planning for an extra large one in our new house!

I love hellebores--they survive in shade, are hardy, and multiply every year!  Also such a classic southern addition to any garden. 

Of course you will not find our house without flats of seedlings and starts either under a grow light or hardening off on the porch like these tomato plants are. They will go into the ground in the next week weather permitting.

Because we have been so busy planning for the new house this spring, for a while now I've neglected  our current rental in terms of any decor projects or updating. As you can see below, our house plans came and it is exciting to see the all of the details laid out! Now on to the land survey, building permits, and plan modifications with our builder.

I hope you are having a pretty spring and I can't wait to update you as we continue the new house design and building process!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Homestead Design: Landscape Details

Lets talk homestead landscaping!

A lot of times landscaping around a house is an afterthought but in planning our homestead I think it is important that we design the landscaping simultaneously with the house itself, so that they can evolve together and so that we can maximize the use of the plants--whether they be ornamental, edible, medicinal, or as natural pest control.

FYI-- if you haven't heard, we are building a house on 10 acres in the country! You can read about our decision here and look at my first draft of a homestead design here.

In addition to designing the kitchen garden, I'm hoping that the landscaping around the house and driveway can be just as functional and beautiful. I plan on putting in some of my favorite flowering plants and bushes like hydrangeas, peonies and lilacs, a couple of small flowering fruit trees such as cherry and non-fruiting ones such as camellias, a small herb garden on the rear elevation of the house and shade-loving perennials on the north elevation of the house.

The orchard will be located to the southeast of the house where we plan to have varieties of apple, peach, pear, fig, plum and nectarine trees. Large and medium sized trees such as pecan, walnut, American hazelnut, magnolia and oaks will provide nice shade in the summertime and as a bonus supply us with nuts or pretty foliage.

I have zero experience with landscape design so I very much value your suggestions and advice! What do you think?