Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Simply Cucumber/Squash Vine Borer Control

Cucumber/Squash Vine Borer
I hope everyone is having a great week. On today's post, we are going to give you a little bit of information about cucumber/squash vine borers.  Typically, these pests affect squash and pumpkins, but they can also affect cucumbers and melons.  Unfortunately, we have had a visit from these evil creatures and they devastated my cucumbers.  I did manage to salvage enough for 6 pints of pickles, so all was not lost.  The vine borers look similar to wasps and will lay their eggs on the underside of the plant's leaves.  Once the larvae hatch, they will bore into the stems of the plant to feed.  If you look closely, you may see saw dust like frass around the holes in the stem.

You can attempt to prevent these creatures from destroying your crop by using prevention methods.  One way is to cover your crop with a row cover to prevent the bugs from getting to your plants.  You will want to remove the cover when the plant begins to bloom, so that bees and other pollinators can fertilize the blossoms.  Diatomaceous Earth is way you can stop the bugs dead in their tracks.  It's a white chalk like powder which is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton, so it's all natural.  You generously sprinkle this on the stems of the plants early in the morning, when they are still wet with dew.  The diatomaceous earth is sharp, so when the insects walk over them, it will tear open their exoskeletons and allow infection which will kill the insects. (We will have another post about this product at another time).  Another way to protect your plants would be to wrap the base stems with aluminum foil.  I have not tried this method, but a friend says it works well.

At the end of the season, you will want to destroy the plants and till the ground.  Next season, you will want to move where you plant your affected plants since the larvae of the vine borer may overwinter in the ground. You can also till the ground again in the later winter/early spring to expose the larvae and allow the frost/freeze to kill any larvae that attempts to overwinter.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Get Out & Explore: Events and Festivals for the Week/Weekend of 07/28-08/03

I hope everyone is having a great weekend! We have compiled a list of festivals and events that are happening around Tennessee for the upcoming week/weekend. You will find that the listings below are divided into three categories based on the areas of the state. I hope you find the list useful. Please feel free to leave a comment if this was beneficial for you. If you have an event you would like for us to post, please let us know! We will see you on Wednesday, when we post about the striped cucumber beetle. Have a fun and safe week! :)

West TN
N/A

Middle TN
  • July 27-Aug 02, International Festival & Horse Show
Tennessee miller Coliseum, Murfreesboro, TN
  • July 28-Aug 02,  Bedford County Fair
Bedford County AG Center, Shelbyville, TN
  • July 31-Aug 09, Putnam County Fair
Fairgrounds, Cookeville, TN
  • Aug 1-2,  Maury Regional Health Care Foundation's 2014 Art Effects Show & Sale
Memorial Building, Columbia, TN
  • Aug 1-2,  Fourth Annual Gospel Legends Reunion
Goodlettsville Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Goodlettsville, TN
  • Aug 1-3,  "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers"
Manchester Arts Center, Manchester, TN
  • Aug 2,  Old-Fashioned Ice Cream
Armour Hotel, Red Boiling Springs, TN
  • Aug 02, Kentucky Lake Waterford Festival
City Park, Big Sandy, TN
  • Aug 02, The 35th Annual l'Ete du Vin Featuring Chateau Margaux
Vanderbilt Hotel, Nashville, TN
  • Aug 02,  Wartrace Horse Show
112 Bridgeview Ave, Wartrace, TN
  • Aug 02, Second Annual Fraternal Order of Police Buffalo River Lodge 95 Truck & Tractor Pull
Buffalo River Resort, Lobelville, TN
  • Aug 02, Family Fun Flea Market
Short Mountain Trading Post, Woodbury, TN
  • Aug 02, Bedford County Fair Donkey Show
Bedford County Agriculture Center, Shelbyville, TN
  • Aug 02,  FADDS Summer Jam for Autism Speaks
Charlie Daniels Park, Mt Juliet, TN
  • Aug 02,  Seventh Annual Classics in the Park Car Show
Williams Spring Park, Mt Pleasant, TN
  •  Aug 02-09, Macon County Fair
Macon County Fairgrounds, Lafayette, TN
  •  Aug 03, Williamson County Fair Miniature Donkey Show
Williamson County Agricultural Exposition Center, Franklin, TN
 
East TN
  • July 31-Aug 02, Tennessee Square and Round Dance Convention
W.L. Mills Conference Center, Gatlinburg, TN
  • Aug 01, Border Bash Concert Series
400 & 500 Block of State Street, Bristol, TN
  •  Aug 02, 11th Annual Elizabethton Butterfly Count
Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area, Elizabethton, TN
  • Aug 02, Conference on Agritourism Development
Walters State Community College Claiborne Campus, Tazewall, TN

Friday, July 25, 2014

Simply Squash Casserole

Squash Casserole


Happy Friday everyone!  We have had a very good year with our vegetable garden, so we've been canning and cooking a lot around here. Yellow squash is now beginning to mature, and you may end up with more than you can handle.  If so, then try out our squash casserole.  It's great for a Sunday Church side dish, or even as a meal.






Ingredients:

7 Cups - Chopped Squash
1 1/2 Cup - Chopped Onion
2 TB - Butter
2 TB - Vegetable Oil
2 tsp - Black Pepper
16 oz - Sour Cream
16 oz - Shredded Cheddar Cheese
26 - Crushed Crackers

1.  In a pan, heat the oil and butter.
2 . Add the squash and onion to the pan and saute for 10-15 min, or until the squash is tender.
3.  Combine the squash, onion, pepper, sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese in a large bowl
     and mix well.
4.  Pour the mixture into a greased 2 quart baking dish and top with crushed crackers.
5.  Bake at 375 degree F for 30-40 minutes.
6.  Enjoy!

Have a great weekend and check back with us on Sunday, when we will let you know what events/festivals are happening around Tennessee for the next weekend. If you missed this weekend's list, you can find the post on our blog from this past Sunday, July 20, 2014!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Simply Heritage: The Nashville Parthenon

Parthenon in Nashville, TN
I hope everyone is having a great week. On today's post, we are going to give you a little bit of information about a Tennessee Landmark.  I decided that since we are a blog about Tennessee, we should incorporate different facts from around the state.  The Parthenon is one of the least mentioned landmarks in Tennessee.  It was originally built in 1897, for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition.  Nashville is often called the Athens of the South, and it only seemed appropriate to create a full scale replica of the Parthenon in Greece.  The building was not suppose to be permanent and was built with plaster, wood and brick.  After the event, the city decided not to demolish the structure since the local population and visitors from around the country had fallen in love with it. However, the building began to be weathered down over the next 20 years, so beginning in 1920, it was rebuilt as a permanent structure made of concrete. The exterior was completed in 1925 and the interior in 1931.

The Parthenon has been the backdrop to many theatrical events and even movies.  In 1913 and 1914, the Spring Pageants in Nashville held huge plays with up to 500 cast members at the steps of the building.  The productions included large dance numbers, chariot races, thousands of live birds and even set pieces that shot out flames.  Even today, the local theaters still have production plays at the Parthenon. The structure can been seen in movies and on made for TV series, including Robert Altman's 1975 film Nashville, the 2010 film titled Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief and the 2010 PBS series Greeks: Crucible of Civilization.


Athena Parthenos inside the Nashville Parthenon


Today, the Parthenon is a functioning art museum that stands at the center of Centennial Park which is just west of downtown Nashville.  In 1990, Alan LeQuire produced a complete recreation of the Athena Parthenos which was the center piece of the original Parthenon in ancient Greece.  The statue was recreated to the careful scholarly standards and towers at 42 feet tall. Actually, the entire building is carefully crafted to be an exact replica of the original temple. So, if you ever visit Nashville, be sure to swing by the Parthenon and enjoy experiencing a replicated piece of ancient Greece right here in Tennessee.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about a piece of Tennessee history.  Enjoy the rest of your week, and we'll see you on Friday with our Recipe of the Week! Till next time.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Get Out & Explore: Events and Festivals for the Week/Weekend of 07/21- 07/27

I hope everyone is having a great weekend! We have compiled a list of festivals and events that are happening around Tennessee for the upcoming week/weekend. You will find that the listings below are divided into three categories based on the areas of the state. I hope you find the list useful. Please feel free to leave a comment if this was beneficial for you. If you have an event you would like for us to post, please let us know! We will see you on Wednesday, when we post about the history of Nashville, Tennessee's very own Greek Parthenon. Have a fun and safe week! :)

West TN
  • July 24,   Milan No-Till Production Field Day
Highway 70/79, Milan, TN


Middle TN
  • July 21-27, 76th Annual Overton County Fair
Overton County Fairgrounds, Livingston, TN
  • July 23,  Middle Tennessee Golden Retriever Rescue Dare Me (to Jump) for Charity Event
Opry Mills, Nashville, TN
  • July 24-26, James D. Vaughan Quartet Festival
Crockett Theater, Lawrenceburg, TN
  • July 25-27,  Nashville Flea Market
Tennessee State Fairgrounds, Nashville, TN
  • July 25-26,  160th Annual Irish Picnic
St. Patrick's Church Picnic Grounds, McEwen, TN
  • July 25,  Bluegrass Along the Harpeth Festival
Historic Downtown Franklin, TN
  • July 26,  Lynchburg Art Fair
Wiseman Park, Lynchburg, TN
  • July 26, 100th Anniversary of the Lone Oak Picnic
Central Civitan Club Building, Cunningham, TN
  • July 26, 40th Annual Swiss Festival
Stoker-Stampfli Farm Museum, Gruetli-Laager, TN
  • July 26,  Back to School Bash
New Life COGIC, Columbia, TN
  • July 26, Fifty-Fifth Monteagle Mountain Market for Arts & Crafts
Hannah Picnic Park, Monteagle, TN
  • July 26, Nashville Predators Hot Wing Faceoff
Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN
  • July 26, Bluegrass Solutions Concert
Rocky River Community Center, Rock Island, TN
  • July 26-27,  Second Annual Vaperoo
Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center, Manchester, TN
  • July 26-27,  Tennessee Antiquarian Book Fair
McClurg Dining Hall, University of the South, Sewanee, TN



East TN
  • July 25-27, Grainger County Tomato Festival
Rutledge Elementary School, Rutledge, TN
  • July 26, Front Porch Concert Series
Harrow Road Cafe, Rugby, TN

Friday, July 18, 2014

Simply Canning Tomatoes

Canned Tomatoes
I know that you probably wouldn't consider this a recipe, however, it's canning time around here!  We have tomatoes coming out of our ears, and we can't eat them all at once.  Well, we could but then we wouldn't have any for later.  Anyhow, you will find that canning tomatoes is probably the easiest food you will ever can. I started off with about 18 small to medium sized tomatoes and made close to 7 pints.  The process is as follows:

In your canner, go ahead and start to sterilize the jars you will be using.  You will also need a deep pan for boiling the tomatoes and a large bowl of ice water to dunk them in afterwards.  Once you have these things in place, you can begin the process.  Bring the deep pan of water to a boil and place in your tomatoes.  You will leave them to boil for about 1 minute.  Next, you will remove them from the pan and place them in the ice water.  You should then be able to slide off the skin easily.  Also, make sure to cut out the small hard core.  After that, you will just snugly stuff them inside the sterilized jars along with 1 TB of lemon juice per pint, leaving about 1/4 inch head space.  Wipe the rims clean and then place on the lids and rings.  Place the jars back into the canner and boil for about 30 minutes.  Remove and let them cool.  The lids should seal with a "pop" sound within the hour but could take up to 12 hours. You now have canned tomatoes!  How easy is that?  Easy squeezy!

Have a great weekend and check back with us on Sunday, when we will let you know what events/festivals are happening around Tennessee for the next weekend. If you missed this weekend's list, you can find the post on our blog from this past Sunday, July 13, 2014!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Simply Beekeeping: Small Hive Beetle

Small Hive Beetle
We are going to talk about beekeeping today.  Earlier this year, we had 2 hives and were very excited about having some fresh honey later in the season.  Unfortunately, we had an unwelcome visitor named the small hive beetle and they decimated our hives.  We lost them both and ended up with nothing.  However, we are still new at this and still learning.  You don't always hit a home run on the first pitch, so we'll be trying again next year.  In the following paragraphs, I will let you know what this little devil is and how to keep them under control.

What is the small hive beetle and how does it harm the hive?

The beetle is actually native to sub-Saharan Africa, but has begun to spread to countries around the world within the past couple of decades.  The bees in Africa don't seem to really have a problem keeping them under control, however, outside of the continent, other bees can have serious problems with them.  The adult beetle is dark brown to black and about a half centimeter in length. The adults can live up to 6 months and can bee found anywhere in the hive.  Usually, they will be in the back of the hive on the bottom board. The female will lay eggs in cracks and crevices within the hive and with 2-3 days, the larvae will hatch. They will then feed on the pollen and honey, doing damage to the combs.  Within 10-16 days, they will leave the hive and burrow within the soil nearby.  After 3-4 weeks, they will emerge as adults and reenter the hives to start the process all over again. The damage to the hive is because these evil creatures will burrow through the comb, breaking caps causing honey to run down the combs making a huge mess and defecate in the honey which ruins it.  The bees will no longer use the combs and can not use the honey at all.  Often times, the queen will then stop laying if the bees can not keep this under control and the hive will collapse.

Small Hive Beetle Larvae Destroying Comb

A strong colony should not have any problem keeping these pests under control, but you always want to help your colony along.  You can not completely get rid of the beetles once they enter your hive, so you want to use several different control methods.  We are going to try three methods next year.  First, we will lay out a horse stall mat beneath the hive.  It keeps the larvae from going into the ground immediately, and they will have to squirm their way to the edge to find the ground.  During their travel, the heat of the mat should kill most of them and then other animals, such as birds, can pick them off as they try to escape. Next, we will use an open bottom with a screen and place an oil (vegetable) trap below, so the beetles and their larvae will fall in and die like they should!  The final method will be to use beneficial nematodes. They are naturally occurring and do not harm the environment. The microscopic roundworms will invade the body of the beetle and release a  bacterium that liquefies their insides. Awesome! The nematodes will then feast on the dead beetle, mate and reproduce.

Hopefully, we will be able to keep these evil creatures under control and bring you a happy posting about our triumph.  I hope you all have a great rest of the week and join us again on Friday for the Recipe of the Week.  Until next time.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Get Out & Explore: Events and Festivals for the Week/Weekend of 07/14- 07/21

I hope everyone is having a great weekend! We have compiled a list of festivals and events that are happening around Tennessee for the upcoming week/weekend. You will find that the listings below are divided into three categories based on the areas of the state. I hope you find the list useful. Please feel free to leave a comment if this was beneficial for you. If you have an event you would like for us to post, please let us know! We will see you on Wednesday, when we post another segment about beekeeping. Have a fun and safe week! :)

West TN
  • July 19,   26th Annual WEVL 89.9 Blues on the Bluff
374 Metal Museum Drive, Memphis, TN
  • July 19, Festival Latino De Radio Ambiente WGSF
Tiger Lane Fairgrounds, Memphis, TN



Middle TN
  • July 17, Jammin' with the General
Public Square, Lebanon, TN
  • July 17,  10th Annual Tennessee Small Farm Expo
Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN
  • July 18, Bethlehem United Methodist Church Fish Fry
2419 Bethlehem Loop Road, Franklin, TN
  • July 18,  Tennessee-Kentucky Threshermen Show
Old Bell School, Adams, TN
  • July 19,  The McKameys in concert
Palace Theatre, Crossville, TN
  • July 19,  Liberty Live! with Tina Brown
Liberty Park Amphitheatre, Clarksville, TN
  • July 19,  Back to School Event
Lewis County Park, Lewisburg, TN
  • July 19-20, 15th Annual Elegant and Depression Glass Show and Sale
Tennessee State Fairgrounds, Nashville, TN
  • July 19, Excursion Train to DelMonaco Winery in Baxter
Tennessee Central Railway Museum, Nashville, TN
  • July 19,  Marketville & Car Show
Warren County Fairgrounds, McMinnville, TN
  • July 19, Bead & Jewelry Expo
Tennessee State Fairgrounds, Nashville, TN
  • July 19-21, World Music & Food International Festival
Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos, Nigeria, TN
  • July 19, Music City Brewers Festival
Walk of Fame Park, Nashville, TN
  • July 19,  Groove In The Gulch
9th Avenue & Gleaves St, Nashville, TN
  • July 19,  Music on the Square
Downtown Waverly, TN



East TN
  • July 14-19, Anderson County Fair
Fairgrounds, Clinton, TN
  • July 18-19, Red Gate Rodeo
Red Gate Farm, Maynardville, TN
  • July 19, Slice of Bluegrass Concert
Heritage Hall Theatre, Mountain City, TN
  • July 19, Sunflower Festival
Downtown Mountain City, TN
  • July 19,  Rummaging the Rose
Rose Center, Morristown, TN
  • July 19, Second Annual Whitwell Summer Fest
8355 Valley View Highway, Whitwell, TN
  • July 19, Front Porch Concert Series
Harrow Road Cafe, Rugby, TN

Friday, July 11, 2014

Simply Plum Jam

Plum Jam
It's time for another canning recipe and this one has been a big hit!  Whether you are making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or just need a spread for biscuits, plum jam has always been one of my favorites.  We have a friend that lives close by with Santa Rosa plum trees that produce insane amounts of plums!  So, when you have too many plums to eat at once, you jam 'em!  I have been jammin' for a week now and have made about 24 pints from 5 grocery bags of plums.  The trees are still bending over with fruit, but I am not sure I will have time for 24 more pints this week.  Anyhow, if you have too many plums then just try this recipe out!

Ingredients:

9 Cups - Chopped Plums (pit removed)
8 Cups - Sugar
7 TB - Fruit Pectin
2 TB - Lemon Juice
Makes 6 pints or 12 - 8oz jars.


1. Make sure to wash your plums and remove the pits.  No need to discard the skins. At this time you can also get the canning jars ready.  They will need to be placed into hot boiling water for 20 minutes, so you may need to get the water started while you prepare the jam.

2. Place the plums into a large pan and boil on medium high for 20 minutes.

3. Add the lemon juice and pectin.

4. Gradually stir in the sugar and boil for another 20 minutes, or until the jam begins to congeal.  You can check by using the spoon test.  Stick a spoon into the jam and then lift it out.  The jam should mostly stick to the spoon and slowly run off.

5. Remove any foam from the top of the jam, then pour into hot sterilized jars. Wipe the rims of the jars to make sure they are clean from any jam droppings, place on the lids and lightly screw on the rings (you will tighten them after the final bath). Place back into the hot boiling water for another 20 minutes.

6. Remove the jars and place them on a wire rack or on a surface that can withstand the hot jars.  Be sure to allow a few inches of space between the jars and let them sit for 12-24 hours for the jam to set and the lids to seal with a "pop."

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Simply Tomato Pest Control

Tomato Hornworm
Hi, everyone!  I hope you are having a great week.  Today, we are going to look at controlling tomato plant pests.  In the spring, we managed to avoid the evil cut worm, but now we have other critters to look out for.  The two we have been dealing with are the stink bugs and tomato hornworms.

The stink bugs like to hide in dense foliage where they lay their eggs on the underside of leaves and on the stems of plants.  Once the eggs hatch, they will reach maturity in 4-5 weeks and this is when they begin to feed on your tomatoes.  They stick their snouts under the skin of the tomato and release an enzyme that will liquefy that area.  The stink bug will then drink the liquefied portion of the tomato.  You will notice discolored spots where the bugs have been feeding.  In order to control these critters, you will want to make sure the area around your tomatoes are weeded to keep down their population.  A spray of Kaolin, sold as Surround Wp, can be applied to the plants.  Once the application drys, it will leave an all natural and non toxic coating which acts as a barrier against the bug's snout.  You can always do the ole tried and true control by squishing them by hand too!


Stink bugs on a tomato

If the stink bug wasn't bad enough, the tomato hornworm can be even more destructive to our tomato plants.  The caterpillars are mean eating machines.  They will devour your plants leaves, stems and fruit.  I found one in my garden that had decimated one side of my entire plant and that was just one of them!  They are very good at hiding since their green body blends in with the plants.  If you notice bare bone stems and half eaten fruit, then you will want to look over the plant very closely since you probably have an uninvited visitor.  You can remove them by hand and that should be sufficient.  However, if you have several crawling around then you want to take more drastic measures.  A green pesticide is the botanical Bt (Bacillus Thuringiensis), which is a bacterium that acts as a stomach poison.  It will not harmful to other plants or animals.  Also, as a preventative measure, you want to make sure you till your garden before and after your plantings.  It will kill a lot of the pests hiding in the ground.  If you like dill, then go ahead and plant them with the tomatoes as a deterrent too.

Happy gardening!   We will see you again on Friday, when we have our recipe of the week. It's also the Fourth of July for us here in the States, so be careful and be safe! 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Get Out & Explore: Events and Festivals for the Week/Weekend of 07/11- 07/13

I hope everyone is having a great weekend! We have compiled a list of festivals and events that are happening around Tennessee for the upcoming week/weekend. You will find that the listings below are divided into three categories based on the areas of the state. I hope you find the list useful. Please feel free to leave a comment if this was beneficial for you. If you have an event you would like for us to post, please let us know! We will see you on Wednesday, when we post about tomato plant pests and what to do about them.

West TN
  • N/A



Middle TN
  • July 11, Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Rodeo
Giles County Ag Park, Pulaski, TN
  • July 11-26,  "Shrek the Musical"
The Arts Center of Cannon County, Woodbury, TN
  • July 11, Live in Livingston Summer Music Series
Town Square, Livingston, TN
  • July 11-13,  Uncle Dave Macon Days
Cannonsburgh Village, Murfreesboro, TN
  • July 12,  Red, White and Brew
Sevier Park, Nashville, TN
  • July 12,  First Square Fair/Tn State Chili Cook-Off
Uptown Square, Shelbyville, TN
  • July 12,  Pet Expo
Nashville Expo Center, Nashville, TN
  • July 12, Fifth Annual Tojo Creek Gourd Gala
Wilson County Fairgrounds, Lebanon, TN
  • July 12, Murder Mystery Excursion Train to Watertown
Tennessee Central Railway Museum, Nashville, TN
  • July 12,  Tap Root Farm Ranch Rodeo
4099 Clovercroft Road, Franklin, TN
  • July 12, Middle Tennessee Iris Society Annual Iris/Rhizome Sale
Ellington Agricultural Center, Nashville, TN
  • July 12, Patriotic Day
Charlie Daniels Park, Mt. Juliet, TN
  • July 12, 24th Annual Van Buren County Homecoming
Courthouse Square, Spencer, TN
  • July 12-13,  Arrowhead-Making Demonstration and Show
Fly General Store, Santa Fe, TN



East TN
  • July 10-12, "Liberty: The Saga of Sycamore Shoals"
Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area, Elizabethton, TN
  • July 11-12, Tractor Pull
Sevier County Fairgrounds, Sevierville, TN
  • July 11-19, Kingsport Fun Fest
Various Locations, Kingsport, TN
  • July 12,  Fourth Christmas in July
Bledso County Fairgrounds, Pikeville, TN
  • July 12,  Front Porch Concert Series
Harrow Road Cafe, Rugby, TN
  • July 12-13, Knoxville's Southern Women Expo
Knoxville Expo Center, Knoxville, TN

Friday, July 4, 2014

Simply Coleslaw Cabbage Wrap

Happy Fourth of July everyone!  I hope you have a fun and safe holiday celebration.  If you are looking for a last minute side for your cookout, I have a quick coleslaw recipe. 

Ingredients:

1 - Meduim Sized Cabbage
1 - Cup of Mayo
1 1/2 - TB of Apple Cider Vinegar
2 - Tsp of Garlic Powder
2 - Tsp of Onion Powder
2 - Tsp Black Pepper
2 - Tsp Celery Salt

1. Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage, rinse with cold water and set them aside.

2. Shred the remaining cabbage head.

3.  Place shredded cabbage in a mixing bowl and add all the other ingredients and mix well.

4. Next, place the mixture into the leaves like you were making a taco.  Use a toothpick to keep them together.  Woo Hoo!  You are finished.  Now, wasn't that simple?


Coleslaw Cabbage Wrap


Have a great weekend and check back with us on Sunday, when we will let you know what events/festivals are happening around Tennessee for the next weekend. If you missed this weekend's list, you can find the post on our blog from this past Sunday, June 29, 2014!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Backyard Chickens: Choosing Your Flock

Gracie, Gavin, Gladys & Goldie 
Hello everyone.  I hope you are enjoying your week so far.  Today, we are going to discuss choosing chickens for your flock.  We couldn't decide on just one breed, so we picked a variety for our flock.  When selecting more than one breed of poultry, you want to make sure that they are compatible.  For example, you don't want to have large breeds mixed with small ones.  The large hens may bully or even kill your smaller hens.  Also, you do not want to mix aggressive breeds with docile ones even if they are the same size.  However, if the hens grew up together then they usually will accept each other and you can have a mix of breeds and sizes.  It will require a little bit of research to find the perfect fit, but it will save you money and heartache in the long run.

The breeds we have are medium to large in size and gentle, they include Cream Legbars named Gilda, Gayla and Gavin the rooster (medium size), an Australorp named Gladys (large), a Golden Laced Wyandotte named Goldie (medium to large), a Black Sex Link named Gracie (medium to large) and an Ameraucana named Gypsy (medium).  The friendliest one of them all is Gypsy.  We raised her from a small chick and I believe she doesn't know she's a chicken.  She will run over to me and find a way to fly up onto my shoulder whenever I visit the pen.  It's almost as if she can't stand being around the other chickens and doesn't know why I keep leaving her there.  So, I will walk around the yard with her on my shoulder to give her a break from being a chicken in the coop.  I never thought I would have a chicken as an actual pet, but I love her to pieces and tend to spoil her. I am hoping she will begin laying within the next month.  Her eggs will be blue or green in color and are often referred to as Easter eggs.  The Cream Legbars will have a blue type egg, the Golden Laced Wyandotte and Black Sex Link will have brown eggs, and the Australorp will have very large white eggs.


Gayla, Gypsy & Gilda

We have not had any issue with having these breeds in the same coop.  The larger hens tend to stay together and the smaller ones have created their own clique.  As with any group of animals, or people, you want to make sure they have plenty of room.  The larger the coop and outside play area, the less issues you tend to have.  They are able to roam around, forage and entertain themselves which leaves little time to think about bullying chicken little. Typically, you will need 3-4 square feet per chicken for the hen house and 3-4 square feet per chicken for the run (outside the hen house).

I hope this gives you a little bit of information for choosing your flock.  Just make sure to do some further research on which breeds would suit your needs.  Whether you are looking for pets, egg layers or even dinner meat, you have a large variety to consider.  From the fancy feathered to the plain white, I have no doubt you will find at least one breed to fall in love with.  We will see you again on Friday, when we have our recipe of the week.  It's also the Fourth of July for us here in the States, so be careful and be safe! 

Get Our E-Subscription To Your Inbox Here!