Strawberry Fields Aplenty- well for right now.

 

WE PLANTED STRAWBERRIES!

LOOK! THEY’RE ALREADY GROWING!

We dug out a long trench, lined it with some good garden soil from Maine’s very own Coast Of Maine line, lined them up and down the row and filled them in. We are trying to decide if we want to go the traditional route of straw or if we want to use black garden fabric, as we have a lot of it on hand already.

We planted them over the course of three nights- like literally planted at 8pm and on… at one point I asked for a head lamp for my birthday and not really as a joke.

The third night, Mr Gillis’s cousins, two other MrGilliseseses (??) helped us plant the last 50, and also helped us get some of our pumpkins into the ground.

I’m really excited about this (ok we’re both REALLY EXCITED about this)…. we planted 100 bare root Sparkle(a mid season variety known for its flavor) and 100 bare root Honeoye( a mid/late season type with a long harvest season).

MrGillis even wanted to order another 100 each, because the field was so small once we had them all in, but Johnny’s was already sold out for the season….

So next year, we’re going to go big…. really big. Like 1000 roots big.

For now, I guess we’ll have to be happy planting the Alexandria Strawberry Seeds we bought- this is an Alpine variety which grows double the standard wild berry size.. bonus points for edible flowers!

That’s about that for this one tho.  Until next time, have a wicked good day.

How to raise friendly chickens

Here at Gillis Gardens, we believe in happy, friendly animals. We believe that, with the right care any animal can become easy to handle and some even enjoy it.

So here are my top 5 tips to creating an unbreakable bond with your flock.

Seriously, start young- This is the big one. Just as soon as we get our babies, I inspect and hold for a moment. Then for the next several weeks, I go in and check on them CONSTANTLY. Any time I have an extra couple minutes, I hold my hand in the pen so they get used to my being in close proximity. Bonus point for when the braver ones start perching on your wrist or maybe even fall asleep on you.

Handle(gently) several times a day- even if only for a few seconds. I believe this gets them used to just being picked up. When you want to check out an adult bird, having them just submit to being picked up is a lot easier then trying to catch it.

Spend lots of time talking to them- We have our chicks set up in our storage room, which we have to walk thru to get to our laundry area. This means I get to talk to them, several times a day, without even having to do much else. I sing while I’m doing to laundry, I run thru my list of stuff to do for the day.. Or I just talk aloud. I want them to not only be used to my voice, but recognize it.

Back off if it’s to much for them- don’t stress your babies out. It wont help form a bond. Use the more trusting, social birds to draw out the nervous ones. Once they realize the other birds have nothing to fear, they will come along.

Don’t give up! – especially if its because they aren’t cute fluff butts anymore. They don’t stay like that long and that’s no excuse to treat them any differently.

Our girls are about a month old now, and they are growing like crazy.

These pictures are a week old already

I have several that like to fight for the perch on my hand/wrist and the shy girls cuddle up next to me. I can honestly say, with my arm in the box, they have all fallen asleep. That is trust, in a nutshell folks.

Well, that’s about all for this one. We were up late the last weeks worth of nights planting strawberries and putting up a fence… we also have a garden to plant, a kitchen to finish (lest we forget), and a whole list of other projects. Wish us luck!

Until next time, have a wicked good day.

The chicks are here!

After a long couple of days- we are proud to announce the arrival of 11 new family members!

It was originally supposed to be 15- but our Brahmas were canceled…. then it was supposed to be 13 but the trip was to much for one little polish and one little salmon faverolle. Hoovers Hatchery has been informed and we will be getting refunded.

Also, Because the FedEx plane was late, our girls missed their ride to town by 30 minutes. So MrGillis went on a rescue mission, 170 miles round trip,to ensure they’d get to us in time.

LOOK AT ALL THE CUTENESS! BEHOLD THE FLUFFY BUTTS!

We’re really hoping for no roos, but we’re just glad that we only lost two. So far, Hoovers Hatchery has our business for the future.

Otherwise, we are knee deep in projects because spring in Maine. It goes by fast, which means work while you can.

So, until next time, have a wicked good day.

Update 05/05/2017: we lost the other faverolle overnight- we are now worried that our chicks are infected with coccidiosis – nasty little buggers that are really in all chickens, but some are particularly bad and the little ones can’t fight them off. We now believe that was the reason for the polish’s death, as well instead of just a rough trip.

So far it seems like all the other chicks are doing well, they are eating, drinking, running and napping like normal. We’ve had one tiny case of pasty butt that was taken care of this morning.

We’ve decided that if we notice anymore looking weak we are going to make the 80 mile round trip to the nearest TSC to get Corid. We will update when we have more news.