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Archive for March 30th, 2012

Spring chicks abound around here.  Four new little fuzzy peepers hatched out this last week.  I love the little one with the black tipped fluff and am curious to see if he or she continues to carry it into adulthood.  These will be more heavies and the next batch set for summer will focus on egg layers.

I haven’t gotten around to sexing these yet, but they sure are cute at this age.  The little one in the front is the most brazen of the bunch, following me around the back room as I am doing laundry.

The early spring hatch is growing rapidly as well.  They are reaching their between stage where they lost the cuteness of baby chicks and yet haven’t gained the full beauty of full grown chickens. They are now big enough to have moved out to the coop they are having great fun learning how to pick at the little bugs that seek shelter in the straw.

Even have them trained like good chicks to wait in line for their mashed up meal worm treats. Okay, I didn’t actually train them to do that, it’s just something they do when they see me grinding up the worms, but I find it adorable.

This weekend will be beak trimming for the older chicks.  While I am not a fan of the cutting of a large section of the upper beak from the bird, I do advocate for using a finger nail clippers to trim the very tip where it begins to curl to minimize pecking injuries.  At the same time I will trim flight feathers.  This is done to keep the little guys from hurting themselves trying to fly in their current cage.  As much as I would love to free range them here, it simply is not safe to do so with a red tail hawk nest and owl nest both in my back woods.  As I love seeing the hawk and owl and their babies every year I think I’ll just keep the chickens safe in their runs and enjoy living in harmony with the wildlife…..except that wild sow….she and I still are at odds.

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There is just something about Hydrangeas in the garden that is a must have, especially in the South.  The huge blooms are beautiful and attention demanding for a good reason.  A hydrangea bush in full bloom is truly a sight to behold and several together is breathtaking.

On a negative note, Hydrangeas also are one of the more expensive plants you can purchase to beautify your yard.  Due to this many people choose to avoid them, and yet they can be propagated fairly easily using a five step method.  So in purchasing only one plant, you can end up with several by next season.

Here are the five quick steps I use in my own hydrangea propagation.:

1. Take your cutting from an established hydrangea shrub.  You want the cutting to be about 5-6″ long and preferably from a branch that did not flower.  I truthfully have not noticed a difference in this and have (as seen in picture) used cuttings from branches in which the flowers are spent.

2.) Remove the lower leaves, leave only the top leaves of the stem.

3.) If you happen to have large leaves in the remaining leaves, slice the tips off them leaving half the leaf size. This step is not necessary but can help to create less work for the plant in it’s establishment process.

4.) Dip the cuttings in a rooting hormone and insert into a damp vermiculite, coarse sand or a rich mix of vermiculite, sand and garden soil.

5.) Water well and allow to drain. You want the soil to be moist but not soggy.  Cover the pot with a plastic bag to form a mini greenhouse.  Steak the plastic up and away from the leaves.  Then place your new rooting in a bright location outside of direct sunlight.  Direct sunlight will burn the plant.

That is pretty much all there is to it.

You will notice the leaves in this picture are getting a rather, worn down look.  That’s alright, the creation of the roots will also bring with it new leaves.  In other words don’t panic if your first sets of leaves brown up and fall off.  I’ve had some cuttings which have had this happen before new leaves formed, and some which retained bright and beautiful leaves the entire time.

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