The weather cools, the leaves start turning and the days get shorter. We start thinking about cleaning up the yard from the annuals that are starting to fade and decorating for Halloween and Thanksgiving. As the summer flowers start to fade the first evergreen Fall Bloomers start showing their colors, such as Camellia Bushes, Rhododendron and Beautyberries. But nothing says fall quite like the Chrysanthemum, lovingly called "Mum" by most Gardeners. Since they require short days and long nights to bloom fall is just their thing.
Most people are unaware that there is basically three varieties of Mums - the early bloomer, which usually starts hitting the stores as soon as September, since they start showing buds as early as end of July, the mid-season bloomers, which start showing their buds in September and bloom September through end of October, and the late bloomers, which in temperate climates such as ours can bloom way into November.
Chrysanthemums can have single, large daisy like flowers, while others bloom with semi double or double flowers, where each flower is actually a cluster of tiny flower florets. These clusters are called "heads". These flower heads can bloom in many colors, ranging from yellow, bronze, purple, pink, white and red to deep lavender or orange.
A lot of people like to create fall decorations with Mum Planters, using them to set on top of straw bales together with Pumpkins, or decorate the steps to their house or front porch, leaving them potted in the container they purchased them. This is fine if you simply want to enjoy your Mum for their beautiful color a couple of weeks or months. Pinching the dead flowers off and watering the pot regularly will ensure that your plant will last almost the entire fall season.
Most Mums are actually root bound once they hit the stores. What that means is that their roots have grown so big that they fill out almost the entire pot. This makes for a very thirsty plant that needs a daily, thorough soaking to keep it alive! However, if you would like to enjoy your Mum regrowing and blooming year after year, then you should plant them in the ground as soon as you can. Planting them early in the season means that their root system has enough time to grab hold in the ground, ensuring that they survive the winter.
If you bought a late blooming variety - because you simply like those better - you can still get them in the ground before the first frost, but they may need some added protection for their roots by spreading lots of mulch or straw around the base of the plant.
Personally, I have planted all my Mums that I have ever bought, and enjoy each one of them coming back year after year (if they chickens haven't eaten them...), adding that much awaited Fall Feeling and color to our yard.
If you want to give it a try this year or just want to decorate with lovely planters full of different colored Mums, pick up yours at Southern Charmers Country Store in Statesville, where we offer standard 8"sizes, mixed planters or Mums in huge 24" deluxe sizes. If you need a large quantity to plant or decorate for an event give us a call or contact us, or let Debbie know in the store. We can deliver, too.
Click on the image gallery below for links to some websites with some really creative, unique decorating ideas.
Raw eggs and cooking – can you use your backyard chickens eggs in raw recipes?
It is widely known that the consumption of raw eggs can bear health risks, such as contracting salmonella or food poisoning. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) considers the consumption of raw eggs safe if they have been pasteurized.
If you keep backyard chickens, one of the benefits are delicious, super fresh eggs. But unless you happen to have a $600 + Pasteurizer at hand, they hardly are FDA approved. What’s a Chicken Fanatic to do?
Well, I guess it is simply a matter of choice and your own judgement if you think your eggs are clean and safe enough to be used in raw recipes. Me, having been feeding my dogs raw meat for decades without ever having a problem, I simply wash my eggs and enjoy them. I know my Chickens, how clean or dirty my coops are, how long the eggs have been laying outside, how they were washed – heck, most of the time I even know what the Chicken that laid the egg ate the day before. So, I just go with it and use my eggs in all sorts of recipes, lick the raw chocolate dough off the spoon and move on with life. Yum !
Don’t get me wrong, there is always a risk for Salmonella or other bacteria. However, if you simply check your eggs thoroughly, discard any that have even the slightest crack in the shell, wash them well and immediately refrigerate them, your eggs should be just as safe to consume as any store bought one. Except they will taste much, much better!
To get you thinking about some more unusual recipes that use eggs here are some of my personal favorites:
Scientists have found that Chickens are smarter than we give them credit for
As it seems, the average domestic Chicken is quite aware of its surroundings and what goes on in the world. They can learn, communicate, and even feel compassion towards other Chickens.
An article by Lori Moreno ” Thinking Chickens: a review of cognition, emotion, and behavior in the domestic Chicken” talks about Chickens and their amazing abilities in relation to the size of their brains. They show individual personality, trick each other, communicate with each other, and can even come to logical conclusions that some kids only master at about 7 years old.
I am not talking about some super genetically enhanced breed here, I am talking little Red Hen. Standard, happy little egg laying machine following you around in the yard trying to peck the polka dots of your rubber boots.
The domestic Chicken is the descendant of a southeast Asian Chicken breed, the Bankiva, or better known as Jungle Fowl. No other domestic species of animal is quite as common or larger in numbers and variety around the world, at an estimated 19 billion total. Of course, that is largely due to the fact that roughly over 25 Million Chickens are killed each day.
Check out this super simple craft I found courtesy of familie.de
It is perfect for Easter and can be made with even the smallest little tot - so cute!
What you need:
Egg Carton, red construction paper, a black marker, scissors and glue - that's it!
How to make these adorable Egg Carton Chickens with egg:
- Cut the cornered pieces of the Egg Carton
- Cut the comb and beak from red construction paper (you could also use yellow if you like)
- Glue the beak and comb on the cut out corner pieces
- Draw the eyes - Voila! Finished! So simple but so much fun for kids.
Tip: you could also decorate the sides or "chicken" with feathers, paper scraps, glitter etc.
Its not even the end of August and the stores start putting out their Halloween Decorations. While that usually annoys me to no end, this year I happened to stumble across a Halloween Decoration that involved Chickens. Well, maybe it was not meant as a Halloween Decoration, but it was a Pumpkin with Chickens printed on it no less. Which immediately made me think about how cool it would be to carve a pumpkin that is Chicken inspired, better yet, a whole row of pumpkins lining the front hill of the farm, one by one with a Hen, a Rooster, a Baby Chick.... since our front lawn is endless (several acres may I say) so are the possibilities. Alas! I am set upon a whole new path of obsession: The Halloween Rooster Pumpkin. Or the Chicken Halloween Pumpkin. Or the Baby Chick Halloween Pumpkin. Okay, maybe now we are getting a bit far from scary, but I never liked the whole scary thing at Halloween anyway.
So I set out to carve the perfect Chicken Pumpkin. Looking at the result, maybe I should not have free-handed it, I think next time I better find some online templates first. My Rooster rather looks like some fire dragon Phoenix. His butt was so big, it barely even fit on the pumpkin. Originally I wanted to have him devour a whole bunch of little pumpkins, but by the time I got to the little pumpkins it was almost midnight and I rather had enough of the carving. Here is the result of my first Halloween Chicken Pumpkin attempt. What do you think ?
I looked around online for some Patterns to carve a Chicken Pumpkin, or better yet, a Rooster Halloween Pumpkin and came across some pretty neat stuff. Not sure if I could actually carve those; here are some of the templates I found:
In regards to keeping Chickens and feeding them the general writings out there contain advice to the extent of something like this “each Chicken should have access to the daily needed intake of food and water in sufficient quantity and quality.” Great. That’s a no brainer if you want to keep any kind of pet. But what does that really mean? What does a Chicken need and want in food?
Well, the want is easy, as Chickens are as much junk food addicts as you and I (and my cats for that matter). Throw your hens a cup of balanced food pellets that include all their daily needs for vitamins, minerals and proteins, and then toss a handful of sunflower seeds the other direction. See what they go for first….
Matter of fact, try it with the Roosters first and see which pile of food scores them more girls. It doesn’t matter if they cluck like Adam Levine or do the Jaggernaut Dance like Mick Jagger, if they’re stuck with the healthy food pile the hen party will go elsewhere ! Yet if you gave them sunflower seeds alone on a regular basis their feather butts would rather quickly change into some fatty butts, let alone some rather vitamin and mineral deficient ones. Yes, in case you did not know, Chickens can get fat, they can even get fatty liver and die from it just like an obese Human being.
If you want to feed your Chickens an appropriate diet then you have to familiarize yourself at least with the basic anatomy of a Chicken and its natural feeding behaviors!
I Have you ever found yourself surfing the web checking out to see if there are any cool T-shirts or hats that have "chicken quotes" on them? Well, I have. Of course. What could be worthier than spending an entire Saturday evening in front of your laptop chuckling over funny, witty, unusual (and sometimes quite tasteless - dare I mention "cock quotes") Chicken sayings. And since the Chicken bug is contagious I have long given it to