The Bee Hive

Sometimes it's honey; sometimes it's sting...

Friday, August 24, 2007


Okay, first the photos, then the text copied straight from a Yahoo Permaculture Group site that I just joined. If anyone knows or has an opinion on any of my questions, feel free to comment. ...And not a word to my husband about the tentative, impending chicken purchase.

Hello, everyone. I am trying to do better with permaculture and have
some questions.

1. First of all, I have gardened with old newspapers many times over the years, using it both in compost and directly in the garden. But I had read that the colored inks were to be avoided. This used to not be that hard to do. Now it seems like our local paper has so much color, that it would be extremely tedious to tear all of it out and only use the much smaller amount of b/w that is left. So, IS the colored ink bad or unhealthy to use with food crops???

2. Chickens. I am thinking of starting a very small flock. I had a friend who has since moved away who always enumerated how much trouble it was for them to keep chickens. It discouraged me from trying. She and her husband had a huge fenced barnyard for them, plus a nice chicken house in a smaller fenced area. I remember she
talked about medicines? or vaccines? or something that had to be added to their water, and other tasks that involved 'medical' type things.

Now I have a friend who is just the opposite. She got a flock of chickens simply because she loves chickens and wanted some. Hers (6 or 7, I think) stay in a very small pen - not much bigger than a very large dog crate - from dusk until she gets home from work in the mid-afternoon. Then they are turned loose in her back yard to
forage until dusk, again. They also get chicken feed at that time. No meds, no hassles whatsoever. And the chickens are big, beautiful and healthy. I asked about nests and she said they just lay eggs in the 'crate' on the ground.

So, I guess what I am asking the group is, Is this a viable way to raise chickens or not? Are there any medicines or vaccines or anything like that, that they need? I don't think I would take it quite so easy as my friend does, but I don't want any major complications like my other friend always implied came with keeping chickens.

3. My garden, which was VERY small this year, is surrounded by bermuda grass. Would I be able to expand it simply by laying cardboard down on the grass, now, and leaving it until spring? Bermuda is tenacious, I know. I don't have a tiller and so far haven't found anyone with one, who would take the job. I am hoping to avoid tilling it myself with a garden fork.

Gee, my questions make me sound so lazy. ;)

I am reading Barbara Kingsolver's book, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle", currently. It's a good book, recommending being a 'locavore', that makes me wish we had farmer's markets and places like that in our area. I live in a small town and the nearest Farmer's Market I know of - if it's even still in operation, is 50 miles away. I really wish our little town had a veggie stand or co-op thing or something.

Today I drove out to the Amish community and bought some things - wheat bread, cookies, wild grape jelly, pickled okra, fresh eggs and fresh okra. They also had pastries, honey, hand-dipped beeswax candles, pumpkins and watermelons, but that was it in the way of crops this time of year.

Question of the Day: Any answers?


At 8/27/2007 10:04 AM, Blogger The Cookbook Junkie said...

I was just watching this author on a cable channel a couple of days ago. She was talking about the book but I must have been doing something else at the time because I don't remember too much of what she talked about.

On another show I saw a woman who only ate what she could grow and she didn't even have a refrigerator. I thought that was a bit extreme. I think food preservation is a good thing.

It's getting to where you can't trust food that isn't grown right in your own backyard.

At 9/01/2007 10:59 AM, Blogger Focus_ret said...

Most towns have "Rent-a-" places. Most of those have tillers to rent. You might check that possibility out.


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