Moving On

Remember our beautiful sunflower garden?

August 18

August 18

Well, even as the trees erupted in colors, the sunflowers faded to gray. Summer passed the baton to fall.

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October 26

We planted the sunflowers as a summer cover crop, following our spring lettuce and Asian greens. Once the sunflowers were mature, we turned our small flock of Dominiques into the garden with them. The chickens have been fertilizing the area and eliminating pests and weed seeds. Lately they’ve been compensated with sunflower seeds.

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Yesterday I mowed down the dead sunflower stalks and moved the chickens.

After

After

Next I’ll till the garden and sow a winter cover crop. The chickens will now go to work their magic in a different garden.

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23 comments on “Moving On

  1. shoreacres says:

    Did you save the seed heads? I think I remember you drying some in the past, and offering them at market. I wish someone around here would do that.

    The transition reminds me of Robert Frost’s lovely poem, so appropriate for the turning of the season:

    Nature’s first green is gold,
    Her hardest hue to hold.
    Her early leaf’s a flower;
    But only so an hour.
    Then leaf subsides to leaf.
    So Eden sank to grief,
    So dawn goes down to day.
    Nothing gold can stay.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. smcasson says:

    So you don’t harvest the sunflower seeds? I have quite a number of sunflower heads hanging dry in the pole barn, but haven’t done anything with them yet.
    I like watching the chickens doing their good work.

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    • Bill says:

      We harvest all we need for reseeding next years crop and for own use. Plus we sell cut flowers during the summer. But that still leaves the great majority of the flowers/seeds to return to the soil and to feed the chickens and birds.

      Like

  3. Laurie Graves says:

    Love the lines from the Robert Frost poem. And, as another great poet might observe, “Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. avwalters says:

    Sunflowers and chickens! I wouldn’t have thought of it. I’ve recently discovered sunflower butter. Since I’m allergic to peanuts, it’s the closest I can get to PB & J. I wonder how you’d process them. That empty field is a sure sign of season change. Our color is on the wane–another fierce wind and we’ll be stripped to our winter skivvies.

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    • Bill says:

      It’s finally raining here today. The forecast is for heavy rain tomorrow. The orange glow around here may soon be gone.

      I’m not sure about sunflower butter. I seem to recall looking into how to make sunflower oil but it was more trouble than I was willing to take on.

      We wait until the sunflowers are tall enough that the chickens can’t harm them before turning them in there. They seem to enjoy wandering around in the sunflower jungle. I like that they’re safe from hawks in there.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. bobraxton says:

    We purchase sunflower seeds – 50 pounds each – black (with hulls) seed (50) and shelled (50) trucked from the state of Minnesota – for the songbirds. to 20 miles from D.C.

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  6. Sue says:

    Chickens are great helpers—and so fun to watch in action.
    Hard to believe another season has ended.

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    • Bill says:

      Time marches on. I think of fall as a beautiful, but temporary, painting. No two are the same and there is a limit to how many we get to see. I’m trying to let this one really soak in.

      Like

  7. I like your feathered workers.

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    • Bill says:

      We have another flock that is completely free range. They prefer to spend most of their time in the woods. But these are assigned to a specific job. They earn their keep. 🙂

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  8. Katie Lynn says:

    Oh I do hold a special place in my heart for sunflowers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      I’m glad to hear from you Katie! I came looking for you on your blog a couple of days ago and it was gone. Glad to see you’re back and I’ve bookmarked your new blog too.

      I really enjoyed the sunflowers this year. The sunflower garden was right behind our house so I’d see it whenever I went out. That garden always made me feel like the farm was smiling at me.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Dearest Bill,
    That’s almost a poetic concept. A joy for the eye and also for those lucky free range chickens!
    You are a hard worker but if it is rewarding like this, it never is a burden.
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    • Bill says:

      We try to make our relationships with our farm animals mutually beneficial. This little flock helps us maintain healthy soil and in exchange we protect and feed them. We’ve had rain the last two days, so I can’t till that garden for a while. So this afternoon I turned the chickens back into it, so they can enjoy all the sunflower seeds that scattered around when I was mowing. I’ll get the benefit of another week or so of fertilization. 🙂

      Like

  10. Saw this in my email last night shivering in the trailer at the farm…just the title and no cell reception despite waving the phone about. Moving on??? Say it isn’t so! Then the post downloaded finally and I breathed a sigh of relief.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      LOL. I’m glad to know that someone would care about my moving on.
      We get really poor cell coverage out here. Sometimes I’ll get an email and try to open it, not only to have it refuse to open, but then report “message has no content.” Poor internet is about the only downside I know of to rural living.

      Like

  11. We had a migrant sunflower grow this summer. Who knows where it came from, but what a beauty. Happy chickens, I imagine. –Curt

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