A Muddy Mess, What’s Growing & Our Very First Eggs

It has been non-stop raining for the past couple of weeks now. Our poor chickens’ run became a muddy mess, but that hasn’t stopped them from foraging around as usual. Thinking about draping another tarp or two over the run, to help a little more in the future.

Their run has dried now, now that the rain has stopped. Thank goodness. I’m sure if we had ducks they would’ve had a field day these past few weeks lol

I know we’re in Tennessee, and the weather has always been spontaneous, but it’s gotten so unpredictable over the last handful of years. Can anyone else relate? Last year was a wild one to say the least – even the wildlife and plants was confused ๐Ÿ˜…

We’ve had 60/50F degree weather the past few weeks, with heavy rain and wind. Overnight it has stopped raining and dropped well below freezing. Friday it’s suppose to get down to 18F with a low of 9F, plus snow! Oof.

I suppose a snow after the winter solstice makes sense though. Last year it felt like late spring all the way till the very first day of January. I remember everyone sitting outside on Christmas day, in short sleeve shirts, which is unheard of here. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

Our Very First Eggs!

Amongst the rain and gloomy days, one of the girls gave us a delightful surprise. A handful of them were acting different when I went to pet them. They would drop low and stay still, as if I was a rooster or something (we don’t have one yet) lol

After petting one of them for a minute I noticed she immediately went inside the coop. Making a noise I haven’t heard from them before. My gut feeling told me she was looking for a place to lay an egg. We haven’t set up the other coop yet, with the built in nesting boxes, due to all the rain.

So I ran inside the house to grab something to use as a temporary nesting box, put some shavings in it, and ran back to the chickens. By the time I got back there was a beautiful little pastel blue egg, waiting there in the corner of the coop!

It was such a joyful moment, and awesome to see our first ever blue egg. After giving the girls some spinach, I ran back inside with the egg to immediately show my hubby lol

The day after next, while tending to the chickens, I found another lovely egg in the coop! They didn’t use the temporary nesting box I put in there, but they made a nice little bed themselves.

I went in the coop yesterday and found another one in the temporary nesting box. So far, three cute little eggs total! It’s such a neat feeling, finally getting to experience collecting eggs.

Plus, fresh eggs taste better than store bought (in our opinion), and we know our flock’s taken care of and healthy. Which is peace of mind.

They just turned 6 months on the 14th, which is egg laying age for them. We have all Prairie Bluebell Egger hens, in case you’re curious. I’d love to add other breeds to get a beautiful mixed basket of eggs (white, cream, brown, dark brown + green). Future egg goals for sure ~

We aren’t sure if they’ll lay through the winter, but it would be pretty nice if they did. We always buy the box of eggs from the store and they have officially hit $22… They were $6 at the start of this year.

A disapproving glare. She’s wondering why I’m out of treats lol

Either way, at least we’ll have fresh eggs to look forward to starting in spring! We love our little flock, they’re so funny and cute.

The Garden

There’s not a whole lot going on with the garden right now. I had some brassicas, beets and bunching onions in one of the no-till rows back in October.

Our crazy Tennessee weather killed them off though. It dipped in the low 20’s for a couple weeks, warmed up and stormed constantly, then cold again, etc..

A couple of things that have survived though are our carrots and a single little bok choy. We basically just mulched the carrots and let them do their own thing. Unfortunately, the straw we used to mulch with had wheat seeds or something in it.

So now, the no-till row and two Greenstalks are full of weeds.. Along with several small containers, but I already dealt with those. I don’t know what I’ll end up using next year.

I’m just going to wait and see how the carrots turn out. No sense in trying to fight with it right now.

Apparently, a lot of people have been dealing with this issue recently when using straw for mulch. Not having the issue in previous years. I didn’t have an issue with it either until this last purchase.

Anyways, hopefully we still get some carrots out of the entangled mess. The bok choy has been slowly but surely growing, surviving the weather like a champ.

Mushrooms

Another thing that’s been growing without my knowledge are the mushrooms! Unfortunately, the non-stop rain has soaked the more mature mushrooms. There’s a few younger ones that look okay, but the older ones look mushy.

I didn’t even realize they were still growing, to be honest. It dipped to 23F degrees for a few weeks or so, and I figured they would just go dormant until spring. I guess with our weather flip flopping, they’ve just been coming and going still.

Our Italian Oyster Mushrooms have performed the best, by far. The bed is always covered in growth. Blue Oysters are next in line, but it’s been a hit or miss so far. Our Snow Oysters finally made an appearance yesterday!

Wine Caps still haven’t had any luck, but it was the bag that was damaged – so it makes sense. I still need to inoculate the other bag they sent, but we had our first frost early in October.

If I would’ve known it was going to warm back up for the next month and a half, I would’ve done it by now. I definitely see frost covers in the future for our gardening adventures. So we can roll with mother nature a little easier.

Either way, these beds should do a lot better come spring time. I also need to put up a small net fencing around the beds, because deer prints are all over them.

They have an entire yard to run in, but I guess running through our mushroom beds makes more sense. lol

I have some plans that involve raised, bug netted beds, to deal with the rove beetle problem. If all goes well, maybe we can get those set up next year. If not, I guess I’ll be racing rove beetles to the mushrooms!

โ›„๏ธ Well, I hope everyone is doing good and staying safe out there! โ›„๏ธ

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22 thoughts on “A Muddy Mess, What’s Growing & Our Very First Eggs

    • Thanks! That’s how we were at first too. North Spore is where we got our sawdust spawn and learned a lot about mushrooms. We started with beginner friendly varieties. They also have indoor kits as well.

      IDing can be intimidating for sure though. Actual foraging for mushrooms would be kinda scary, I ain’t gonna lie ๐Ÿ˜…

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      • I love chickens but I think after 16 years I’m leaning towards wrapping up keeping them after I lose the ones I have. Bird flu is such a problem here in the UK now and they spend half their lives locked up which is such a shame. I don’t know, maybe I’ll change my mind when I get down to the last couple, we’ll see! Enjoy yours, they are such fun aren’t they!

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  1. In Phoenix our chickens don’t lay as much so we do the light trick. My husband has a timer out in their coop that is set up to come on at 4:30 and go off at 7:30pm. This way they get more light. It seems to be working because we were only getting 2-3 eggs a day if we were lucky and now we are getting 6-9 per day. Phoenix is warmer but we have been getting some wet days this Winter. Our rain doesn’t last long. Now I have the back Arizona room (sun room) to clean because my son and husband are bringing in mud from outside.

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    • I’ve heard about the light trick, it’s wild how chicken’s bodies work. That’s great they’re bringing in more eggs for y’all now! Especially with egg prices on the rise. I’ve seen a lot of people water glass eggs for winter use, but I’d be afraid of cracking open some rotten ones lol At least your rain doesn’t last long, mud can be a nuisance for sure. Oh no, that’s never fun! Maybe the rain will ease up soon – hopefully.

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