Chicken-sitting

I would bet good money that my friend John (who’s working on our house) knows more of my neighbors than I do. He introduced me to Sam and Elsa, awesome people who have what you could call a mini-farm on Beach 92nd street. Last week, John informs me that we are taking care of their chickens for 10 days while they are away. My immediate response was “Are you kidding me?!??! I know nothing about chickens except that they taste great as parmesan!”  I go into panic mode. “What if we lose one? I’ll go to that live poultry place in Bushwick to replace the bird – no one would ever know.” John notices my rant spiraling into worst case scenario mode. He stops me!  “Don’t worry, everything will be just fine. It’ll be fun!”
Urban Farm in Rockaway

He was right, not only are all 6 chickens alive and well, but I truly enjoyed my chicken-sitting experience.  I also learned a lot about chicken behavior.

They love eating tomatoes and bugs.

Chickens in Rockaway

If there’s danger they know to run back into the fenced coop area. If they sense trouble, the chickens are back in the coop safe zone within seconds. This is Mango, she likes to play with the chickens.

Mango the Cat

I’m not sure if this is true of all chickens, but these gals line up on the roof of the pen at sundown. It’s adorable. They all snuggle on top waiting to go inside. To get a chicken in the coop, you grab her close to the neck (so the wings can’t flap), scoop her up and put her in. That’s it. It’s easier than it sounds.

Besides letting them out in the morning, collecting eggs and making sure they’re safe in the coop at night, you need to give them fresh water, chicken feed and some garden treats like cabbage, tomatoes and bugs.

I never thought I would have interest in having a coop myself but now I do. It’s a sustainable investment. You can give chickens table scraps, they produce eggs and you can use the manure for your garden – a full circle operation!

Urban Farm in Rockaway

To learn more about chicken care check this out.

The Basement Challenge – By the Skin of Our Teeth

The night before move in day we were still painting – It was a long night. The floor paint said it would take three hours to dry, we thought all would be ok.

The next morning we walked in and the paint was sticky. After a freak out sesh, we concluded the paint wasn’t drying because of the humidity in the basement. We decided to borrow some air conditioners in a last attempt to dry the floor.

I started to worry – we failed the basement challenge. We would have to stay with Maureen for a few days, with Fiver. He’s been through two moves in six weeks and I knew this temporary stay at my mother-in-laws would add to his anxiety.

Later in the afternoon we get a call from the management at our sublet, we were not allowed to move over the holiday weekend. We had until Tuesday to move out! Talk about luck!!!

In light of our extension, I’m considering the basement challenge a draw – we made it by the skin of our teeth.. and good luck.

Here are before and after photos. We’re still working on lighting so the shots are a bit grainy.
basement1

basement

basement window

basement

basement

basement-2

basement bed

basement

We have a few odds and ends to finish, but all and all, I’m happy with the outcome. I can’t believe how this space transformed over 14 days. Now if only we had a working shower…

Edgemere Farm Dinner – not to be missed

Located on 385 Beach 45th St. in Far Rockaway, the Edgemere Farm is a market garden for new and experienced farmers. Many local business such as Goody’s, Uma’s and Claudette’s have plots here, growing their produce locally.

Goody's - Edgemere Farm

I’ve been hearing great things about the dinner nights at the Edgemere Farm. We ordered tickets and finally visited last Thursday. The first thing I said after walking in was “Why is this the first time I’ve come all summer?”

Edgemere Farm Dinner

We checked in and found a table. They go fast, so come early. To save a spot you turn your plate over and place a rock over your plate. Beers from the Rockaway Brewing Co. are sold and BYOB is permitted. Glasses will be provided but it’s best to bring your own. Don’t forget a bottle opener for safe measure.

Once I was settled in with my seat secured and a glass of wine in hand, I started to explore…

Edgemere Farm Far Rockaway

I found these… parrot chickens?!

Fresh Eggs Edgemere Farm

And the egg stand! The Edgemere Farm sells fresh eggs and produce every Saturday from 11-3pm. Cash only.

Edgemere Farm Far Rockaway 3

It was almost dinner time and lucky for me it was Italian night! The chefs “ValentunaSalami” e Christina “ArugulaCraker”.

The menu: Raaviolini / Tortelliini (Stuffed with Spinach Ricotti and, on Butter, Walnuts and Herbs), Taqiatelle Al Pesto / Pappardelle Al Ragu Tuscan, Panzanella with Tomato Edgemere Farm Strawberries and Red Wine Zuccherro in Espresso with Optional

All the cooking was done on premise, center stage. They cooked all night and did an exceptional job. I couldn’t decide whether the spinach ravioli or the bolanos was my favorite. They were both delicious.

Edgemere Farm Far Rockaway dinner Edgemere Farm Far Rockaway dinner 4

We ate and then mingled till dark from table to table, saying hello to friends and meeting new ones. Whatta night!

A rating of 5 tomatoes without a question!

★★★★★

If your interested in this event, purchase tickets for the Edgemere farm dinner at edgemerefarm.org

Located in Far Rockaway, Queens, Edgemere Farm is a half-acre parcel that is a shared site for market gardeners and farmers looking to grow and sell their produce in New York City. The site is a farm incubator: a place where new farmers and growers can benefit from shared resources and collective marketing expertise.

The Nature Walk – Outside My Door

This is the first official “garden” post for our new location in Rockaway, Queens. I’ll post everything from a beach critter I find on the sand to the tomatoes growing in my backyard. Here’s the first post in The Nature Walk series!grasshopper

I discovered this beautiful Grasshopper the other afternoon. He was hanging out on my sunflower. This guy isn’t the only one enjoying these flowers, the bees are buzzing on them all day. In the spring, I ordered the Northeast Wildflower Seed mix which included sunflowers and other seeds that work in our area.

Next April I have big plans to start the garden officially. I  need to do my homework though, and find native flowers, shrubs and trees suited for the Rockaway landscape. This will insure my garden is lush and more importantly, it will provide appropriate habitat for the insects in this environment. John sent me the NYC Parks guide which I will reference when I start building out my gardens in the front and backyard.

Apple Tree - Rockaway Queens

There’s an apple tree that borders our yard. Yes, apple trees grow in Queens! Eric, our neighbor said we’re welcome to pick from the tree anytime we like . He also said that there are seven different varietals grafted onto this tree. The fruit is getting ripe then the bugs and squirrels are getting to the apples before me! I’ve eaten the unripe ones and they’re good, though tart, but I would love to try the ripe fruit too. Any info on apple tree care and pest prevention, please let me know?  I don’t know much about fruit trees, but I’m excited to learn more. I want to bake apple pies for my neighbors and get all June Cleaver-y!

secret garden path

On the side of our house there’s a small way for a path. It was overgrown with weeds so I decided to clear it out and use old stone and concrete lying around to start a walking path. In the city we have to use all of our space.

DIY Garden Path

I think it’s turning out nicely. On the wooden posts I’m going to drill down potted planters, In a few weeks, I’ll plant some mums there and update you on the pathway progress.