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Pearl Guinea Chicks Available at Gaddy’s

(Pearl Guinea chicks $5.99 each.  12 available.)

My father in law’s guineas regularly show up in my front yard just around the time I’m drinking my morning coffee.  They work their way across the grass, eating bugs as they go.  (I took the picture above as Mark and I were leaving the house this morning.)  If you have the space for them, guineas are the perfect yard bird.  While chickens need shelter and protection, guineas tend to be hardy and self-sufficient.  They provide excellent bug control as well as offer their service as guard birds.  I am particularly fond of  guineas after watching three of them make quick work of a snake.

Frank likes his guineas so much he wanted more.  So I ordered him some–and I ordered extra to sell at the store.  Until they are gone, I’ve got 12 cute little pearl guinea chicks looking for a home.  If interested, you can call before you come to make sure they are still here (512-251-4428).

A note about guineas:  Frank’s little heard of guineas started years ago when Mark and I lived on a little piece of property off Old Gregg Ln.  Mark and I kept a few free range hens who happily roamed the Old Gregg place until my little group of guinea chicks grew up and formed a rather mean spirited girl-gang.  When they weren’t harassing the chickens, the guineas were perched on the roof of our neighbor’s back porch noisily announcing their presence.  To keep the peace with our neighbors and with our laying hens, we gave our guineas to Frank.  Over the years they have provided Frank with excellent bug control, some yard aeration, and lots of comedic relief.  In return,  the guineas have required very little.  They roost in the trees, forage for their food and prefer to be left alone.

To learn more about guineas check out this Mother Earth article:  Raising Guinea Fowl

Pellet Grill Demo Saturday, June 2

I won’t lie.  Mark and I have been looking for a reason to get a demo pellet grill for the store for a long time.  We finally bit the bullet and ordered one.  Help us break in our Louisiana Grill tomorrow and stop by for a slice of brisket.  We’re looking forward to showing you how easy it is to grill a great piece of meat on a pellet smoker.

I have also modified the pricing on our produce.  But price is the only thing I’ve changed.  All our vegetables are still grown on site and grown using organic gardening methods.

Tomatoes $2.50/lb, Onions $2.00/lb, Squash $1.50/lb, Spaghetti squash $1.50/lb, Cucumbers $1.50/lb, Green Beans $4.00/lb, Fordhook Lima Beans $2.00/lb, Bell Peppers $1.00 each, Tomatillos $2.50/lb

Butcher Calves Ready for Mid-June Processing

Many of you ask after Frank.  He is doing well and keeping very bupasture-raised-beefsy running cattle on his place just outside of Pflugerville.  Instead of retiring, he and his second wife, Dolly, have full-time jobs looking after a growing herd of cattle.  Frank and Dolly know each calf by name and tell you about their history and personality.  I joke that Frank’s calves only have one really bad day in their entire life.

We are so proud to sell Frank’s beef at Gaddy’s.  It is simply the best beef I’ve ever tasted –plus I can feel comfortable eating it knowing how well cared for the animals are.

When we had kids at home, Mark and I would get half a calf from Frank that would keep our freezer well stocked for several months.  These days I just get meat from the freezer at Gaddy’s , but if you would like to butcher a whole or half-calf, I happen to know that Frank has a few extra calves that will go to the butcher in mid-June.

beef-cuts

Here’s how it works:

  1.  You contact Frank (his contact information is here) and reserve a half or whole calf.  He will need a deposit before the calf is taken to the butcher.  You can also talk to Mark or me (Kim) the next time you’re in Gaddy’s.
  2. Decide how you want your calf processed and fill out a cut sheet for the butcher.  You get to tell the butcher things like how thick you want your steaks, what type of steaks you want cut, what you want ground into hamburger meat, if you want round steaks and if so do you want them tenderized–you get the idea.  You also get to tell the butcher how to package the meat and in what pound increments.  (I recommend vacuum packaging.)  I can get you a cut sheet at Gaddy’s if you need one.
  3. Fax the cut sheet to Westphalia Meat Market where Frank will deliver the Calves.  I can also fax this for you if you bring it to Gaddy’s.
  4. Frank will take the calf to the butcher in Westphalia.
  5. The butcher will give Frank a ‘hanging weight’ of the calf.  You will pay Frank based on the hanging weight (minus your deposit of course).
  6. The butcher will process and package the calf.  It takes about two to three weeks.
  7. Unless you want to drive out to Westphalia to pick up your meat, have the meat sent to the Westphalia Meat Market in Hutto.  They will call you when it’s ready to be picked up.  You will pay the processing fee when you pick up the meat.
  8. Grill.  Roast.  Fry.  Broil.  Braise.  Enjoy.

Coyote Creek Farm Organic Feed now at Gaddy’s

I am proud to announce that Gaddy’s now carries Coyote Creek Farm’s certified organic chicken feed.  Not only is Coyote Creek a Texas based business, Coyote Creek is located just down the road in Elgin.  Coyote Creek is a champion of sustainable agriculture as well as a supporter of backyard birders.  If you haven’t heard about them, check out this little video (right here) from the Coyote Creek website.

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Gaddy’s stocks Coyote Creek’s organic chick grower, scratch, layer crumbles and pellets, all in either 20# or 50# bags.  Coyote Creek also makes organic goat feed.  If you are interested in organic goat feed, please let me know and I’ll add it to our order.  (Kim)

Mighty Little Zinnias

What’s not to like about zinnias?  Zinnias tolerate Texas heat and summer sun.  They provide bright pops of color out in the garden and can even be brought indoors as cut flowers.  Plus, zinnias grow easily from seed, making them a very economical addition to your landscape.

I grew this long row of zinnias from a couple of seed packets.  My total cost for seed was only  $3.78.  (Zinnias are sometimes sold as bedding plants in 6 packs, however I fin zinnias do best in the landscape when direct seeded in the soil.)

Zinnia seeds are thin little slivers of a seed and should be planted just under the soil, less than 1/4″ deep.  I sew the seeds about 4 inches apart and thin to 8 inches apart, although you could allow up to 12″ between plants.  Zinnias often germinate quickly and I look for little plants in 3-4 days or so.  Keep the soil nice and moist until the seeds germinate.

Once the zinnia plants are about 4-6″ tall and have at least two tiers of leaves, I pinch off the center group of leaves.  This will encourage the zinnia plant to branch out and produce more flower-bearing stems.

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Pinch or clip back the center leaves to promote side shoot growth.

Keep young plants watered and fed.  I water ever other day and occasionally spray with fish emulsion and liquid seaweed.   It will take about 60-70 days for a seedling to produce the first flower.  When your plants start to form blooms you may wish to fertilize with a root and bloom type fertilizer.

Zinnias will bloom throughout the summer.  Remove spent flowers from the plant to promote continued blooming.  Zinnias also make great cut flowers for indoor arrangements.  To get the longest vase life from your zinnias, cut zinnias right before the blooms fully open.  Also place a few drops of bleach in your flower water to help keep the water clean.

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Since Zinnias will die off when the weather gets cold, zinnias seeded after July may not have enough time to fully flower before the cold weather sets in.

Salsa at the Store

salsa.jpgI’m very excited to introduce our newest product line at the Feed store, Beba’s Pfresh Salsa.  As you might have guessed from the name, this is a local Pflugerville brand.  And it is absolutely fabulous!  I am a green salsa connoisseur and can’t get enough of Beba’s.  Learn more about Beba’s here https://bebapfreshsalsa.com/.

Long Row to Hoe

When we were young newlyweds, way back in the early 90’s, Mark and I used to collect Burr Oak acorns for fun.  What can I say.  I was a cheap date.  Pflugerville was going through a growth spurt back then and Mark and his parents, Frank and Lynn, were expanding the business from a feed store into a garden center, specializing in locally grown trees and bedding plants.  By the time Mark and I had kids old enough to be in elementary school, the feed store supported almost two acres of trees and shrubs–many grown from acorns Mark and I collected.

I spent the next fifteen years or so raising kids, helping out at the feed store, and doing various odd jobs around Pflugerville.  At one time I was teaching Jazzercise, writing quilting patterns and doing the feed store’s bookkeeping.   I was much younger and more energetic then.  During this time we lost Lynn to cancer.  Her passing left a huge hole in our hearts and in the business, but Mark and Frank plowed on bravely.  With the help of long-time employee and honorary family member, Rodney, the feed store continued to operate as a full fledged feed, hardware and garden store.  Lynn would have been proud.

By the time the 2008 recession hit, the big box stores had successfully populated Pflugerville.  A decline in tree sales, combined with a drought, plus the loss of our agricultural exempt status on the tree-growing land, all worked together to seal the fate of the tree growing operation.   Our business plan was just to stay in business.  I am so proud of how hard Mark, Frank, Rodney and all our co-workers worked to keep the business afloat during the recession.  Frank took on lawn mower repair and window screening.  Rodney sold and planted many of our remaining trees.  And on top of everything else, Mark took on all the bookkeeping I had done so I could get a regular job nursing.  I would also like to try to express how immensely appreciative we are of our customers who made the decision to shop local and allowed us to stay in business all these years.  Many, many thanks.  We wouldn’t be here without y’all.

Fast-forward to 2017 and the big boxes are still here, but, thankfully, the recession is long gone.  Frank is no longer working at the store, but only because he’s so busy running cattle and enjoying life.  Rodney, Charlie and Wade help us keep the doors at the store open and feed in the feed room.  And although we can hardly believe it, Mark and I are now empty-nesters.   I work part time as an obstetrical nurse but know that there is only so long that my body will continue to handle twelve hour shifts on my feet.

As 2016 was coming to a close, and we were prepping ourselves for paying property taxes, Mark and I thought about what to do with the land that was sitting in the back growing weeds.  We thought about building a strip center, or an office building, or storage units on the back lot, but couldn’t afford it.  We thought about getting out of the business altogether, but  couldn’t feature ourselves adrift from the feed store and all the people we’ve gotten used to seeing week in and week out.  Instead, we decided to play the mid-life crisis card and do something unorthodox, something less than financially beneficial, something probably best done in one’s twenties or thirties–but something we love to do.  We decided to grow the biggest darn garden we’ve ever conceived right at the back of the store.  We’ve come to the decision that while we enjoy talking about gardening, and selling gardening supplies, truth is, we really, really miss getting our hands dirty and growing things.  We want to grow a garden that our customers, friends and neighbors will enjoy walking through–a little reminder of Pflugerville’s rural past–a little inspiration to future urban gardeners.  We hope visitors can have a little hands-on experience and are planning a u-pick corn patch as well as a vegetable sales area up front.  One day we (I mean ‘I’) even hope to have a chicken coop out in the garden.  Do put in a good word for me and my girls to Mark.

So far we have a couple rows of test crops in the ground (spinach, collards, chard, beets, carrots), an area prepped for corn, the bones of a greenhouse constructed, and a lovely pile of compost waiting to be spread.  And this blog.  Upon the advice of those younger than I, I have decided to try my hand at blogging.

spinach2.jpg     greenhouse

Until next time.

Kim