June Garden with Dogs

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Red Hot Poker – I’ve always wanted one of these in my garden

We are technically in a drought right now but my gardens have been doing great with minimal watering. I owe it to the very thick layer of mulch that I try to maintain. My morning ritual once I’ve fed the kitties and let the dogs out is to check for eggs and do any watering that needs doing, mostly in the container garden. Today I decided to walk around with my camera and capture some shots of what’s been growing and blooming.

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Scabiosa – These flowers were part of my sister’s wedding bouquet so I wanted to get a specimen

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Mammoth Russian Sunflower

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There are flowers on my European Olive tree. Does that mean I get olives?

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Hydrangea

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The beginnings of peaches

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Hoku wants to play

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Prickly Pear cactus – the pads and fruit are edible

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Morrocan Tea Mint

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E.T. helps me water

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Lovely Comfrey blooms

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Baby Mouse Melons and my Salad Burnet

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The blueberries are almost ready

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Volunteer California Poppies

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Tiny, Green Fingers Okra

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The Liatris getting ready to bloom

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My salad patch, arugula and mustard greens

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Conadria fig tree is finally in the ground

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The leeks are looking good

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Hoku waits for broken quail eggs

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I love dill!

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Tomatoes are in – now what to do with all the extras?!

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Containers are taking over

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Purple and yellow cauliflower starts are in

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The yacon is doing great, can’t wait to try it

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The calendulas are finally beginning to bloom

Quail Fairy Egg

DSC_0009 I’ve had chicken fairy eggs here before, but this is the first one from the quail. It’s so tiny! Here it is compared to a normal-sized quail egg. Fairy eggs can occur when a bit of reproductive tissue breaks away and the quail’s egg producing glands treat it as a yolk and wrap it in a shell. Thus these eggs are usually yolkless.

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Bert is Getting His Colors!

DSC_0018I was a little unsure about adopting this guy, the previous owner had him housed with pigeons and doves, who he got along very well with. However, once she added a quail to her aviary, he decided to scalp her. This really upset the owner, and although the quail recovered, she had lost her taste for Bert.

It was around this time that I was having issues with my Muscovy drake trying to rape my Black Copper Maran hen. Apparently one duck wasn’t enough for him and he was getting very aggressive. I was worried about adding more male energy to the pen, not having any experience with pheasants.

Well, Bert is now my favorite bird here (hence acquiring a name) and his gorgeous colors are finally starting to come in! I think the intensely hot weather that we had been having for the past couple of weeks really fast-tracked the moulting process.

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Some of Bert’s moulted feathers and a calendula bloom

I’ve read lots of conflicting opinions about whether or not pheasants can be housed with chickens and ducks. Some sources say that chickens carry diseases that can easily be passed to pheasants and kill them. Other people say that’s a load of puckey and they have housed them together for years with no issues. I’m not surprised he was aggressive with the Coturnix quail in his pen, since they are both game birds and a single quail is a tempting target that can’t really escape to higher ground. Here though, he is as placid a bird as you could imagine.

I’ve been finding a few of Bert’s moulted feathers around and they are just beautiful. I’m glad to see his broken tail feathers falling out because that means that new ones are coming in. His color change began with just a little red spot on his left breast and a few small red feathers under his chin. Now he has two scarlet stripes on each side of his chest and a few yellow bits on his head.

He will be two years old this summer which is around how long it takes for adult plumage to come in, even though he was fertile by his first year. It won’t be too long now before I find out if there will be a lady pheasant available for him, and that’s an exciting prospect. He is such a calm and non-spooky type of bird. he doesn’t react to sudden movements like most birds do, he just stands his ground and observes. He will happily come eat out of my hand every day now and seems to have no concept of human beings as dangerous. He gets along very well with the chickens and will eat alongside them. They will sometimes tell him to buzz off but he just saunters away and does something else. Not bad considering he is about the size of a large pigeon. He is also my quietest bird here so far, and I have only heard his distinct metallic call once or twice. The rest of the time he makes musical little chirps.

I think Golden Pheasants are a fabulous bird to have as a pet, and I would love to hand rear some chicks so they can grow up to be easily handled and free-ranged. I feel like when he finally gets his striking red, blue, white, yellow and green adult plumage, it’s going to be like living in some tropical paradise.

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