Saturday, December 4, 2010

Our chickens are Cylons.

My last post was about the untimely demise of Lula, our favorite chicken. Lula had a very unique personality. She was very talkative, loving, attentive, but also had a bit of an attitude if things weren't going her way. All in all a one of a kind.

  Or was she?

 The day after the accident I went out to the chicken yard to do the chores and one of the new blackstars  (the same breed of chicken of Lula) came up to me and started reading me the riot act. She then proceeded to hop up an my lap and make herself comfortable.Coincidence? I think not.

 I have named her TwoLula

Friday, November 26, 2010

Lula , we will miss you.

Today we lost our favorite chicken. I know you aren't supposed to have favorites but she was one of the original 9. She had survived 3 raccoon attacks and was the most affectionate chicken. her favorite place was at your feet as you walked around the yard. Unfortunately this was her undoing. I was building a windbreak in the backyard when the frame collapsed. It fell on Lula, killing her instantly. Harrison and I had a small memorial service and buried her in the corner of the yard.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Anybody still out there?

So , I have been a horribly neglectful blogger of late. I would love to blame it on my off the farm job, or the stuff going on at the farm itself, but the truth is that I haven't made time for it.
 I think my problem was wanting to make my blog just like the ones I love. then I realized That this was My blog and I needed to write what was happening here at our farm.
So, if you want really good references of urban farms check out the bloggroll.
Homegrown Evolution and Novella Carpenter are two of the best. Start from the beginning, it will be worth it.
Now you are probably saying to yourself, self, surrly this means that Phantom Chicken Farms Blog will be back with weekly blogs.  No.  Mrs PCF has done a really good job with the day to day updates on Facebook and  This will become more of a place to post the BIG things that are going on.
In the meantime enjoy my latest online obsession.
Victorian Farm

Monday, August 9, 2010

Garden Growing

We're having a good year with things growing in the garden. I think we have jalapeno's and zucchinis coming out the ears. We've been canning tomatoes and making pickles. Looking into setting up a booth at the local Farmer's Market next year. Could be an interesting possibility for us. We're happy that we have a few baby giant pumpkins. Ben was afraid the chickens had ruined all chances - but the plant is looking good and doing well.

Ben has been reading the book - Carrots Love Tomatoes
and is finding it to be very useful.
We're coming to the end of the summer growing season and have started planning the fall plantings for spring crops. Looking forward to the weeks ahead.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

New Things

We got new baby chicks this week and a new clothesline was installed this weekend. Busy times here on the farm. For the chicks - we got the Brown Layer collection from Murray McMurray and then for fun - we ordered 1 Japanese Phoenix, 1 Egyptian Fayoumis, 1 Lakenvelders, 1 Buttercup, and 1 Salmon Faverolles. And let me  say again that we love Murray McMurray Hatchery.      Our order was big enough that they gave us a free rare exotic chick - which turned out to be a Turken.  And then we notice on our packing slip - they also gave us another Lakenvelder. Yay !! We love free things. So our new chicks number 32. All are doing fine. They are cute as can be.  Now the clothesline - I have been wanting one for months but things just were not working out in our favor to get one installed.... but today the planets aligned. Ben and his big helper got the foundations dug and poles are up. We'll string it later once the concrete has set/dried.

Monday, July 5, 2010

A week in pictures

We had a rough week this last week - but we had a few bright spots as well. I wanted to share those.

Persephone loves lounging on the patio table. We caught her there several times this week.

Simon is all about getting some attention from Ben. This little goat was a great thing for Ben - Simon was all about having extra attention and Ben needed something/ someone else to focus on.

Harrison and Brenna are my little waterbugs. They enjoyed the sunshine we had and splashed our cares away.

Friday, July 2, 2010


I have been hunting for a while now - trying to determine what breed the 4 remaining fancy chicks are ... .... ....
Minerva is a Silver Polish on the left and on the right is Andi ( WCBP )  and Kaylee.( Silver G Dorking ) we also have another SGD - Inara.

We placed the order today for new chicks. I'll soon be hunting again to determine what we got this time around.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Good News

After 2 very sad and depressing posts - I'm happy to report good news this time around !!
We caught the raccoon. We are relieved. And it will no longer be a problem.
And Lula - are sturdy black sexlink seems to be healing nicely. She is walking and drinking on her own now.
Also we added a new member to our backyard family.... meet Luna. Our new black Indian runner duck. She is a little younger than Ducky (our fawn& white survivor duck) but the girls have already bonded nicely and Luna is helping Ducky, well, act ducky again.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Not again...

After spending most of Sunday trying to coon proof the coop - and staying up way later than we usually do to make sure our remaining flock would be safe.... we got up this morning to discover the coon had dug a tunnel under the coop and killed more of our already small flock. We are now left with 4 chicks, and 2 barred rocks, 1 red, Orpie and our 2 Banty's. Lula our sexlink with an attitude was injured and we are hoping she makes a full recovery but we aren't counting her in the surviving #'s till we see how today goes.
We are crushed and angry. Our egg business is now gone. We're trying to determine the best way to deal with the coon- we do not have any serious weapons, and most animal removal services charge an arm and a leg. Not sure what our next move is going to be - other than installing a baby monitor system in the coop so we can hear whats going on. 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Racoon attack.

22 chickens  1 duck.

Nearly all of the fancy chicks and our jersey giants, a barred rock and, a rhode island red.



Thursday, June 24, 2010

Having a heat wave

Wow - we've had some really warm days here, so most of our gardening has been in the evenings. Out in the garden last night we discovered little tiny jalapeno peppers on all the plants ! We are excited - we love pickled jalapenos and Ben has made some the last 2 years that have been fabulous. This weekend - Ben is making pesto. Our 3 basil plants are full of beautiful leaves that need to be ground up with walnuts, olive oil and Parmesan cheese so that we can eat it. Its going to be yummy. Little Chicks are being moved out of their small coop this weekend and moved into the general population area and large coop. We have things that need to get done but if its too hot - I'm afraid the list is going to be whittled down. Its just too hot to over do.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Update on the Garden

Everything is growing, growing, growing. We have eaten lettuce from the garden several times now and I have been using herbs alot the last few weeks. Nothing like basil and chives to go along with some fresh asparagus (which we picked up at the local farmers market). We are trying a new kind of tomato this year , its a Roma  named Tasty Sauce. The plants are looking great with lots of blooms and even some baby 'maters. It gets us excited to see the plants doing so well. It helps that we've had a good mix of weather the last few weeks.
Over 7 inches of rain have been recorded here on the farm. Plus we are having nice sunshine as well. The front yard garden is also shaping up nicely. We have Blanco zucchini taking over. Can't wait to start seeing the fruits of our labors.

All the critters seem to be doing fine. Our egg production had slacked off and I was getting worried - but the hens have picked up and once again they are doing fine. The baby ornamental/exotics are 8 weeks old today and will be joining the general play yard I believe soon.
The goats have adjusted and settled in nicely.
Found a local connection for their hay needs. It always makes me feel good on the inside knowing that I am helping a local person make a go of their business. I wish everyone would try and do local shopping. 

Happy Fathers Day this weekend to all the dads. Spend some time with yours.... maybe working in the garden.

Monday, May 31, 2010

They are here.

Well, after  9 month's of planning and waiting we finally have our goats. Mrs Phantom chicken farm and I drove to Rhinelander WI this weekend to pick them up. It was a beautiful trip and a nice mini vacation. Lynne at Grasse Acres has been a huge help getting us set up for our little ruminants. So without further ado. Our little does is named Persephone.( Her father was Zeus.) and our little wether (castrated male) is Simon. (we are big Simon&Simon fans.)
We had them sleep in the chicken coop last night due to the possibility of storms rolling thru ,and this morning I found them sleeping in the nesting boxes.The chickens were not impressed.
We have only had them one day and are already enjoying them. They are pretty stinking cute.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Strawberry info.

We have a decent strawberry bed here at the farm. Strawberries are easy to grow if you are patient. Their tendency to send out runners makes them a perfect plant for small nooks in the garden. Maybe everyone should start growing them.  Check this out.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Farms not Lawns

While listening to the radio the other night I heard a story about a local urban farm. {Check out the link.} If you don't, the gist is that Bad Seed Farm has had trouble with the neighbors. Unfortunately the response seems to have been grossly out of proportion with the supposed crimes (having chickens and growing your own food).
There is now a committee of real estate agents, and other small minded people, lead by  Stacey Johnson-Cosby,  that wants to deal with the dangers that this kind of self reliance represents. Her (SJ-C) response  and concerns are nothing more than intolerance wrapped up in a thin layer of  possible, in my opinion, far fetched consequences to property values and neighborhood dynamics. ( God forbid people would use their homes and yards for useful purposes.)

 This Lady really got me worked up.  So I went out, planted some stuff in the back yard and made the decision that the most effective response to this would be.....  Plant veggies in the FRONT yard, too !!

We appropriately  made a trip to Bad Seed Market Friday night and picked up a bunch of tomato, pepper, squash and herb plants and spent a rather wet day today planting.
 The plan is to also plant some cucumbers and pole beans once we can get a trellis up. We will then add this surplus to the products Phantom Chicken Farm offers. So look for tomatoes, cucumbers ,beans, melons, basil, and squash later this summer.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

New Coop

Well this post has been sitting in the edit box for 3 weeks. Between vacation, planting and some technical issues( computer illiteracy) I am a little behind. We had planned on building a new coop but our time line was accelerated when on the 2 day of vacation I came downstairs to find one of the new chicks out of the brooder and strutting around the kitchen floor like she owned the place.. SO... we kicked it into high gear and got the coop done in 3 days.

I have mentioned before that we went through a rather lean time financially, and as a result had to make due with what we had to complete the projects we wanted to do. I recommend this approach to anyone. When you tell yourself that a trip to the hardware store in not an option then it is amazing what you can come up with. Necessity really is the mother of invention. In that spirit we decided to build the new coop with the most common of urban detritus, Pallets. A quick add on craigslist and we were in business.

The shingles were donated by Friends( thanks Brian and Mary) and the siding was saved from the scrap pile from a neighbor who made furniture out of old fencing. The total cost was around 75$. So without further ado.
We used the dimensions of the pallets to guide the construction, and even used 1/3 pallets upside down for the nesting boxes. It ended up being a really easy method of construction and we are planning on building the goat shed the same way. The chickens really seem to enjoy having a little more space, and we were able to move the baby chicks into the old coop and out of the kitchen.

In other news we are planning yet another garden expansion. Stay tuned.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Local Honey

I went to " A Beautiful Day"(3918 Broadway St ) for some bumper stickers and stumbled across some local honey. I have bought local honey at City Market before but it is local to Missouri , and is usually been processed. This new honey is local to KC and unprocessed. It has a more complex taste and texture. It is also darker and thicker. I have been taking a teaspoon in the morning in a attempt to help my allergies,and it is a pretty palatable medicine If you are in the market for some REALLY good local honey give Blue Moon a try.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saga of the Clothesline

When we decided to fence off the back portion of the backyard for Chicken and future goat use - we had to move the clothesline. Mrs Phantom refused to have to lug baskets of clothes through fencing and gates. We hunted online till we found one that was the style we wanted and during a snow day in March - it was installed. Previous to the snow - I had dug and made a very good concrete foundation for the clothesline.
Let me share some info - the Clothesline that we got- advertised it would hold 4 loads of laundry at one time. Sturdy pole and flexible cord that would handle wet laundry. So now flash forward about a week - Mrs Phantom is ready to try out the new clothesline and hangs a load of towels out.
It was not all that windy out - really just a great Spring day to hang out clothes.

Yeah the sturdy pole SNAPPED.

Needless to say we were not impressed and after going through the hassle of getting the thing and then it breaking - we're not dealing with that website again, and are now thinking of other options. We love our towels and bed sheets in the summer to smell fresh and like sunshine. Back to the drawing board we go.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Colorful Additions to the Farm Flock -Mrs Phantom

A few months ago, we were in need of egg cartons and Mr Phantom said lets just order some from Murry McMurry Hatchery so I did. BUT while I was wandering around their site - I came across a special Ornamental laying collection. You would get 25 chicks of mixed variety from the more fancy breeds of chickens. Of course I ordered them. The chicks arrived this week...

Monday to be exact. Picked them up at the post office, got them home and settled in the brooder. So far - we have lost 2. the website says its normal to have a 1-2% mortality rate. But it makes it no easier.
Anyways - now that we have had the chicks for a few days we have been going through trying to determine what breeds we got in our variety pack.
OK so best we can tell - we have a Sultan or 2. One Buff Laced Polish, Several of the White Crested Black Polish, we think we have 2 Golden Polish and possibly a Silver Polish, 2 Crevecoures. Oh wait there is more.... a Buff Cochins, a few Red Caps and some Golden Campines. They are the cutest bunch of little fluffs. High energy and very entertaining.

As of this post the chicks are almost 1 week old. We'll let you know how the rest of this adventure goes.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Crop Mob. The conclusion.

Thanks for all the help to everybody who showed up on Saturday. We were able to get everything done plus some. Now let the planting begin.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ducks - post by Mrs Phantom Chicken

I grew up on a farm in SW MO. My family had cows, dogs and a herd of cats. We attempted a horse once and it didn't go so well. Needless to say, I love critters. Grew up always having something furry under foot, so when Mr Phantom wanted chickens - I said sure why not ? Eggs would be great. Then we started talking about dairy goats - so I said yes and I know exactly what kind I want us to get. ( by the way - goats arrive end of May) Conversation went on to ducks - and now there I was not too sure, till I discovered Indian Runner Ducks. Instantly fell in love and I received 2 of them for Easter.
This pic is of them the 1st night at the farm.

What a great gift - so I immediately start researching the best ways to care for them (since I now had some in my care.) What they need - what helps them to thrive and I have discovered that they are some of the most fascinating creatures { I think} God ever created. I have really enjoyed the website .
This is the site of the Indian Runner Ducks Association. Full of information and wonderful pictures.

I am anxiously watching my ducklings as they are losing their "fluff" and starting to get in their feathers. Hopefully when they are fully feathered and I can tell what colors they are - I can determine the sex of the birds. Because right now - we are clueless ! I only know we have super cute yellow things. In fact that's what I have been calling them - Thing 1 and Thing 2.
Loud little creatures..... very talkative, messy and love to play in the drinking water.

This pic is 2 weeks later, of them outside in their safe pen in the chicken yard.

So onward we go - learning about new critters and having adventures here on our little urban farm. Its wonderful.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Egg info.

This is something my friend Jeff sent me. He is just getting into the gardening/urban agriculture thing and lives right up the street. Check out his blog. The modern minimalist.
Maybe this is why we can't keep eggs.
Seriously, we never have more than 3 or 4 eggs in our fridge because when people find out that we raise chickens/grow eggs they want them. Then their friends want some, then their friends parents want some. We actually have a waiting list.
Our friend Cheryl took a dozen eggs with her to a get together in Saint Louis and two pans of eggs were made. One of conventionally raised eggs, and one of ours. Apparently the pan of conventional eggs just sat there while ours were devoured.
Our chickens rock.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

retro razor update

I posted about a month ago about my new razor from retro razor. I have been shaving daily with it and am still on my First Blade. So at the rate I am going I received enough blades with the sample pack to last me a year. If I was using mach 3 blades my shaving habit would cost me roughly 156$ yearly. The retro razor with shipping was around 30$. So I am making a proclamation.
Everyone! Buy a RetroRazor! Save the World!( and a whole lot of cash)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

More Chickens

We have chickens. We started with 8. Two were killed so we got 4 more. Aliens abducted one so we got 8 more. somewhere in there we lost another one. So that brings the current population to 18. We have on order 25 baby chicks from Murray mcmurray to be here in 2 weeks. (that makes 43)

Guess what my dad got the grandkids for easter?
I hope no one from the city reads this blog.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Crop Mob pt.3

The work day has been rescheduled for the 17th of April. We have been working on some things already so I am not sure how much work will still need to be done but come over anyway. we will call it a work/grand opening party. due to a ongoing wheelbarrow issue if anyone has a wheelbarrow bring it. I should be able to find enough shovels and rakes. RSVP here, or through our face book page.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

No longer a subject of King Gillette

"Give them the razor,sell them the blades" Gillette's dictum

The journey to become more self sufficient came from two things.
1 Reading a post apocalyptic book( Dies the fire, S.M. Sterling) that made me realize that most people would have no idea how to survive if society broke down.
2. Being broke. I mean REALLY broke.

One of the things that had to go were the Mach 3 blades I was using to shave. I have really coarse thick facial hair and the Mach 3 blades seemed to work the best. Unfortunately at almost 3 dollars apiece they got vetoed out of the budget.
I started buying disposable razors because of the cost, and tried to always get ones made is the US to help limit the miles they would travel. This helped the budget ,but left me slightly unsettled at the waste of it all.
I started experimenting with different things.
I found some strait razors.
There is a reason people don't use these anymore. The maintenance and skill level were beyond my capabilities.
Then enter the Rolls Razor.
A English made contraption that was kind of a mix of a strait razor and a safety razor. It looked cool but ultimately wasn't us to the challenge of the Brillo bad I like to grow on my face.
Then I read a blog post about the Retro Razor.

The Retro Razor has been raved about by the folks over at Ramshackle solid. I was sceptical but saved my pennies and was finally able to get one.
Almost as easy to use as a disposable razor, the only difference is that there is some maintenance involved. Plus when I am done with the blades I can just recycle them. Not bad, huh?