Friday, December 30, 2016

Best Fruit and Vegetable Varieties to Grow

I have been growing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in the garden the past couple of years and have a few favorites I wanted to write about that I'll definitely grow again and think you should try too.

Garlic

I prefer the hard neck varieties of garlic because I enjoy the garlic scapes in the Spring which the soft neck varieties don't produce.

German Red and Turkish Giant Garlic
Turkish Giant - This hard neck purple stripe variety has large cloves but is not an elephant garlic. It has great strong flavor and stores well.

German Red - This is also a hard neck variety but is a rocambole type. The cloves are on the large side and very easy to peel. It's hot and spicy. It grows better in colder climates so it's not recommended for those in the South. The skins are a beautiful red but it doesn't seem to store as long as the Turkish Giant

Onions

Tropeana Lunga and Ailsa Craig Onions Tropeana Lunga - These are an intermediate day type of onion. I've grown this one for the past 2 years and will be growing it again next year. It's an oblong pretty pink onion that tastes more like a shallot than an onion. Great sliced thinly and added to a salad. It doesn't store that well so it's best eaten within a couple months of harvesting.

Ailsa Craig - This is a long day type of onion so best grown in Northern part of the US. These can get very large which is why I like them so much. I thought they were a long storing onion but after some research found they aren't. I never grow enough onions to verify that. It seems I never grow enough onions and plant more every year.

Cabbage

Brunswick Cabbage Brunswick - This was my first year growing this variety and was impressed. I usually only plant 2 or 3 cabbages because they take up so much room. I grew two of these and they both were very large and didn't split. The larger one was over 11 lbs after removing the outer leaves. This variety makes great kraut. I will likely grow it again next year.




Beans

Beans Pellegrini (Monachine) - This is an Italian pole bean that has been grown in the PNW for many years and is adapted to the climate here so I'm not sure how well it will grow in other climates. It's a very tender, stringless green bean. The amazing thing about this bean is that even when the bean gets too big that you'd think it wouldn't be tender, it still is! This is also a great dried bean as well.

Fortex - This is a long pole bean, not as long as a yard long bean but they grow to about a foot in length. They are round and very crispy and sweet, also stringless. They would make a great casserole bean or canning bean.

Ying Yang (Calypso, Orca) - These are bush beans that can be eaten as fresh green beans but they are best known for harvesting when dried. They are great in soups and salads. They are easy to grow and very productive. They have a beautiful black and white pattern which disappears after its cooked. Bob's Red Mill also sells this variety which is available in some stores or on Amazon.

Cucumbers

cucamelons and lemon cukes
Lemon - A yellow baseball sized cucumber that looks more like a melon. It is great in salads and also pickled or eaten like an apple. It doesn't taste like lemons but it has a sweet flavor. The vines are very productive. They are bested harvested young, before they start turning dark yellow/orange.

Mexican Sour Gherkin (cucamelon) - A very product vine that produces tiny watermelon looking cucumbers that are slightly sour. They are great to just snack on while walking around in the garden. They're also good in salads or pickled.

Peppers

I've not grown that many varieties of peppers but every year I try more and more so I'm sure my list of favorites will grow every year but these are my favs from the garden this year.

Favorite Peppers

Lunchbox - These are like tiny red bell peppers. They are crunchy, sweet and juicy. I loved stuffing them with a mixture of goat cheese and cream cheese. They work great for anything you would use a red bell pepper for. The plant produces a ton of peppers, much more than I would get from a regular bell pepper.

Orange Scotch Bonnet - These look similar to the lunchbox but pack a punch. They are very juicy and crunchy and have a fruity taste. The walls of the pepper aren't spicy at all but once you get to the core and the seeds, they are quite spicy. The plant is also very productive and was the only pepper that lasted in my greenhouse all the way to December.

Padron - These are typically harvested green but they do turn red if you let them. I learned about these peppers from a local pizza restaurant that has a seasonal padron pizza. Many of the peppers are pretty spicy but some are more mild. They are great for using in salsas, fried potatoes, burgers, just about anything.

Giant Jalapeno - This is the only pepper plant I didn't start from seed. I got the plant from a local gardener and he insisted I grow it. I was not disappointed. This plant produced some huge jalapeno peppers that weren't overly spicy. I also enjoyed these stuffed with goat cheese and cream cheese and toasted on the grill. They are also great for salsas too.

Tomatoes

I've been growing about 20 varieties of tomatoes for the past couple years and these are some of my favorites that I'll grow every year or at least grow again in the near future.

Top 5 Tomatoes

Black Beauty - A large gorgeous black tomato that is super sweet too. The first fruits are usually the largest and the sizes get smaller as the plant grows. It does seem to take longer than most tomatoes to ripen.

Japanese Black Trifele - a very productive and tasty tomato. Seemed to be the most blight resistant of the heirloom tomatoes I grew this year. It has a beautiful dark red color and all of the fruits were about the same size.

Sungold - The sweetest cherry tomato I've grown and will continue to grow it in the garden every year. The variety I have has been dehybridized which means seeds can be saved from the fruit and grown again and will be true to type. 

Black Cherry - Another super sweet tomato that is a deep purple and another favorite that I enjoy in the garden every year. Chocolate cherry is similar but the black cherry seems just a little sweeter.

Ardwyna - This is a huge paste tomato, much bigger than any roma I've ever seen. It doesn't take many of these tomatoes for a batch of salsa. The taste is also great for a paste tomato.  They are best used in salsas and sauces.

Winter Squash

Porcelain Doll Pink Pumpkin Porcelain Doll Pink Pumpkin - This was my first year growing pumpkins and was impressed by the productivity of just one plant. It grew all the way around my raised bed and produced 6 good sized pumpkins. They are yellow when immature and turn a light pink when mature. This is a hybrid so saved seeds may not produce what you would expect. It has a sweet flesh, great for making pumpkin pies. This variety is said to be resistant to powdery mildew. It is a hybrid seed I got from a seed swap so I don't think saving seeds from it will produce the same thing but I might try it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

PNW Wild Edibles

I knew there were a lot of wild edibles in the area but never knew just how many, too many to count. This is a long overdue post about a plant walk we went on in April, 2015 with Greg Hovander and a dozen or so other people from the area. Greg is a Pharmacist at the Sultan Pharmacy and an expert mycologist. He's also very knowledgeable about wild edibles and medicinal plants. He plans these walks about twice a year but it's hard to find any information about them because they aren't really advertised. I only heard about it through a local Facebook group. To sign up, you just need to call the Sultan Pharmacy and ask about any planned plant walks. He has a blog, Hovander Mycology and Edibles,  but it doesn't appear to be updated very regularly.

I tried to keep track of all the different plants we discovered by writing them down and taking photos of what we harvested but there were so many it was hard to keep track. I managed to write down over 30 of them along the journey and in between photographs.

Our first stop was the Sultan High School and not some place I would have expected there to be an abundance of plants.  Little did I know, they have a nature trail on the property with all sorts of wild edibles and wild life. We actually saw a few deer roaming around. At the high school alone, we harvested agarikon mushrooms, turkey tail mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, reindeer lichen, sheep sorrel, plantain, miner's lettuce, salmon berry blossoms (too early for fruit but the blossoms are also edible), sword fern, bracken fern, fiddle head ferns, chickweed, ox-eye daisy, mustard greens and flowers, chamomile, St John's Wort and stinging nettle.

Sheep Sorrel Narrow Leaf Plantain
Oyster Mushrooms Shroom Magnify

Doe

We headed East on Hwy 2 and on our way to the next stop we pulled over and dug out some cattail stems from a swamp. Luckily someone in the group had some waders in his truck and harvested some for everyone.
cats tail stalks

We continued East and stopped somewhere near Baring for our next adventure and found a bunch more things to add to our collection bags and learned of some plants to avoid. Here, we collected vanilla leaf, lady slipper, Star-flowered Solomon's Seal, violets (avoid the false violets which have shinier leaves), hooker's fairy bell, licorice fern, trillium, lily of the valley, avens, ginger flowers, vinca, cat's ear (dandelion like) and creeping charlie.
Cat's Ear Solomon's Seal
We then headed back towards Sultan and found a park in Index to enjoy a late lunch that included all the stuff we harvested. We even discovered some wild edibles to add to our collection at the park: more sheep sorrel, cat's ear, russian kale and mustard greens/flowers. Everyone emptied their harvest bags onto the table and we separated everything out. Some of it Greg cooked up into a tasty rice dish and others we combined in a bowl for a nice mixed wild greens salad. Unfortunately we had to get back home before the hot meal was ready but we took some salad home with us. It was a lot of fun and we hope to do another one again, maybe in the Fall.
Wild Greens Chef Greg Wild Salad

Monday, October 31, 2016

Fermented Green Ghost Hot Sauce Recipe

Ghost PeppersI had an abundance of peppers in the garden this year, including some super hots. I've made salsa the past few years and dehydrated some last year. This year, but the peppers kept going after the tomatoes were done. @deanacat3, a friend on facebook, is always posting about her fermenting adventures in the kitchen and has posted several times about making fermented hot sauce. I've fermented a lot of things but never tried peppers. I made two batches of sauce, one with a variety of every color of pepper in the garden and the second with only yellow and green varieties. I received some yellow ghost peppers from a neighbor and decided to put them into a sauce along with the last of my yellow and green variety peppers from the garden which resulted in the Green Ghost Hot Sauce.

Green Ghost Hot Sauce

Recipe inspired by Deannacat3's hot sauce recipe

Ingredients:
  • 3/4-1 lb green and yellow peppers (include yellow ghost peppers)
  • 2 tbsp chopped onions
  • 1 tbsp lime juice handful of cilantro
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup brine (1/2 tbsp salt + 1 cup water)
Directions:
  1. Roughly chop the peppers, removing seeds and veins for a less hot sauce if preferred.
  2. Blend all ingredients (except the 1 cup brine) in blender and then pour into glass jars leaving about 1.5-2" space at the top. 
  3. Top with a fermentation lid and let sit for 2 days to allow solids to separate.
  4.  Slowly add some brine to 1" above pepper mixture. 
  5. Let ferment or 2-4 weeks. If peppers float to the top, press them down every few days to avoid mold from forming or use something to hold them down like a fermentation weight.
  6. Press the chili sauce through a sieve and store the sauce in hot sauce bottles or any glass container for several months in the refrigerator.
green ghost sauce ingredients green ghost sauce Green Ghost Sauce Bottled

Friday, September 16, 2016

Homegrown x Oxbow Farm

Homegrown PicklesMy favorite lunch spot in Redmond, Homegrown, and Oxbow Farm are collaborating to produce some awesome pickled goods, starting with organic dill pickles made by Seattle Pickle Co. We got to open some up and try them out and even took a jar home. They are crunchy and delicious, not too vinegary like a lot of pickles are. These will be available in stores next week. Something else to look forward to are some pickled bite sized beets. In the process of thinning their beets, Oxbow will be saving the small bite sized beet roots for pickling. I thought it sounded like a great idea and can't wait to try them.

Lunch

I was invited to a lunch at Oxbow Farm that had a delicious cucumber themed spread of food prepared by Homegrown, who also does catering in case you didn't know. My favorite part of the meal was the kimchi cucumbers. I've been wanting to learn how to make kimchi for quite a while now and these cucumbers reminded me that I need to get on that.
Homegrown Refreshment Ben Friedman Homegrown Co-Founderjpg
Cucumber Theme Dishes
Music on the Farm


Farm Tour

Dill WeedAfter lunch, Adam, the Farm Manager, gave us a quick tour of a few of their fields. Like any farm or garden, they have weeds and their biggest weed problems appeared to be amaranth and lambs quarter, both of which are actually edible. They however did not seem to be interested in harvesting any of their weeds. I admit I have some of these weeds in my yard too and don't eat them either but my chickens love amaranth. I should see if they will eat the lambs quarters too. On our trek through the fields, we passed some overgrown area that he said they let flower and go to seed to encourage the beneficial insects and pollinators because they love the flowers from brassicas and dill weed.


They had a lot of carrots growing in the first field we crossed but I think there were more weeds than carrots. The carrots didn't seem to mind the weeds though. We got to harvest a few while as we crossed the field. I always wait too long to harvest my carrots and they end up not being as good. I'm going to try growing some carrots this winter for the first time and hopefully not wait too long to harvest them. They can handle the colder weather if planted early enough. I just got them in the ground earlier today, hope I got them planted in time.

Oxbow Farm Carrots Oxbow Farm Beets

Damaged Cukes
Every farm has it's failures and we got to see one of their biggest failures this year.  They had a huge cucumber beetle infestation that spread mosaic disease that pretty much wiped out their Marketmore cucumbers. Luckily, they had another variety that didn't get hit as hard and were able to harvest more of the cucumbers from that variety for their pickles. They won't have as much as they would have liked but it's something. I grew marketmore cucumbers in the greenhouse this year and they were not very productive but I think it was more due to not enough water. Oxbow, as do I, practice crop rotation to help with disease and pest management. Planting the same crops in the same place every year depletes the soil of the nutrients needed to grow that crop as well as increases your risk of getting diseases and pests but sometimes there's nothing you can do but try again next year. Oxbow is an organic farm so they do not use any chemicals on their land, nor do I.

Homegrown

If you've never been to Homegrown for their great salads and sandwiches, check them out. They now have locations all over the greater Seattle area, including Redmond, Bellevue, Capitol Hill, Downtown Seattle, Fremont, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Queen Anne, Sammamish Plateau and South Lake Union. They also have a gluten free bread option which comes from Nuflours on Capitol Hill.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Canned Garden Salsa Recipe

Salsa HarvestI just finished canning a batch of salsa that I thought turned out pretty good so wanted to post the recipe for my own future reference as well as for others who may be looking for a good salsa recipe.

My mom makes an insane amount of salsa every year and plants a crazy amount of tomatoes and peppers in her garden. Unfortunately a flash flood followed by a hail storm destroyed her garden this year before she could even harvest any fruit for her salsa. I plan on sending her some of mine though it won't be able to replace all the salsa she would have made this year. I like my salsa chunky and hot but not deadly and this recipe is just that. I hope she likes it.

The Tomatoes

I grew 22 varieties of tomatoes in the garden this year. I chose to use only paste tomatoes for the salsa since they are the meatiest and have the lowest water content. I grew two varieties of paste this year and used half of each for this recipe. Martino's Roma is your more traditional roma and the plant is very productive. Ardwyna is a much larger paste tomato than any I've ever seen and even meatier than the Martino's Roma. Some of the ardwyna tomatoes had a little green on the tops while the rest of the tomato was ripe. The size of these tomatoes gives it the real advantage for making sauces and salsas since they require much less prep work. I harvested some that were around 1lb which is the size of a beefsteak. Will definitely grow them again next year.

The Peppers

I chose 4 of the 10 varieties of peppers I grew in the garden for this recipe. I was introduced to padron peppers at Delancey, a pizza place in Seattle, that has a seasonal padron pepper pizza. It has a nice flavorful spice. I got my hands on some padron pepper seeds in a seed exchange this year and was excited to grow them myself. Will definitely grow these every year. They are a little spicier than a jalapeno and have a better flavor too. I also used jalapenos which everyone is familiar with. The variety I have is a larger variety that has big seeds so I decided to deseed it for this recipe. I also used a couple of poblanos which are a mild pepper but have a nice flavor, especially when roasted. I added a small purple bell pepper which I don't think added much flavor to the salsa but it was ripe and ready so I tossed it in. I didn't think the salsa was quite hot enough so I added some cayenne pepper that I dried last year. I have some spicier peppers in the garden (habanero and scotch bonnet) but unfortunately they aren't ready to harvest yet or I would have used those to make it spicier.


Garden Salsa Recipe

Makes approximately 14 half-pints

INGREDIENTS:
8 lbs paste tomatoes
27 cloves garlic
4 large onions
6 jalapeno peppers
1 purple or green bell pepper
3 poblano peppers
8 padron peppers
1 tsp cumin
4 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Cut tomatoes and peppers in half and place skin side up in a single layer on baking sheet. Add sliced onions and 24 of the unpeeled garlic cloves to baking sheet and broil for 8 -10 minutes, until skin starts to blacken. Will likely need to do in a couple of batches.
  2. In batches, add 3 cloves of raw garlic, peeled roasted garlic, tomatoes, peppers and onions (leaving juices in pan). Pulse until desired consistency.
  3. Fill a water bath canner and set on stove and bring to a boil
  4. While water bath canner is coming to a boil, add processed fruits and vegetables to a large sauce pan along with cumin, salt, lime juice and lemon juice and bring to a slow boil. You can also let the mixture sit and strain off more of the liquid to make the sauce thicker.
  5. Taste and add cayenne pepper to increase spiciness to desired level.
  6. Clean half pint jars and add to water bath canner for at least 5 mins to sterilize.
  7. Fill jars with salsa, leaving 1/2" space, add clean lids and rings and add to water bath canner. Refrigerate any reamining salsa.
  8. Process for 15 minutes
Salsa Harvest Roast Prep

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Maple Walnut Coffee Chia Seed Pudding

Maple Walnut Coffee Chia Seed PuddingI've seen chia seed pudding talked about a lot in the healthy eating communities but have never tried it myself. I do use chia seeds often in my morning smoothies and making a smoothie into a pudding is incredibly easy. All you need to do is increase the amount of chia seeds and refrigerate for a few hours and you get pudding!

For my first attempt at a chia seed pudding, I used the Maple Walnut Smoothie recipe from the new BLEND Smoothie eBook, authored by my friend Alyssa Brantley of Every Day Maven and beautiful photography by Faith Gorsky of An Edible Mosaic. I found so many great recipes in this ebook that I want to try both as a smoothie and a pudding conversion. I love that it has a whole section on coffee smoothies as I frequently add cold brewed coffee to my smoothies in the morning for a little pick me up.

In addition to adding chia seeds for this smoothie to pudding conversion, I made a few other minor changes to the original recipe that are optional:
  • Instead of instant coffee, I made an overnight refrigerator cold pressed coffee using a method I discovered on GardenFork. I used an espresso coffee blend from Third Coast Coffee, my new favorite coffee roaster (sorry Seattle). 
  • Used stevia drops instead of powder because it's what I had on hand (5 drops of liquid = 1 tsp powder).
  • Added Vital Protein Collagen Powder just because it's good for you and am always looking for something to toss it in.
  • I also increased some of the other ingredients to make more servings.

I also wanted to thank Alyssa for sharing some of her props with me that she no longer wanted. The dessert bowls I used for this recipe came from her. Thank you Alyssa!

Maple Walnut Coffee Chia Seed Pudding Recipe

Serving Size: 3-4
Total Time: 15 mins + 4 hour chill time

Ingredients:
4 tbsp coursely chopped walnuts (raw or toasted)
4 tbsp rolled oats (old fashioned or quick cooking)
3/4 cup almond milk
 pinch of salt
4 drops stevia
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 dates, chopped
1 cup cold strong coffee
1/2 cup chia seeds
2 tbsp collagen powder (optional)
6 ice cubes

Instructions:
1. Add the walnuts and oats to a blender and pulse until they form a powder.
2. Add all remaining ingredients (except the ice) into a blender and process until smooth.
3. Add the ice and pulse until pulverized.
4. Transfer to serving glasses, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
5. Serve chilled.

maple walnut coffee pudding Ingredients maple walnut coffee pudding 1 maple walnut coffee pudding 3

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Sugar Free Olive Oil Ice Cream Recipe

olive oil ice creamIt's been a while since I've used the ice cream maker. When I received a bottle of Azeite Esplendido olive oil in the mail from Seattle's own Esplendido Douro, I knew I had to make ice cream. I've never made or even had olive oil ice cream before but is something I've always wanted to try. Ice cream is typically loaded with sugar but I wanted to try making one with honey instead.

Raw honey contains a lot of beneficial nutrients but many of those nutrients can be damaged or lost if the honey exceeds 100 degrees. I wanted this ice cream as nutritious as possible so I added the honey only after the ice cream was cooled down to around 96 degrees.

Olive oil also has many health benefits. It's said to reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of all kinds of diseases. You can read more about the health benefits here. Esplendido's olive oil is cold-processed to retain nutrients and made from pesticide free olives grown in the hills of Portugal, overlooking Douro Valley. In their first year of business they won a gold award from the New York International Olive Oil Competition. I'm not an olive oil expert but I have done an olive tasting before and can taste the difference between a good and bad olive oil. This olive oil is better than your average olive oil. It's very fruity and I was pleasantly surprised by the peppery finish. It worked great in this ice cream recipe and would be a good olive oil to use for salads, dips, bread dipping or to finish off any meal. You can find their olive oil around the Pacific Northwest but are planning to expand to other locations in the near future. You can also order through their website if you can't find it locally.

curdled ice creamIf you've never made ice cream before, it's really really important you don't overcook it, no really. I knew this. Yet, in my attempt to get a good photo of the temperature reading while it was cooking, I let the first batch cook a little too long and the result was a chunky, nasty mess. The first batch, it ended up going into the trash. The mixture went from perfect to chunky so fast. Luckily, I hadn't added the honey and olive oil yet so I was just out a couple of cups of milk, some cream and egg yolks. The second batch turned out perfectly.

Sugar Free Olive Oil Ice Cream Recipe


INGREDIENTS

2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup raw honey
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup good olive oil
pinch of sea salt

DIRECTIONS
  1. Heat milk, cream and pinch of salt in a medium sized saucepan over low to medium heat until 190 degrees (just before boiling point), stirring frequently.
  2. Remove saucepan from heat.
  3. Add yolks to a small bowl and whisk eggs while adding a ladleful (about 1/2 cup) of the hot milk to temper the eggs.
  4. Whisk the tempered eggs into the pan of milk and return to heat, stirring constantly (do not leave unattended). Heat for a few minutes until temperature reaches about 175 degrees. Mixture should thicken slightly. Do not keep at or over 175 degrees for too long or you will end up with a chunky mess as pictured above. If you start noticing it get the slightest bit chunky, remove from heat as soon as possible.
  5. Strain the mixture through a fine metal strainer to remove any chunky bits. If it gets too chunky, no amount of straining will fix it.
  6. Cool the mixture to 95-97 degrees.
  7. Stir in the olive oil and honey and chill 4-6 hours in the refrigerator.
  8. Add mixture to an ice cream maker and run until ready, usually 20-25 minutes. 
  9. Serve plain or with your choice of toppings.

ice cream ingredients
ice cream temp
ice cream maker
Disclaimer: I was provided with a free bottle of olive oil from Esplendido Douro in exchange for a blog post. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Hatching Shipped Eggs

Hatching shipped eggs is not nearly as successful as local eggs even if you are lucky enough to get the shipped eggs to your door without them breaking. I would recommend buying local if at all possible to get a better success rate. The most common problem with shipped eggs is a detached or displaced air sack.  The air sack should stick to the fat side of the egg which is where the chick's head should be at hatch and if the air sack is not there, the chick will likely not make it out. There are some things you can do to improve your hatch rate of shipped eggs.


Tips for Incubating shipped eggs:
1. Store the shipped eggs in an egg carton pointy side down for 24 hours before incubating to allow the cells to heal and increase the possibility of the air sack reattaching if it becomes detached.
2. Candle the eggs as soon as possible and discard any cracked eggs. Try to keep the fat side of the egg on top when candling so the air sack remains in the correct position. You can try using nail polish or wax to seal minor cracks.
3. Incubate the eggs with pointy side down rather than on their side to allow air sack to remain at the fat end of the egg.
4. Incubate at a slightly lower humidity than you normally would, around 30% as eggs with detached air sacks are not as likely to grow like they should.
5. Candle at day 6 or 7 to check for development continuing to keep the egg fat side up.
6. Start lockdown (stop turning) at day 16 instead of day 18 and wait a couple more days to increase the humidity to 40-50%
7. Cross your fingers. You may need to help a chick out if it looks like they are having trouble.

My shipped egg hatch adventure:

4/23/16 
  • A dozen eggs (4 svart hona, 2 ameraucana, 2 jubilee orpington, 2 isbar, 2 olive egger) arrived from Ohio via USPS 2 Day Express and placed in an egg carton pointy side down. 
  • Candled in the evening and only saw an air sack in a couple of the eggs and one of the ameraucana eggs was cracked and set aside, not to be incubated.
4/24/16 
  • Placed 4 svart hona and 2 of my own olive egger eggs in the Brinsea Mini Advance and the remaining in a Hovabator I borrowed for this hatch with humidity at 40%.
4/26/16
  •  Candled eggs and saw detached air sacks in nearly all of the shipped eggs, no development visible in any of the eggs yet. No air sack visible in my own eggs (they are dark and hard to see anything).
  • Moved all eggs into Hovabator since eggs could not be placed vertically in the Brinsea after reading about hatching eggs with detached air sacks.
4/27/16
  • Lowered humidity to 30% after more research on hatching eggs with detached air sacks.
4/30/16
  • Candled the eggs. Saw development in 2 of the 4 svart hona eggs and 1 of the shipped olive egger eggs. 1 of the svart hona eggs also appeared to have a blood ring. My olive eggs were too dark to see anything. No visible veins in any of the other eggs but a few appeared to have a larger dark mass at the top of the egg than others. The air sacks are on the top of the eggs in these photos and not visible. Will try to get a photo of the air sack in the next candling.
two of the developing svart hona eggs
5/4/16
  • Saw blood rings in 1 ameraucana egg and in the olive egger egg that was showing development in the previous candling. Down to just two svart honas that are still developing from the hatching eggs. The rest don't appear to be developing. In those that are developing the air sack appears to have reattached. Only saw movement in one of the eggs. The two F2 olive egger eggs from my flock have too dark of a shell to see much but I think I saw some veining when candling at the top through the air sack.
A view of the egg sack of one of the developing svart hona eggs
 5/10/16
  • Candled eggs and one of the svart hona's has stopped developing. Only remaining eggs that are still developing are one svart hona and the two olive eggers from my own flock. I removed all the eggs except for the three developing and set them in an egg carton and removed the egg turner. 
 5/12/16
  • Increase humidity to 45%. 
The 3 eggs that made it to lockdown

5/14/16
  • Two eggs have started to pip. One olive egg pipped this am but has not made much progress in the last 8 hours. The svart hona has also pipped but it's on the side, not from the airs sack. I've repositioned the egg so the pip end is on top to reduce the chance of it drowning.

5/15/16
  • Today is officially HATCH DAY. I was expecting some chicks to hatch out overnight but no luck but both made a little progress and the humidity dipped down to 20% so the membranes got a little dried out. I decided to do some manual intervention on the svart egg as it had not yet broken through the membrane for air. I poked a hole in the membrane and pulled it back a bit to help it breath. I gave it about 8 hours and it had made no progress at all so I decided to do some more intervention and pulled back nearly all of the shell from the membrane except for a bit on the bottom and put it back in for a few hours. Still no progress so I pulled back the membrane about halfway down. I didn't want to pull it all the way off in case the yolk had not been absorbed. After a few more hours she was trying hard to get out but seemed stuck so I helped her some more and found the yolk to be absorbed and she finally was free. She seems to be doing well so far. The other olive egg didn't pip until late afternoon but is making quick progress and might be out by morning.
F2 olive egger zipping around the egg

5/16/16

  • The day after hatch day and the other olive egger made it's way out some time over night so all 3 that made it to lockdown made it through the hard part. 
  • Unfortunately, my two olive eggers have some foot/leg issues. The last one that hatched had curled toes on both feet so I made shoes out of masking tape to keep them straight. It should only take a couple of days to straighten the toes since I caught it early. The other olive egger wouldn't stand up when walking and would walk on her hocks. I fed them some vitamin water and wrapped her legs in vet wrap to help protect them. She's already doing much better. Not 100% but definitely standing up more than she was before.
The three amigos