an experimental space where art and life co-mingle in the service of community, sustainability, and agriculture.
Garden Redux, this time as Carol Padberg, Natalie Padberg Bartoo, and Dan Army, has produced a poster celebrating the Community Gardens in Hartford that are supported by Knox. The poster will be introduced at Envisionfest in Hartford on September 20th, 2013. Stop by next Saturday at the Knox space right in front of the Old State House on Main Street in downtown Hartford to enjoy the Knox site, relax, and catch up with the Knox gardens community.
Okay. Not everyone wants to watch a one-hour BBC documentary on chicken psychology. I totally understand. But for a new chicken keeper, this segment of the BBC’ “The Private Life of Chickens” is really fascinating. For example, I found out that chickens’ eyes can function independently from one another, one eye can look at the ground for food while the other is being used to scan the area for predators. Hmmm! There is also a really great section here on exactly how the “pecking order” works (it’s basically an intimidating glare that does the trick). Of course, any gardener will enjoy the gorgeous Devon farm of Jane, the woman who runs a chicken rescue operation to allow chickens who have been layers in factory farms for 18 months to then be adopted and live (for the first time) a life that includes fresh air, ground beneath their feet, and space to explore and really be a bird. So, in this heat wave, I give you another reason to get comfortable, cool drink in hand, and be still — to take in a chicken documentary! (Yes, I am becoming a chicken nerd.)
Welcome to the third summer of Garden Redux. May brought bunnies, June brought chicks! If you are new to Garden Redux, you can scan our history by selecting the file icon in the upper right, to see our Mobile Studio adventure in 2011, how the garden began, and then last year’s Familyfesto presentation at MoMA. This summer marks the beginning of a new collaboration with the KNOX foundation. I am an Artist in Residence for the community gardens in Hartford. Stay tuned on that. More news to come. And always, behind the scenes, is the garden itself. More on that soon too. This is the garden’s third year, and we are off to a very healthy start. Finger’s crossed!
The chicks at three and a half weeks. They have gotten so much taller this week; they are certainly less round. They also do all those chicken things now: scratching and pecking around for insects, preening, turning their head to the side as if to say “what’s that?” They are starting to spend more and more time outside, which they love. Our girls, Dot, Emily and Gwen, doing their thing!
Week two, and our girls are already getting the beginnings of tails and wing feathers!
They have very distinct personalities. Dot (the black and white one) is clearly the head hen. When she was nervous during the first hour we had the chicks (and before we set the heat lamp up) she pecked the others’ beaks. Ouch! The expression “the pecking order” is no joke!
Emily (the light yellow one) worried me when they first arrived because she was so sleepy. But once she adjusted, she is an assertive, quick bird. She is also a snuggler, and will cuddle and drowse off in your hands, very adorable.
Gwen (darker yellow) is meek and smaller. Her breed is a more petite breed than the other two (she is a Red Star and they are Plymouth Rocks.) She is very sweet, and very fast. She jumped out of my hands the first time I held her — and dove head first into a cup of tea! Luckily it wasn’t a hot cup of tea! She was fine — it made me realize how firmly you have to hold them.
These photos are from their first time out in the grass.
The first week for chicks is basically getting used to life under a heat lamp, in a box, taking lots of naps and eating, and getting to know the new out-of-the-egg reality. Natalie made the chicks a little jungle gym, which brought out their natural instinct to perch on a roost. They got used to their food and water system. No feathers yet, all fluff.
Our chickens are two Plymouth Rocks (one white, that is Emily— and one barred, that is Dot) and one Golden Buff-Red Star (that’s Gwen). We chose those breeds because they are good egg layers in all temperatures and are well adapted to New England winters. They will lay brown eggs once they are about 24 weeks old.
Why did we get chickens? We had been thinking about it for about a year. The number one reason was wanting to be close to ones’ food and not have to wonder what the chickens were fed that are making your eggs. Having an abundant source for organic garden fertilizer is another reason. Once you “hot compost” the droppings and bedding from the coop, it is a clean, rich source of nitrogen. And, I admit, the fun of it was another reason. Chickens are funny, loveable birds!
Big News From Garden Redux (drum roll, please!)
On June 17 three little chicks pecked their way through their shells and were hatched. They were promptly readied for a big trip, and sent to Garden Redux in the mail. They arrived very tired. And very cute. A little sugar water and they were each balls of fluff in motion. Here is the video from when we opened that chirping parcel that we had just picked up from the post office on June 18. Introducing Emily Chickenson, Dorothy (AKA Dot) and Gwen the Hen! Day one….
Garden Redux (as in lead artist Carol) brought the show on the road (in a box!) to a local coffee shop in early June to propose to a local garden foundation that they should have an Artist in Residence and collaborate on art based on the needs of the Community Gardeners in Hartford. It was a great first meeting! More news soon.
The Garden Redux kids are growing up. Naomi is now living away from home as a grown up 19 year old! Natalie is 17 and Daniel is 14! Woah…. When we started this project they were all at home and Daniel was by no means the tallest person in the family. In fact, he was the shortest! How much difference two years makes. Well, at Garden Redux we are all about change, so the wheel turns and we adapt. Just thought you might like to see how fast everyone is growing. This is from June when Natalie and Daniel came with me to Nantucket to pick up some work that was in a show there on Cape Cod, MA.
May tidings from Connecticut where we became (I am so proud to say this) the first state in which a people’s political movement resulted in the government passing legislation that pioneers the labeling of GMOs in food products. Well done, citizens. I am posting this on the Fourth of July. The spirit of democracy feels very immediate to me this year. It is a good feeling. SO MANY people came together to make this happen. But we were led by one of the best, Tara Lippman from GMO Free CT was an inspiration! For those of you from other states, get busy, it CAN be done!
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver “The Summer Day”
I can think of no better way to welcome you back to the Garden Redux blog for summer 2013, than to share with you this video clip of the lovely baby rabbits who were born in our garden in May. They have since hopped along and grown up. We have since repaired our fence! But for two weeks in May we savored the new life of spring with these beautiful bunny beings.
Garden Redux visited the Museum of Modern Art in New York last week as part of MoMA Studio: Common Senses, The Mildred Complex(ity).
We presented handbills of our familyfesto, which were read and distributed on the hour every hour.
People of all ages came by and engaged with us, while everyone enjoyed the beautiful installation of a Mildred’s Lane interior. Many thanks to Lizzie and Jack who oversee the installation every day during the show, and to the entire education department of MoMA who made it happen.
Natalie did the readings every hour, and Daniel and I passed out the letterpress prints to whoever wanted one. It was really great day. Thanks to all who joined us!
Garden Redux is all a-flutter over our work with Boxcar Press on the Garden Redux Familyfesto Broadside which will be included in the MoMA Studio: Common Senses exhibition tomorrow. Here is printer Jimmy Gahan working on the Heidelberg Press at Boxcar. We just received the finished prints in the mail today and they are (I must say) full of the gorgeous letterpress sensuality and graphic power that we were hoping for. Well done Boxcar! Hooray for Jimmy, and Lindsy Aragona, our designer at Boxcar. It was a pleasure collaborating with you both!