Sunday, July 31, 2011
Let's see..... A month of farming-- Well, the chickens are doing great! The are healthy, active and Big. They have three shade structures and they all have a places to go to stay out of the sun. I lost 2 birds to the Sun one afternoon. The decided to keep their heads in a cool shady place and leave their bodies in the sunlight. I felt so bad. Earlier I had walked right by them and did not make them move. So the next few days I came in and gave rain showers in the afternoon to keep everyone active. Lately the air temps are down and it is raining more, so there are no repeats. During the hot week I let the birds sleep out overnight. Then my neighbor told me he lost two chickens at night to something...... We have a lot of coyotes here and they are fearless. So I am back to bundling them in every night. My little wire fence isn't that good. More lessons for me.
Oh, the raspberry patch was just GOLD! It is about 100' long and 3-10' wide. Every mature bush was loaded! What a sight to lift a branch and see 20 big berries. I don't think I have ever had berries like that. So I have been picking practically every morning for 2 weeks. It doesn't get old either. I put my can on my belt, step into the canes and pick. What a wonderful thing... a few hours in another world. My problems dissolved and my busy brain slowed way down. Maybe it wasn't the temperature that slowed me down, it was the raspberries..... Then at night I fill a big mug with berries, drown them in milk and enjoy the best desert ever! Their season is pretty much over. Thank you Hamburg!
So then weeds ...... In early July I had things pretty clean. A week ago the weeds declared victory. They forgot about the lawn mower. I mowed between the rows and gained back some control. Now I am weeding the rows that are in the most need. Maybe in a week their victory will be a stalemate! The idea of gardening from 7-9 am seems like a plan. The summer produce is really starting to ripen. Green beans today!
I'll try to walk all around the land this week and see if I can understand what is going on with the fields, and the season. There is change out here all the time.
Friday, July 1, 2011
Tonight we are all tucked in. The flock has just gone in the coop and I finished the cleanup. The heat was pretty tough on us. Their outside pen is planted in peas 'n oats. The greens are about a foot tall and the birds have trails through the patch. I've been working out some things so they have activity, freedom of movement, and safety. Outside the coop door is an open area with room for the feeders, a waterer and shade shelters. I am trying to have it fixed so that there is shade for all 100 birds throughout the day. Also I want enough feeders so all 100 can be eating at the same time. I got another 3 foot trough so I am ok with that for now. I put netting over the top of the fence to give the hawks some problems. But they are so big and strong they could probably blast right through it. Anyway I feel more secure. So today the birds came out at about six. I fluffed the bedding, aired the coop for the day, and refilled the waterer. Today they drank 5 gallons of water. I watched them for a while. A few maybe a dozen were in the peas-nipping at leaves. Some were running, occasionally pairs were having face-offs to see who was boss. Most were walking around or just standing. The little tiny chick has started growing finally. She is the still the smallest but she is catching up to the others. Most have feathers all over except where they are having growth spurts. They don't look nearly as ugly as they did 2 weeks ago. Anyway by 8 they are ALL eating grain cereal. It is non-GMO grains with vitamins and protein. Probably a lot better than the cereal I was eating.
Today it was so hot most birds got in the shade, fluffed up and settled on the cool ground. They have good instincts. Then tonight I brought down more grain and grit for tomorrow. After hurting my arms last year I put stuff on the dolly and tow it. No more carrying the 50 lb bags... I put down a new layer of bedding and filled the waterer. When I opened the door to the coop and got out of the way, about a third zipped right in, another third went for drinks and more feed, the rest didn't move at all. Before dark I came back and scooted them all in and closed the door. The windows were all open and the temp was down, so they will sleep alright. Tomorrow is another day.