Jul 07 2009

Chickens and More

I’m having trouble getting rolling on a topic lately, so I’ll just start typing and see what comes out.

I just got done moving the chicken house to a new spot.  Since I haven’t put wheels or handles on it yet, this basically involves walking it across the yard one end at a time, until I get it where I want it or run out of steam, whichever comes first.  I really need to get wheels on it, so I can move it more often and keep it from being so hard on the grass.

The chickens are pretty hard on the lawn themselves.  Fortunately, we’re not Perfect Lawn People, but I would like it to be more or less green and flat.  They like to dig a bowl shape in any bare dirt they can find, and then “dust” themselves in it.  That’s how they clean themselves: rolling in dust to get it under their feathers, and then shaking it off.  So now we’re developing some dusting holes along the fence line.  In the long run, though, their fertilizer should be good for the lawn.

The day is quickly approaching when we’re going to have to clip their wings, too.  Every evening now they go exploring, and one night last week they suddenly decided to scratch out half our green beans.  I don’t know if they were finding bugs in them or just liked scratching in the loose soil in the garden bed, but they really mangled them.  Too bad they didn’t dig in the peas, or something else that’s finished already.

We went to the farm Sunday to help dress chickens, and ended up doing about 45 of them.  The rest will probably get done next weekend.  The weather was great for it, at least 10 degrees cooler than what we usually have to deal with.  I’ll have to write more about that with pictures sometime.

We harvested our first squash today, so I’ll have to get a picture of them up with another garden update soon.  There was a surprise: one of the plants doesn’t appear to be either of the patty-pan varieties we planted.  A seed from another kind must have gotten in the wrong packet.  That’s okay, though; I would have tried more varieties anyway if we had more space.  We also harvested the garlic recently, so it’s hanging on the back porch to dry.  When the window’s open, I can smell it now and then.

I’m still getting soapy water for the first few gallons every time I use the garden hose.  The mystery continues.

We finally got back to working on the garage.  Last fall, we moved everything away from one wall so we could put in a window and paint, and then we didn’t get it done before cold weather, so we’ve been squeezing past piles of stuff ever since.  Now the wall is done and I’m working on some shelves to store stuff along it.  It felt really good to go through some of the piles the other night and set aside several boxes of stuff to trash or give away.  I’m kind of a pack-rat on a day-to-day basis, but when it’s time to clean house, I do enjoy getting rid of stuff.

I got a new (used) window put in my truck last week, for $75 and some elbow grease.  I had to beat the frame back into shape with a sledge, and then work the glass into the rubber gasket little by little with a pair of screwdrivers.  It’s not perfect, but very little on that truck is anymore.  Luckily, the windshield wiper that looked like it was bent to heck was only popped out of place, so it’s fine.  All in all, it cost a lot less than I thought when I first saw that tree branch lying on it.

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