fruit tree workers

Ever since I trapped and relocated a feral cat (see post 12/9/2015) which I believe killed one hen and mauled another, confidence has returned - to the flock and me.  They now are truly free roaming - after the coop door opens in the morning and they spend awhile in the paddocks, I release them to roam the yard.  First stop for them is below the deck to gather seed scattered from the bird feeder, then a visit to the compost heaps and then hang out in the woodland area. Except today with temps Read more [...]

goodbye Gimpie

I said goodbye to Gimpie today.  She was one of 6 hens given us by our neighbor some 4 years ago, and only one is now left, the Ameracauna.  Gimpie had a bad hip which may be because our neighbor would carry her birds by their feet, upside down.  She said they went to sleep and wouldn't struggle that way.  Her son objected that it was bad for them and I guess Gimpie was the result.  Anyhow Gimpie was a real trooper -  with her bad hip she would struggle out of the coop down to the second paddock Read more [...]

long hibernation ending

My last post was November 25.  As we moved into winter my growing activities were largely shelved. In November/December I cleared and weeded some beds and planted out, closely spaced, several 100 garlic cloves.  They are all descended from 3 varieties of garlic I purchased from California 4 years ago.  After harvesting last year I strung them together and hung them from joists in the carport.  Fewer rotted compared with previous years where I had stored them in laundry bags hung in the basement.  Read more [...]

sweet potato, pests, a broody hen

I had my best harvests this year.  Everything did well and while the weather, rains and fewer pests all helped, mostly I think is I am getting better at growing.  (I mention rains because all my irrigation is with rainwater).  Last year, my first with sweet potatoes, I produced finger sized specimens.  This year, tho I left it a bit late, they are big. Pest pressure has been minimal which I attribute to increased biodiversity and natural predators etc. tho this week I noticed two instances Read more [...]

roving chicken

We still have 11 chicken, the ever vigilant rooster and his 10 hens.  I may have quipped in the past about putting a chicken in the pot but we do not eat our chicken.  Since I began keeping chicken a few years ago I have lost only one to a predator.  I would say, comparatively, that they lead a pretty high class life style.  In the morning, when the sun has well risen, the automatic door opener hoists up the sliding door and they emerge to range the paddock and hang out under the tree and in Read more [...]

dilemma unraveled

In my previous two posts I described Randa the flying chicken who established a nest containing 15 eggs in the bush and how, after much debate, I relocated Randa and her eggs to the safety of a spare coop.  The dilemma was what would I do if say half of the eggs hatched, since I have chicken enough and would wind down rather than expand my chicken operations. The potential dilemma dematerialized.  Although I had prevailed on Randa to sit on her  transferred eggs in the new nest box she quickly Read more [...]


I have a dilemma.  Since I retired I have had few dilemmas - no more the quandary of whether I should attend an important business meeting or pitch, vs a child's sporting event/concert performance or family function.  But now I have a dilemma! I mentioned in previous posts that we have 2 nimble chicken, Wanda and Randa, who easily fly over the paddock fence and that Randa had disappeared one evening but was there the next morning and we all celebrated with sunflower seeds.  But the next night Read more [...]

success with a broody hen

Our broody hen kept brooding.  Each night I would remove her from the eggs she was safeguarding and, after a quick sup, she would go back to the nesting box.  And so it continued night after night for a week.   Our research indicated that if she was kept in a place where her underside was cool, she might desist.  I located and positioned 6 cinder blocks on top of which I placed the wire cage we had used when they were newly born.  Since the bottom of the cage was a solid removable tray, which Read more [...]

late freeze, black locust, a broody hen, frass and swarm lure

The average date for last spring freeze where I grow  should be after March 30 and before April 10 based on a map provided by the National Weather Service.  On April 16 the temperature in our area fell to 30 deg F and caused some damage.  The potato plants suffered - the volunteers on the ground surface were almost wiped out - While the potatoes I had planted in a trench had less extensive damage - I was concerned about my apple trees some of which are in blossom but they seem fine Read more [...]

at last some growing activity

The occasional cold temperatures in March dissuaded the plants from growing.  This was evident from an experiment with peas.  I moistened the peas and those which appeared to be growing the fastest I planted outdoors and  the remainder I planted in a soil container in the greenhouse.  Until a week ago very few of the peas planted outdoors had broken surface.  Those in the greenhouse grew steadily.  Today I transplanted the greenhouse peas. Of course the daffodils are out and my comfrey Read more [...]