It has been a while. I had been busy mapping out this year's garden. I also relaxed for a while. That is not common for me, yet it felt rather good.
Last week, it was nice enough to uncover the front garden area. I tidied the strawberry boxes. I still need to move the plants that popped up out of the area into the expanded boxes... that will be moved here soon. The day I did this area, there was still thick ice around the north area of the strawberry area and the dirt was frozen a few inches down. It looks to be softened enough to get the garden areas out in the meadow part of the property. It felt really nice to dig in the dirt. I cannot wait to get digging next week. We have a storm coming in a day or two. I prefer to not dig in the rain.
Along with starting the garden, it looks like some carpentry is in our future. We picked up chicks today. "Chicks", as in chickens. Today was the first day. The Co-Op has a ring of the giant metal tubs filled with various breeds of chickens, ducks, turkeys and other fowl. It was to start at 8 am. We get there at that exact time. Now... I am NOT a morning person. I think one eye may of been open. I get to the area to pick my chicks, and find a long line. They opened at 7 am. I guess some got there then. I then found out I needed a sheet with the list and the bar code for each critter. The woman in front of me saved my space while I hunted down the person to get my sheet from. Himself looks at the tub of Buff Orpingtons and tells me that most of them are already gone. Dang, we may have to wait until next week. The people two places in front of me goes, taking 20 of them. Double-boogers. My turn comes and there is exactly 4 left. Mine! I wanted 2. 3, in case of a rooster (male) in the mix. I could NOT leave one all alone, could I? So four.
My daughter decided they need names, though I do not plan on really giving them names. They are not pets. They will give us eggs. She decided on- Stew, Fricassee, Nuggets and Potpie. laughing... Well, one is louder, runs to me when I check the temps in my make-shift brooder and is larger. I think that would be "Stew", as in male, so most likely will end up in the stew pot.
I have to say the young have NO sense of humor at all. Yesterday we picked up the large tub for the brooder at a place that sells livestock items, gardening and farming items, sporting goods, and so on. They were also getting their fowl in. Though I did not plan on buying the chicks there, (they do not have the feed I want to use), I enjoyed looking at the chicks they had. No Buffs. The young man said they would be in today. I told him I was fluctuating between 3 or 4. If a male was in the mix, it would become dinner. I went on to say, while smiling, that I felt like a black widow or praying mantis- all males would be eaten. The boy just stared. He did not get it. He then told me that they would have all pullets (hens), no males (10% chance, really, so...), and I would have no worries. No smile. He did not get what I was saying at all. What is wrong with the young? No matter how hard things are, one should remember to laugh and/or smile at least once a day. There is always something if one gets their head out of whatever place it is stuck, no?
The Co-Op has soy-free feed. whoo-hoo! I am allergic to soy. I developed an egg allergy about the time my hormones were at their peak of being out of whack and I had to have my hysterectomy. A woman was telling a chicken forum she had a customer she wanted soy-free eggs for her son. He went through all sorts of nastiness, with doctors blaming his ailments, including his allergy to eggs, on various diseases and such. They finally put the boy through testing. He was fine with egg, but not soy. Chickens not fed soy give soy-free eggs and meat. The boy could enjoy those foods, when his mom found those who did not feed soy to their chickens.
Maybe, just maybe, that may be the reason I cannot eat eggs? Even organically-raised chickens get soy. It is cheap pseudo-protein. Most never think about the fact that so many people are allergic to the stuff. Oh man. Custard. Omelets. Egg salad sandwiches.
One can dream, yes?
We have to build a coop we can move all over our meadow every day, and move back to by the house at night. It has to be very secure. Free-range will be in a 48 sq. ft. area attached to the coop. A chicken tractor. We have every varmint one can have- fox, raccoon, weasels, coyotes, wolves, wolverines, badgers, and more. Then there is death from above in the form of hawks, eagles and owls. It is cruel to let them "run free". We will have wheels on the back so I can tip it slightly and wheel it to the meadow on my own. If Himself is not busy, we can both take a handle on the ends and walk it out. They fertilize the area, eat bugs we want gone, and eventually, eggs and meat. Win-win.
So the season begins. I should be able to rest in... November.
So far, Sally looks at them. If the bigger one starts peeping loudly or they are all moving around, she barks at them, comes into the room and lets us know that something is going on in the tub, back to the chicks, repeat. She seems to be okay with them. The cage top will go on soon and she will not be alone with them.
I would love to post the photos I took, but it seems Blogger is, once again, not working properly.
If it decides to work, I will post a few cute chick photos.
Looks like it is time to clean out the pine shavings from the waterer and poop from the feed trough. I did put a piece of plastic canvas under the waterer. It helped with the pine shavings from getting into the waterer quite a bit. In a few days I will raise them a bit, which will help.