Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hen Pergola

I had forgotten the end of last year's bean seeds were mixed in with the morning glories. I credit these plants with the cooler temperatures inside the chicken yard.

Juju and Jane Doe

I think we have a future 4H member

Saturday, August 29, 2009


It is supposed to drop down to 45 degrees this weekend. Good bye tomatoes! It has not been a good season, with only 2 days that we wished we had air conditioning and many nights dropping below 60.

The hens have stayed mostly in their yard today - with the garage, wood fence and the vines keeping out the cooling breeze.

I am hoping for a Indian Summer.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Chicken Rugby

The game was in full swing when I got home from work this afternoon. Hubby said they had playing it for most of the morning.

Yes, that is a dead mouse.

I can't decide whether to be grossed out or applaud.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

old is better

Why am I showing you this?

Because it is glass. Go to any farm supply (here is is the local Fleet farm for everything except food and straw) and for $20 or so I can purchase a white plastic chicken waterer.

Or for a mere $3 at a flea market I get glass.

I will get a new metal bottom so I can put it on a heater for the winter.

As an added bonus - the chickens peck at the bubbles as they go up inside. LOL

Friday, August 21, 2009

But it works for the cat!?!

Every afternoon, Butters the cat suns himself on the step watching the hens cluck around the yard. He enjoys their company unless they come up on the step. At that point he meows until we let him in.
I can hear the conversation now - I am pretty sure it is Tweety's idea that if they stand at the back door they too will be let in.
"Hey she's at the door again. I'm sure it will work this time!"
"What's in there anyway?" This would be Jane Doe, the most vocal of the group. And the most suspicious of our intentions. "I don't think I want to go in."
"The waffles came from in there. The cucumbers too!" This would be Tweety again. The other three are looking back and forth between her and Jane like a tennis match. Jane is not convinced and jumps off into the bushes.
Tweety stood there, looking at the door, long after the others had left to chase worms in the wet yard.

Monday, August 17, 2009

It's raining, It's pouring etc etc

It has been dumping rain - feels like Seattle (my poor tomatoes!)

In hindsight I should have designed a larger coop. It was taken from a '70's back to the land book and said good for 8 hens. The problem is that in crappy weather there is no room for them all to eat inside.

So now there is a 2nd eating area made from one of my old compost bins. With a piece of wood to keep it more dry - I am on the lookout for a small pallet. It will work for spring and fall but I have some concerns about winter.

The girls are under a tarp covering a corner of their run.

Friday, August 14, 2009

backyard days

Here is half of our backyard. The plaything will need to go soon, Mesha is too big for it. Hubby is in the hammock, hiding I think. On the right is the small waterfall he built last summer.

It is perfect after the kids have gone to bed and there is a fire in the pit (unseen here) listening to the waterfall and the flames - if the bass from various neighbors is not too loud.

We garden by the invasive method. Our inner city yard has crap for soil and even after 5 years of composting leaves etc it still is like an oil slick when wet. So we plant all those ubiquitous plants (read free) day lilies, vinca, ferns from the alley, peonies, echinachea, sedum, morning glories, mint etc and let them fight it out amongst themselves. If it can't survive with sporadic waterings and neglect, well we don't grow it.

Well except for tomatoes. But even then we are less than nurturing.

But it still turns out looking good.

Animal Control told us so. *smirk*

The chainlink gates are for vines (the boston ivy has yet to really take off) There were peas on them earlier. Our hardscape is mostly found items. Our poor Saturn wagon is treated like a farm truck. Dirt, 8' thuja, bark - well for manure I borrow a truck, but everything else is fair game.

It is our little oasis in an otherwise crazy area.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

jane doe and the watch cat

Behold the watchcat.

It is perfect really. Our yard and time is not enough for a watch dog. Butters always keeps the chickens in sight and will let us know of any (squirrel) invaders. He is a little strange. We adopted him from a vet/rescue group. He spent his 1st year and a half moving from shelter to shelter. Neurotic is not the half of it. The other day he accidentally got closed in the coop and fell asleep on the ramp once all the chicks were inside roosting.

Front and center is Jane Doe. I don't think she is a Speckled Sussex OR a Gold-Laced Wyandotte. I don't know what she is. She is Jane Doe for now because Juju can't decide what to name her. I nixed Squawk since we already have a Tweet (in the center). On the far right is Shelly. They are in the yard eating anything that holds still long enough.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Friday, August 7, 2009

view from the outside

Our backyard in general invites conversation with our neighbors and their friends. This is the view from the back gate.

We regularly have both adults and kids hanging over the fence or standing at the back gate pointing and asking questions.

I handed one of the adult spectators an orange cherry tomato from Juju's plant. "I can't just like eat this can I?" he insisted incredulously. I popped another on in my mouth and nodded. You would have thought I had handed him a grasshopper. He just kind of stared at it before finally giving it a tentative nibblet. "It is so sweet!" he said swallowing the tiny fruit.

My favorite question though is "Don't you need a rooster to get eggs?"

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

clipped wings and zucchini

Hubby and I clipped the hens' wings this week. Now when we are outside they are let out into the yard to wreak havoc on the weed patch around the (unlit) fire pit.

Nice theory.

The bottom of the beans and the peonies aren't as lush as before. Even the chives have not escaped their interest. But nightshade leaves seems to be their favorite. They scratch and peck and eye the cat warily. But Butters (the outside cat) learned quickly that the young chicks are off limits and now lays on the step pretending they don't exist.

They venture around for about an hour before taking themselves back into their yard.

Chick TV - no reruns.

I have put out the word I will take all unwanted summer squash. I know from past experience Chickens love it, and I can't grow it.


Last year I had 5 zucchini plants.

I got 5 zucchinis.

That is just wrong.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

I didn't do it!

Mesha over the fence again today. Although it was Hubby this time and he is tall enough to lift her over the gate.

Still no spare key.