Nice to have a couple of surprise sunny days this week huh? Ludo took Thursday off work to help me on the farm so between that and another productive sunny day yesterday, things are really starting to come together out there.
Wednesday was the Chickens 101 workshop with Jordan. It was fun and informative with a great group of people. A huge eagle made several passes through the sky above and we learned that this eagle had thinned Jordan's flock significantly lately. I'd had my own close encounter with a big bird this week when a beautiful hawk swooped into the yard and did a couple curious flybys of the run where the 9 week old Polish chicks were playing. The next day, I took down then outdoor pen that was in the middle of the yard and moved it to the back corner which offers much more protection from aerial attacks. Works very well and now the girls have more room to roam and better protection from predators and the dogs.
Thursday was the Energy meeting at Ann's. Ludo and I were unforgivably late (I assumed it started at 7... whoops!) but we squeaked in for the last 30 minutes or so. Exciting to hear what everyone is up to and passionate about.
The herb garden is turning out really nicely. I had to move the mint out before it took over so now that's in pots. We rescued some chives and citronella at a house demo sale and picked up some savory to fill in the gaps. I think I'm going to put a medicinal/tea garden in the front yard where it'll be safe from herb hungry chickens.
We picked up 10 Buff Orpington chicks last weekend. We're only keeping one but most of the rest are already spoken for. Sadly we lost one the first night so we're down to 9 now but they are all doing very well. They are all professionally sexed and guaranteed female. We chose this breed to add to our flock because they are one of the most people friendly breeds, get too heavy to fly, and lay eggs all winter. Seems like a perfect backyard bird. If anyone would like one, please contact me as we have a few available. Hopefully I can save someone a drive out to the valley to pick up chickens and we're handling these babies regularly to get them used to people.
We had a HUGE pile of woodchips/mulch delivered this week so if anyone needs some, please help yourself. Email me for the address. They are wonderful with lots of leaves in there too. I'm putting them everywhere! They'll really cut down on the weeds & slugs, keep the soil cool and moist through the summer and will add lots of tasty nutrients to the garden.
The corn garden is very behind schedule. The soil in there is very wet and clayey so we wanted to improve it before we planted but it is a rather daunting task given the size of the bed. Finally started dumping loads of compost in there and mixing it in so we could get some seeds in. We planted about 8 rows of corn and surrounded them with beans which will enjoy growing up the corn stalks. We'll put ground cover type crops in to fill in the rest of the space.
Robert came over yesterday and he and Ludo got cracking on operation Coop Expansion. We're doubling the coop size and now there will be access to the enclosed run and to the outdoor run which is basically the corn garden which connects to the back treed corner "chicken pasture." It is coming together really nicely and should be finished today.
The potatoes and beans are growing like crazy. Fortunately the chickens don't seem to have much interest in them as they are in what is now the 'chicken pasture.'
We're already getting a lot of strawberries in spite of a slug invasion. Beer traps put an end to that almost immediately but we lost a few tasty looking berries.
The Polish girls are 9 or 10 weeks old now. They are so wonderful. Much friendlier than our older hens. Everyone loves them. That's "Ladybug" in my profile pic. She's going to live with Ann next week as she gets picked on by our older hens and is much too sweet and shy to really be happy here. Very sad to see her go but we had only planned on keeping one of these girls and she'll just be around the corner so we can still see her lots. Here's a pic of Ludo with "Buzz," our golden laced girl:
Well I better get out there and get that coop finished. Happy farming everyone!