Friday, August 2, 2013

Chicken Chatter

Hi all.  It is Friday once again.  You know what that means!!!  Tomorrow we have Nana's birthday party at my Unky John's here in town.  Then Sunday we will be on the lake.  Hopefully in a boat that won't need to be towed in this time!!!
Last night, I had some garden and chicken chores to do.  I needed to add fresh compost to the garden boxes which means, I have to take my stackable compost bin, and remove each layer, one at a time.  I take the top layer off, and set it next to the box, add the top of the pile to what will now be the bottom of the pile, then another layer of the box, and more compost, until I get to the bottom of the bin, where I remove the rich composted soil, to be added to the garden boxes.  Of course, as soon as I am out there, I have my feathered friends at my feet, waiting to get in there and find some grubs.
That deep recession in the ground where Flower Muffin is standing, is where the compost bin was.  I remove it, one section at a time, transferring the contents to the new location, just to the right.  Which then, leaves the bottom layer of rich soil.  You can also see that in time, the decomposition  goes beneath the surface.  There is at least a 6 inch hole, where the soil softened and decomposed over time with the layers that were added to my pile.  I do this routine about every 3 months or so.  This keeps my garden boxes full of naturally rich soil.  One of the key ingredients to a successful garden.  The other thing that keeps the compost cooking so well, is chicken manure!!!!  If you don't have chickens, fear not.....just buy a bag of steer manure at a buck a bag, and add it little by little to your layers of compost, turning every few days, to achieve the same results.

Mmmmm, GRUBS!!
My naughty chickens have reduced the garden to rubble!  I need to put the fencing back up to save the remaining tomatoes!!!  They ate ALL of my cilantro, peppers, beans, cucumbers, squash, and every tomato within their reach!!!!
The tomato box is supported by chairs, buckets and whatever else I can find, to help prop up the heavily fruit laden branches.
Hidden inside that jumble of leaves, are dozens and dozens of ripening orbs of goodness.  And the one volunteer tomato plant that appeared is most probably a beefsteak, producing ginormous tomatoes, that are almost too pretty to cut into!!
So the garden is looking sparse, with what remains, but it will soon be freshly turned for a new planting with Fall veggies.
Do you see those girls up there devouring a ripe tomato?
AHA....caught you red handed "Blue!"
Here is Cream Puff.  She is one of the pullets I got from my friend Elaine.  She now has wattle and comb, and will be laying very soon.
I think she looks like a Seagull with her yellow beak and feet!
As the sun began to slip behind the hill, the girls started to take themselves to their coop to roost for the night.  First the little girls head in, finding their place on a perch.
Hilda and Ella, with Constance Rose on the far end.
The big girls are the last to make their way back to the safety of their coop.  One by one, they waddle through the gate.

Roxy stops to say goodnight and  have a little scratch under the chin.

Just look at those full crops!!!
They have one last snack before taking themselves off the ground, and up to the roosts for the night.

One girl, however, remains the trouble maker!!!  Elvira!!!  The Golden Laced Polish that Elaine gave me.  She refused to perch for the night.  She would crawl into the next boxes, and poop in them.  I had to clean them every day.  Then I began to place balls in the boxes at night, which still didn't deter her entirely.  She would perch on the very edge with her bum hanging over enough to still poop in the  boxes!!!  GRR!  So now I keep the boxes blocked by placing a cardboard piece across the ledge to keep her out.  So now....she  won't come in the coop at night.  She climbs to the top, and perches on the playhouse.  But I could still reach her, and put her in the coop.  So NOW...she  climbs the avocado tree, as high as she can...far out of reach from me!!  She sleeps high in the  tree!  And when I get up early in the morning to go feed them, she is usually in the run, waiting for her breakfast.  I am still not convinced that she is a she.  In which case, she will be called Elvis!  She/He has some very odd, and bossy, Roo like behavior.  I am waiting for the cock a doodle doo!!!
     Goodnight girls.
I still can't believe I waited so long to begin to raise chickens.  I thought I had to have an elaborate set up for them.  Wrong!!!  I thought you needed to have something professionally built.  Wrong!!!  I thought it would be hard, and expensive.  Well, it isn't cheap.  I spend about 35 dollars a month on feed and supplies now with 14 hens.  But the rewards are by far and away worth it.  They are my pets.  They entertain me.  They calm me.  And they provide fabulous tasting and nutritional eggs for our family.  I was born to do this.  I was born to farm.  If I could, I would have goats, pigs, and horses too.  Maybe one day...........
Until then, I shall continue to enjoy my small patch here, where I can raise my hens, and garden, on our one acre of heaven.
This is where I rest my weary bones after working in the garden each night.  My recycled swing, tucked up under the canopy of the big avocado trees.  Next to the coop, where the hens entertain me.  I love to read and crochet here.  Sometimes Geeps and I have a little snack, and watch the sun go down together.
 While I was working in the garden last night, Geeps was picking avocados.  The trees are LOADED!!!  Each morning when I get up, there are a dozen or more scattered on the ground that the opossums have feasted on in the night.
One of his buddies at work wanted to trade tomatoes for some avocados.  I said please tell him thank you, but we certainly don't need more tomatoes!!!!
I carry in a dozen or so every night!  This was a light I just carried them in my shirt!
One of these days, I am going to have Geeps take my picture when I come in at night.  You should see how dirty I get!!!  I go straight to the shower!!!!
I leave you with one last garden shot.  I have cut the stalks of corn, as they are nearly completely dried now. They will be bundled with raffia and used as part of my Fall decorations in the front of the house.
I hope you have a great weekend!!!  Remember....... if you spend more time counting your blessings, than what is wrong in your life.  Happiness wins out!!!!!
XO  Kris


Anonymous said...

You certainly have some happy chickens. Look at all those good veggies and grubs! I'll bet those are the best eggs around.

Happy weekend and happy birthday to your Gram.

by Teresa said...

Have a great time at the party tomorrow.. wish her happy birthday from your blog friend in Oregon. :-) I'm with you on the chickens. I love them. Our trouble-maker is Buffy, who is on her second round of being broody. ::sigh:: When we get back from our camping trip we're going to put her in her own pen with food and water - but no nesting material - and see how that goes. I would die for some of your avocados! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Betsy said...

Wow! What a great post and I don't know where to begin commenting on it!
You are so industrious in your garden. Such a lot of produce-the tomatoes are looking particularly yummy, but those naughty girls. Eating all of your vegetables! NOT good at all. Elvira/Elvis sounds like she/he needs a good spanking. :-)
Can I have some Avacados? I'm just kidding although they are just too expensive here for me to buy very often.
Have fun tomorrow and enjoy the boat. No towing allowed, just lots of fun.

pembrokeshire lass said...

I used to have chickens and so did one of our daughters until the foxes got them. I loved having the chickens but hated them being killed so we didn't have any more!
Loads of tomatoes....I just love them fresh from the garden. We have a lot but I was late putting them in so they haven't ripened yet....can't wait! Joan

Astri said...

I dream of having is good to know that it's simpler than it seems.

Wowza - that's a lot of avocados...haha, trade for tomatoes... ;-)

Love your evening routine..sounds very nice.

Home Meadows said...

You do have a slice of heaven and I can see how you love your garden, chickens and of course your family. Have a wonderful day my friend. Heather

Pammy Sue said...

Nice post, Miss Kristen! I love to see your chicken goings on. Our basil has started to come through the soil, and the cantaloupe greens are bigger every day. I'm so paranoid they will be ruined somehow! I should stop that and just enjoy the process. Why do I always have to remind myself of that no matter what I'm doing? Ha. Can't wait to hear/see what you are planting for the fall. Ken said he's going to Home Depot to get more boxes to hang on the fence. Not sure what he's planning on planting in them. Have fun at the lake!

Susanne said...

Hello Kris, hope your weekend goes well. I always enjoy your blog and how things are going with the hens. I know about chickens and tomatoes. Our next door neighbor had a small tomato patch last year and was anxiously awaiting for 2 last tomatoes to ripen, came home and his neighbor's chickens had eaten them., lol. I have not been able to plant anything this year for the ground hogs. My husband was the gardener. I miss that. Many a time I would carry some produce up to the house just like you do, in the bottom of my shirt. Heaven knows there were plenty of baskets and buckets around here that would have been the more practical thing. Your crochet projects are coming along nicely. I am still making African Flowers and have finally reached the halfway point. It takes 169 total. I am so ready to start something else.
(((HUGS))) Susanne :)

Mereknits said...

Kris, wishing you a wonderful day as you celebrate the big birthday. i love when you take us out to the garden, I feel like I am walking right beside you having a lovely chat. You are right, you were meant to be a farmer and gardener. You are so wonderfully a part of the earth.
Hugs to you my friend,

RobinsJunqueArt said...

If I could have a farm, I would, I've always loved animals. I did have a pygmy goat at one time but had to rehome her. I should have bought two :) I'll have to settle for chickens. Love reading your blog!

Grayseasailor said...

This is among my favorite of your posts, Kris!!! Thanks for taking the time to create it and letting us enjoy your life with you :) Elvira or Elvis....ahhhh the suspense is palpable! Happy Happy Birthday to your Nana [ who thanks to your sharing is our Nana, too]
Love with hugs,

Lynne said...

You know I own about 6 aprons, and a dozen baskets, but I still carry my eggs and tomatoes into the house in my shirt like you do HaHa.
Love your chickens! 14 now? Wow you rock Kris.

Gloria Baker said...

aah the chicken yes they are so !
I love your avocados tree is beautiful we have porblems here with avocados tree by the cold weather but yours look awesome and love the tomatos too:)

Patty Antle said...

I love your chicken stories!

podso said...

Wow your chickens are lively and must be happy with all the healthy food they are eating from your garden. Cute post about them! And sorry about your garden.

Elaine @ Sunny Simple Life said...

Oh boy the Polish is a butt. Sorry!!! It does sound rooish in behavior. Looks cool though. No crowing though? Oh Kris I found my dream house in today out east. Almost three acres. Nice house, pool and small pool/guest house and a small barn. Two stalls and tack room and huge green manicured lawns. We would sell right now if it weren't for you know who having three years left in high school. If it was her last we would do it and she could stay at grammies during the week as she is right near the school. Bummer!!!!!!