Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The dog who takes care of her flock

I am a few days late with this one, but it was a huge deal at the time. Last Thursday around noon, I was sleeping because I worked the whole night before. Kelsi came bursting in the room shouting that there was a coyote in the yard.  After grabbing my weapon of choice and nothing else I ran into the front yard in my boxers expecting the worst. The coyote was already gone, but not for long. 
(Not actual image of this story)

The next day, same time of day, I am awake this time. We hear the terrifying and unmistakable screams off the chickens in distress and we looked out the window.  To our surprise, the coyote is in our own window bay garden cornering the chickens and about to pounce. Again I grabbed a weapon and ran outside. This time I have Juliette in toe. We are screaming for Julies to “get him” “get him” and from the tone in our voices she knew that this four-legged animal was not here for a friendly visit. She immediately took an aggressive stance and ran the most impressive run I have seen from her in a long time. She took up chase and kept up with the coyote until he was clear of our land. She chased full speed for at least a hundred yards; this is very impressive considering her size and level of activity (with her kidney disease). The coyote came two days in a row and since Julies helped us chas him, he hasn’t been back.  
These are clearly not pictures of the chase, but what's a post without pictures?
Khma should not be left out of this post, she was on guard while we were out chasing that coyote,  and she did a wonderful job. 

We are feeling that we are very lucky lately. Coyote two days in a row with no harm to our lady friends, Kelsi gets a killer refund from the government, and I get a free class from the college! Life is great! The wedding is just around the corner!

Thanks for reading.

The Dog Days of Spring

Mike has been spending a lot of time building a chain link fence for the meaters. They will have a gate that will let them go into the field, but for the most part they will be separated from the laying hens and use so we can have an emotional disconnect. Well, that I hope at least. Im sure when they figure out the gate will be open, they will be meandering along with they layers all the time. 

It was cold outside and Khma needed her track jacket today.

She didnt seem to mind the jacket so much this time. She knew it was for her own good.

So, while we were building the fence and Julies decided it was a good time to dig a big hole! There must have been something really good somewhere in that hole, because she would not leave it alone. She was very persistent.

Her nose is so dirty.

Hole in one!
Ima getcha!
I smell ya!

... and she needs her hair cut.

Khma was unimpressed.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The grow station

So, we have been planning on building a greenhouse this spring. However, it has not been working out and we had to begin out starts on the dining room table. We purchased a grow light and things are going great! Hopefully, we will build the greenhouse within the month, considering we were planning on growing tomatoes in the greenhouse!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hello ducks.

Last spring Kelsi and I bought a couple ducks that were a few months old, unfortunately they were killed in the middle of the night by an unknown predator. Since then I have been trying to convince Kels that we need to get some more ducks. Today She finally said yes! I bought two from Aslin Finch.

Ducks and chicks. Introductions were a bit informal but they seem to get along alright.

This is Blue. Named after the blue beak.
This little guy still needs a name. Any suggestions?

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Spring Planting

Today was a great day to be in the garden. It was a bit cloudy but generally warm. Since it has been unseasonably warm here in the inland northwest we decided to let this guys try their luck outside since they are taking over our starting table. Good luck Sugar Snap Peas! 

We secured them to our newly constructed wigwam so they have plenty of height to climb.
We planted two pea plants per wigwam so we have room to plant four bean plants when they are ready to come outside. I guess this mixing of beans and peas can help with pollination because it attracts a variety of different pollen lovers.
The wigwam with the little pea plants at the base. they look so small in comparison but the wigwam is nearly seven feet tall.

We are hoping for the best. We will have to check them out tomorrow and see if they make it through the night. Fingers crossed

The view from the garden. Everything is turning green. One of my favorite times of year.

Thanks for reading

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mail Order Chicken

This is the old Campbell Homestead mail box. It has long since been retired and now it lays by the old tree fort unused.

It looks normal from here

Even looks normal from here

Hmm... Is there something in there?

Ahhhh!! They found me!! Run!!

Now you hide, Ill count to ten.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chicken in the Kitchen?

On warm sunny days, Mike and I have a habit of leaving the front door open. We do this because the fresh air feels so good and because it then allows the girls (dogs) to run in and out of the house freely.  We bought our first chicken last summer. Her name is Rhonda and she quickly discovered our habit of leaving the door open.

Today was beautiful. Sunny and and warm. I spent my time before work in the garden. At some point I went inside to fold some laundry and when I turned around, I saw a silly chicken coming in the front door!

Once she was in the kitchen strutting around, she decided she was thirsty and needed a drink from the dog dish.

She then decided it would be fun to walk around the kitchen looking for bugs.

What a silly chicken she is.

I sure do love this chicken. She stopped laying in the fall. I hope she isn't finished... but I think she is. Oh well, at least she is happy!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

First day of spring

Today was the first official day of spring, although it felt as though spring came to our area more than a month ago. I wish Kelsi and I could have spent some time in the garden or just outside together. Instead I “slept” all day today in between shifts and Kelsi had to work this evening. At least the chickens got to enjoy the sunshine. They all seemed very happy tonight when I woke up before work.

I hope everyone enjoyed their first day of spring.

One of My Favorite Sounds

Lois was very proud of the egg she had just laid. Can you tell?

Friday, March 19, 2010

The raised beds are finished!

 After much work the raised beds are finished.

We ended up with 6 beds each 4ft wide by 16ft long. This gives us a total raised bed square feet of 384. This doesn’t sound like a lot considering our garden is just over 900sq ft. So we have about half the area; this also means we have half the area to weed and water. Saving time, water and money. We are going to do a planting method called intensive planting, which is basically the same as packing as many kids into the minivan as possible. 

First we cut the boards to length and set them up in position.
Second we drilled pilot holes so we wouldn't crack the wood.
With the help of my two beautiful assistants we attached the boards with 3in deck screws.
Screws are out of line to keep the wood from cracking later on. ;)
All filled up! This was the hardest part of all. Two back breaking and time consuming days were spent filling these up and sifting out the rocks and weeds. But they really look nice. 
This is the end of the garden where our compost piles and raspberry bushes will go. The tree is alone for now, but the raspberries will be here soon and the old metal bucket will hold the strawberries when we bring them from inside.

This will prove to be a really interesting season, since most of the gardening stuff we are doing this year is new to us. Kelsi and I have already learned so much since we planted our starts earlier this month. We haven’t ever planted our veggies from seed, we will also be watering with drip irrigation, and we have raised a raised bed system, also new. 

As always, thanks for reading.

Mean mom!

So, every other Thursday I have to stay awake late to prepare myself for my week of overnight work at the hospital. So now I have time to post some updates! 

This particular update has to do with Kelsi and her meanness towards the smallest of the chickens that run around our land. 

Our coup is a multipurpose purpose building housing the hen’s quarters, a storage area, and an old meat animal side with a lot of pens to raise the meat animals (Rabbits/ Chickens/ ETC). This side of the building has turned out to be a perfect place for the little chicks to grow until they are big enough to join the ladies. 

We have to check on the chicks a few times a day still because they are still pretty needy/cute, either way. We check on them a lot. On this day, Kelsi went into their area before she went to work so she could check on the little ones. 

A few hours have passed and I am coming outside to check the flock and I hear this awful yelling. The kind of yelling that can only come from a hen that is really pissed off! I run across the yard to the source of the noise and find this..... Naturally I grab the camera

This is Jane, our Banty Auracona cross. She is very well trapped in the small area reserved for the cheeps.

If you can't tell from her stride, she is frantic. Free range hens don't tolerate being locked up very well. She is so worked up! I can't even catch her to show her the way out. I eventually had to grab a stick and nudge her in the right direction. I guess her small stature made it possible for her to sneak past Kelsi and get locked up for the afternoon. Lesson learned.

She even left a present for us. Even though she spent all of her energy pacing and yelling for us to let her out. Turned out she left us a tasty egg too! We used it in our teriyaki stir fry that night.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Picture Update

It has been a busy week so I thought I would post some pictures to show what's been going on. The chicks are getting big and Kelsi and I have gotten a boat load done in the garden I will add more about that later.

Audrey sunning under the heat lamp

The Meaters are growing fast!

Negus' is the first of the new chicks to get her comb. Looks so pretty,
doesn't she?

Mere and Gene. Same age. Very different size.

The Aerogarden is in full bloom

Julies keeping an eye on her land, She loves this spot because she can watch the chickens roam and also make sure no one is sneaking up the road.

That's it, thanks for looking.