Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Almost free range chickens

I spent a large portion of yesterday building a portable chicken run for the ladies. (All of my chickens are ladies--or they had better be--the hatchery guarantees 90% accuracy on sexing them, which means we have a statistical possibility of up to 4 roosters, but none of them have shown any rooster traits--yet!) They seemed to enjoy it, although it may take some time for them to realize that worms and bugs come from the ground, not from the sky (in the always excited hands of the kids).

They can run around in the pen, without me worrying about catching them or getting eaten by critters (dogs are probably likelier, but I really hate raccoons--they are vicious!)

I enjoyed working with power tools, even though I am out of practice, so I took much longer than I should have, and tried in-effective ways of doing things first (as a short-cut, which ended up taking much longer, and being much harder--go figure!) I always feel a bit intimidated by power tools, but then I remind myself "guys do it all the time--and I can read the directions!"

Since I am coming up on "crunch-time" gardening-wise (where I live, historically speaking, if you don't get your garden in by May 14th, it starts to rain, and it is too wet until the first or second week of June). So today, I got one bed of my garden soil turned and mixed (it is so much easier with the lovely compost/loam mix--all light and fluffy and rich). I still need to turn 1 bed(but it needs to be done when the chickens can come out and eat the ant colony!) and build 3 more beds (but I can do that when it's raining!).

I got my herb bed started--I am using raised, bottomless containers layed over weed-cloth, filled with my own lovely soil mix. I got the first 5 herbs planted (the little Mennonite nursery I went to didn't have much selection in herbs). I also planted my Mother's Day perrenials. I am doing a "slowly improving each year" method, because that is all I can do.

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