My Sweety Karen has been on a top secret mission helping train some kind of birds for the last week, it involves getting up early (6:30 is early?) and being gone for a couple hours. Alexa helped her yesterday but I still haven’t been granted Top Secret Clearance, maybe next week she says. Anyway what’s this got to do with me? well it meant that I had to get my butt outta bed to load some seed in the truck for a delivery Karen had to make after todays secret mission. Not bein the type who goes back to bed very readily after getting moving I decided to have a cup of coffee and read a bit. Just yesterday the Library received my interlibrary loan request for The Monster War by Dave Duncan an omnibus book incorporating three previously published novels from Duncan’s The King’s Blades series that my local library didn’t have. Duncan’s books are great reads, not a lot of meat, but fast paced character driven plots with plenty of twists across the series to keep you interested. The book started off great but I wasn’t doing to well staying focused.
Pat over at growsoeasyorganic.com had replied to my post “What to do”, where I was whining about lack of motivation with a referral to her similar post “Fall Garden Clean Up”. She expressed some of the same sentiments but instead of just whining created a common sense approach to getting stuff done. Those ideas kept spinning in my head and interrupting my reading to the point that Cammie and I got up and headed up to the homestead to get some work done.
The focus of our plan was cleaning up the chicken run. So much mulch and other debris had been washed into the run during the flood 3 weeks ago that combined with this past weeks rain I had one blechy mess. Cammie’s project was seeking out possible escape routes from the newly fenced backyard. Michone, my sons Husky puppy, keeps finding weakness’s in the security system so the services of an expert were deemed necessary. As you can probably tell from her picture when it comes to “pointing” out things Cammie is truly an expert.
My little Honda Tiller made short work of breaking up the compacted mulch, soil, chicken crap, and straw. It also did an excellent job of mixing all of those components so that they should cook up really nice in the compost bins. Tied into the chicken run cleanup was the duck pond mucking out job. The process was that I would run the tiller over an approximately 4 square foot area, shovel all of the loosened stuff into a bin with my flat nosed shovel, then wet it all down with pond water. When the pond got low enough I scooped all of the blechy gunk out of the bottom and spread it evenly in both bins. In no time at all I had two full compost bins and a spic and span area in my chicken run! Then it was breakfast time for all the Chickens and Ducks. As I was bringing in their rice Cammie found a weakness in the backyard fencing, before I knew what had happened she was in the chicken run grabbing up a red hen in order to tell me she had a red alert situation over in the backyard! She had found a 6″ gap under one of the gates that Tommy thought was secure, not for an expert like Cammie! She made it through it without a scratch.
The next project was going to be relocating the “lockdown” pen. It sets in the shade and had never really dried out from the flood 3 weeks ago. That along with the rain earlier this week and the overflow from the watering system has combined to make the area not just blechy but smelly and slimy to boot. First thing upon arriving I had propped open the door and let all of the chickens in lockdown out to mingle with the general population. The purpose of the chickens in the lockdown pen had been to isolate my 2 BCM, 3 EE, and 3 GCM hens with one of my BCM roosters so that I could get some hatching eggs for my incubator that would give me more dark brown and olive egg laying hens. Today was going to be my first day of a week of egg collecting out of that pen, wouldn’t you know it I caught one of the supposed EE hens fighting with another Rooster! Guess who’s going to the SantaRia priest! Turns out Tommy, who I was counting on to help move the pen, wasn’t at the Gym he had already gone into work. Oh well that gives me something to do next week.
Cammie and I had stopped by Star Nursery and bought some fall plants, Mustard Greens, Napa Cabbage, and Cauliflower. To make room for these I focused on clearing out one of three 4’x4′ raised beds. Tuesday I had cleared one bed and replanted it with broccoli and collard greens, all it had in it was buckwheat, soybeans and wheat so I chopped and dropped the existing plants then planted the new ones through the newly created mulch. Todays bed had zucchini and squash in it which made me think of Pat’s caution about overwintering pests in her fall clean up post, so I cut all of the plants off at ground level and through them in the chicken run. Leaving the roots in place should help build structure in the soil of my bed and the chickens will gobble up any pests or eggs hiding out on the plants.
All in all Cammie and I had a productive morning up at The Fruity Chicken orchard and fowl ranch. Now I can go back to my book and Cammie can take a well earned nap.