Popping in to say hey ya’ll!

Farmer Food Lady has not been taking many photos lately.  Mainly because I have nothing to take photos of … the grass etc on the property has grown so tall I can’t even see the darn dogs!

Our pathways around the farm are overgrowing themselves.

But you can see where the coyotes are traveling, because they leave Woo-size holes in the undergrowth.  They don’t help me get through though.

So rather than taking photos, I’ve been keeping busy puttering around making things.  Like the new chicken enclosure, which TWoo assures me he is NOT trying to get into.

I worked really hard on this enclosure – I even built the gate myself!  My landlord helped me by using his post pounder to get all the fence posts firmly in the ground.  But I put up all that fence on my lonesome … it was hard work, because giant roles of fence are incredibly uncooperative, and have loads of sharp sticky out bits.

I still have tons of fence left to do at least one of the yards though, so don’t forget about my upcoming fence building party!

I think the chickens like their new pen, which is about 50 feet long and 30 feet deep.  It’s difficult to tell if chickens are happy though, because they always look pissed off anyway.

It’s been good for my poor Ameraucana pullets too, because before I built the new large enclosure, they wouldn’t come out of the henhouse.  The other chickens are very very mean to them, and every time they ventured out they ran a gauntlet of Mean Hen Pecking and would race around the perimeter once and then hide inside again.  Even the polish hen was mean to them; you’d think she’d remember the bad time she had integrating with my other hens, and cut them some slack!  Anyway, now they venture out from time to time, which is nice to see.

They now spend a lot of time hiding UNDER the hen house, even though in the new enclosure they have lots of room to escape the other hens.  But I guess it will just take time for them to be comfortable.  Now that I can see them periodically though, I notice that one of them has gimpy feet – her toes are all pointed every which way other than straight.  She gets around just fine though.  I can’t wait until they start laying purdy blue eggs!

Now that I’m over admiring my own handiwork, I am tired of looking at the pen which sits pretty much right in my eyeline from the living room sliding door.  I was thinking of planting large shrubbery around the outside perimeter, so the chickens would be semi-hidden behind a garden of sorts.  Alas, when I went to the garden store today I realized that option was so out of my price range.  Short of digging up big plants from public parks in the middle of the night, which would be WRONG (yes TWooie, I know it’s wrong, I just said it was wrong!)

I’m ashamed of you

I’m not sure what else to try.  I did pick up a couple of packets of wild flower seeds at the garden store today, and the clerk assured me it’s not too late to plant them.  Do I need to till up the grass to throw that seed down or can I just hurl handfuls of it at the ground?

If you let me come in there with you and the chickens, I’ll tell you the answer!

The dogs have managed to keep themselves busy whilst I putter.  Yesterday TWooie chased two different dogs up on the road, so I tied him to a post for the afternoon and he’s been pretty good ever since, because he HATES being tied to a post.  Heh.

Piper passed on the secrets of Mad Teeth™ to her brother Dexter

which he seems to have gotten the hang of.  Tweed thinks it’s hilarious.

Having instructed her protege in the ways of Mad Teeth™ this has left her free to aerate the woodchip pile.

Dexter has practiced some agility

and TWoo has obsessively patrolled the perimeter of the chicken pen.

Along with a little bit of bunny hunting with his brother.

As for Tweed … well.

He’s Tweed.  At least he’s happy!

Comments

  1. To actually have the wildflowers grow, it would be best to plant the seeds in the ground, either by removing the grass and turning over the dirt, or by digging trenches for the seeds.

    A good idea to hide the pen from sight is to get some climbing plants such as pole beans, climbing peas, climbing nasturtiums, climbing cucumbers, etc, and plant those all along the bottom of the fence. They will travel up, hiding the whole thing from view, and provide you with some awesome food as well. Just make sure to get the climbing varieties instead of the bush varieties.

  2. The Food Lady says:

    I considered this, but the problem is that anything the chickens can reach, they will eat. So if something was growing up the fence, they’d just consume it ;-)

    I was afraid you were going to say I had to plant the stupid seeds. *grumble* Guess I’m going to go outside now and dig some trench!

  3. You could put up some bean pole just a few feet away from the pen and grow the climbing plants up them.

  4. Lilacs grow — obsessively. I’ve heard of someone sticking *dead* lilac sticks in the ground as some sort of pole. And the darn things took root and grew into bushes! Just get someone pruning their lilacs to give you a bunch of the sticks. :-)

    I love your crew. They are such unique individuals! Is it wrong to think of Piper and an endearing blond?

  5. Evie Douglas says:

    Do you have something equivalent to County Extension up thar in the north? I have no idea what it might be called, but it would be a regional gardening office. Ours sells starter, but still nice large, native trees, shrubs, flowers etc.
    Cheap. Very, very cheap. UBC would know.

    Your property looks suspiciously like mine. Are you sneaking across the border to take pictures of my jungle?

  6. Do you read the “BCX4” blog? In the most recent post, Brynn is showing her version of Mad Teeth(TM)! I think Piper would approve! :)

  7. Beth F. says:

    Long term solution for buying perennial plants and shrubs: Clearance Bins. Last year I bought 2 spindly looking flowering shrubs in pots for $3 each at the TrueValue store, took them home and re-potted in a bigger pot with good soil, in the fall I planted them in the ground and this year they are very happy and healthy. Picked up 4 Autumn ferns at Lowes for $1.50 each 2 weeks ago. Not sure why they were marked down, but there they were. Spring perennials get marked down when they stop blooming in the summer, summer bloomers in the fall. The plants are healthy (well, probably a little root bound, but generally healthy) so I plant them and they bloom beautifully the next year. I have several garden areas full of clearance bin plants.

  8. Great advice Beth and Adrienne. Hydrangeas can also be started super easy. You might also try Craigs List for freebies. Hubby got 22 medium sized cedars free. Course he had to dig them up but still! He has also brought home some rose bushes and shrubs via CL too.

  9. I think the beans are a good idea. They can have what they can reach and you pick the ones over their heads. And they keep the bugs off and provide fertilizer. :-)
    And if anyone wants to get rid of lilac cuttings you can send the my way. :-)
    I wanted to take my wildflower seeds down to the park here and sprinkle them around under the trees where they don’t mow. :-) Maybe I can scuff a small trench? lol
    Your yard may be overgrown but that first picture is wonderful.
    I miss my old neighbors chickens too. Yours are really nice looking and I would love to see some of the blue eggs too.

  10. Sheila where do you live? I could hack a ton off of one of my lilacs with a big smile on my face :)

  11. Sorry, should have left my email Sheila. amyswaterworks@telus.net. In the Fraser Valley but hubby to soon to return to work in Vancouver if that makes it easier. Email me, be happy to share the clippings.

  12. About your chicken’s gimpy feet, they may be normal. Chickens’ feet do tend to be splayed.
    Blue eggs? Now *that’s* something we gotta see!

  13. I’ve found that just cutting a few slits in the grass and scattering the wildflower seeds is enough to let them grow. They do need something to help them get through the grass, though.

  14. We know people in Washington state who have 2goats to eat their way through the weeds instead of trying to cut them. Just a thought.

  15. The Food Lady says:

    Nah, they aren’t splayed – the toes are bent to the side and over and all around just gimpy. It might have something to do with the incubator being too warm or something, I read on line.

    And hey – how come no one is giving me lilacs?! ;-)

  16. Check CL. Lots of people want to get rid of shrubbery and post it on there, both in the PNW and here in the South. It might take a couple weeks for someone to do so. But it’ll be worth the wait if you get them for free, right?

    Your Ameracauana photo is of a hen, correct. See how her tail feathers are rounded on the end? A roo’s tend to be more pointy. Again, you should be able to start sexing chickens by their tail feathers around 3-4 months.

  17. forsythia grows like a weed too and would hide the fence well. they are normally on sale at this time of the year and you won’t need that many as they really bush out especially if you cut them back at winter. you could do a mix of forsythia and lilac.

  18. Multi branching sunflowers make a spectacular screen. Plus they attract lots of cute little chickadees in the fall. Love that close up shot of Tweed. He has such a beautiful face!

  19. Sunflowers used to work for me. Also scarlet runner beans. Chickens didn’t eat either, altho they picked at the early bean leaves a bit. Do you need wire over top of your chicken yard? Twooie sure looks different now from when he first arrived – nice to see!

  20. This is just an idea on planting something to block the view of your chicken enclosure…..would it be cheaper to plant something that would crawl or vine up the fencing of the enclosure? It might give the “shy” chicks a little privacy from prying eyes and it would look very pretty I think.

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