The Path and Yet More Chicks

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We got Emmylou into the brooder just in time!

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This morning I went to the feed store to get starter feed.

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Showing the chicks how and what to eat.

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They finally came out to investigate and went right to it.

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Today’s progress on the pathway.

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By the end of the day I could see 9 chicks. I couldn’t get them all in a photo.

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All 9 chicks look just like Emmylou. No surrogate mother is she!

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Another perspective. I love how it is coming along.

It’s Official

Farmer Dave –

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Zero down, zero interest was hard to resist! We now have close to a monthly car payment. Funny how things go. Dave’s back has been bothering him so he is now driving my 5 year old Forester (it has more of an upright seat) and I’m driving his 9 year old Impreza (which has bucket seats). With this new payment I need this old car to keep running a few more years. Yesterday the inside door handle broke off…

Today

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Today they tilled and tilled.

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They removed the concrete walk last Friday. It actually continues under the brick.

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It’s a strong¬† young man who is removing these tree roots.

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The stone for our new walkway.

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Still getting help from the chickens.

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Over the Weekend

So the landscapers came Friday. Dave, Damian and I worked hard Thursday evening and even Friday morning. We were waiting to the last minute to move the wild geranium and that was literally what happen. We finished moving it just before they came. We knew we couldn’t do it little by little and since it has a very shallow root system we just shoveled under it and scooted it onto tarps. It doesn’t look to happy but is still alive. I’ve been watering all the plants we want to reuse in the landscape every evening.

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The dead nettle that was in front of the kitchen window and sun room was a bear to removed.

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Above you can see where the landscapers have edged the future bed.

Last Week

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Here are just a few photos from last week. We got an email from the landscapers on Mon. June 5 saying they would come the end of next week. We thought that would be the 15th or 16th. Got another email the afternoon of June 8 saying the would arrive around 10:00 the next morning. What! We had done a lot but still had more to do.

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Here the chickens help by scratching at the dead grass.

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At the beginning of all this I thought if I’m to do the amount of work needed to clear this area I needed to start doing some yoga. I joining the YMCA and have been going 3 times a week. What a difference. Right away I could tell it helped me with the gardening, yard work and farm chores. Transplanting if a lot of work!

Back in April and May

I took the following photos when we signed a contract with The Natural Garden – a landscaping company. Since then we have done a ton of work getting the area between the house and the cottage ready. This post is what the area looked like in early April.

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The first thing Dave and Damian did was take down the fence. As usual we forgot a before photo.

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We had to move all the rocks.

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Any plantings we wanted to save and moved back to this area has been removed – potted or hilled up. We also moved a lot to other beds – mostly in the front yard.

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Some of the forsythia was moved to the hill in the front pasture. Our neighbor also took some. Most of it was shredded. It was too big and dense for this area. This is how we and most of our guests enter the house even though it is leading to the back of the house.

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I spent a lot of time putting cardboard and plastic on this grass to kill it. This was just the beginning.

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Dave removed the brick wall around the patio. Eventually he and Damian will reset the brick patio.

In the Coop

A few days ago Dave found a hen in a cardboard box on top of the coop. He went up there looking for eggs. Our chickens are free range – really free range – and we weren’t getting many eggs from them. I think one of the problems is that some of the adolescent chickens were roosting in the nesting boxes at night. We weren’t diligent about cleaning out the boxes in the morning. So the hens were laying elsewhere. Anyway, Dave moved the box into the coop and thought no more about it. Two days ago I looked in the cardboard box a few times throughout the day and realized that the hen in the box was a broody hen. I looked more closely at her and realized it was Emmylou, one of our super moms. It dawned on me that I remember thinking a couple weeks ago that I was only seeing one of our two lighter colored hens and this is why. Momma Emmylou was hiding out! Yesterday I saw Emmylou out foraging and took a look in the box. Twelve eggs! That cardboard box wouldn’t do for a proper brooder so later in the day I moved her and her eggs to a brooder box.

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Can you see her in the above photo? She really has to spread herself thin to cover all the eggs. After moving her I went and did a few farm chores and then went back to check on her. While remaining on the eggs she was reaching out to take straw from the wire mesh into her beak and putting it around her. I guess it acts as insulation.

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All these photos were taken in the coop this evening. Here are the seven remaining chicks from the last round of hatching. Earlier in the week I noticed one of the chicks walking around slowing. I was struck by how much smaller he was than the others. I wasn’t surprised when I didn’t see him among the others the next day.¬† I’m wondering if some illness is going through our flock. Our daddy rooster died this past Monday. And I saw a hen acting in a similar manner as the chick yesterday afternoon.

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Here is the new roost arrangement. They still peck at each other for position. According to the books there is plenty of room for them they just don’t seem to share well. Our plan is to start processing these young roosters as soon as they are big enough. Probably in August.

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Thoughts on Gardening and a Cozy Nook

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It seems like this year the garden is looking better and we are a little more on top of things than the past couple of years. We didn’t do much planning. I think I overwhelmed myself with the planning in the past. We decided to reduce what we planted and to not make much of a plan as to where things would go until we were ready to plant. That seemed to work for us. I also think having the chickens in the gardens all winter and into the spring really kept the weeds down. We’ve also been getting leaf mulch collected by the city at Gypsy Hill park and mulching, mulching, mulching. I’ve also relaxed a little about what I have to get done in the garden. I generally spend at least a couple of hours a day puttering around, cleaning up and weeding. Yes, a much more relaxed approach is better. I think I was trying too hard before.

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I know I’ve shared this room before. It has gone through several transformations since we moved here 3 years ago. I think I shared the new metal shelving we put in earlier this spring on the left side of the room. You can see it in the photo at the top of this post (left background). We call it the kitchen nook. Above, is the right side where I recently added the book filled cradle, black wicker chair ( found roadside), quilt topped table and the leaf green painted stool and chair pad. It’s a cozy little nook and I love how the sunlight streams in late in the afternoon.

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Today’s harvest – 3 beets and 3 carrots.

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A volunteer calendula.

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From garden to table in less than an hour. I simply sliced the beets and carrots into a little water, butter and grated fresh ginger and simmered until tender. Very tasty with slowly braised beef brisket.

June 1

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Peony leaves on the left foreground. Sweeping diagonally through the center of the photo are blooming wild hydrangea. Behind those are the leaves of bells of Ireland. And in the top right background are the purple berries of the spiky leaved Oregon grape.

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A clematis we transplanted from almost full shade where it hadn’t bloomed the three years we’ve been here to a spot in the kitchen garden with full morning sun. We shaded it’s feet, which we read they like, with wild geraniums.

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Two baby assassin bugs in the bloom. We have a lot of these bugs around the garden. In general, they are considered a gardener’s friend in that they pierce and suck dry a lot of pests. I’ve been cautioned that they can give said gardener a nasty bite. And my neighbor said they were over abundant in Texas when she lived there – even getting in the house. Well, I’ll not hope for that even if they are capable of killing stink bugs!