Friday, June 24, 2016

Ruger to the Rescue! NOT!

As I was filling an old aquarium with some of the rich soil which Hershell keeps replenished in a pile near my gardens, I heard an unusual sound coming across the hay field. It was a cry of fear and/or distress coming from our new hunting dog, Ruger. Being just a pup, I guess he didn't know quite yet, that he was suppose to be the pursuer and not the pursuee. A doe was chasing him toward the house, and came very near to where I was working. She didn't appear to be going anywhere soon, so I had plenty of time to get in the house and retrieve my iPhone. Thank goodness, she was still close by, grazing happily, not too concerned about my presence, but Ruger's barking sent her a running back into the woods. I'd say she has a baby or two, close by. Such a refreshing sight to see on this cool and misty morning.
In the center, if you look closely, you can see the mother deer.

Ruger is only 5 months old

Thirteen Chicks in a Pan

Patience is definitely the key around my house lately. Even with their beautiful new living quarters, all was not bliss, for myself nor my baby chickens, last night. I made numerous trips to check on my them, before my bedtime since it was their first night separated from their moms. They didn't want to settle down and accept the fact that Mommie was no longer there to snuggle with them at bedtime and scratch out their food and call them for their meals. Having to grow up is proving that it is indeed a cruel hard world, at least until you learn the ropes. After about the third trip out in the darkness to check on the chicks, I went out once more to hear an unusually loud chirping sound coming from the area of the shed, near the chicken coop. As I walked nearer to the chicks, I could see a Sparrow Hawk fly out of the shed, and realized it was the one doing the loud chirping. I guess he heard the baby chick's cries of distress and thought he might find an easy meal. All was not well quite yet with the chicks, but I went back inside, hoping they would settle down soon.With my next trip out to check on them, I find several chicks, huddled up in the opposite corner of the cage from where their roosting box was located, sitting on the bear wet ground, in a spot where there was not even a sprig of grass to make a comfortable bed. I felt so sorry for them,I draped an old quilt around the corner of the cage. I had an old rusted granite wash pan that I had once used as a flower pot, placed in their cage, filled with dirt for them to wallow in and clean their feathers. I lined it with grass from my compost bin, and moved it to the corner where they had congregated. Then back to the house I went. About 30 minutes later, I decided to go and check one more time, hoping this would be my last trip to check on them for tonight. Some of the chicks had previously,ventured into the roosting box, but during my final trip out, I found every single chick, all 13 of them, nestled up in the wash pan. All encircled like a covey of quail. It was so comical, I had to make one more trip with my camera. So now that you know WHAT you are looking at, hopefully, you can see the chicks in the pan. They had no need for the duster I had placed there as a temporary Mother. Thirteen chicks in a wash pan was snugly and warm enough.
Thirteen chicks in a wash pan

This is the new chicken tractor made by my son-in-law, David Painter. He had no pattern, but had seen others on the web and came up with this design. It has an open bottom so the chicks can have access to fresh grass and clover as it is pulled around the yard. It has retractable wheels and a tougue and hitch to pull it from place to place.

More rocks, gardens, and flowers

I use a lot of rocks. I suppose the reason why is simply because they are so plentiful on our property. I paint on many, but I also use many others as borders for my flower beds. They make it much easier to mow up close to the beds and keep the flowers within their boundaries. Hershell had been telling me that he had uprooted some buried rocks as he putters around the fields and woods with the tractor. I was asking him lately if I could purchase a load of rock to use as a border for my raised garden area. He said, "Why. We have loads of rock on the property. I just made a new pile along the edge of the woods." But I had in mind the pretty rock like I see others use. Nevertheless, I took the tractor out this morning for a stroll around the property to see if I could find the rocks he had spoke of. It's Wednesday. His eat breakfast out with the daughter day, so I have lots of time to play. Sure enough, I found the pile of rock he had spoke of and loaded several in the tractor bucket. Not near enough. I'll need to make another trip, but my border around the garden area is shaping up. The other side of the garden is being invaded with Bermuda grass. I will be working on it next. I just finished up making my last piece of chicken cage wire into more raised beds. I have the chicken tractor for my chicks now, so I no longer need the wire. My plan is to totally move the mulch pile from my garden area and fill that space with more vegetable and flower beds. The entire garden is shaping up nicely. I spend as much time in it as the heat will allow. I get most of my work done in the early morning as it is the coolest time of the day. I found myself another treat as I was loading the rock. Hershell had unknowingly uprooted what appears to be a red honeysuckle vine, so I had carried it to the yard, hoping to add it to my endless collection of flowers. I can't wait to see how it does, but with the day's getting hotter, it will be a chore keeping it alive. I do hope I can get it to live.