Afternoons are for perching.
The Silkies have their dirt baths refilled, and they are all looking very fresh. Whiter than white.
Sidewinder in her tattered coat, and Sidekick. Still a duo.
Now way I’m going outside, but I will sample some snow.
I can’t believe this just happened. I was closing up the birdies’ coops in the almost completely dark, and there was one guinea that wasn’t up on the perch. It’s tough; their perches swing, and they fall off, or knock each other off, but they are usually all back on by nightfall.
He was sitting on the edge of the chickery slash confinement module. I was already crouched beside him to shut the big coop, so I reached out, like, here, I’ll help you up (haha). He let me touch him! Not a hint of a flinch. They’re dopey at night, but we could still see each other.
I started prying his little toes off of the edge to take his feet in my hand. Once he was standing on my hand instead of the wooden edge, I stood up with him. He settled right down on my hand, squeezing my fingers with his feet like he was ready to stay. One foot was colder than the other.
It was Flash, one with the white wingtip feathers. I raised him up to the perch, but since he was not at all motivated to jump from my hand to the perch, he did not (Oh, I don’t mind staying on the heated perch), and I’m not tall enough to reach their pole.
I had to stand on a hay bale and stretch over, and then he shuffled his feet from my hand to the perch. Adorably, the next bird over on the perch then side shuffled over to cuddle, which was friendly:)
We brought in a quantity of wood shavings today (free for the pickup at a local sawmill). The chips arrive: What is it? Oh, we’re watching.We’re watching intently.Here they come. A cautious approach. Here comes everyone.First, the investigatory pecks – Is it edible? They were underwhelmed that it was not.
Then the whole crowd sort of circled around the mound. Later, they were up on top of it. Since I have more birds this winter than last, even if they do have a big yard, I have to make sure to get enough carbon in there to neutralize their nitrogen rich poop. No poop smells, thank you! Now it smells like a hamster cage.
Everyone found the chicken doors yesterday. I finished tying down the mesh around the fence, so it should be guinea tight.It’s kind of dead and slim pickin’s, but it’s outdoors. They also noticed right away that it’s quite cold outside, so most of them had a look around, and then went back in to warm up. Spoiled bunch.They seem to much prefer being in the corn stalk strip. In the open they act nervous, exposed. Heard some of the most pathetic, unsure, low-volume crowing out of the roosters, too. Hilarious! They were so un-confident in the new situation, they were crowing at mumble volume, for a rooster. I’m a rooster….but don’t take that too seriously, I don’t want to disturb anyone. Velvet and her friends, the Pufflings.
What a load off my mind! Everyone is in. I thought it might all be too crowded for the numbers I have now, but it’s ok. It’s sloppy and slapdash right now, but it will work out. There’s plenty of room for the coops, and a pool, and more.
The guineas are being very tolerant about this mass invasion. They very much like to sit up on top of Silkieland.Perhaps we’ll poop on you. I think they’re so cute. They treat the chickens more like pets they’re fond of, than equals. They watch out for the chickens and will erupt in alarm calling if one is in distress. They’re always watching what’s happening, but stay a little bit aloof.
I just realized. How am I going to recognize Galahad, once all of the Pearls grow up?!
It’s hard to feed everyone, because I get mobbed, and there’s tiny little chicks in the mix. I walk slowly and carefully.
They’re all so happy! It was remarkably quiet all day yesterday, and when I look in, everyone is piled up, or investigating something, or lounging somewhere. Very peaceful. It’s getting cold, too, and I’m reminded how lucky they are, because it’s nice and warm in there.
All the coops are cozy and clean. I’m tidying in the greenhouse, but outside the greenhouse is a catastrophic mess, with all the doors, and canvas and chickeries and hen tents and sticks and buckets strewn around – huge mess, but I’ll get to it. Note the little face on the other side of the fence. Still golf ball sized, but getting very voluminous pants. The chicks all learned how to go to bed in the coop in two nights- impressive!Ketchup etc on the rim of Silkieland – popular real estate.The guineas are piled up underneath Alpha coop! I dug a hole. My irrigation tape is still in. I have to pull all that – lots to do yet.
Also yesterday I moved the pigs. They’re out of the woods entirely now, as they need maximum sunshine as it gets cold, in their final weeks (one is gone already). They were so funny! They were sprinting around, galloping the length of their new field OINKOINKOINKOINKOINK! And jumping on each other like dogs would play. Very funny. They’re very expressive. I was trying to move the fence one post at a time, while they were in it still, but they kept running back up to me, because they’re excited. I just found some delicious roots over there! Oh, what are you doing here? Looks like the fence is all floppy right here, oink oink… I’m like, no! Go away! But I managed, kept them in.
Now I must dig all the potatoes, because it’s about to get COLD.
Brown Bonnet and Marsha (Marshmallow) are cute. They hang out together, their chicks spilling over into each other.Brown Bonnet is very maternal and relaxed, and all seven of the little Silkie chicks will sometimes be with her. Marsha’s a bit nervous. At night sometimes they share a box, and they readily share patches of food without competition. Our kids are the same age (and size), we should be friends. This little one is already developing an extravagant hairdo.
The frost was surprisingly fierce. The tomatoes took a bigger hit than I thought. The watermelon was obliterated.Same with the basil.
The greenhouse is full of little birds scampering around. She’ll be coming through the peanuts when she comes. They’re all sneaky and hidey in the pepper jungle.
Ketchup and Mayo, hangin’. They’re so mild. I think it was from being raised by a Silkie hen. They won’t leave Silkieland, even though they can. They come and go from inside to out, visiting the roosters on the outside, but always back in at night.There was a hummingbird trapped in the greenhouse, zooming back and forth, stopping to refill at tomato flowers. I thought it best to not interfere and hope he got out. The dragonflies and bees don’t have any trouble this year, now that I have “screen doors” of orange snow fence.
Every day a vireo comes and goes through the door; I don’t even know what he’s shopping for. And the chicken feed supports not only chipmunks and bunnies, but also a red winged blackbird or two and a pair of mourning doves.
I saw another sparrow smash into my protectively screened windows, too. That’s two that I’ve seen, so who knows how many near misses there’ve been. He was bounced back and sat on the clothesline to regroup, looking back at the windows like WTH? There’s some kind of force field!The tweens on an adventure. They’re getting used to coming to the house, although something spooks them at times and they sprint away to familiar territory squawking. I can’t figure out what’s getting them like that – a rabbit or a bee? One of the tweens was in the woods today practicing crowing. He needs to keep practicing. And his attempt at privacy was a failure. The other roosters all fell silent, listening. Him: Glragh ga grleagggh! Other roosters: Wow. He’s got a ways to go. He really does. Crowing is not something you’re born able to do, if you’re a chicken, though perhaps the vocalizing urge is.
I lucked out with three colours of snapdragons germinating. I know, they’re not window box plants (although I don’t know how big they could/should get) but they were just tiny threads when I transplanted them and I didn’t have ambitious hopes for them.
I almost had a repeat performance of the great keet hunt last night. The sun’s going down earlier, it’s catching me out. I found Galahad tucked away (this time in blackberry brambles – smart) while there was still light, but it took some work to chase out the keets. Heeey, we were all tucked in. Once flushed, he took them all to the greenhouse, so crisis averted!
Had a very promising canteloupe, despite the vine leaves being all weird, like they’re blighted. But then I opened it, and it was green, green, green. Pretty, though. Pigs and hens enjoyed it.There’s a couple little watermelons coming.
The tomatoes have hit stride, so there’s 1-2 gallons ripening every day. I’m so not ready to start canning already. Too soon. I wondered if I’d get any of these. Exactly what the song sparrow couple in the next shrub was also thinking, watching me pick. She’s taking ALL the ripe ones!! But I think there’s enough for us all, provided a whole flock doesn’t move in. I’ve been getting a bowl a day. Chamomile flowers! I’m excited to harvest some of my own. Itðs something I usually buy. And loads of chamomile seeds, so there will be even more flowers next year.