One doesn’t think of chickens as being nest builders per se, but they definitely do nest construction.
Guineas, ground nesters like chickens, craft quite beautifully careful nests, if extremely minimal ones, out of a few blades of grass. It’s more of a saucer than a bowl – a slight bank to keep the eggs from rolling out, I suppose.
When I set the Silkies on eggs, I think I form a perfect nest in advance, but no. They always clean it right up, to the point of leaving bare floor around the form of their nest.
When a chicken is working up to getting broody, she makes a lovely round bowl out of straw with a thick underpadding. In this case, there wasn’t a lot of material in the coop because it has just been cleaned, but some hen gathered up just about every blade of straw in there and pulled it into her nest purposes.
I wish I knew how this goes down. Foot scratching? Walking with beakfuls? Beak raking?
Look at that tomato. Eggs (normal and Silkie) are there for size context. It’s very large. A Persimmon. They are so good. The surprise of the year. I was expecting a normal-large tomato, not one tomato the size of a loaf of bread! Meaty, and delicious. When the hens get a bucket of scraps, they pick out the orange persimmon bits first.
In the tomato fermenting pots, the process is rolling right along. Look at that scum of mold – perfect.Outside, the morning glories have come, vining up with the volunteer tomatoes. It seems late, but they objected to the early spring when I planted them. The rest of the garden is turning senescent and ugly, but the morning glories are beautiful in the mess.
Clever’s chicks made it! (sort of). I didn’t expect them to because the eggs were poopy, and that can choke off the exchange of air and humidity to the developing chick. She rolled one egg away from her a week ago, and it was rotten. I should have known she knew her other two were alive.
However, one died after hatching. This is quite rare, for a chick to die after hatching under a mom, and after being alive long enough to dry out and fluff up. The chick death rate when you’ve got mother hens is very low. No medicated feed necessary – coccidosis and pasted bum are non-issues (very thankfully). But it happens. Sad. She only has one chick now, and that’s not fair, because she was an excellent sitter and I’m sure will be a great mom. It’s a very noisy chick. A leghorn, I think. So they came out of the broodery into a greenhouse chickery (cue dirt bath), and Apples went in (!). She settled right in, sitting on her eggs.
Then I lifted the lid to feed the other two broodies, and got a big surprise!Hm. She’s got a dirty butt.
Three quiet little chicks! Two dominoes! I was hoping for more Copper Marans. These will be Inky and Velvet duplicates. And one leghorn cross. So cute.Did you say something about my butt?
Speaking of Copper Marans, Cleopatra, bio-mom of all the black chicks this year, is pulling a new stunt. She jumps into Silkieland to lay an egg in their coop. Cuckoo, cuckoo! Then she acts like she has no idea how to get out again. Every day.
That’s Flash just to the left of the stick on the coop- a rare capture. S/He’s a little brown keet (a “pearl”), but his first one or two flight feathers are white, so when she extends her wings, or hasn’t folded them back in completely, you see the flash of white. It’s distinctive. You can see the white line in this picture.
Had a big, beautiful apple tree come down:( One of the biggest and best, a crazy producer. #47. I see my post from last year mentions a mean lean that I don’t remembIt wasn’t even wind. Only wet ground and a random Tuesday.It’s a tragedy:( I got a few more apple trees around, but still.
I don’t like when the regal old trees expire.One big root is cracked, and maybe more underground that can’t be seen, but there’s a possibility that the tree still survives in its new position. This neighboring tree looks like it had something similar happen to it and it’s growing well.
Also, the sitting chicken died in her sleep, with her head tucked in. She held on for so long and seemed to be pretty well, I thought she was coming around. She was a sweetie.
The apples are superabundant this year. Far more than last year.
“They say” that a good apple year means a hard winter. We shall see. It seemed true in 2014.Tree #5 has huge fruits on it that would rival any store bought Honeycrisp. So would the taste. Delicious.
These trees, while some have been released or had a little pruning, are for the most part still as wild as when we got here. Overgrown, diseased, crowded. Poor things. There’s too many. They don’t get plenty of attention. This tree, #47, is glorious! Huge, I can’t even get it all in a picture. The trunk has a mean lean and it looks like it’s nearly dead, but every year, it’s a wonder. Despite a 45˚ list it’s still tall, and crazy heavy with apples. It also has large fruit. I like this little tree. Not so little, but it has little pink-yellow fruit and in the two summers since it got released it has been rejuvenating itself. New low branches, and the fruit is coming in thicker and larger. I also don’t know what any of these heritage apples are. I get conflicting IDs.
The pigs are the chief beneficiaries of these riches. They get a bucket of windfalls every day. And the birds, and chickens, and squirrels, and chipmunks, and wasps. I have too much applesauce left over, so I’m not canning it this year, but hopefully, there will be cider:)
Every day, the first apple tree is dropping five gallons of apples. Dropping. That’s a fraction of how many are staying on the tree.
About half of them are split, and go to the pigs and hens. When I pick them up, wasps come tumbling out of the splits. I think they might get drunk on the spoiled apples. The wasps are luxuriating in the apple glut. Pretty soon, the pigs are gonna give me the Another apple? face too. The undamaged ones, I’m saucing, since this is a lovely sauce apple.
This is one of the dozen or so trees HW pruned in the spring, and this tree has responded exuberantly. Many of the apples are “store-sized” already (would expect a couple years pruning to come up to full size).
This is just the first tree to get ripe, of….63?
Haha. There are, at last count, 63 apple trees here, but only about a third of them look likely to bear apples, and most of them haven’t been pruned, so they have tight little stingy apples. If all goes well, we will have a fine amount of cider this year. Over time and annual pruning, more of these legacy apple trees will come back into production.
The apples are coming! One of the big, old, stately ancient apple trees (when we come up with the perfect name for these wizened empresses of apple trees, it will become the name of our farm) by the old farmhouse is loaded with fruit, weighing the branches down to the ground. I picked up about 5 gallons of apples just off the ground, lobbing many of them directly into the pig compound. Oink, oink. Happy pigs.
I numbered all the fruit trees, and tagged them all with numbers I cut out of yogourt tubs and lids.
This is so that I can keep notes about health, pruning, fruit, etc, variety! when we figure out what the heck any of them are… and generally talk about them with better reference points than “that tree that used to have the hawthorn beside it but we cut it down”.
“You mean the one by the big rock?”
“No, closer to the well.”
“Oh, by the trail, where the rhubarb is.”
“No on the other side.”
This can take a while.
It turns out we have more than 60 fruit trees, so the above scenario for describing them is not very practical. Numbers are a good idea.
All are in various ages, stages, and health, but there are far fewer seedlings among the total than I expected. Half a dozen at most. Most are in “dire emergency” and need release, pruning, and more.
But some are big, majestic beauties that have been quietly living away and making apples without us here, and will go right on doing so.