Tag Archives: spring

The most beautiful time of year.

The apple tree blooms are past now (they were prodigious, and they was no terrible frost this year, so we have reason to expect plenty of apples!), but the hawthorn stays white a little later.

This scrappy placeholder hawthorn tree by the house I allowed to live (until I replace it with a fruit tree), is happy to be becoming quite attractive.I’ve got my decorative birdhouses back out too.

Floods

Today was a torrential downpour in the morning.  When it rains I run around like a mad person trying to catch or use it all.  I filled several barrels today.  I’m expecting a long stretch of rainlessness this summer, and that every rain we get may be the last for a long time, although it keeps coming and coming.

All the birds rushed under cover when it came thundering down, except the little Silkie mama with three chicks.  She never goes under any more cover than the pine tree, and I know when it rains I have to go find her.

She has two cheeklings and a cuckoo chick of her own.  I set her on two of Cheeks’ eggs, once only one hatched from the first batch (they need little friends).  She added an egg of her own, and they all hatched.  So there’s one little black-legged Silkie chick, half the size of her siblings, always lagging behind, seeming tired, but getting along.

I find her out in the downpour just after it starts and she’s already soaked.  I pick her up, trying to scoop all the chicks at once but I fail to catch the littlest.  I plop the soggy captives inside the greenhouse and then I get a merry chase from the tiny Silkie chick, who alternately flees cheeping, and hides in the weeds.  I pop him in too.

When I come back to the greenhouse to shift water (from outside stock tank to inside), she’s sitting right where I left her, inside the door, in a drip, in a fast forming puddle.  But she’s keeping those chicks warm!  I had to move her again (this time I picked them all up at once, little legs dangling out), relocating her to high ground and a pile of straw.  She seemed appreciative, but she stayed there a LONG time.

It was thunderous in the GH.

The rain was coming down so hard and fast that it was filling the tank faster than I could bucket it out. 

The moment it subsided though, the hens were out and about.

It’s a wet feet day, so they’re up on the sawhorses under the deck.

Saturation point

It’s been raining for almost ten days straight.  It’s just unbelievable.  No more water can be absorbed.  It’s just puddles and standing water everywhere.  The ground is so soft you can unexpectedly plunge in the ground over your ankle walking along.  then it tries to pull your boot off.

The chickens have had their coops outside for several days, but when the rain come hammering down, they run into the greenhouse, which remains empty, to shelter.

It was ok for awhile; rain is important, but today, I was done with it.  I had to start a fire, because I was chilled.  Luckily, it’s over now for a week!  A whole week of sunshine.  The bugs will almost certainly start up, and everything will begin to grow.

I’m sorry I haven’t been blogging.  In the meantime, THIS!:

The man who sailed around the world with a chicken

There’s more to chickens than they are generally credited :)

The return of winter

Winter was back for a few days.  The wild birds descended in clouds for something to eat, including a few new birds.

There was a purple finch.  This is sad because it’s the first purple finch sighting of the year, when normally there would be many of them all winter.Here’s a sad robin. I don’t eat seeds.  

Now that the rain has come and washed away the snow, she’s eating well, if she survived her three day fast.

There was a red-breasted nuthatch, tiny and adorable in a little badger mask.  I’d never seen one before.

And then in swooped a small hawk, who perched on the pile of sticks, right in the middle of everything.Instant ghost town.

It’s a tough life being  a hawk.  You show up to hang out and everyone leaves.

She patiently sat around.  I took pictures, looked her up in the bird book. A juvenile sharp-shinned hawk, I think (feeds on song birds).  So small.  She stayed.  No one else moved.On the small bird feeder, one chickadee stayed motionless, locked on the raptor.  Many minutes passed.On her usual perch, the squirrel was also stock still, staring at the little hawk.

Finally, she swooped away, and the raucous bird shouting and activity resumed.  The chickadees recovered first.

I’ve been using the “roofs” of the beehives as bird tables, for the wild birds that would rather eat on the ground.  The chickens come moseying along and frustrate them, so they’re happy to use the tables. They’re learning to share.

Rain day

What a day.  Buckets of water coming down, starting out with slush on the ground, and wind, blowing the cold rain into your face and coat.  All the chickens opted to stay in the greenhouse most of the day, only making brief forays out when the rain abated.

The guineas took one step out in the morning before jumping back in, the chickens got several steps out before pulling their necks back, wheeling around and running back in.  It’s gross out there!

I found it the perfect day for a nap, and that was glorious.  Never enough sleep!

Flyday

T.G.I. Flyday here today.  All my hives are alive, and many, many bees were out flying today in the warmth.

I got to feed them, and replace some straw in the top of their hives; I was happy to find that the wet mouldy straw was only around the top and outside edge – where it was nearest the roof and corners.  Nested around the bottle of syrup and the opening in the center the straw was dry and golden, bees dry.Bees were everywhere, all over the paths, in the chicken bucket, and all over.

The guineas were unperturbed, scritching around right in the middle of the hive while the bees were thick in the air.  They don’t care.  This is the first time we’ve had guineas that come and hang out at the house (thanks to Galahad raising them), which is great, because this is where they need to do their tick-eating thing.  That’s what I hired them for. 

Baby bunny season

There are baby bunnies out!  They are shy and careful.  They’re also grown up enough to be out on their own – no longer really babies.  Juveniles.A ground nest, one of the odd long billed birds with a body shape that looks like it should be flightless.  But isn’t.The chicks have their little wings already.  Scampering around.  The Silkies have established a favorite sitting vantage point at the top of the ramp.  There’s always someone there, overlooking.

Bunch’a house sitters

The chickens like to stand around all afternoon on top of their houses.  All of the houses are fair game.And a bale sitter.  I love this hen.  The little silver adventurer.  She’s the best.  She needs a name. Cream Puff.

They are just, just about to get evicted from the greenhouse.  And those old dusty poopy houses will get a good rinsing in the next rain.  And then the birds can’t sit around all afternoon indoors.  They’ll have to play outside.  Right now they wander around outside for a few hours, and then, like they’re slacking off work, they wander back into the GH and flop around.  Off duty. Time to scratch, ladies, it’s spring!

Lush

There’s that green.  The world is overwatered right now and the grass is growing with all its might.  Expect to see it in the eggs soon – the chickens are free range again (fair weather only).  

HW comes home and says ” Where’d all these starts come from!?”  “You grew these?”  Yep, they’re the same ones as were there yesterday, and the day before…  “They’re so big!”  Yes, they are.  And so green.  Ready to go outside.

I was shuttling tomatoes and set a box down for one second to empty the wheelbarrow….oh…oh!  Here they come, creeping.  Is the hand faster than the beak?  No, she got a leaftip!