Bzzzz August 26th, 2009

Once again I am renaming the small garden area on the side of the house.

chickens-on-wallkabout-august-09

Back when Winifred, our sweet Belgian Malinois, was still with us, we called it Winnie’s Poop Garden. It was not a place where you wanted to spend your free time.

Last year, desperate for more vegetable growing space, I planted tomatoes and cucumbers there and dubbed it the Other Veggie Garden.

chicks-august-09

This year, the Palazzo di Pollo and the auxiliary chicken coop, the Eglu, now reside in that area. And since I was dividing what seemed like hundreds of hostas this spring, I began transplanting them into the shaded area beside the coops. Naturally, I added more hostas as I fell in love with them during visits to garden centers. I called it the Hosta Garden, but just as easily could have called it the Slug Garden, since the slugs and snails moved in to partake of the expansive hosta buffet—their fav.

Now that the baby chicks are old enough for some supervised walkabout time, I am calling this the Chicken Garden. This is where the big chickens and little chickens are currently engaged in their nightly meet-and-greet leading up to the merge of the two tribes.

Miss P adores the chickens. She would, in fact, love to eat the chickens. But being a smart cat, she understands they are off-limits and has ceased making predatory moves in their direction. It doesn't stop her from looking though.

Miss P adores the chickens. She would, in fact, love to eat the chickens. But being a smart cat, she understands they are off-limits and has ceased making predatory moves in their direction. It doesn't stop her from looking though.

You cannot just toss little chickens in with big chickens because they will be pecked on and could be injured. It is best for chickens to get to know each other a bit, work out their differences in relative safety and begin establishing the new pecking order prior to being thrust under the same roof. Using the Eglu as the temporary home for new chickens allows the chickens to see each other but not co-mingle until they are ready. This also allows us to ensure that the new chickens are disease- and pest-free before introducing them into the flock.

Now that the Polish and Easter egg chickens are about 11 weeks old, it’s just a matter of days before we attempt the big move. Until then, they peck and scratch in the Chicken Garden under close supervision. ¬†After all, we don’t want a repeat of the incident that took Johnny Cash.

P.S.

I SWEAR I am still gardening. I have the photos to prove it. More soon.

P.P.S.

You can see the whole chicken photo album here. Click on the photo for a larger image. There are more photos in the albums from the photos sign at the top of this page.

Posted In: Chickens

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Bzzzz July 16th, 2009

People either get it or they don’t. They either dream of showering outdoors or they think people who want to stand buck nekkid under the water in the great outdoors are nuts.¬† For the record, I belong in the first category.

I am not at my most fragrant and lovely best at the end of a gardening day. In fact, most Saturdays and Sundays—when I do most of my intensive outdoor work—I have to end the day by vacuuming up the dirt, leaves and mulch I inevitably track or sprinkle in the house. And I stink. I definitely channel my peasant roots on weekends.

So an outdoor shower isn’t just a hedonistic luxury. It serves a practical purpose to de-stinkify the head gardener at our house.

outdoor-garden-shower

Finally, I bit the bullet and installed the outdoor garden shower this year. I say bit the bullet because I had to hire two men to work for the better part of two days to install it. A licensed plumber ran the pipes through the basement to the great outdoors. A carpenter did most of the rest. If we had done it ourselves, the shower would consist of a cold water hose held up with a nail and a bungee cord. Two men/two days was a good investment.

The size is about 6′ x6′ with an 18″ bench along one side. What you don’t see here is what is underneath. Because the shower is against the house, they installed a French drain with a large tube that runs underground and into the woods. This keeps the moisture from gathering near the house and into the basement.

Tall walls surround the enclosure, but really, that’s a formality considering we live on 20+ acres down a long driveway. In fact, I actually liked showering there better before the guys put up the walls.

Although my husband was an early supporter of the idea, Ben didn’t get the allure of the outdoor shower. But now that it’s built, I notice that more often than not, he’s traipsing outside with a beach towel. Now he gets it.

So, the outdoor shower is open for business.

Posted In: Gardening

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