And Then There Were Four

After last week’s Cooper Hawk attack killed my last Buff Orpington, we went to Rural King and came home with 6 chicks. Two of them were too weak to make it but Rural King has a replacement policy so on Monday we went back and they replaced them. The original 6 were 2 each Buff Orpingtons, Calico Princesses, and a tiny black chick (maybe Black sex link, as there were two breeds in the bin and the sub that came in to get them didn’t know which was which.) One Buff and one black were the ones that didn’t survive the night. The replacements were a Buff and another Calico Princess. They are surviving great.

Four of them stretching to see what was going on in the room. The Buff and the black are smaller than the others and are hiding under the heat table. I’m thinking they are all Calico’s, even the supposed replacement Buff. They are already growing back feathers, have long feathered wings, but will be late July or early August before they begin to lay.

After nearly of week of being penned up, I let the remaining 5 hens out today, it was a thick rainy day and I hoped they would be safe. Nope, the Hawk got one more, so now there are only 4 laying hens who unfortunately will have to remain penned up. With all the squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, moles, and voles, the Hawk can take, I can’t afford to let it continue to hunt my hens. The only solution I can think of to expanding the hen’s territory is to make a tunnel within my garden with chicken wire so then can wander the length of the garden eating bugs and weeds without digging up my veggies.

After the weekend, another garden box was cleared and one each row of peas and sugar snap peas planted in that bed. Sprouting potatoes were cut to seal over, and a sweet potato set in a jar of water to hopefully sprout shoots before they are needed for the garden. After Sunday night’s below freezing temperature, the potatoes will be planted between and outside of the two rows of peas and covered with straw. The replacement garden box that was ordered arrived late yesterday, but I need a warmer, drier day to assemble it and fill it with soil and compost. Since it will be planted with beans which are still 6 weeks away from planting, there is no hurry. The tomatoes have all sprouted and about half of the peppers have. As soon as the rest sprout, they will get deck time in filtered sun protected in a plastic crate so they grow strong not tall. They will be brought in at night and on days that are too cool, until it is time to plant them in the ground.

My plum tree is full of blossom buds and tomorrow night is supposed to drop into the upper 20’s. I’m seriously thinking about throwing a sheet over it to keep it from dropping the blooms. Last year, a freeze kept it and the two peach trees from producing any fruit. I am hoping for plums and peaches this year. And figs. Even if the one in the back garden doesn’t produce, I have ordered a small fig that than be potted in a big pot and brought in during the winter. Since I don’t have or need a true hoop house, I have to work with what I do have.

Olio-March 3, 2024

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things or thought.

Yesterday was not a great day. When we were out for breakfast and the Farmer’s Market, we stopped by Lowes to pick up hardwood floor cleaner and restorer. Once home, we put the German Shephard outdoors and I moved the dining room furniture, bench and antique sewing machine from the hall, swept, vacuumed, and set to work. The floors were thoroughly cleaned with hardwood cleaner and when dry, the restorer was applied. It takes an hour to dry, so a short break was taken. Once it was dry, the living room furniture was moved, the old worn out rug was rolled up, but too heavy for me to remove it to the porch for disposal. Help has been requested to get rid of it. That floor was then thoroughly cleaned and the restorer applied. The floors look so much better now.

Since the dog’s nails were well past time to be clipped and since she was still outdoors, I tried to tie her to the front porch rail to do her nails. She really hates the process and usually we either take her to the vet or work together to get it done. I failed to put the mesh muzzle on her and when she totally freaked out, she managed to bite through my fleece and tee shirt and break the skin on the back of my upper arm. I won’t post the picture of that. It was cleaned up, treated, and covered. I still haven’t forgiven her, but I didn’t harm her. From now on, she will be muzzled to do her nails or brush her, which she also hates.

As I was preparing the dough for our pizza, I noticed that none of the chickens were visible in the front or back of the house, nor could I see them under the coop when I looked out through the garage. That sent me out on a quest and as soon as I opened the side garage door, the Cooper Hawk flew out from under the Forsythia bushes and my last Buff Orpington had been killed under there. It was such a fresh kill that the only damage was the kill injury. I finally rounded up the remaining 5 hens from around the property and secured them in their run. Since the beginning of winter, 4 of my hens have died or been killed.

This afternoon, we went by Rural King and I purchased 2 Calico Princesses, 2 Buff Orpingtons, and 2 Black chicks which are now in the wire dog cage in the garage with a heat table, food, water, and a perch.

The Calico’s already have wing feathers, so they may be a week older than the other 4. It wasn’t really my plan to raise chicks again, but I was losing hens too fast.

A few days ago, the tomato and pepper seed were started in small pots. They haven’t sprouted yet. Tomorrow is supposed to be another warm day followed my mild rainy days. The spinach, some onion sets, and strawberry plants are going to be interplanted in one of the boxes. Today the huge cardboard box from my recliner was cut open and placed in an area or the garden that had too many weeds and no desired plants and covered with some of the old hay. The garden is beginning. And the workbench in the garage cleaned up and organized yet again, and the garage and workbench swept down. A fair amount of work done for one day.