The hens are 2 1/2 years old and laying has significantly fallen off the cliff. Only about half as many per week as a year ago, plus this summer, they are taking turns being broody that also slows production. The first hen to go broody was a Buff Orpington and trying to wait her out was unsuccessful. She sat for 5 weeks. Without a broody cage, the only solution that came to mind was to put her in the Chicken Palace, a large A-frame coop made from scrap wood and extra roofing material that was going to be for meat chickens. It has never really been used that way, but is used to isolate old hens when new pullets are ready to go to the coop. It has proved a good purgatory for a broody hen to be isolated for 3 days and 3 nights with food, water, and an old homemade ladder to perch on, but no nesting boxes. It worked with her and when late last week another Buff went broody, she was immediately removed to Purgatory for three days and three nights. She was freed Tuesday night, just in time for an Easter Egger to go broody beginning last night. Tonight, she was put in there to begin her cooling off period.
She is most unhappy with her current situation, but if left alone, she would just encourage more copycat behavior.
Early in the week, we had two of our grandchildren for two nights. They are 10 and 15, so old enough to do adventures with. We took them to the Amish store in Whitegate for the best sandwiches that are huge and relatively inexpensive, then a few more miles to Dismal Falls or Falls of Dismal depending on which sign you see. Last time we were there, almost no water was going over the falls, but there was still a swimming hole. This time, a lot of water was spilling down, very, very cold water. Still not as much as photos show, but still very pretty. Though none of us were brave enough to actually swim, we all waded, and granddaughter managed to dunk fully under once.
An AT thru hiker and I debated whether this was a water snake or a copperhead. I didn’t want to get close enough to see if it had pits, but it did have the hourglass markings. The hiker thought it was a water snake. At any rate, he knocked it off the log with a trekking pole and it went downstream.
Tonight a thunderstorm passed to the south down the river, producing a lot of cloud to ground lightening that I tried to capture with a photo unsuccessfully, but the storm light made the still standing hay look red.
Even though it didn’t pass over us, hopefully it will cool the 92 degree day down. Tomorrow is still very hot and Saturday is supposed to be 16 degrees cooler, a welcome relief after this week. Our hay is still standing, the deer are eating the lower branch tips on all the fruit trees, the potted plants on the porches and back garden are requiring daily watering.
The garden still has no cucumbers and few sunflowers, corn is beginning to show. More cucumbers and sunflowers were started today on the back deck. The heat is going to wipe out the peas, but the beans are beginning to flower. The potato plants are beginning to die back, so a storage plan needs to be decided on soon.