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.

Olio – 2/25/2024

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things (thoughts)

It has been almost a week since hubby was released from the hospital for the second time in 3 weeks. Diagnosis has been all over the map, from Covid related, to pneumonia, to autoimmune disease. The tests mostly ruled out pneumonia and tilt toward autoimmune issues likely caused by immunotherapy treatments. We see our primary tomorrow with lots of questions as the various test results come in.

The hospitalization required me to miss a week of personal trainer, but a return this week to a serious kick butt lower body workout. I found muscles that walking and stair climbing miss, but hide in the thighs and hips.

The stress is causing the shoulder with bursitis and a torn bicep tendon to tighten up. This happened last year at the fiber retreat and my yoga teaching friend did a Vulcan Death grip on that area and it magically released. I will have to ask Megan, my PT for a stretch that isn’t already in my workouts that might help with it as my friend lives more than 3 hours away.

The sit and wait times last weekend and this week sent me back to a Sashiko panel I started over a year ago. Some time ago, I had the idea to make the panel into a Turkish Spindle case. Night before last, the stitching was finished and yesterday, a case was made using pre-quilted white fabric as the interior. Pockets were stitched and each shaft for a spindle has the thin end protected by a length of rigid soda straw.

Often, I am dissatisfied with project like this, but this time, I am very pleased.

Also while sitting in the hospital room with hubby, and in my spare time at home, I finished spinning the wool blend he gave me for Christmas. The entire amount was spun on the tiny Jenkins Finch spindle he gave me for our 45th anniversary last year.

The finished skein with the tiny spindle now working on a different fiber. The spindle lives in my bag with some wool. In the spindle photos, you can see the soda straw that protect the fragile end of the shaft when it is removed for travel. There are other spindles that get pulled out for use, but I seem to migrate to this one most often.

I have one more 6 block Sashiko panel that I finished long ago and plenty of the white quilted fabric, I need to figure out a project to use them, maybe a case for my fixed circular knitting needles or crochet hooks. And the skein of yarn to be knit into something requiring about 400 yards of lace weight yarn.

The two beautiful roosters no longer reside at this address. Between their noise, and the fact that one was aggressive toward me and the other young rooster encouraged me to send them on their way. A Craigslist ad brought a Ukranian refugee living with his daughter and her sons to pick them up. Whether they became part of a flock or part of a meal worries me not at all. The hens seem happier not to be ganged up on and eggs are back in good supply even though the youngest Marans was recently killed by some predator. The remaining 6 provide 2 to 5 eggs daily, enough for us and for daughter’s household.

Four of the hens are now 3 years old, I guess they will have to be replaced soon. Only one of them is providing more than 1 or 2 eggs a week. The carton for daughter has many more blue and green eggs than brown, though there are as many brown layers as colored layers. I don’t want 6 more chicks, only about 4, but you are required to purchase at least 6 chicks at a time. If I can find a local that wants a couple of pullets, I will buy 6 and raise them to coop introduction size and give away the extras. I guess if a hen goes broody on me this summer, I can let her sit false eggs for 3 weeks and introduce day old chicks under her and let her raise them for me. She will protect them and teach them if she thinks they are her own.

Yesterday, they predicted snow after a week of spring like temperatures. We got mostly rain with a little slushy bit added in, but nothing on the ground. The temperatures are again climbing to spring like weather after a night in the low 20’s. Another 3 or 4 weeks, it will be time to start the tomatoes and peppers seedlings. The Aerogarden was planted this week with mixed Romaine lettuces and a window seed starter has deer tongue lettuce and spinach starts. Soon they will go in pots to be nurtured until I can plant them out under some sort of cover. Since my little garden green house blew off and was destroyed by the wind, I need to improvise. I keep seeing an idea on social media to use plastic milk cartons, but I don’t buy milk in plastic, so maybe a mini hoop house can be created with plastic sheeting and later row cover.

Enough meanderings of my mind. Have a great week.