The Hawk returns yet again

This morning as I was cleaning window sills on the west side of the house, the large Redtailed Hawk swooped down and got a rabbit or squirrel, I wasn’t quite sure which as it was just in the edge of the thicket and disappeared deeper into the thicket as the flock of crows gathered above raising quite a stir. I never saw the hawk reappear and the crows moved to another tree higher above the thicket and stayed there for a very long while. Squirrels and rabbits are fair game for the hawks, my chickens are not, though when penned in their run, they are certainly easier to catch.

After lunch and bit of warm up in daily temperatures, to a point where working without gloves though uncomfortable, was doable, the run cover was finished alone. The need to work without gloves was to manipulate the 8″ cable ties though the web of the erosion fence to secure the sections together and to the upper edge of the 4′ high wire fence. The green plastic erosion fence has 1″ octagonal holes and each strip is 3 feet wide, stapled to the upper edge of the coop and angled down to the fence top. Once the strips were in place, the triangular spaces at the gate and the east side had to be filled with smaller pieces, the top of the metal gate closed in as well so chickens can’t get out and the hawk can’t get in. Though their run footprint is smaller now, it is still an L shape about 4 feet wide on the east, 5 feet wide on the south and open under the 4 X 8 foot coop that has had welded wire from the bottom of the coop to the ground since it was put there about a decade ago.

The chickens are out for the first time in two days. Once the shrubs are leafed out again so there are places to hide, they will get free range time, but living in the midst of hayfields, there aren’t many hiding places for them in the winter.

Some of the old fence from the larger footprint run was used to put a deer barrier around the young plum tree and with heavier T posts to fasten the fence to, the plum was pulled more erect. In it’s first year of so of being planted there, the deer chewed off the primary leader, so a secondary branch took over and shoots out too far to the side. I have hoped to redirect it more vertically and if it doesn’t work, the top will be pruned back to force more side branches out. There is a lot of new growth and I don’t want it chewed on anymore. When the spring gardening supplies come in, a weed ring is going to be purchased to put around the trunk to try to get the grass load around the plum down.

Day before yesterday in the freezing rain, the first turkeys seen since hunting season were in the two lower fields. I could count 19, but with the growth along the fence line and the rock pile, there may have been more.

One more day of semi mild weather, followed by rain and possible snow flurries on the weekend.

Another one bites the dust

Yesterday was a miserable day, rain, freezing rain, sleet, all freezing on surfaces. The hens had been let into their run, not free ranging as I didn’t want them out in the weather and because Grandson and I had pulled up a couple Barberry shrubs the day before and there were areas of loose soil in garden beds that I didn’t want them digging up. When I went out at dusk to lock them up and gather the couple of eggs that are being provided now that molt is mostly over, I found my most timid Marans dead in the run with damage that looked like that of a hawk that couldn’t carry off a full grown hen. Today they were left in the coop all day.

We drove the hour to the city to take Grandson to the Pinball Museum and to get lunch only to discover they aren’t open on Monday, so a long drive in both directions for a mediocre lunch. On the way home, we stopped and purchased erosion fencing, staples, and cable ties to try to secure the run. Once home, first step was to tighten up the 4 foot fence and set a few more posts, removing the part of an earlier solo attempt to cover the run, securing the tightened fence wire to the new posts. The erosion fencing is being stapled to the top of the coop, just below the roof, his 6’2″ + height useful for this and having the extra pair of hands to pull fence tight and handing cable ties also nice. We didn’t finish, it was cold and reached dinner prep time, but about 2/3 of the open top is now covered securely. When we walked over to begin, the hawk was in the empty run where it had killed the hen the day before. It flew into a pear tree, then off to the lower field. Tomorrow is to be a bit warmer and hopefully, the remaining top can be covered so the hens can be released again.

The coop had been cleaned on Saturday, and the spoiled wood chips added as mulch to the daylily bed and I don’t want the hens scratching through that either. They have scratched there so much the soil in that bed is several inches lower than the stoop and the surrounding grass. It needs to be built up and enriched. The metal fence pulled down in our efforts today will be used to provide a protective ring around the young plum and any remaining erosion fence used to protect the daylily bed from deer and hens.

Yesterday did provide an afternoon to socialize with my two local spinning friends, enjoying hot tea, each other’s company, and a lesson in a new skill for one of them. One of the gals, as soon as she learned to spin, made two great Turkish spindles, an amazing feat that I couldn’t do.

Today my new hearing aids arrived, now wearing two instead of just one and these are bluetooth enabled so they can be controlled by my smart phone. It is nice to be able to be in a different area of the house and hear hubby or grandson speaking to me.

I hope we can finish the hen run tomorrow. I’m toying with putting a temporary fence around the compost pile and an opening from the run to it on the other side of their fence so they can stir it up. When they are given access to it, a tarp or cover will have to protect them from the aerial predatory.

We continue taking one day at a time with hope that Wednesday morning, the Cardiology specialist may be able to open at least hubby’s most blocked artery.

Out with the old, in with the new

We happily said goodbye to 2022, the last quarter of the year having been a medical nightmare. We welcome 2023 with hopes of heart repair, a reprieve for a few months from the immunotherapy treatments that have produced more extreme side effects for longer periods of time.

Traditionally, the holiday decorations were put away on New Year’s Day as school often resumed the next day. This year, the process was begun half a week ago, just after Son 1 returned to his job. The tree was left standing until today and it too has been stripped of his ornaments and lights, removed to the cedar thicket on the edge of the woods, and the needles vacuumed.

The Dyson decided it didn’t want to do the job, so the old Oreck was hauled upstairs and did a much better job of even removing the dog hair from the rug than even the newer Dyson when it is working at it’s best. The Dyson has been disassembled and every washable part banged free of dust and washed, set aside to dry for a few days.

The closet beneath the basement stairs needs to be cleaned out, some ductwork retaped, then the crates will be moved down for storage for the next 11 months.

The bottom left one will go straight to daughter’s house next Christmas, it has about half of my Santa’s in it that I chose not to place this year and are ready to move on to her collection. The tree ornaments got new storage this year that allows a separate cell for each ornament so they don’t have to be individually wrapped, which made the put away simpler and will allow easier decisions on what will go on the next tree if it is too small for all of them.

The Christmas Amaryllis gift is beautifully blooming, a total of 7 lovely red blooms.

Now that the holidays are behind us, more time will be spent working on the shawl that is from Jenkins Turkish spindle spun Alpaca, Merino, and Silk. It was begun in mid December once all Christmas knitting was complete. The spindle is holding a lovely blue wool of unknown origin, spinning enough to double the thickness of the hat that is my preferred one when the weather is cold.

After last weekend’s weather tried to destroy us with single digit temperatures and high winds, today feels like spring with mostly sunny skies. We managed to get a walk in before the tree came down and out. We have a couple more warmish days, mostly with rain, then a return to more normal winter temperatures here with low 40’s f during the day and 20’s at night. Life moves on, we continue to taking it one day at a time.