Tag Archives: chicken

Olio- 4/24/2017

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things



The heading shows the story of the past 5 days, thick clouds, rain often torrential, many inches of it in the past few days.  Our creek is over it’s banks at the top of the farm and the one that tumbles into the sink hole has flooded the sink hole plain that can’t filter it down deeper into the earth than more is added.  It has overflowed down the old creek bed.

On Saturday, I drove to Front Royal area to help out.  Eldest was going to take advantage of the no motorized vehicles on the Skyline Drive to ride the 35 miles on his bike, but after a day in the cold rain at the Washington March for Science, he awoke Sunday with heavy congestion in his chest and decided he couldn’t make the ride after all.  I ended up driving back home Sunday afternoon.

The asparagus are sprouting and so far I haven’t gotten tired of them.

Asparagus Cut asparagus

The garlic is thriving.



But if you look beyond the boxes, the weeds are thriving as well.  That areas is about to be smothered and the pumpkins allowed to sprawl over the area.  In the fall, the ground cover will be planted and again in the spring.

The veggie and herb starts are doing ok on the back deck, but I keep having to go out and drain the water from the trays to keep them from drowning.  The weather is forecast to improve later tomorrow.  The second planting of peas, the seeding of radishes, turnips, and the chard starts seem to have survived the cool, wet days.

The ticks are out in full force already, having gotten my first bite of the season.  I guess I am going to have to pull out the repellent.  I have mowed around the house with the mower twice, very thick and tall grass.  The brush hog needs to be put back on the tractor so that the orchard and septic field can be mowed as well.  Most of the farm will wait until late May or early June to be hayed.

In mid June, I am going to go on a backpacking trip with eldest son and his family.  I have 8 weeks to get in shape and try to strengthen my knees.

The teenage chicks were left cooped up Saturday and Sunday during the worst of the rain, today all of the adult birds and chicks were left to choose whether to go out and mostly stayed in their coops.  The few chicklets that were out in the evening were easy to pick up and put in their coop.

Knit, Spin, Stain, Cook

With two days of beautiful weather, I finished all of the staining that I can reach and with the cooler, wetter weather coming, it may be all that gets done this fall.  We will have to finish it this spring.  I made up a gallon of the stain mix this morning and the area that was to be done didn’t require that much, so the excess was used to get about 2/3 of the coop “redecorated.”  The girls were on a walk-a-bout on the farm, being supervised by Romeo, so it was a good time to get it done.  We have a few days of rain due, so the last bit can’t be done for a few days.  The year and a half it has been in use, it has gotten very dry and faded.  The egg hatch, pop door and side drop window are all made of the same plywood siding as the coop and their exposed edges are really showing wear from the weather.  I guess at some point, those three features will have to be replaced with a more weather resistant material.

Coming in, stain covered and worn out, after a thorough clean up, I turned my waning energy to less strenuous tasks.  I’m working on one of the sleeves of my sweater, the one that is being knit to go with the Hitchhiker scarf made during the summer.


And an Ouroboros Moebius scarf, a design by a friend Mergaret Radcliff, published in the December 2013, Knit n’ Style magazine.  The scarf will be for Son #1 as part of his Christmas gift.

Both projects are pretty mindless knitting at this point.
I’ve looked at “Hot Mess” for enough days that I think the measly 106 yards of tight overspun very fine yarn is going to become a knitted cover for a small sturdy plastic cup to hang from my spinning wheel to hold the machine oil, orifice hook and notions I need when spinning.
Tonight we enjoyed a “gourmet” meal utilizing some of the goodies from this year’s garden. The basic baked pork chops were topped with chutney that I canned, the Roasted veggies a blend of our yellow and white sweet potatoes, garlic, and rosemary added to farmers’ market potato’s, carrots and onions. A farmers’ market salad mix topped with beets, our radish kimchi and goat cheese.
Lovin’ life on our mountain farm.


Another beautiful day, a ride for Jim, some free range time for the flock, a trip to town for me to deliver a few items I sold on Craigslist and to purchase a 50 gal plastic (Christmas Tree) storage tub for the 4 day old chicks.  When we brought them home on Sunday, I took the bottom half of a large plastic dog crate and cable tied the door in place.  That was set inside a large dog wire kennel cage set up in the garage and the heat lamp hung over it.  I realized that was too drafty and we are expecting another temperature plunge tomorrow night, down into the teens and the garage will be too cold even with the heat lamp.

The new set up can be brought into the house if necessary without getting pine shavings and chick poop on everything.  I don’t like them in the house, but if it is below freezing while they are this young, they will come inside.  The large storage tub having sides keeps the pine shaving contained and helps retain the heat.  An old clothes drying rack with the lower bars removed gives me a structure with metal bars that sits astride the tub and the heat lamp can be dangled over one end of the brooder, giving the chicks a warm spot to go when they are cold and enough space to get away from the heat if they are too warm.

They will stay in the garage tonight and during the day tomorrow, but they will then be brought in for two nights and a day until we have another bout of milder weather.  I will be glad when my hens can start raising their own chicks without my help.



Once Jim was home from his ride, we turned the pups out to roam and romp our farm for a while and they disappeared.  It is rare for them to leave the property, but since there has been very little leash time this winter, both are more stubborn about coming when called, especially if they are well away from the house in one of the fields.  After they had been outside for at least an hour and had disappeared from view I started calling, walked the long uphill driveway to check mail, still calling, walked over to look down into the sinkhole area still calling.  No response.  After getting in the car and driving up to the nearest main road, back down and around the perimeter of the two large fields calling and not seeing them, I walked back to the sinkhole.  Both creeks are flowing strongly into the sinkhole and it is wet and muddy.  The dogs finally wandered up, wet and muddy and quite content with themselves.  No way I was letting either of them back in the house I had been cleaning all afternoon, so both got hosed off at the yard hydrant and that water was cold.  Then both tied to heavy furniture on the front porch until they partially dried.



At least it was 73ºf outside.  I finally dried them off with beach towels and let them back inside.  So far we haven’t figured out how to keep them out of that part of the farm and as soon as it is consistently warm, we need to get back on leash work to remind them who is in charge.

Life is an adventure on our mountain farm.