The fall crud nearly KO’d me this week. Very little was accomplished other than the basic maintenance of life, a few dinners prepared, and the grands shuttled to their respective bus stops and preschools. By yesterday, I felt a bit better and it was time to get things done. Laundry was stacked high and we were both out of essentials, so that was a priority. Saturday is Farmers’ Market day to get pasture raised meat and organic vegetables that are local and not suspect, nor traveled from far away states or countries. Grandson had his first soccer game of the season and of course, we had to be there to watch that. He is one of the youngest and smallest on the 8 to 10 year old league, but clearly wanted to be part of the action. But the biggest task of the day was to obtain the fencing needed to give the Meaties a run so they didn’t spend their entire life in a brooder or coop.
As the chicken pen was originally divided into two long narrow runs and had two side by side gates, it seemed that returning it to its original or similar configuration was the most expedient. When the fencing was removed to fence in the garden in hopes of keeping the chickens out and allowing them more free pasture time, the posts were left in place. Unfortunately, the dogs had other ideas about this plan and the Buffys were again penned up with only some pasture time each day, when the dogs are secured indoors. Mountaingdad and I went out and measured to see how much additional fencing was required and it appeared that we needed something less than 100 feet. After market and soccer, we ventured down to the local Tractor Supply to get what was needed. I really prefer the welded wire fencing, but can’t handle the 100 foot long rolls by myself while trying to fasten it to the posts. As it didn’t come in 50 foot rolls, I elected to take a much less substantial vinyl coated wire garden fence to divide the run. This meant moving some of the welded wire that was already in place, unbending the wire T post fasteners, hauling the fencing to different positions and reattaching it with new fasteners, taking back the 6 to 8 foot wide swath of garden that was only partially used for summer squash and pole beans. The 100 feet of garden fence then set down the middle of the now enlarged area. The day was hotter than it was predicted, I didn’t drink enough water and by late afternoon, I was whipped, the pen was not secure enough for the layers who had been on a grasshopper chase all afternoon in the yard and pastures.
It was time to fix dinner and daughter was going to do that but we realized that the propane tank on the grill had never been refilled, so Mountaingdad was sent off to take care of that and daughter came out to help me at least get the Buffys run secure so they could be lured back inside and the dogs let out.
There would be no more fence work last night, I was totally done in. Dinner was delicious, Mountaingdad took grandson out for ice cream and I went into veg mode, knitting, reading and watching the Steven Hawking movie on television.
This morning refreshed from many quarts of water, and a good night’s sleep, I finished securing the last few pieces of fencing so that baby velociraptors (as daughter calls them) can finally see what the great outdoors is like. Last week, they were moved from the brooder to the Cull Palace and penned in. It is a huge space, but dark. Tomorrow they will be 5 weeks old, so almost half of their life span has been spent in the garage and in the dark coop. They could see the outdoors through the chicken wire and hardware cloth door and vent panels, but couldn’t be outdoors.
When I opened their coop door this morning, the curious moved to the opening. Only a couple ventured over the sill.
I’m sure as the day goes on, they will begin to explore the 80 X 8 foot run that they now have access to explore and I am hoping that they have gotten large enough to not squeeze through the 2 X 4″ holes in the fencing.
The Buffys are having a great time reexploring the extended portion of their run that is full of pigweed and leftover squash that got hidden in the leaves and grew too large to harvest. They will attract bugs, split and the seeds will be a treat.
My remaining task is to cut back the peach tree that died in the middle of their run, leaving them stumps to perch on and to close up a few spaces that persistent birds may be able to squeeze through to facilitate escape.
An afternoon harvest brought in the winters popcorn, more dried beans, a large basket of tomatoes to be processed and a couple pints of jalapenos for pickling. The Ancho peppers are beginning to turn red and will soon be dried for sauces and soups. The first Burgess Buttercup was brought in, but walking through the Three Sister’s Garden revealed a hefty crop of them that will be brought in before the first frost is expected. It wasn’t the best garden this year, but I am thankful for the wonder it has given up and will be enjoyed this fall and winter. Soon it will be time to plant the garlic for next year.
My harvest efforts earned me a sting, I think by a caterpillar. The sting was unlike wasp and bee stings that quickly swell to enormous size on me. This has produced a large area of tingling skin and lightheadedness that brought me in before all the beans were collected. They will keep for another day.