Sunday, April 28, 2013

Spring Is Here

     It has been a while since my last blog.  My father-in-law's health declined last November and eventually he passed away in March.  The last several months have been consumed with hospital stays, hospice, nursing home placement, and then death, so my time to blog came to a halt until we could get back into a routine again.  It has been very hard for my husband's family losing their patriarch.  Although everyone misses him dearly, we all know he is better off now in eternity with his Lord than in his last days, weeks, & even months.
      Now that spring is here, there are many chores and projects that must be dealt with.  Our yard being as sloped as it is, has a lot of erosion and our hens have scratched under their run walls opening themselves up to predators.  After seeing many coops with pavers around their perimeter on Pinterest, I decided to try it too.  I have to say, it has helped block any outside diggers from getting inside.  I have only completed the front side so far.  We are having dirt work done soon to scrape and level our front yard and I need some of the dirt shoved around to the lower part of the run to level out the rest of the pavers.  I also replaced their roosting bar and nesting boxes to help make cleaning easier. 
We were still having some late frosts so we still had the water line covered and windows closed.
I also added an outdoor roost for those rainy muddy days. 
I gave them 2 Brand new 2x2s in hopes to reduce crowding, but they still only use the top bar.

They had a raised floor over their nursery pot nests, but I took it all out after my last big cleaning episode when it was too hard to get to those tight corners.
These larger pavers give us a level no-slip zone to gather eggs and clean the coop. 
     Chloe' and Prissy met our newest additions.  Chloe' is a Great Pyrenees/boxer mix, which gives her all of the GP personality with the short hair so desperately needed for down here in south Mississippi.  Prissy is our latest rescue dog of a Jack Russell mix.  Prissy got a little too close to the cage and Chloe' wrapped her entire mouth around Prissy's head as a warning.She never harmed her, just layed down the law.  Chloe' is a great guardian dog.
     After working on their house, I had to get started on the garden.  I added a small bed just for corn and added more dirt and compost to the old bed.  After the seedlings were big enough, I put them in the earth.  My oregano had become ground cover in the bed and I had to dig it out and pot it.  I used row cover with my hoops until the last frost was over, but some of my weaker crops did not survive and I have had to plant more seeds.  I have also added nasturtiums and marigolds to the bed to help deter squash bugs this year.  If you have never seen the power of chicken poo compost, let me show you...
     The clover on the left is from my patch out front; pretty standard ankle height and the clover on the right is from a patch about 20 feet below my chicken run and comes up to my knees.  I pray that I will get the same results when I apply it to my garden.  I have bought some dwarf citrus trees that I have always wanted and gave $10.00 to Arbor Day Foundation and received 10 free flowering trees.  I have the flowering trees in the ground and potted the citrus for now.  I also put our fig tree that was potted last year into the ground.  Once we level off our yard, we plan to set the easy set pool back up soon and enjoy it again. 
     The home improvements seem to be never ending.  I will not have need of a subject to write about.  My next project is to build our portable coop for our new feathered friends.  I have seen several examples and have written out my plan.  I will start with the run to give them a daytime retreat and as the funds allow, I will complete the coop and move them into it permanently.  We built the main coop house mostly out of recycled materials, but I have not been able to get my hands on any scraps lately.  I will share my results as soon as I am done.  If you have any chicken coop or gardening tips, please share them with me. 
God Bless you all,
Marla B.

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