Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Just Seven Chickens


So busy, so beautiful here. You can see from the photo above that even B. couldn’t bear to prune every single blueberry blossom off of our bushes. Last weekend we had our first Sunday breakfast without Mount Mitchell blueberries since we picked like crazy in September.

Can you believe that I had to work yesterday? Sniff. But not until the afternoon, so we knocked out some garden tasks, including stuff to climb on for our lovely Painted Lady Runner Beans (round two, as regular readers already know) and frames for blanching our leeks, shown below. I now know firsthand why leeks often have so much dirt in between the layers; a freak of nature could probably keep this from happening with extremely careful packing of the soil, but I didn’t even have the patience to be careful with just my 75 leeks. We will keep adding several inches of soil every few weeks.


In very, very sad news, we lost a chicken this weekend. And I don’t mean that she wandered off. One of our Barred Plymouth Rocks was beheaded by a neighbor’s cat, right through the side of the coop. I couldn’t believe it and after I was really sad I was really, really mad. Mad at myself for not seeing the flaw in the coop design and mad at myself for underestimating the cats (there are two suspects right now), and mad at myself for not taking better care of our girls. As I understand it this is not something we will have to worry about once they are bigger, but clearly it’s an issue until then. So we framed in the bottom sides of the coop and B. fabricated another layer of chicken wire around the bottom so that the cat (hopefully) can’t reach through and the chickens can’t poke their beaks out in search of new greens and bugs. Which is almost certainly what she was doing – she was one of the girls I talked about here being so crazy for bugs. We had two of them, named Gonzo and Camilla and they were both the most amazing bug hunters (they were also virtually indistinguishable from one another so we usually called them the Muppets). They were also the two loners of the pack, kind of keeping to themselves a lot but usually as a duo. I was worried about Gonzo getting picked on now that she lost her partner in crime, but actually she seems to have inserted herself into the middle of the pecking order (the two Rhode Island Reds are so dopey, they just get pushed around by everyone). Anyway. We buried Camilla under the lilac bush and I remembered that having an animal family isn’t always heartbreakingly cute and funny but also just heartbreaking.

4 comments:

dig this chick said...

Well, shit. I am sorry about your chicken. I want more details about the coop design flaw...how horrible.

In other news, your garden beds look fab!

dig this chick said...

Oh, and I can't believe you can grow blueberries! That seems so exotic to me.

Heather said...

Well, we did not frame the bottom short sides of the coop; it was just chicken wire meeting the ground. We did this so that it would be easier to put the coop on top of our garden beds for when it was time for the chickens to clean out the beds. But it meant that the chicks could poke their heads out a little at ground level. I don't know if that was it; the, er, position of the corpse kind of suggested that the cat reached in through one of the framed sides...

Anyway. Lesson learned. Did your cat ever take a swipe through your run??

dig this chick said...

Kitty has never swiped....