Another Week

… has flown by. I still occasionally cough, but I’m 99% at this point. I did some long-delayed work on the chicken coop today, and found that my stamina is essentially nil after a month of sitting on my ass. At least I didn’t require hours of recovery time, just a few minutes after particularly physical effort (beating a 1″ x 10′ galvanized pipe into the ground for use as a post, for example) then move on.

After several months with no sightings, I’ve had to make two possums go away in as many weeks.

Three of the new chickens started cuddling together in one of the nest boxes at night instead of on the roosts. About the same time, the older girls took to laying their eggs in a corner instead of in a nest box. I decided to block off the nest boxes completely for a couple weeks to see if I could convince them all to sleep on the roosts. Without the option of the nest boxes, they did what they should’ve done instinctively from the beginning. Tonight was the test. Part of today’s work was unblocking the nest boxes and cleaning them out. Even with the nest boxes accessible, all nine birds settled in on the roosts. Now if they’ll start laying in the boxes, all will be well.

On Monday I had my first tractor job in response to the signs I put out a couple months ago. A neighbor two houses up reached out. He had to put his dog down and needed a grave. Considering the circumstances and the proximity, I only charged him $20. Plus it took maybe fifteen minutes once I got there.

His property comes down and and L’s over directly behind mine. It’s swampy and not worth much but it would add a little over half an acre and would give me a rectangle instead of the odd angles at the bottom of the back yard like I currently have. After I finished the hole, I asked and found out that he’s open to selling that little piece. I’m currently looking into the cost of a survey and the other legal requirements of such a transaction. Hopefully I can get him to agree to a price that I’m willing to pay in addition to the administrative costs.

My dear wife did something really special for me this week. Well, she did it last November but the finished product came this week. While visiting my mother on Thanksgiving, unbeknownst to me, she got a picture of the house that I grew up in but had to move from at age fifteen after my father died. She then sent it to someone to have them paint it onto a canvas. I felt bad because I didn’t recognize it at first. The picture was taken in 1988, two years after we moved, and the new owner had replaced the half brick/half wood columns on the front porch with 4x4s, and added rails to match. I knew it looked familiar, but the rails kept me from recognizing it immediately. And it has been thirty-five years. I finally figured it out, and the painting now hangs on our living room wall. I still dream of one day winning the lottery and buying it back. I know, you can never go back, but I still want to.

And that’s about it since we last spoke.

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5 Responses to Another Week

  1. hollychism says:

    You can get fake eggs to leave in the nest boxes. It works to get them to lay where you want them to, and you can put them under broody hens so you don’t have to clean out rotten real eggs later.

    • alaskan454 says:

      It works sometimes. I have a dozen somewhere that I tried on the last crop of chickens with no success. But it can’t hurt, and might help. I’ll see if I can find them. Thanks for the reminder.

      • hollychism says:

        My grandma used the trick a lot. She kept Rhode Island Reds, and basically free-ranged them. Vicious, violent birds–and she kept a flock big enough that they could gang up on a lot of predators and basically turn them into food. The only ones that posed real dangers were large, flying predators, and nocturnal ones.

        I saw them surround, kill, and eat more than one fox, and day-time rodents were not any issue. They didn’t go after the cats, but that’s because the cats kept the rodents down at night, and were faster than the chickens.

      • alaskan454 says:

        Damn! Reds are supposedly a docile breed, and I definitely didn’t know they were that badass. The new girls are Aquilas, which are a combination of Rhode Island Red, Black Australorp, and a bit of White Plymouth Rock. So far, though, they seem as docile and laid back as the old ladies (Rustic Ramblers – a cross between a Black Copper Maran male and a Barred Rock female). In any case. I have multiple wooden eggs in each nest box now. We’ll see what these dumb bitches do.

  2. hollychism says:

    I don’t know about “docile breed,” but *Grandma’s* chickens were badass. She had about four dozen or so.

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