Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ice, the Hawk and Chickens!

Last night we had our first hard freeze. The pond was covered with a light sheet of ice this morning.
As you can see the pond looks terrible and is very low. That pipe shows the height of the pond when full. Oak leaves have nearly covered the surface of the pond. The leaves are nearly done falling and hopefully a good rain will sink the leaves. I can not recall seeing so many leaves on the pond.

 My last post I introduced you to our three roosters. Here are the remainder of the flock, the two hens. Above is Light Bulb, she is apparently a rock mix as you can see feathers on her legs. Below is Penquin we have no clue what type of chicken she is? Both of the hens were bought at a feed store in Wilmington by Meg's daughter and she named them.  As you might have guessed the chickens were not sexed at the time of purchase, three roosters were not intended. Neither has laid any eggs yet and they are around 6 months old.
OK, now to the hawk. This morning I let the chickens out, no problems. Came inside and made coffee and sat on the bed with Meg. Meg saw a Red-tailed Hawk perched on the bottle tree right behind the chicken yard, the chickens were out and clueless about the hawk. I attempted to get a photo, but just turning the lock handle to the back door scared away the hawk. We now have a 6 foot fence around the chickens. It seems the 4 foot fence was not enough for Stripe the rooster who wanted to help me water one of the cold frames on Friday.

And now even with the 6 foot fence two of the roosters jumped it because Chip the rooster was chasing them. Not sure what we need to do to keep them inside and safe.

Red-tailed Hawks diet is rodents and rabbits mostly. I know these hawks can take a full grown chicken. Hoping there are too many other meals out there to keep the hawk busy. We have plenty of hawks around here and two other neighbors have chickens as well.

Camellias still blooming in the garden is 'Moon Festival' above. These huge flowers are just stunning. And below is 'Leslie Ann' with these 2 inch slightly pink flowers, only 4 flowers this year, it's second year in the garden.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Meet our Roosters!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! We had a feast and now I'm stuffed.

Last night we had the chickens delivered from Wilmington! This morning we installed the chicken coop and let them loose in the chicken yard.
 Chip our most colorful rooster, also the largest one too.
 Above is Stripe, he let me pet his before I took this photo. The two hens were roosting behind him in the coop.
 Here is the chicken coop that was brought to us from Wilmington. All three of us could do to carry it and set in place.
 Above and below is Rocky, he has lighter feathers on the neck than Stripe.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

400 posting! Cold Frames Finally Planted

Back to gardening finally! We both have been so busy and our bodies are getting older, it takes much more energy than it used to to work in the yard.

I raked the front drive way of leaves yesterday and picked up a recycled gas lawn mower and mowed in the back yard leaves. The battery operated mower I posted about in August of 2009 has died. A new battery would cost about $150 to replace, none of the reviews on replacing batteries were good, so I got a beautiful little recycled gas mower on Craigslist for $65 and it starts on the first pull. Today I went up on the roof and swept of an enormous amount of leaves onto the main deck. So most of the leaves here are under control!

On to the cold frames. I tilled up three spots, two for cold frames the other for onions and garlic. We will be covering the onions and garlic with wire so when we let out our chickens they will not be able to get into that bed. This was my first time using garlic we grew, as we had a great year for garlic in 2012!
 Meg did all the raking of the hills and spread organic fertilizer. She planted 2 kinds of kale, 2 kinds of salad mixed greens, 2 kinds of spinach and carrots. Covered it all with wheat straw to help retain the moisture after planting. We did not make a big deal about fancy seeds this year, especially carrots.
 Here is the new chicken yard. The chickens and small chicken house will be here by the end of this new week. That wood box in there is sand. I read that sand makes a good floor in a chicken house, it is very handy. Meg points out that compost able bedding is great in the garden...
Manny really helped a lot. He just wanted to know why we closed up the cold frames so he could not get inside them?
Here the cold frames are just before dark. It reached the mid 50s here today and most of the wildlife was hunkering down. I did manage to rescue a Red Eft, Notophthalmus viridescens
while rototilling. You know I'm a handyman by trade,  but gas powered devises are not my speciality at all. The tiller would not start, I thought OK bad gas. Turned the tiller upside down over a bucket and no gas came out, then figured out it was out of gas. Just filled it with gas and started it right up...
Finally filled up the suet feeders, Meg showed me an immature Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (first of the fall) waiting in a tree for them. Feels good to almost be ready for winter now... Now we need to plant the pansies I bought last weekend.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bluetick Coonhound has a new home!

We were calling her Shirley, she is adorable and extremely smart. But the cats just could not deal with her and we are getting used to not having dogs. Wish we didn't have to give her away but it was best for here. A big dog like her needs exercise and we both seem to have very little free time.

I called one of my neighbors that has all kind of animals and he had a friend that has a male Bluetick Coonhound and had told her he wished the male had a companion. So today at noon he delivered her to him. I can see them playing in my mind right now. She only spent a week with us but we miss her a lot already.

Shirley with one of her new friends a 170 pound mastiff, makes her look small doesn't he.
Behave Shirley, have fun with your new buddies!

 Shirley the day she adopted us and found out how comfortable a couch can be on a chilly day.

 Manny was getting used to being chased and cornered by Shirley. Valentine was not at all happy to be chased.

Speaking of adoption Meg's daughter had 5 chickens in the city of Wilmington. Turns out the city is making her get rid of them. Guess that is what you get when you put a country girl in the city. These chickens are just about egg laying age, too bad 3 of them are roosters. So this weekend I cleared out a place in the back yard and built a chicken yard. Now we have to figure out how to bring the chickens here and their small chicken coop.
 Here are the chickens as of 6 weeks ago.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Found lost Bluetick Coonhound

On Saturday November 3 Meg had a female Bluetick Coonhound adopt her. We have been feeding her ever since. She is very sweet and needs to find her owners or a new home. The area she was found in was near Orange Grove Rd and Buckhorn Rd in Orange County North Carolina. The cats here do not approve of her, but they are tolerating her. She must have been kept in the house as she is well mannered inside and just loves sleeping on the leather love seat. And seems to be house trained.

E mail me at if she is yours or you'd like to adopt her!!