Hope that everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend! It was a wonderful weekend here, full of a bit of everything. LJ came into town for a flying visit (literally just a few days) so it was great to spend time with him and my parents threw an engagement party for us at their house. It was a lovely, laid back, BBQ style event and just so great to celebrate this exciting moment of our lives with family and friends!
Oh and the excitement doesn’t end there, we’ve had a fox visit the house two days in a row (no doubt checking out our chickens) and he’s run away pretty quickly when we go out after him but I just worry about when no one is around at home to chase him off. The coop/run is very sturdy, so I’m not worried about that, but it does have an open floor (so the chickens can scratch and eat the grass) so I’m just hoping he doesn’t manage to dig his way underneath. Will have to think up some new defenses…
Aside from that LJ and I kept very busy this weekend taking care of little projects around the house. Well lots of little projects and one large one I guess- we painted the entire backside of the house, which took a good 2 days to accomplish. But it wasn’t all work, we also took time to enjoy our new space that we will call home together shortly. We took a dunk in the river behind our house, sat out back and drank some champagne to celebrate and plot future dreams, and explored the nearby town center that we will come to know well in the coming years. It was a truly a whirlwind, but wonderful, weekend!
So the girls have been doing very well! I’ve gradually been keeping them outside during the day and last night they had their first night outdoors (well, in their henhouse that is) and were doing splendidly when I checked in on them this morning. I lowered down their floor to give them access to their run, and ran inside myself to get ready for work. I glanced out the window at one point to see if they had made it down okay (some days they make it down quickly, and others not so much. They still haven’t worked out how to go back up to their ‘house’ at night. They’ll get there though) and I saw a little movement in the corner so figured they’d made it down no problem.
Just before leaving for work, I went out back to look at them. And found no chickens below… and at the same instant saw a chipmunk dart away. Upon further investigation all 3 girls were huddling together in the nesting box (no doubt hiding from the intruder) and the chipmunk has slipped under the wood at an uneven spot in the ground and had gone to town on their food (can you blame him though? I should have thought of that before). So I gave my ladies (still hoping!) a little help down into the run and they were off and enjoying themselves after that. I think it’s time to move the chicken tractor to a some more level ground…
It’s coming along! I’ve been working at it quite a lot this past week and my dad has been a huge help to me helping me decipher directions, lending me tools, shopping for materials and working on the project right there with me! I am a lucky daughter indeed. I’m very much hoping to have the chicken tractor finished up before the end of the week so that the girls (hoping girls… still not completely convinced my golden laced Wyandotte isn’t a roo…) can start enjoying the great outdoors since the weather has been so nice! I can tell you one thing, I’ve become much more comfortable over these last couple months using power tools than I ever thought I would be!
Back at it this week and all went great! My mother came up to the house with me and kept me company during my inspection (maybe it was the being alone that kicked up the nerves slightly?) and all went fine. I saw some eggs in some cells, as well as capped off brood, so the queen has been doing her job. There does appear to be a supercedure cell as well (a peanut shaped cell where it looks like the bees are trying to breed a new queen), so maybe they aren’t happy with their current queen? I figure, bees have been doing this for thousands of years, so I’m just going to let nature take its course!
Whew, things have certainly been keeping me busy lately! For a few quick updates, inspected my hive for week 2. All went well, and the queen has gotten out of her cage, but I got a bit nervous and didn’t check all of the frames remaining. Not the end of the world the bees still are fed, and healthy, I just want to make sure that the queen is laying. I am so excited about my bees and love this new hobby that I am taking up, but there must be some kind of deep laying, internal response to the hum of bees growing louder and having them fly around you, that makes a person slightly nervous. This is something that I expect I’ll become more accustomed to over time. It’s just such a new experience there is sure to be a learning curve.
Moving on to my birds- wow they appear to be growing at an exponential rate! So fast in fact, that I’d better get moving on their outside home as they will soon outgrow their cardboard box. Probably the most expensive part of owning a chicken is figuring out their housing. At my new house, I am lucky that there is a large coop already built, however it’s been out of use for probably 25 years, is filled with equipment (as it was used as a shed in that time) and will definitely need some TLC (and cash) before I can turn it into the coop that I want. So in the meantime, and since I have only 3 chickens at the moment, I am attempting (with some help from my dad) to save some money and construct my own movable chicken tractor. I’ll be using the design plans from Ashley English’s ‘Keeping Chickens’ book (love her book and blog!). So dad and I have started out by framing the run of the coop. Just a start but exciting nonetheless. What do you think?
As for the garden, I thought I had been doing so well in my planning this year, but as these things go life gets busy and plans inevitably fall a little behind schedule. My asparagus is up from last year, I was gifted some rhubard from my aunt which I’ve added to my garden, the peas, radishes and lettuce have begun to come up and I’ve been enjoying the spinach and lettuce that miraculously overwintered in New England without any help from the gardener!