We've been very busy lately. August, with all of it's crickety, hot, harvesty wonderfulness is definitely upon us. A quick garden tour to show you such a pretty combination right now:
Black eyed Susan and Russian sage make a very nice impact with opposite colours and leaf variations. Even though I rip out hundreds of Black eyed Susans every year, I am glad for the ones that still remain because they are such a nice punch of colour right now.
This old Hansa rose was, I thought, deader than a doornail this spring, so I just chopped everything off. Well surprise, surprise, it put forth new growth and is now blooming. Don't you wish that happened with hair? Chop it all off and it comes back better than ever?
Just a little sampling of garden produce at the moment. I now also have some regular sized tomatoes ready to pick.
But here is what is really making me excited (although, a ripe tomato does make my heart flutter). My dear husband has revamped the "old" chicken coop which had not housed chickens for five years (holy squirrels and mice, batman!!) and of course, with everything on our property it became an avalanche project. Far more had to be done to it to turn it into the Executive Coop Accommodations that it is now.
Fresh coat of paint on the door (no, not really necessary...) and the signs that were already there. The rooster on the door was also touched up. The black stuff overhanging the door will be cut off after the last of the metal trim gets put on the edges of the roof.
The wood chips have been spread out in the chicken run, leaving some grass at one end, too. That garden bench was destined for the burn pile (it had rotted and was coming apart at the joints), but I asked husband to cut the legs off a little (don't want it so high that the birds are tempted to fly out overtop of the fence) and do a little patch job at one side to hold it together. Voila! Now it is a cute chicken perch in their run.
The new and improved coop now includes some features like removeable nesting boxes to make for easier cleaning. Husband whipped this up for me after I showed him some ideas on Pinterest. The only thing left to do is to put on a steeply sloping top to prevent them from roosting up there (i.e. pooping on top).
A closer look. This was pretty much constructed with all leftover materials we had on hand (except the boxes which are Dollerama finds - easy to replace if necessary).
The old coop used to have a single roost (going a different direction), but I really like the double roost. We are also hanging the feeder and waterer from the ceiling. We used to have them just set up on blocks on the floor of the coop, but the chickens flung a lot of bedding into them and they always had to be cleaned out. I'm hoping this method works better.
The roost is made out of small trunks of trees that were cut down on the property when we had the woodchipper last weekend.
This is awfully exciting. It's a light switch... right beside the door!! We used to have a light on the ceiling with a pull cord. You would go out there after dark and swing your hand around in the air until you grasped onto the cord. Now there is a beautiful new, easy to find, use your elbow if you have to, light switch. Husband is a very talented guy!
So.... I have been on a chicken quest for a while now. You would be amazed at how hard it is to buy chickens. I wanted interesting, pretty birds. I really don't want to have to drive an hour and half to go look at chickens and decide if I want to buy them. I am not interested in raising chicks and waiting five months for them to lay. Been there, done that. I'm not all that keen on spending $30 for a single chicken (chanticleer, if I'm spelling that right). But today, I am going to go look at some hens that a lady is selling. We shall see. When we first started out, we purchased some Rhode Island Reds out of a trailer from some guys who were more than willing to part with them. Little did we know these were probably hens culled from their own flock for obvious reasons (too old, egg eaters, feather pickers...). Oh well, we kept them and they did lay (not all of them) and we gave them a good home for their entire lifespans, but we got smarter over the years (although that one trip to the farmer's market when we bought four lovely little Brahmas and they ended up being three roosters and a hen didn't attest to our chicken intelligence much). I don't want any roosters anymore. Some of them have "little man syndrome" and I don't need any more hassles in my life. I think six would be the perfect number of hens. Enough eggs for us and some extra to give away to friends or sell to co-workers occasionally.
I will let you know how today's chicken purchases (or not) go. Possible pictures to follow of hens in their new Executive Coop Accommodations!