Thursday, September 18, 2014

Times of transition, preparation, and change.

Sorry for the late post today, I didn't get things done last night, so I had to wait for having breaks at work to get things done, and the Lady of the House was kind enough to get me some photos to share with you all. Right now is sort of an awkward time as we among other thing wait for the last litters of the year to be born, continue to try to breed Twilight, and the garden dies down. Digressing for a moment, let's talk about Twilight before we get back to everything else

With 4 of Twilights litter having gone on to a new home, the hutch is feeling big again having felt comfortably full just recently. Twilight predictably doesn't mind. She likes company, and doesn't seem to mind her grown daughter being with her. She does however object every time to babies eating her food. She still uses the shelf as a get away point despite the fact that her kits can come up there with ease now. Old habits die hard I guess. It's the transition time of the season.

Back to everything else though, There are things to do though of course, as is always true around the homestead.
The obvious thing to do is buck, split, and stack firewood. That however is something you shouldn't do alone, and can't do in the dark which limits when it can be done. The generous help from some friends last week helped and a decent bit got done. When I get another weekend day free I'm going to get what I can done, but with using a chainsaw I don't tend to like working alone for obvious reasons. So instead we're focusing on other things. For one, collecting seeds from the things we can. For instance, Left is echinacea that we are going to be collecting the seeds from to give away at the seed swap, and to friends. We also have some bee balm we are going to be saving.
Right now though we are enjoying the chickens.  The Lady of the House really does love having her little dinosaurs around again, and they are settling in to their coop. When I get home tonight I intend to put up tarps so tomorrow I can let them out to roam in the run, and get some light. Right now their primary light is when we open the door to feed and water them, and the small window on the North side of the coop. You can see Below the small window.
 Which reminds me we need to put a screen of hardware cloth over that to keep the weasel out. The small chicken wire we have is good enough for many things, but the smaller predators around here are pernicious. Weasels, and raccoon can cope with this kind of wire with ease, getting in, or getting an arm in. With weasels they'd just go in and butcher every chicken, with a raccoon they'd reach in, lure the chicken close, and pull a full grown chicken most of the way out through the wire. I promise that isn't going to be pretty, so we'd like to avoid that. A concern for me this winter is the balance of warmth, and ventilation. The coop isn't sealed so ventilation shouldn't be a huge deal, but I'm considering cutting a small window in the North side of the coop and wiring over it to let more ventilation occur, and more light in without compromising the safety of the girls, oh, and Mr. Bond.
To the Right you can see that we have over 2 dozen eggs. That is entirely from our girls since we got them a week ago. As you can see, we're averaging 4 a day. We've eaten 4 so far. It's actually really nice to have a collection of eggs. Of course we are going to be using them, but the whole, what exactly are we going to be doing with them wasn't just for hahas, we have a lot of eggs as far as our use level! It's very nice to have something just working out as well as the chickens are so far. Obviously we're still nervous about a weasel coming in and wiping them out, but we hope that Mr. Bond will be able to stand up for his ladies, unlike his namesake's tendencies with survival of female companions . . .

 As the season ends I'm taking a moment to appreciate our insect visitors. While the Lady of the House doesn't appreciate them very much due to their tendency of stinging them, the wasps do their job around the property and keep down a lot of the pest insects. They'll be back next year, and this time I'm going to be trying out a new method for reducing their presence in the rabbit hutches where I must admit I don't want them. I am going to be trying a method I found online and has been recommended by some friends. I'm going to early early spring going to be mixing a water, dish soap mix and spraying it on the inside of the hutch roofs. That should reduce their ability to make their nests in there.
At that point they will hopefully make their nests in the woods where there is plenty of habitat for them. Realistically, they'll probably build under the deck again which can be startling. To the Right is a picture of some of our most prolific visitors this summer, crickets. Other than the sound, I don't really mind them. I have to admit, I don't know their place in a garden, so I should do some research on that. And finally the bug we're going to miss over the winter, and look forward to seeing in spring. Bees. Such a precarious situation with bees and other pollinators right now, every bee we see is welcome, and we even left some very healthy golden rod up for them to take advantage of before the long cold winter.

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