Monday, July 30, 2012

Construction Zone

I intended to have a garden when I moved here. I've now lived here almost 6 months. I guess it's better late than never!!

When I moved from Walton, I brought all kinds of stuff, including 18 4 x 4 posts, 5 pressure treated 2 x 6 x 12's, 5 pt 2 x 6 x 8'ts, and 5 2 x 6 x 12 #2 fir boards. They were originally going to be round pen posts, barn rails, and chicken house rafters, respectively. I couldn't leave them behind!

I need raised beds here. The ground here is shattered cap rock, so there's lots of rock surrounded by small amounts of soil (black and kind of sticky when it's wet). The benefit of this is that there are not any ground-dwelling vermin (squirrels, gophers, voles, etc.). However, it makes it booger-all hard to pound t-posts. To move the poultry, I have to lay out the fence (while they're all locked up), and go around with my cordless drill and drill holes for the fence spikes to set it up.

I had started the beds a week ago, but determined that I needed a new saw blade. Armed with that, and cool mornings, I started on them again yesterday. I got 2 of the 3 that I have lumber for completed.
The beginnings

Bed # 1 almost done


and Bed #2
Today, I need to add the wire that will stretch between the middle 4 x 4's (down in the bed, so I won't trip on them!!) which will prevent bowing when filled. When the dump opens, I'll go and get a load (about 2 yds) of compost, which they sell for $7/yard. I also have access to lots of well-composted horse manure, which will be mixed in as well.

I ordered a number of winter-worthy seeds, which have come, including kale, lettuce, beets (I may have one entire bed of beets...), broccoli, carrots and cabbage. I also got a few herbs, which I will try to force in a covered bed. I also ordered two kinds of garlic and some red bunching onions, which haven't come yet - I need to call them and ask them to send them now, as I'm in zone 4/5, and need to get them in now!!

One of the benefits of these beds is that I can add hoops very easily - good thing since I have above ground vermin. I've seen both kinds of rabbit, deer and crows/ravens, all of whom would be very happy to dine at the Cunningham buffet. I'm planning to fence the garden off, but I'm not sure when that will happen, so covering them will solve that problem in the interim.

In other news, I have one Buff Orpington pullet who, when I come out in the morning, is on the outside of the pen. Because I give a good line of scratch for all the birds in the morning, she's racing back and forth along the fence trying to get in to get the goodies. This morning, I went through the usual routine of opening the fence up, herding her back in, but with a twist. I got her into the coop and shut the door. I then got some fingernail polish, caught her and marked her head. Michelle is looking for a couple of young hens, and this is one of them. Michelle has a much more secure arrangement than I have so it will be a perfect fit. She also is interested in an Easter-egger, and I have two to choose from. Behold the mark of shame (left hand pullet, behind her comb):

Some of her compatriots (the lighter of the two Easter-eggers is shown above) are very interested in this mark. Hopefully it will not become a problem such that I have to take it off!!


~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

Nice garden beds!
I always get nervous when I see a chicken look at another chicken like that...

Mim said...

Good looking garden and chickens too!

Michelle said...

I'd happily take both of those girls off your hands, and they would fit my plan of a different color scheme with each new batch of chickens (I have no buff chickens) to help me remember ages!