Saturday, May 8, 2010


In case there's still anyone out there checking to see if I'm still posting, here's an update. The greenhouse in the pictures below is still awaiting plastic. We have been eating a little asparagus out of the garden this past week, but everything else is plodding along waiting for warmth. Hazel and I made a pilgrimage to Fedco to pick up the trees and potatoes we'd ordered. Only one item was not available, a cider apple tree of French origin called Medaille d'Or. There was a tree I couldn't remember ordering called Evans. (But there it was on the order form in my own hand writing.) Back at home I looked through the catalog and couldn't find an apple tree by the name of Evans. Then I remembered; Michelle had convinced me to order a cherry tree. Our little orchard is now comprised of six apple trees, two peach and one cherry.

Chickens. We had been plagued by the difficult-to-eradicate problem of egg eating. My guess was that the practice may have started when there were too many chickens for the space and the nesting boxes were inadequate. Also, we could have been feeding them too much scratch (a mixture of oats and cracked corn) and they were driven to supplement their protein intake. It might have been all of the above. Once chickens discover that they can eat their own eggs it's a hard habit to break. There could have been just a few offenders; hard to tell. I suspected that the nesting boxes were the greatest contributor. In a swift and decisive move, I built and installed new nesting boxes and boarded up the old ones in the matter of an hour. The old boxes were too shallow so the nesting straw would quickly get displaced leaving nothing but bare wood. The eggs would drop with a thud and frequently have cracks. Perhaps this is how the egg eating started in the first place. An egg dropped and broke and the chicken looked down and thought, "Oh, what have we here?" The new boxes are 12 inches deep and filled with straw. Since the change, the cracked egg problem has disappeared and there has been no sign of egg eating. Ta!Da! The only other issue is that of the escapee. More or less every day a chicken gets out. We suspected that it was a repeat offender. Flying the coop happens, apparently. I had a lot of practice catching this chicken. The easiest way was working as a team with Hazel. I'd herd the chicken around the perimeter of the fence and just as it approached the door to the coop Hazel would open it and the chicken would hop back in. One day, after days of frustrating chicken chasing, I caught it and brought it in the house and called for Michelle who wrote a bold E on one the the chicken's legs with a black marker. E for Escapee. As we suspected it was the same chicken every time. Eighteen well behaved hens and one trouble maker. I just need to improve my fence to fix this problem. Sooner or later we'll have to address all the fencing issues. Deer protection for the whole place. Chickens out of the garden.

Four of the 12 panels of the screened porch are in place. I underestimated the amount of time and space needed to prime and paint twelve wood doors and their screens. I've settled on a system of addressing three doors at a time and installing them just to get them out of my way. I've been having issues with the paint and primer as well. The primer is a Benjamin Moore oil based and the top coat is water based. The primer was taking forever to dry and it was difficult to apply evenly. I would allow days of drying and it would still feel not 100% dry. The problem is when the latex is applied and dried and then heats up as when the door is exposed to the sun the latex was blistering up in spots. A call to Benjamin Moore was not entirely satisfying. The primer hadn't adequately cured before I applied the latex. The guy on the phone thought that the blisters would suck back down and everything would be ok. I have my doubts. My solution is to give the primer an absurdly long curing time.


helenesheahan said...

Have i said this before? At my advanced age and looking at senility in the eye, preferably the one clear of cataracts,I suppose that I had suggested that you write a book, a primer of sorts, for people that had once been apartment drewellers and are now preparawing to become, "HOME OWNERS".
They need a lot of advice and you are the one to help them "watch paint dry"

helenesheahan said...

hi mike and mich, the excitement with the piglets have brought back many memories of animal chasing on our farm..sheep, pigs and Brownie..I laughed hard at your disasters of will still love the bacon>>MOM