Many years ago, my sister gave me this beautiful garden chair as a gift.
I love it. The rustic look and bird theme perfectly suited my style. I often sat in this chair and quietly appreciated my garden and the many feathered friends whom visited my yard for food, water and shelter. All these years later it is weathered and the wood is rotting out. I knew I would have to dispose of it soon.
Many years ago, my sister gave me this beautiful garden chair as a gift.
This picture is of my niece Sophia. Four years ago when she first came to meet the hens, she was small enough to sit in the henhouse and show us her best chicken imitation, bawk, bawking and all! Four years later, she is maturing into a fine young tween and prefers to cuddle the hens.
Sophie and her two sisters, came up with the cleaver names for the hens which seem to match their personalities perfectly. It amazes me that four years have passed by, but the difference in both sets of girls (hens and nieces) are obvious when flicking thru pictures. Although the changes are evident on the outside, they are still the same sweet loving creatures on the inside.
Four years later, I am still enthusiastic to share my hobby with anyone whom is/would be interested in keeping a backyard flock. I enjoy having guest come to see my set up and walk them thru the fundamentals of keeping poultry. Food, shelter and water are the basics. After the initial set up, the daily routine can be minimal. You can be as fancy and creative with the design of the coop or keep it simplistic. However it functions best for you is key to being successful.
A backyard flock is much more than chickens, eggs and compost. It is hours of enjoyment!
It’s been wild kingdom around here. Spring comes alive not only in the garden but with wildlife. It’s mating season. There’s been large flocks of wild turkeys, including toms seen on empty fields along our street. Unfortunately, I’ve seen many dead turkeys on the highway lately too.
This week we attended a Coyote presentation given by our town’s Animal Control Officer. Coyote are very active and sightings are frequent this time of year. They are rearing their pups and hunting for food. Most conflicts between humans and coyote can be avoided buy using common sense. Don’t let pets run loose and keep anything that could be used as a food source safely stored away. Never feed coyotes!
A sure sign of spring is the return of the osprey, a fish hawk that summers on cape cod (they’re back). And now I await the return of the ruby throated hummingbird, the northern oriole and many other birds that come up from the south (no sightings yet). But the hummingbird feeders are filled and I’ll set out orange halves for the orioles once they arrive.
I maintain a healthy respect for nature and wildlife. I love to see animals in their natural environment but am always cautious and never interfere. It’s all about respect!
Happy Easter, Happy Spring
Happy, Happy Everything!
Spring is synonymous with Easter. And Easter is synonymous with pastel colors, eggs, rabbits and baby chicks. This time of year is a renewal in so many ways. Nature is abuzz with activity, Shoots in the garden are sprouting, birds are singing and busy nest building and the hens are back to laying eggs.
It’s a happy and transitional time of year for us humans too. We switch out our wardrobes to summer clothes. We spend more time outdoors and relish in the sunshine. We do our ‘spring’ cleaning and tend to our gardens and yards. We’re much more physically active. And it shows in our renewed attitudes.
I hope you have a great day and enjoy the sunshine!
Today is St. Patrick’s Day and in the old days ‘top o’ the morning to you’ was an Irish greeting wishing you the best part of the morning. To which you’d reply, “and the rest of the day to yourself.” But generally, today in Ireland, the greeting has been replaced with plain old “good morning”.
I’m festive on St. Patrick’s day and celebrate all things Irish. Wearing of the green, corned beef and cabbage dinner and listening to traditional Irish music are some ways I’ll spend my day.
Planting peas on St. Pat’s Day is a long honored tradition in New England. Peas are a cool weather crop. This year I am planting both sugar snap and garden sweet varieties. The hens benefit from the early crop plantings, they’ll get the many bugs and worms I’ll collect for them while working the soil. Another thing I do for the hens on St. Patrick’s Day is hang a cabbage in the run for the hens to joust. It’ll keep them happy, active and busy.
Almost four years ago when I first discovered the concept of keeping a backyard flock there were no henhouses easily to be found nearby. I searched online and found my henhouse in the Amish country of Pennsylvania. Beautifully built it was shipped to me on a flat bed truck. Things have changed since then and backyard poultry keeping is now a very popular phenomenon.
My backyard flock provides me with not only fresh eggs, but the comfort of knowing that the hens are humanely treated and organically feed. I also receive terrific compost, pest control and hours of fun and entertainment from the chickens.
Over the winter months, I peruse gardening books and catalogs and plan the changes and work I will do to my garden. This is when/how I discovered incorporating a small backyard flock. My hens are going on four years old and no longer lay eggs as they did during their prime at the age of two years old. This is when a true farmer would cull the chickens to make room for younger productive hens. My girls are still delightful pets so they will be well taken care of into their old age and die a natural death. It would be too difficult and risky to add new hens to this cohesive flock.
What I like about this coop is it is prebuilt and aesthetically pleasing. A good size for my needs (I keep small flocks). Walk in/stand up to clean the run. The henhouse has windows and vents, nesting boxes and roost. All latches are good quality hardware. There’s a hatch for collecting eggs from outside the henhouse. We would change the screening from the existing 1″x 1″ mesh to 1/4″ galvanized hardware cloth all around. We would also bump out and expand the run to make it at least six feet longer. DH can easily make these renovations. Even though it is advertised for 6-10 chickens I would keep no more than 4 hens. It’s important not to crowd the birds.
Having a safe and secure coop avoids alot of problems in the future. Our yard is not fenced in and is surrounded by woods. We have often seen coyote in the yard. Just recently, one morning at early dawn we were alarmed to see two coyote together leisurely wandering about. But by planning ahead and taking precautions chicken keeping can be an awarding and safe experience all around.
This photo is of my garden entrance taken in 2010. I love this photo and look at it often especially this time of year when the weather is so cold and snowy. I look forward to spring and what will become of the desolate backyard.
Yesterday, a dear friend took me totally by surprise when she presented to me this oil painting of the photo. She commissioned a young talented artist from Rhode Island. She knows how proud I am and the pleasure I get from working the grounds. Her thoughtfulness and this special gift means more to me than words can say!
After being in the deep freeze for the last few days, it’s good to be outside in the brilliant sunshine today. We are Buff Orpingtons and although we are a breed that is winter hardy for the Northeast, our keeper took precautions in these single digit temperatures. We were kept indoors until the sun was shining in the coop and the temperature reached 20 degrees. There’s been no fresh greens or grapes or melons or cucumber treats as they would freeze as soon as they were being served. But today, we’re happy to share our scratch, take a dust bath and sit in the sun. The extended forecast shows warmer temperatures are in our future.