Wednesday, June 25, 2008

chickens need private space too

in an effort to please ms. aflie sunshine, i built a low tech separating barrier in the nesting area. it is constructed from a plastic garden tray and two small cuts of lumber each attached to the plastic tray and each attached to the nesting box.

i am happy with the garden tray. it allows for healthy air flow, it's a cheap fix and the plastic is easy to clean. and if the ladies wish chat while on nest they may.

it seems to have calmed the morning "i want the nest now" chatter to 0%. it was so quiet and calm this morning that i felt slightly alarmed. was it just the new nesting pad that cleared the chatter or was there something else going on at the same time. you never can be too sure so i spent a little time this morning watching the ladies.

i was also concerned because the humidity factor has jumped a bit to the point where you can really feel it in the morning. i want to make sure that they remain cool and healthy. i moved the coop's stuffs around a bit yesterday upon returning home in order to maximize air flow and cool shady resting spots. i did not change much, just a slight shift of where the hanging waterer and feeder are located and a slight shift of the nesting box which opens up access to the cooling fan i have located outside of the coop. the ladies take fan baths during the heat of the day. the fan, the waterer and the shadiest spot are now all in the same proximity. they can gather and rest, no stress to travel between the three for their needs.

it was really good to see the ladies again. granted i was only away a few days but i missed them. they are sweeties and i have grown accustomed to their morning cooing and purring. i love my ladies which means they now officially enter the realm of pet. i knew that would be the way so it's ok. it does mean that if i ever entertain the idea of meat chickens that i'll need to approach their raising in another way. we'll cross that bridge when we need to.

the musk type melons are netting beautifully and growing rapidly - beautiful creatures that they are. the big one (above) is really big, larger than anything i've seen in the store or at the market and it shows no sign or shifting color to yellow as of yet so it's still growing. already i'm dreaming of eating the young thing. patience is a virtue but oh my hard to wait. i will just the same so that the sugars set properly. this type of melon is a fruit that set sugar prior to picking. pick it early and you are out of luck.
this is the smaller musky melon and it's neighboring water melon. both looking just as good but smaller in size. they set later so it's just a mater of time. i placed the plastic beneath all of the melons today after my discovering that the hay i had laid below each was rapidly composting. good for the soil, bad for the melon. the plastic bed keeps the pill bugs and other such melon hungry creatures from eating the young fruit from below. i learned that one the hard way.
here is the very first winter butternut squash. i'm so thrilled and yet cautious. i have not had great luck with squash in central texas. i hope this baby makes it to adulthood, it would be nice. there are several other setting and when they get large enough, i will prep them a little plastic sheet bed as well. fingers crossed for squash...
here's a lovely ancho chilli. give it a few days and it will turn a brilliant red. the size is wonderful. keep on keeping on baby.
and here another cucumber. they are really starting to kick now. my neighbors on the other hand are reporting that their cucumber plants have kicked the bucket. they planted early and harvested early. i planted late and we'll see how it goes. every year is different, you never can tell. i must admit not a single cucumber has made it into the house yet. well correction, one has and only long enough to be cut into snacking size spears. this is not good for the pickle department. the cook has got to get a grip or risk a low pickle season.

the good news is that i've still got a healthy stock of last years pickles. they won't last another year but will cover for now.

that's the morning report. a huge project is due tomorrow and i'm feeling the stress let me tell you. i'm looking forward to 6pm tomorrow when all materials will be out of hand and i'll have replaced project with gin and tonic. the future is bright and folks. chin up!

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