Tuesday, October 12, 2004


I did find those delinquent chickens. I haven’t gotten them going into the coop yet, but I found them. Way HIGH in a tree, so high that even husband can’t knock them down with a 20’ length of water pipe. The first batch of hatchlings are in the process of being integrated into the coop. That means that we find them wherever they are roosting each night and carry them to the coop. It takes about a week or so usually to get them going in. We’ll see what it takes this time. We got the light back on in the coop to keep them laying through the winter so that should help draw the bad wanderlusting chickens back into the coop. The second batch of hatchlings are in the intermediate area, which is just a circle of woven fence covered with mesh they can’t get through with a cover, very temporary but very useful. All the chickens get to see each other that way, get sort of used to each other before the formal process of deciding pecking order.

Pecking order isn’t a big problem with us though. They are so free and have so large an area to roam that it isn’t what it can be in a more confined space. My grandparents kept chickens in a fenced lot with a coop. This was to keep the chickens out of the flowers around the house, and probably more out of the gardens.

I’m always hatching ideas so here is one of my latest: Next growing season to put in a sweet corn patch (with this wonderful non-hybrid open-pollinated sweet corn we’ve been growing, mmmm) with some squash and beans (traditional three sisters) with an eye toward selling them all and seeing how much $$ can be made doing such in a 10X10 area. If I do this, it will be in my current milking area and I’ll just move the hoop shelter. It has lots of manure and bedding that’s been put on not very fertile ground. It is in a corner of the field so I can easily run electric fence around it – but will have to add netting to keep chickens out during the germination until the plants are established.

That corn will be unfamiliar to people. Hybrid super-sweets are so common, and nothing wrong with them. But the old varieties of open-pollinated seed just grow better with fewer inputs. And the taste is really good too – sweet but in a corn way not a sugar way. I’ve never seen that type of sweet corn for sale anywhere.

Another idea is just for my pleasure. I don't get out enough and do the things I love doing. I get "stuck" in the house -- there's cleaning and milk and cheese and cleaning and butter and meals and cleaning and laundry and organization and the computer . . . . And I LOVE the fall, the crispness, the sun, the crunch, the smell of the woods . . . . soooooo I'm gonna get the reins back on Duke's bridle and put the bareback pad on him and go up the road and onto a logging road and off into the woods for hours at a time like I used to do with my friend Angie and our ponies Betsy and Major on the strip jobs and railroads in the coalfields. Oh, I hope so, I hope I really do that.

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