Monday, July 01, 2013

Friends, shovelling and... black walnuts??

First off, HAPPY CANADA DAY to my fellow Canadians!

Last weekend, our friends Steve (of Grumpy Penguin fame) and Sarah dropped by for a visit. They let me steal a few photos!

Here's Gordon in the new aviary, I mean, covered duck/chicken run, with our new firehose. Yes, Gordon has a very large hose! ;) The firehose is great for filling up the duck kiddy pools in record time, but you can't leave it unattended for fear of completely draining the barn well!


Mama Emma and her chick were running all over. Steve snapped this just as baby was jumping up on Mum for a ride!



It is SO cute when they do this. Excuse the poop-stained wall. It's right next to a corner perch. I cleaned it yesterday!


Mama helpfully points out some sunflower seeds to her youngster.


A nice pic of me and Steve!


And here's Sarah with Karène, whose babies should hatch in about two weeks. She is sitting on 13 eggs but I'm pretty sure a few of them are duds, as they were really old when she finally started to sit.

And now tto his weekend. Yesterday I finished cleaning out the chicken coop! I did it a bit last week in the early mornings, but the bulk of the work was yesterday. Many, many trips with the wheelbarrow, but I got all those shavings out. We use the deep-litter method in our coop. You keep adding wood shavings over the course of a year, then shovel the whole shebang out annually. I only went 10 months this time and I am going to switch to doing this twice a year so it's less work at one time.


Mama and chick came in to check out my handiwork!


That's not icing sugar. It's food-grade diatomaceous earth!


About as clean as it will ever get.


Yes, I cleaned the windows. I do that  a few times a year. I want my birds to have a good view!



I use an old snow shovel and a wheelbarrow for this job. At the end, I cleaned hay out of the nest
boxes. Beaker decided he'd have a nap in the used hay!


What the hell?!

Black walnuts! I had opened this bag of shavings a few days earlier. Meanwhile, a damn red squirrel hid approximately 25 black walnuts in there. We have six black walnut trees. It's squirrel paradise. Our barn must have 100,000 walnuts stashed away in every nook and cranny!


I put down a few bags of shavings and...


...everyone ran in to check things out!




The chick gets around! 



Then Georgiana and Lavinia joined Beaker in the wheelbarrow.

I am so glad to have the coop all clean and fresh-smelling again!

Meanwhile, Gordon was busy with other things...


No, an aircraft did not crash-land in our garden. There was no tornado.

I bought that birdhouse approximately three years ago. After three years of my nagging, Gordon finally had our carpenter put it up on a sturdy pole. Three days later, the *&!(*&!@#$%!+&**!!! squirrels had gnawed EVERY SINGLE HOLE in the nest box. I am going to buy metal plates to put over the holes. We were already planning on getting a squirrel baffle for the pole, but figured we had some time. Apparently not. 

So my dear thoughtful husband attempted to construct a temporary baffle out of some metal roofing. While his attempt was extremely creative, it remains to be seen whether or not the squirrels will be baffled. I can't walk past the thing without breaking into laughter. I do love that man!


28 comments:

  1. What do they say, "necessity is the mother of invention..." Hubby maybe on to something:-D I love the photo of the chick "piggy-backing" on its mama, so adorable, XOXO

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    1. Plus we can totally put out a barn fire now! ;)

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  2. Lots of cute pics here. Love the mom and baby and the chicken-filled wheel barrow. That coop is so clean you could lie down in there. Love the addition of the colourful dish towels. Adds some hominess. Squirrels are a menace everywhere but I still like them. They plant things all over our backyard. Love the new bird-feeder in all its' glory. Happy Canada Day. I'm off to cat-sit some lucky Canadian cats. Hugs

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    1. THe hens really do seem to like their privacy in the nest boxes, and tea towels make cheap curtains. I replace them when they get grotty!

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  3. I love your photos and your blog!!!!
    =)

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  4. Happy Canada Day from Wisconsin, USA! I wish I was a chicken in your "aviary."

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    1. Thank you so much! I love Wisconsin!!

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  5. Happy Canada Day from Aus. :)
    The picture of the chick clinging to it's mother neck had me wondering if it wasn't a vampire... But then later it wasn't turning to dust in the sunlight, so your flock is safe. ;)

    ... then again... I don't know if those same vampire rules apply to chickens... O.O

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    1. THanks Kristine! :)
      Chick DOES look like a vampire there, doesn't she? Oh dear, maybe I will soon have a whole flock of vampire chickens. Better watch myself when I go down there at night!!

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  6. I love your firehose! I bet that does make quick work of filling up the pools. The coop looks so nice and clean! I use the same method in my coop and just did my big cleaning about a month ago. I love the cute little chick and how much she gets around :)

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    1. My beekeeper buddy works at an plumbing supply place and gets us some cool stuff. He set the whole pump system in our barn with a transfer pump in the well, and plastic piping that doesn't freeze in winter. For summer, we have the firehose so we can fill the outside pools quickly, and do our other cleaning out there too! :)

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  7. Squirrels.. arrgh!
    Love the pic of the chick hitching a ride.

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    1. The squirrels are a bit of a problem right now. I looked out my office window this morning and saw four red squirrels all around one feeder!

      I love it when the chicks ride on Mama's back. They are so agile!

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  8. You are too kind to your birds!!! More people should treat their birds much better as the birds are healthier and happier. I have cleaned a chicken house or two. It's not fun. we had a small laying flock and the roost were only moved once a year so we could clean it.

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    1. My biggest battle is with scaly leg mites. My favourite treatment is Bag Balm, which seems to do a good job of smothering the mites and healing skin. They sure do poop a lot, those chickens!

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  9. You have such fine accommodations for your hens. I hope the appreciate it. My neighbors three hens crossed the wooded lot and were eating the bird seed I put out for the four bachelor turkeys. I was a little concerned that they wandered away from home, but then I remembered the old saying about chickens coming home to roost. So, I'm sure they're OK.

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    1. They seem happy in there! Chickens do know to go home to their roost at dusk, so your neighbours' birds will find their way home. :)

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  10. That coop looks pretty darned clean to me! Of course, the chickens will have been busy rearranging all the shavings.

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    1. You got that right! :)

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  11. Pampered chooks indeed. Mine are far less lucky. Which reminds me; I must clean them out today!

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    1. Soon they will be requesting massages!

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  12. 150% squirrel proof is a metal pipe like you use for the wood stove. And fill the bottom with gravel.

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    1. I'm thinking of getting a .22! ;)

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  13. I need metal holes to cover some bird houses!! I am so peeved cuz my red squirrel gnawed away at two of my wren houses. If you know where you can get some metal covers and /or are ordering some lemme know. I'm in need big time!!

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    1. I found a bunch in England! I'm still looking but I will order some for you when I get mine! Damn squirrels.

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  14. It was so great to get to meet the duck and chicken clan in person! Thanks for making us a part of your blog, and for the terrific visit.

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    1. You are welcome anytime!

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Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!