I had to work this past weekend–it involved a long drive on Friday and returning on Sunday. I loaded up their feeder, filled the watering bucket half full, changed the paper in the crate and left them on their own–the dogs were kenneled–otherwise I’m sure I would have no worries about chickens in the future.
When I arrived home early Sunday afternoon, they still had food and water–but there was fuzzy fluff everywhere–and these little chickies no longer had down—anywhere—just feathers. I took them outside in the crate and let them wander around on the grass—in the crate–they don’t really come when they are called–quite yet. Changed their paper, refilled feeder and water—and then put a handful of grass and some sand in the crate–they still yell….the sky is falling but then they take one look at that grass and dive right in.
Tomorrow they are graduating to their coop====before I retrieve the dogs from their vacation at the kennel.
For some reason I wanted to have backyard chickens. Maybe it was the idea of eggs with nice really yellow yolks or maybe it was just wanting more livestock and a reason to not travel so much. But after we built the chicken coop–we needed to populate it.
Off to Tractor Supply.
There were five or six chicken varieties there including banties–my favorite but Glen wanted larger eggs. So we got four leghorns and two Cornish reds or maybe they were Wyandottes–or maybe that is the same.
The clerk asked me if I wanted any particular ones. I said no–and he just chased them around until he captured the requested number and put them in a cardboard box. I thought we could keep them in one of the dog crates we have–not sure why we had two different sizes. It is still a bit cool in the evenings and so we set them up in the dining room with a watering device and a chick feeder.
Then Toby had to see. She stared at those little chicks–who all screamed–the sky is falling!
We decided the coop would not resist a dog intrigued by these little creatures and so off we went to Tractor Supply again—after going to Cars and Coffee—where I TOUCHED a McLaren–a quarter of a million dollar car—I don’t think I left any fingerprints.
Putting in TPosts is a lot easier with a post driver–but that was at the shop—so Glen went to the shop and collected the driver—we put up a few until I was eaten up by tiny mosquitoes and retreated to the house.
Today I had to clean the dog crate–they all screamed the sky is falling and then WE ARE STARVING!!!!. They now have a clean crate, clean water, and a quarter jar of chicken feed that they dove into.
And if anyone is interested—I photoshopped out the poopie.
This is photographic evidence with no photoshopping or other alterations of a man reading directions.
It was a simple project—buy the kit at Tractor Supply–I had been looking for months, reading, consulting a friend, and trying to remember the ins and outs from my childhood–albeit a few years ago–and in a different climate. This kit was on sale–the company no longer making them–and it seemed sturdy.
I hauled it home in the bed of my F250; Glen backed my truck into the backyard, we used a rope around the end of it to pull it out–it weight 160 pounds a bit more than the neurosurgeon would advise me lifting.
We pulled out the pieces–hunting for the directions–hoping it was originally written in English, not Chinese and then translated to English.
but it was a diagram with numbers.
So now I have a chicken coop with a small enclosed pen. Toby refused to go in carefully keeping her feet outside the doors.
Maybe some chicks this week.
Snow in this part of Texas doesn’t last long—thank goodness for this Yankee who admires it greatly in photographs and for maybe a week or two—but shoveling sidewalks before going to work/school each morning, stocking up for blizzards–this was okay as long as we had electricity and heat–but not so much fun when you had to go to school on Saturday to make up the lost days–and then the mud in the spring.
Snow here means treacherous driving as people here do not understand a light foot on the gas pedal is essential. And it seems that every time we have had snow we have had a significant hurricane.
But Pink Snow—it lasts just a couple of days and presents no driving hazards–just a bit of sadness as the season of the azalea flowers is coming to an end.
This time of year always seems to surprise us–it seems much too early for our yards to be in full bloom. I have three colors of azaleas, white, salmon, and pink.
Satsuma and lemon trees promise a lot of fruit—but my poor peach tree did not survive last summer.
Two weeks ago we split my one hive–it had several queen cells on one frame. There weren’t a lot of things in bloom and so we added four frames of honey to feed them until they could start feeding themselves.
But that means I will need more supers–places to store honey–and maybe even another one or two hive bodies if I need to split again. Splitting is supposed to reduce varroa mite infestation and also to reinvigorate a hive by the growing of a new queen–and hopefully preventing swarming. As the initial hive was a captured swarm–we were more than a bit concerned.
So I ordered unassembled hive bodies, an extra super, and a nuc (a baby hive). And we put them together Sunday morning. Not a bad job–although I had glue all over my fingers and hands. After they dry, I’ll put the foundations in and take them out to the shop to live in the shed until we need them for the hive. I”m hoping for a bumper crop of honey this summer.
My mother always used to ask what we were doing on Sunday afternoons when I would call. She was in Wisconsin and I was either in balmy Augusta Georgia (read frequently sweaty) or in upper coastal Texas where we have a few more ocean breezes (read hurricanes and tornadoes on a too frequent basis).
In January the daffodils and the snowdrops would start poking their heads out of the ground. Sometimes there would be blossoms in early January–those blossoms were surprisingly hardy as one year we had freezing rain–the blossoms were coated with ice and I thought I would have just brown withery things–but the ice melted and the blossoms still smiled and waved gently in the breezes.
This year has been an odd year–I have one azalea already blooming next to the camellia (which did not bloom for either Thanksgiving OR Christmas)
But now the snowdrops are blooming-=-they are usually first and pretty much gone by the time the daffodils burst into bloom–but I now have both daffodils and snowdrops in bloom–with more of them blooming in the next few weeks.
I”m posting this for all of my friends who are still dealing with snow and ice and dreading the mud and flood season.
Two years ago I bought a satsuma tree sapling from the local Master Gardener’s twice yearly sale. I brought it home and put it in the back yard until my husband could return home and plant it. Toby, however, had different ideas. She was sure there was something wonderful buried underneath that tree and dug it out of its pot—along with the huge Christmas cactus.I put them both back in their pots only to come out a bit later and find them dug up again.
Lee, who cuts the grass, happened to be there working on the yard–and so I asked him to plant it somewhere in the front yard where he thougtht it would flourish. It was supposed to go to the shop but that ground out there is very hard and I didn’t think that poor tree would be too happy bare-rooted for another two weeks.
So Lee planted it and it grew—a little bit. We didn’t see many blossoms the next year and no fruit materialized. But this year there were many blossoms and many nubbins of fruit—most of them cast off—but we did harvest about ten total—
There is something about picking a piece of fruit and eating just a few minutes later.
One of the necessary tasks of a beekeeper is hive inspection. Winter is coming and even though this area is not particularly harsh compared to my younger days in Wisconsin, the bees need to be prepared. Some people end up feeding their bees through the winter months as flowers and nectar are not so plentiful as in the summer months.
We always suit up to work the bees—including gloves and veil although by the end of our working, I took off my gloves to work the camera.
LIghting the smoker is always a bit of a challenge–and then there is all that smoke—–and then the bees become alarmed and start flying around—more concerned and confused than angry or upset.
First cover is taken off, more smoke, and then the inner cover. The hive tool–a miniature crowbar is used to to r pry the parts of the hive apart– frames are lifted out and inspected. We discover–some nectar in the top box, the second box is loaded with honey but no brood. We stopped there–the last time we inspected brood the queen flew away.
No varroa mites, no hive beetles and a box full of honey—we didn’t turn the doorway to the smaller opening but it is still 80 degrees during the day—
But look at the pollen the girls are bringing back into the hive–all to feed the brood in the spring.
More photos are here: https://sylviaweirphotos.smugmug.com/Bees/
This week’s assignment was to photograph something that would take some time to guess the object.
I knew immediately what item I would photograph—and here it is….
Can you guess what this is?
It is clay pellets designed for orchid potting and this is one of my orchids that is now resting after a six month bloom earlier this year.