Thursday, September 18, 2008

sewing up poultry palace

A week ago I put plastic over part of the chook run but various things meant I didn't get to cover that with shade cloth and secure it strongly. So much of it was flapping around not very usefully by half way through the week.

Today I got out the wool needle and some wool (as well as wire and pliers and twine) and sewed the plastic back on. Then I covered the first third with shade cloth and tied/sewed that on as well.

I set up a plastic plant pot tray with stones on the bottom and then plenty of grit and small rough edged stones and put in the sheltered part. I've made various experiments with making grit available to them but hopefully this one works. One hen layed a shell-less egg this morning so I know she at least is not getting all the calcium she needs.

In the afternoon I watched the three chooks having a dust bath together. I don't think I've seen this before. Quite cute, though I realise that may sound crazy. Now I know where they like to do this (I would have thought it not as dry as they would prefer), I'll put some sand in that corner.

I cleared out the top layer of poo and straw from the chook house. They poo in one end and lay eggs in the other. I'm not sure where exactly they sleep. They roost on the roof of the chook house in the day but they seem to spend nights inside the house part.

I fed the chooks lots of slugs and also some grass grubs and cicadas. I mostly found these as I dug up an area to bury bokashi in. The spot I chose is at the wettest end of the section and was pretty soggy. It isn't prime growing and the bokashi has to go somewhere right now, so I didn't worry overly about compacting wet soil. This area lost it's grass when I left the children's paddling pool on it for two long. It does have sun from 2pm until dusk at the moment though, so that means quite reasonable growing times in summer. More silverbeet will go in there I guess. That copes without full sun quite easily.

I cleared out various pots and made more. The three aloe vera plants are using up valuable sheltered sunny space on the porch windowsill and I've decided to plant them right up against the house in the herb garden. This spot gets very little rain as the eaves protect it, so the aloes may do well there. It greens up the strip where nothing else grows too. The coriander and one pot of lettuces have been evicted from the kitchen window sill. They are on the outside table now and in a couple of days will go in the garden. At least the coriander will, I may keep the lettuces in pots while it is so wet and the ground has so many slugs. I guess it is the slugs who are eating my pea shoots, but some are still surviving and growing.

In the large garden shed, the one with a window large enough to grow things, I have pumpkin and silverbeet seedlings. The silverbeet has gone under the cloche outside and I'm hoping the zucchini seeds will germinate soon.

Inside, I've potted up six basil and four tomato seedlings. I have more to do tomorrow. Like last year, space on the kitchen and study windowsills will be at a premium and the tomatoes will get the best spots.

Finished off the day with a family trip to Hokitika. After some errands, we bought fiosh and chips and ate them at the beach. We watched the waves from the car rather than invite the seagulls to join our feast.

A beautiful, perfect day. Thank you.

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