Friday, January 21, 2011

January 21, 2011

Today my youngest was off school (3 day preschool week), and cabin fever had set in.  So despite the rain, he wanted to go outside and run.  I joined him after a bit to make sure he didn't get into trouble, and took care of some "fall" cleanup that didn't get done.  Mostly I cut back dead branches off perennial plants.  I'm still not sure if I want to keep the pineapple sage plant I planted last year.  It grew MUCH bigger than I anticipated and is out of place in my strawberry/blueberry bed.  I may move it or just remove it altogether.  Either way, I started by cutting it back to the ground.  There was no sign of the anisette plant that did so poorly from seed last year. I have more seeds so I can try again, but boy was I disappointed.

Anyway, the real reason I went out there was to look over the likely spot for my chicken coop and primary run.

The coop would go about where that toddler play set is located.  I should get rid of that thing as my 4 year old is too big for it.  I digress... The coop would go against the fence there, and the run would come back towards the camera.  On the left there is a huge rhodie and magnolia tree, with other native ground cover plants surrounding them.  The upside is that there is a dirt covered area surrounding the trees that would partially be within any run.  That would give the birds a dirt area to take dirt baths and a grass area to forage.  I don't care about that grass anyway because I can't get anything good to grow there... too much shade.

On the right side of that area is my spent pear tree and my compost bins.  As you can see, fall/winter storms wrecked my cover.  I should really tidy up, but I'm not sure if I won't use the lumber or corrugated plastic for the coop construction.  Sorry for the mess.  Oh, and I should really rake the leaves into next year's compost pile.  Did I mention I don't care about that grass area? hehe. 

Anyway, having the compost pile right next to the chicken coop has many advantages. One, when I clean the coop I can simply put the soiled bedding into the compost pile.  Droppings need to age about 6 months to not burn plants. Yes, they're that high in nitrogen.  Two, the compost pile could be a great foraging spot for the hens, the piles are teaming with bugs and worms.  Yummers!

Tonight I spent a good deal of time on chicken research.  I read more of my book, found Backyard Chickens dot com and researched free coop materials on craigslist.  Much more work needs to be done, but it's a start.  I also went through all of KitsapFG's chicken posts to see how her experience has been this year with new chickens.  From that I found some great tips, like I shouldn't have got rid of our toddler super gate.  It would have made an excellent portable tractor and teenage pen.  Yet another thing to look into on Craigslist.  I'd say ain't Craigslist wonderful, but so far I've struck out on everything I've looked for.  There's still time though.

In other news, I didn't order my seeds. I'm waiting until Monday when my brother will have his order ready.  I figured I wouldn't gain much shipping time over the weekend and I can't start my tomatoes this weekend anyway, so what's the difference. 

Actually I could start some of my tomatoes early, but I'm not sure I have space for all of them to be babied for months inside.  Just not sure.

Well, that's about it for me.  Enjoy your garden!


  1. That looks like it would be a good location for your new hen operation. Having the compost close by is definitely a good idea. Mine is not close to the hen house and so I have to cart the cleanings a bit of a distance. I may move another bin over by them in the future.

  2. You don't have to worry about the grass area, because the chickens will kill it and it will all be dirt after a while.

    Looks a likely place. Do you have dogs, raccoons, possums, or hawks? Those might determine how structurally tight the run would have to be.