Goofing Off~ Again

Miller Peak

Rain on Miller Peak: Photo by Bruce Wertz

As I write this (Tuesday evening), it’s thundering quite loudly overhead and all around. We can see the rain washing over the mountains across the border and over the Huachucas just behind us. We’re hoping that in all the clouds’ wanderings, they’ll see fit to drop some rain on us! The lightening is so intense right now, we went out and shooed all the birds in. It rained a little bit, but not enough to really wet anything down.   This photo is from Monday, see the peak to the left that isn’t getting any rain? That where we are. The weather is not cooperating with our schedule.But that’s not what’s goofing off…  I am. Continue reading

Odds and Ends Update

Lots of little odds and ends were worked on over the weekend, so we’ll do a point by point update today and just see how far we get.

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Forsythias and Black Locusts around the garden fence.

We took some time this weekend to plant out trees and bushes that we’d been waiting to plant until the rains came. Well, the rains are a bit hit and miss right now, but we’re hoping they get more and more prevalent. So, this weekend (and today) we planted 6 bushes and four trees. By the garden gate we planted two Forsythias on either side along with a Black Locust at each end.  If we can get a goodly number of bushes and trees along the fence lines, it will help with the winds. The trick will be keeping them from desiccating before they’re big enough to stand on their own. Continue reading

Can you believe it’s been a year?

WAAP signYes! One year ago, Sue set out in her Beverly Hillbilly loaded truck with the dogs and cats, to get out here by the time the moving truck made it. What an interesting year it’s been. Since then, to our three dogs, two cats, and one hedgehog, we have added : over 50 chickens – some made it, some did not; a huge coop to keep them all; two chicken tractors; one chick-shaw; two goats; an untold number of yards of manure (of all different kinds); yards and yards of compost; many fruit trees; several bushes; two berm and swale areas; the inverted Hügelkultur semi-circle; a water tank; an amazing tractor; electricity to the Dinky House; water to the fields; and that’s only the beginning. We’ll see where the next year takes us, until then~ there’s always the next project!

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Upside down and before the bottom is finished.

Speaking of that… This week Sue added to the one large Chicken Tractor, to make it more usable out in the fields. It was the one that we sat directly on the ground and would often use for day outings for the chicks as they got older. We also housed Lily’s chickens there during their quarantine time. However, during the monsoon season, we wouldn’t be able to do that because it would flood out and they’d be in the water and mud. So one day Sue and I flipped it over to make it easier for her to work on it during the week, in the mornings, before it got too terribly hot or started to rain. What Sue ended up doing was adding some cross pieces for stability, stapling on chicken wire, so they won’t fall through and so the larger critters

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Still upside down, but with the bottom finished.

can’t get at them, and then putting on some legs to raise it off of the ground. What we’re hoping to be able to do is create a few semi-permanent chicken areas out on the pasture land and put them out there as weather permits, to eat the bugs and the grasses, till up the land a little bit and add their manure to help replenish things. We’ll still use the electric fencing to keep predators away, especially since they will be further away from the house. Soon we’ll try our first five, out by the Dinky House and near Dustin and Alexis. There are a lot of bugs our that way, so the chickens should have a good time with that!

This weekend we hope to accomplish several things, but it always depends on the weather. Belle needs to go to the shot clinic and get her rabies up to date. Sue is going to take Dustin to the Farmers’ Market in Bisbee so he can sell his jewelry (some of his pieces are simply amazing! Take a look.), we may be able to finish the circle garden – I’d still love to add some standing stones- and then plant, I also want to work on the flower bed at the end of the deck; I need to add some brickwork so that the dirt doesn’t continue to wash under the deck and pile up against the house.  Who knows what will actually happen, but whatever it is, we’ll certainly let you know about it right here! Until then, as always~ Thanks for reading!


Today’s Weather: rather cloudy with rain on and off this evening.  Last night we had a great steady rain for a long period of time. This are really beginning to green up here!

Egg Report: Yesterday we had another 11 egg day.  Today: 7.

The Broody Corner Clean-up, with a side of Chicken Caps

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Crazy wall laying chickens!

This is kind of a funny little tidbit. If you’ve been reading the blog for a time, you know we’ve had this issue with the chickens laying eggs in the walls.  It got really out of hand when two of the Buffs went a little broody and the whole corner tarp – that was holding in the hay insulation that Sue had stuffed between the studs this winter – simply came off the wall. Everyone was standing in line to lay their eggs

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The Broody Corner

in what we termed the Broody Corner, AND if the line wait was too long for this favored spot, they would just lay their eggs any ol’ where under the roosting spots. Sometimes they would bury them and you’d have to go rooting around in the hay to find them, or worse you’d just smush them as you stepped through the coop on your daily Egg Hunt. Yesterday, Sue had had enough! Plus, that’s a place that the ducks really would like to nest at night, but the tarp makes it difficult for all three hens to be together. So- some Broody Corner Clean-up was served today. Continue reading

The Monsoons

IMG_1003This was a quiet weekend. Not that we didn’t do things, but that it was just kind of “more of the same”.  Saturday we gave the chickens more room to roam by combining two fences and pulling them out as far as possible – they seemed to enjoy the new territory. Then we worked on planting out the blackberry bushes under the shade of one of the oakIMG_1004 trees, and getting ready to plant out others, into pots, as well. We’ve been collecting horse, goat, cow, and burro manure, along with household scraps and coffee grounds, for a while now, and composting them in bins made from pallets; I mixed up 2/3rds compost and 1/3 dirt for a potting mix/soil additive to use on the plants. By 2pm, I was just done. It was so hot and beginning to get a little muggy, so we simply finished off doing the normal chores and called it a day. We weren’t really expecting rain until midweek, but that night we had some sprinklings… just a taste of what was coming. Continue reading

Week Review

This was an interesting week – the Fourth of July Holiday rather put an interesting twist on the schedule. We passed a quiet Fourth, simply enjoying time with Dustin, Alexis, and the baby. Dustin cook some wonderful ribs on the BBQ! We didn’t leave for the fireworks because we weren’t sure how the dogs and cats would do. Hope your celebrations were fun and safe. The rest of the week has been relatively quiet as well. Here’s just a few samples from this week’s photo opportunities. Continue reading

Have You Ever Heard of Prid?

pridRemember I said I’d be forthcoming on the difficulties as well as the successes? Well, this is a current difficulty that we’re dealing with; Bumblefoot. It is a common ailment in birds kept in captivity. If they injure their foot, they can get this type of infection.  Luckily it is quite treatable at home, and many chicken keepers have had great success treating without surgery.  So, that’s what we’re trying.   Continue reading

Little Things

Sometimes, the challenge for me (as it pertains to this blog) is coming up with something to write about. Not because nothing is happening – there’s always something happening around here – but its hard to come up with big, exciting, interesting happenings. I really don’t like to simply blather along about nothing. So, today, I’m going to quickly talk about a few little things. Nothing major.  Continue reading

Heat Management…

…is there such a thing? If you watch the news or follow The Weather Channel, you’ll know the south west has been having some record high temperatures for this time of year. We’ve been doing ok here, mostly working in the cooler hours of the morning and the evening, but the chickens – they have trouble managing through the heat. We’ve tried to do a few things to help them weather the – well – weather. Continue reading

Prepping for Monsoon Season

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Original Basin

Again, our weekend seemed to go rather quickly. We spent a bit of time doing things that will help us with water management during the monsoons. It was exceedingly hot this weekend and threatening to rain the majority of the time. On Saturday, we started out working on the tree basins, earlier in the morning. We needed to make the basins bigger to hold enough rain water, once the monsoons start, to keep them watered. Some of the trees still had the size basins for when they were first planted – they have actually grown a whole lot this last year, as they were watered regularly. So, before we added more mulch, we wanted to expand or deepen the existing basins for many of the trees. I did the basin work and poor Sue moved the mulch from the depression to each of the IMG_1126trees. I am continually pleased with how the mulch helps keep the moisture in the ground. With the added layer, I’m hoping that we can get down to deep watering the trees only once a week. Once the monsoons start, I’m thinking we won’t need to water at all.  That’s the point of the water-harvesting type measures we’ve been taking. We want to be able to retain as much rain water, on the property, as possible. We want to continually replenish the aqua-fir, by slowing down the run-off and helping it soak back into the ground. Sue has started creating little dams in the lower contour areas that collect and funnel water down our sloping land. Just small rock berms or walls to slow the water and have it take time to soak in before running off the property and down the road. Every little bit will help water retention. Continue reading