Tuesday, February 14, 2012

VIEW FROM THE COOP!

I am always astonished when people say that they don't think animals have distinct personalities when they are born.  Some people seem to think that we give them their personalities.  I disagree with that.  Even my chickens have their own personality.  Sometimes a particular breed will behave very similarly but they are still each one unique.  I have one rooster (Winston) who feels he is in charge and must assess my every move as I enter the run to feed them.  Frequently, he becomes so concerned he spurs me.  The first time that happened I was shocked at how fast and furious the action was.  It literally took as much time as a blink of the eye. Of course each time he does this I make certain he knows he is not in charge of me by sending him away from me with the inside of my foot,  gently but definitively.  But now I am familiar with is posturing (puffing up and acting very protective) and have learned that he does not like it when I carry unfamiliar objects into the run.  I have one little Polish (Violet) who is very independent and more often than not is off by herself digging holes.  My Welsummer rooster is very fearful and does not like to interact with me at all, the Polish rooster is pretty laid back about it all.  I adore my Welsummer hen (Dot), she is very friendly and is an only child in her "flock".  My first ever chickens are my Americaunas.  They are large and beautiful and have nice friendly personalities.  The Panadasenca hens are all in a flurry and run in a crowd.


Sadly,  very sadly, I had my first chicken loss yesterday.  One of my Americaunas (Latte or Breve, I am not sure) pushed her way out of the run gate as I was going in.  They have all started crowding at the gate and making it very difficult for me to get in without them getting out.  She got herself in a  frenzy and pushed her way out behind me.  My two dogs of course were right on her.  It was awful, but something that is a fact of life when you have chickens and dogs.  There was nothing to do but hope for a quick end to her terror.  My heart was and is broken.  I do everything in my power to keep my chickens all safe and happy and now it is time to reevaluate how I enter the run with treats.  Ho hum,  life with animals is fraught with happiness and heartbreak.


Below is a pic from inside the coop, they are all very curious when I am in there cleaning and can't wait to come in and roll around in the newly fluffed up bedding.






WINTER TIDY UP

As it is still officially mid winter there isn't a tremendous amount of activity going on in the gardens.  However, it is the perfect time to see to the "winter tidy up".  Around here that means quite a lot of heavy lifting and cleaning.  Large limbs fall from the old trees, as well as multiple small branches, leftover leaves and the annual deep cleaning of the wooded areas on the property.  It's amazing how much input Mother Nature has around here.  I have given up the fight with the wild anemone that is here and there.  It insists on being very present.  Following are a couple of pics of the areas I have finished round one with.  The ferns are all natural and it's anyones guess to how long they have existed.  Each year I trim out all of the dead brown fronds and clean the leaves out of the center.  One year my husband thought I should know that they all got along just fine without me doing all of that.  Yes, they did, but did they look this good after being cleaned up?  Hmmm... doubt it.