Sunday, September 30, 2012

Heavy Rain!

This is what happens when we have a heavy rain for an hour or two.

I have a ditch on the side of my house, and, when we have a hard, strong rain, this is what happens.

The water rose to the property line, but, once the heavy rain stopped, the water began receding.

Below, one of my Leghorns laid an egg in the fire pit and sat there for about 20 minutes, keeping it dry.

We've had a worrisome morning.  I'm afraid the girls are going to be swept away by the water, since they love to go down in the ditch to forage.  Henry the roo has been keeping an eye on them, though.

Really, I don't know of anything more contrary than a wet hen.  They've been fussy for two days!

Hope you stay high and dry!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Chickens in the Driveway...

I have a Barred Rock hen, one of the Henriettas, who likes to walk on the wild side.  I constantly have to chase her from the front yard to the back, so I've named her "Miss Adventure" for her tendency to wander off in search of new pastures. At least I'm exercising more!  Wrangling chickens is a demanding job!

Yesterday, while I was reading drafts from several of my classes, I heard something--not loud, but rather metallic.  I thought, perhaps, the acorns were falling on the roof of the shed, which makes a nice pinging sound.  I looked out and discovered that several limbs had fallen from the Oak tree in the middle of the yard.  Not that unusual--limbs fall all the time.  But these limbs fell on the Henriettas' chicken run, flattening it to the ground.

Poor Henry the Roo was in the run by himself, but he's okay.  He did manage, though, to make it out into the  yard with ALL the hens!  He's having a great time chasing them.  And he's awfully proud of his prowess, too, judging by all the crowing he's doing.

This is Lydia, a Barred Rock mix.  Barred Rocks lay brown eggs, but Lydia's eggs are white.

Mrs. Bennet.  She's a Red Sex Link.  She lays brown eggs.

The Brahmas, aka The Dashwoods, Marianne and Elinor.  They lay brown eggs.

One of the Henriettas--this one is a Buff Orpington.  She lays brown eggs.

 A view of the collapsed run and some of the limbs that brought it down.

Another view.  You really can't see all the limbs in this, but I figure three large limbs came down, as well as a few smaller ones.

And yet another view. All in all, a mess, and a time-consuming repair.

Even my best-laid plans go awry.  But, in the midst of reading/grading, I need a break.  This wasn't quite the break I was looking for!

All's well, though.  The run is functional, though they don't usually spend much time in it, except when I go the the University to teach.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

A New Post, Finally!

Since FB came on the scene, I've been terrible at keeping up with my blog.  FB is too easy; keeping a blog is difficult, and I've become accustomed to short, pithy posts, as opposed to long, considered ones.  But I shall try to post once a week for my students' benefit.

Aside from the weather, I like summer.  I usually teach one course online, so I can legitimately stay home all summer, interact with the chickens, and just generally do whatever I want.  I drive when I want to, which amounts to maybe a trip into Shreveport to see my parents, or have lunch with a friend, or maybe I'll drive down to the Brookshire's in Natchitoches. I don't use up much gas during the summer; I've been known to fill up my car maybe three times in two months.  Works for me.

Then comes the fall semester, and, depending on how many trips I have to make into Shreveport, I fill up my car twice a week.  I have a seven-year-old Mazda, which gets decent gas mileage on long trips, but these weekly forays to teach my class seem to drink more gas than I like.  I use three gallons of gas, at least, to make my round-trip each time I go into town.  It seems excessive, and, considering gas prices, I tend to not drive any more than I need to.

I plant gardens in all seasons.  The summer garden did well until the heat of August.  I had a nice crop of tomatoes, cucumbers, and pumpkins, but the squash and beans withered, thanks to squash bugs.  The eggplant is just now starting to bloom.  The same thing happened with the eggplant last year--in September and October, I had more than I could reasonably eat, so I gave a bunch of it away.

I try to garden organically. I don't use chemical sprays on anything I'm going to eat, and I expect some attrition--I don't mind sharing with the bugs, to an extent.  When I do spray, I usually use a spray I've mixed myself from natural ingredients--apple cider vinegar, hot sauce, and castile soap.  It works, most of the time. If it doesn't, I use Neem oil-based sprays.  Again, organic.

In addition to the eggplant, I still have some greens and (mangled) brussels sprouts (the chickens like to peck at them), and I've planted some fall tomatoes, cabbage, and broccoli. A few of the watermelon vines are hanging on with blooms, but I don't think they'll produce anything. I have a number of herbs growing, as well.

The chickens have been laying fairly well, producing usually 5 - 8 eggs a day.  From 10 hens, that's not bad. I'm glad I have family and friends who like eggs!

That's about it for this post.  This tells you most about what occupies my time and my thoughts--though I didn't include all the grading I do.  With three writing classes and a fiction class, I spend a great deal of time grading/reading.

It's a life!