I have not been doing anything in the yard lately and it really shows. I don’t feel too bad about it; gardening in 104 degree heat isn’t really sane. But it’s cooled down some and I would really like to get moving on some of my projects. Removing unwanted plants is high on the list. I have one aquatic plant that managed to seed itself in one of the planters and it has several other plants in and around it that are unwanted, most unwanted being a bramble that I let grow because I thought it might be a berry plant. It’s not. It’s a thorn plant. A really thorny plant. Thorns on the undersides of the leaves thorns. I really want to get rid of that monster. It’s dangerous and spreading. I keep trying, but it keeps coming back.
The chickens have now put themselves to bed every day for almost a week. We make a ramp out of an adirondack footstool and a storage box and they work their way up the ramp and into the box when it gets dark. Beats the heck out of chasing them around the yard.
Flies have been kind of a problem, so I ordered a couple of fly traps and some fly trap bait. I filled one of them and hung it this morning. I’m curious to see how well they work. When the bait gets here I’ll make traps out of empty soda bottles and throw them away after I’m done with them. I sure hope this stuff works. It’s been so hot that going outside is extremely unpleasant. I need to get outside in the morning and sweep. I just can’t bring myself to work outside when it’s 104 degrees out.
I tried srouting some wheat seeds for them, which I won’t be doing again. I could see doing someplace that has a real winter, but the girls just pulled of the grass part and ate the seeds. Not worth the effort. And the grain starts to ferment and doesn’t smell all that great.
I’ve been letting them out when I get home. It’s so hot I want to give them the opportunity to find the coolest place in the yard. Yesterday I let them out and when I came outside they were all piled up on a patch of dirt in the planter.
This weekend it was over a hundred degrees outside and nearly a hundred percent humidity. It rained in south of us and north of us, but not on us. So we had all the icky sticky factors of rain, but no actual water.
The chickens had a unique method of dealing with the heat.
I’m having to chicken-proof everything. They eat just about everything. I planted some beans recently and one afternoon saw one of the chickens running around with sprouted bean plant in her beak. We bought several rolls of chicken wire this weekend and it’s going up around everything I don’t want eaten by chickens. Which is
A couple of weeks ago, when we found dead finches in the yard two days in a row I told a friend we were having a bird plague. She thought I meant we were being plagued by birds and I had to explain that no, the birds have a plague. I really didn’t think I was going to be right. I really, really didn’t want to be right.
Reading Cornell webpage was very enlightening. And I saw some hints that the CDC was looking at this as an opportunity to study the way disease spreads. But they ran out of money for the study and stopped. That seems like such a wasted opportunity to me. We have so little real information on the way diseases spread. I’d think any opportunity to add to that knowledge base would be important. I know the data wouldn’t be perfect; data is never perfect and never free of bias but every little bit of information we get fills in a little bit of the big picture. Imperfection just seems like an excuse to do nothing.
And it turns out that there’s good reason to be worried. This
is happening. All across the US. And the disease originated with chickens and turkeys. Don’t want to, but it may be time to stop feeding the birds. This explains so much that I’ve seen over the past couple of years. Birds with swollen eyes. Dead finches in the yard. The link is to a study that’s been halted for lack of funding. I also found the art of one of my favorite bloggers with the article.
I’m really kind of horrified. It doesn’t surprise me at all that it originated with humans. We keep breaking the world in ways that we can’t fix. It worries me a lot.
Life with chickens continues to be a work in progress. We keep trying to refine care so that it goes as smoothly as possible. They are fun to watch though. It's a whole set of animal behaviors that I've never seen up close before. I still think three would have been a much more manageable number, enough to get a reasonable number of eggs, but not so many that it's crowded.
We’ve had a lot of monarchs this year. I’ve been doing my best to encourage them. I pretty much let the milkweed come up where ever it wants; it shows up everywhere. There’s one plant near my chair that’s been chewed to twigs three times. I cut it back, and it sends up new growth in a matter of days and the whole thing starts over again. I think having flying flowers in my yard is worth a few unsightly plants.
A few months ago I had three types of hummingbirds in the yard. A male Anna’s hummingbird laid claim to it and chased most intruders off. Now the only ones I see are rufous hummingbirds. They’re even more territorial than the others. I think they may have a nest in the macadamia nut tree. I’ve been trying to get a picture, but haven’t been successful at all. I can barely get the camera up before they buzz away. I’ll keep trying.