The temperature is forecasted to reach 77 degrees today, but it will cool off tomorrow and there are frost warnings for Sunday night. I swear the weather is bipolar–warm one day and chilly the next, up and down, up and down.
We are supposed to get rain today–and possibly storms–but so far radar shows the rain missing us, as it has for the last week or two. It often looks on radar as if a drenching rain is headed straight for us but then it either goes just north of us or dissipates altogether. We really need some rain because it is extremely dry here. I have watered the fruit trees and bushes a few times and this morning EJ set up the hoses and sprinklers in his garden for the early crops that he had planted–peas and such. I’ve been taking the soiled bedding from cleaning the chicks’ cages and spreading it around the fruit trees. Chicken poop is a good fertilizer and I’m hoping the pine chips (which the bedding consists of) will retain moisture for the trees. The bad thing about sandy soil is that water and nutrients quickly drain away.
The two sets of chicks are growing fast. The older chicks are sort of in an “ugly” between stage where they have lost their downy cuteness but have not yet gotten their adult beauty. Yet, I don’t really see them as “ugly.” They have endearing ways of looking up at me when I go into the bathroom and talk to them.
Yikes! I just went into the bathroom to take a photo of the older chicks to include in this post. I removed the grate-lid off their cage to get a better photo. I took my photos and was reaching to put the lid back on when one of the chicks fluttered out of the cage onto the floor! I quickly shut the bathroom door so Hannah Joy and the cats couldn’t get them. I chased after the chick, finally caught it, and put her back in her cage. But before I could put the lid back on, another chick fluttered out. This one got between the wall and the little chicks’ cage where it was hard to reach. I finally caught that bird and got her back in. Whew! I will have to be very careful now when I take the lid off. LOL.
We will likely keep the chicks in the bathroom through June at least–although we will play it by ear. Chicks need extra warmth and food, and special “chick starter” feed to give them the nutrients they need to help them grow big and strong. When I do transfer them to the coop, I will shut them in the small coops in THE Coop so that they and the adult chickens can interact and get used to each other without being able to mingle. That way, when I finally let the chicks out, the adults will view them as part of their flock and are less likely to bully them. I’ve never had a problem with adding new chickens to our flock with this method.
Last week EJ scavenged a kitty litter box (i.e., found it discarded along a road) for me to repurpose as a chicken nesting box. Litter boxes are our hens’ favorite places to lay their eggs. This morning I took it into the coop. I had to rearrange strawbales to fit it in. My activity upset the hens, who just wanted peace to lay their eggs. I suspect they might have been swearing at me so I think it’s a good thing that I don’t know how to speak their language. I’m sure I would have been appalled by the nastiness of their words. They look like such sweet things, but they have no trouble making their displeasure known. I’m hoping that my gift of a THIRD nesting box will smooth their ruffled feathers.
The raccoon showed up early again last night. We are quite sure we saw nipples on her belly so we are certain she is a female. We speculate that she is either due to give birth very soon or she has already. Maybe her babies are sleeping so she ducked out for a quick meal.
I’ve worked on this post off and on for several hours. As I’ve been writing it, dark clouds have moved in and I am hearing rumbles of thunder so maybe we WILL get rain. I sure hope so! I’d prefer a drenching rain rather than a severe thunderstorm.
This morning EJ drove very carefully to the auto parts store. I hope this will solve the problem with the truck. This year has been a bit difficult because as soon as we have solved one problem, we immediately get another. We are glad that if we have to go through difficult times, we have each other because although we get tired sometimes, we try to maintain a positive attitude, support each other, and work towards solving problems. We’ve known people who blame others when things go wrong and problems occur. It’s very unpleasant. EJ and I are a TEAM.