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Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Build - Part 6

By now it's early March.  The Earth is starting to shake off it's winter blues, the days are getting noticeably longer, the days are getting warmer.  Heck, a couple of work days even made it into the 60, and I had to trade my winter coat, for a jacket, and loose the jacket and trade the jeans for shorts.

The on and off blizzards, cold spells, and snow storms were finding it harder and harder to keep a firm hold on the passing season and began to give up altogether. 

As the ground began to really thaw, my thoughts drifted to the non-existent garden and getting that project under way.  I was tired of the build.  The girls were tired of their little coop.  So I let them out to play while I worked. (By now we had purchased a 1962 massey ferguson mf204 tractor and I started tormenting the sod for the garden.)
Just look at the survey crew in action.  Ya, black compost soil and a white chicken.  I didn't think that through.  But she had SO much fun.
 When I didn't work, I planned or shopped.  Because every coop needs bling.

 And honestly, to borrow from Ferris Beuller, "who could possibly expect me to handle work on a day like this?!"


Coop Décor.  I found these great metal rooster and hen cut outs at Hobby lobby and spray painted them white, and lagoon blue and attached them.  I also picked up solar deck lights to illuminate the steps, pop door, people door, and back metal art/window.  I purchased locking jars at a closeout store for mealworms, and coopouri (which I make and might make available to others), and chick grit.  I also found large, metal, red sugar and flour canisters which fit on the exposed studs inside to hold grit and calcium for refilling the PVC supply tubes.

More than anything, I felt like I was puttering on the project.  I still had a deadline.  Remember, I had birds coming.  But I also felt like I had Spring fever.  Remember that from school days?  Your heart just isn't into it anymore, but you keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Funny thing that.  Usually that feeling makes you want to get OUTSIDE and play, but I WAS outside, all day, everyday! LOL. 

Worse than Spring fever though, I caught the dreaded chicken fever!  Chick fever to be precise.  It's a horrible thing all chicken people get.  You don't know when it will strike, but it's usually in February to Mid March.  You'll be minding your own business, walk into the feed store and hear that tiny little "CHEEP, CHEEP" from deep within a store.  Like a nursing mother who can tell in a room full of babies, her own child's cry, you hone in on those giant metal tubes full of cute little, fluffy, wittle, teeny, poofballs.  AGH! I blame my hen Merriweather.  She chose March to go broody.  The sweetest, cutest, sit on your hand, doll of a hen, turned overnight into something that would make Freddie Kruger curl into a ball behind a door and start weeping and sucking his thumb. 

Having no rooster at the time, I thought I'd swap her eggs out for 5 cute little chicks.  She's have none of that.  So I ended up raising 5 fluff butts, dealing with a hormonal hen sitting on fertilized eggs I bought from another friend up the road (Thank you Frank!), and trying to finish this build.

"Here a chick, there a chick, everywhere a chick, chick", now has new meaning to me. I had the main coop (still under construction), the small coop, a broody coop, and a chick coop all going at once.  I was wondering if I was starting to loose my sanity.  (Who am I kidding?  It was gone long ago.)

March is also burning season.  Usually it comes the first decent evening of the year.  You know the one, you can finally crack your windows open for a night's sleep, breathing in that cool, crisp refreshing air, until a skunk -"fresh" out of hibernation wanders by your window at 3am?  Ya, that day.  So it's finally warm enough to open windows during the day and it's burning time.  Farmers burn the stubble in their fields, their rubbish piles, their piles of old trees and shrubs from pasture cleaning, and burn their pastures.  Prairie grass thrives on fire.  It is far more healthy for the grasslands to let it grow for a few years, and then let fire fly through and burn out all of the old grass and thatch that has built up.  Within a week, you can't even tell an area has been burned.  It comes up that fast, and new and fresh.  It was doing it naturally LONG before people were here.  The benefit now is that YOU set the time it burns.  Usually, you pick a nice day, with little or no wind and go for it.  Usually. 
You know that feeling when you are on the way home and you see fire trucks, and you say to yourself, "don't turn, don't let them turn..." and then they turn towards your place?  Ya, not a good feeling.  That happens a lot here.  Wild fires happen.  Accidents happen. Controlled burns get out of control.  One day, coming back home I saw black smoke rising from the neighbor's pasture.  He was clearing, when he hit a rock with the loader bucket and set half the acreage afire.  Another day, I was working on the coop and kept brushing snowflakes from my hair and eyeglasses, before I remembered it was 65 and I was in shorts.  The flakes were ashes from a wildfire on the next acreage. 

The state has been in drought so many years that fire is common, and dangerous, and unpredictable.  Like I said in an earlier post, the Universe has a sense of humor.

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