23 September 2011

We have had a busy week in our garden again this week. Spring break for Sandra, means she has wanted to get a few things done, both indoors and outdoors while she has some time off from attending classes. She has tidied her study and now it puts mine to shame! *blush*
In the garden, Sandra dug a new garden bed, but sadly, the place where it is located has very poor soil, so that has been a bit of a wasted effort. I don’t know if we will just let it grow over with grass again, or try and build up the soil. We used the chickens to help with the work of digging, by setting up a temporary tractor for them using garden stakes and some netting we bought cheap from the reject shop. We draped an old piece of shadecloth over it. The end result was makeshift, but was sufficient just to keep them pnned there for the day while they scratched over the ground.

Maybe the lack of digging and scratching by the hens should have alerted us that this soil was pretty lacklustre. Oh well, live and learn.
So, now we need to find an alternate location to plant some more veges and try to build up this area’s soil as our ultimate aim is to have the vege garden close to the house so that it is easy to get fresh produce for the kitchen.
Sandra also created a compost bin from one of the plastic garbage cans we bought from Bunnings with the gift vouchers I received for my birthday in August. She cut the bottom out of the bin so we could then turn it upside down to use as a compost bin. and the lid now sits nicely on the ‘top’ (what used to be the bottom) of the inverted bin. There are some grass clippings in here already and next time the Bokashi is full, I will put the contents into this bin with some soil so that it can break down into compost.
The chair standing behind the compost bin is to protect newly planted choko vines which we have put in here to train them over the chicken coops for shade for the hens in summer.
Of course, this compost bin may end up being a smelly, slimy failure so we have a backup plan in case that happens.
This is your common, garden variety compost heap just grass clippings at the moment, but I will soon be adding deep litter from our chicken coops to this as I am about to clean out the roost and run and replace the litter with fresh litter for the warmer months. I use a deep litter system as it only requires cleaning about twice yearly. In between clean outs I just add new litter on the top whenever the pens start to get a bit smelly. The chickens keep it turned over with their scratching around in the run. They can be encouraged to scratch more by tossing some grain down on the floor once a week.
On Wednesday afternoon, a courier delivered a dozen fertile eggs which I had ordered for our broody hen, Bertha. I had been anxiously awaiting their arrival and keeping close to the house whilst Sandra worked on compost bins, heaps, and garden beds. We eagerly opened to package to find that, sadly, two of the eggs got broken in transit. They were quite crushed, but the other ten were in good condition. We placed them in the bathroom on the counter to rest for twenty-four hours before putting them under our hen.
I put the fertile eggs under her about 6:30 last night. She is such a patient hen and didn’t fuss about me slipping 10 eggs under her. She just soflty clucked: “buk-book-buk buk-book-buk?” as though gently welcoming each new egg. She’s such a good chookie, I really hope these eggs hatch for her.

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