After Vacation

My wife and I, to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, took a 2 week vacation.  We don’t normally take a full 2 weeks off, ever.  But, we did.  There were too many things to do before we left and some didn’t get done.  The important one, of enlarging and securing the chicken run was priority #1.  We didn’t know if any of our chicken sitters, (we had three sitters stopping by to check on our flock) would be brave enough to let them free-range for a bit.  So having a larger run for them was important to us.  Peter, our neighbor, did let them free-range a couple of times while it was his watch.  Thanks Peter.

Son, David, split the days with Peter and doesn’t think he will need eggs for a while.  Thanks Dave.

And my wife’s friend Robin stopped by as she could to bring them special treats.  Thanks Robin.

We were gone for 15 days and didn’t have easy internet access.  My wife had her phone, me, I’m a dinosaur, I need a keyboard and a large screen.  So, I went cold-turkey for 2 weeks, no blogging and no e-mail.  Actually we need to add 2 more days without internet service.  While we were away, a large piece of an oak tree came down on our service wires.  The electric company had repaired their wires but our Verizon service was still out.  All is working again.

Two weeks away was almost too much for the both of us, we were ready to go home and see how our chickens were doing.  They survived just fine.  We did come back to FALL,DSCF0262 the leaves have changed colors and are falling, the nights are getting colder and the days are getting shorter.  The garden is winding down for the season and I have been letting the ladies and Jack into the gardens to do their fall clean-up.DSCF0261

They are happy chickens, the garden is full of earthworms, grubs and the soil is easy digging. They first stuff themselves on the worms and grubs before moving on to the salad.  Carrot greens, kale and turnip greens are their favorites.

I played in my strawberry bed today.  This bed is roughly 3′ by 12′ and divided into four  3′ by 3′ sections with a screened cover.  Those of you who read this blog know that this setup hasn’t been very successful.  I am still hopeful.   The screen cover protects the plants from the deer and keeps the chipmunks away from the ripe berries, (should I ever get any).  BUT, this cover also protects the grubs from birds, chickens, skunks and anything else that may eat them and they are thriving.  So much so that they will eat all of the strawberry plants roots and the plant dies.  Three of the sections are doing poorly so I removed the cover, pulled a few weeds and cultivated around the plants.  The grubs were plentiful.  The picture is of the grubs that I picked from just one of the sections and I know I didn’t get all of them.DSCF0250

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strawberry bed

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strawberry bed

I need to figure out how to let my chickens into the strawberry bed without them digging up the plants.  Suggestions anyone??

I did a rough draft of this post in my backyard, sitting in a lawn chair, in front of my garden watching my helpers do their fall cleanup.  A very pleasant way to spend an afternoon.  Well, some of it.

It is good to be home and the chickens missed us.  They put this sign up on their run.

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Ed

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16 comments
  1. Glad to have helped. I’ve definitely got at least another week of eggs for breakfast and lunch unless the kids start eating them again. Guenevere did scarf down 2 scrambled this morning though, so maybe it will go more quickly.

  2. Clever chickens, making that sign. It’s nice to read about other whacky people who miss chickens when they are away. There was a time in my life when that would have been incomprehensible, now I feel your anxiety when you’re gone for too long.

    Strawberry+chicken is not a great combination. Mine got into my strawberry bed a few (dozen) times. Honestly, they didn’t do too much damage and generally moved on before I even caught them. I think strawberry leaves aren’t tasty, neither are their roots (of course a red berry is an open invitation). And either my berries had no yummy crawlies living underneath, the plants were too dense to make digging easy or more tasty fodder was to be found elsewhere because I had to look hard to find where my girls had been. I wish I could be more constructive. I will watch with interest to see what you decide to do.

    • I think my deer would disagree with you about strawberry leaves. They find them to be delicious! They always eat them all when they come, sometimes leaving the berries! How odd is that?

      • I have left the cover off at night and in the morning it looked like a lawnmower had gone over the strawberries. Darn deer.
        Ed

    • You think this is “wacky”?? I thought it was normal. RIGHT!!
      I think the dense planting would help, it’s getting to that point that I’m having trouble with. The soil is so loose and soft in this bed that the plants pull out easily, especially if the grubs have eaten some of the roots. I may try compressing the soil more. Some days I think gardening is “wacky”.
      Ed

      • Yeah, it’s wacky. But now I see you are doing a 6 month hike, maybe I need to reset my wacky meter!

      • Laura, husbands don’t need wacky meters, we have our wives to tell us when something is wacky.

      • I’m guessing you’re getting an earful then with your 6 month trek!

      • Actually, No I’m not. Lil does not understand why anyone would want to do this. But, she is supportive of my trek.

      • Which makes her a wacky-enabler – there are worse things a wife can be 🙂

      • “wacky-enabler”, I think it makes her a great partner. Are you giving hubby this much grief?? He may not come back after 5 weeks.
        Ed

      • I tried giving hubby grief, working as hard as I could on his guilt. Unfortunately he was born without a guilt gland so now I have given up and am being supportive. Talk about disappointing! If he’s going to have all that fun out in the wild with a few wacky people, surely the least he can do is give me a bit of fun at home by squirming when I look at him with my miserable face. Men!

  3. And it is ridiculous that we miss our chickens too much to travel..but it seems to be the case. Hope you had a fun trip. Maybe next time will be easier.

    • I don’t miss them enough not to travel. But there is a want to get back to my kingdom to see how my subjects are doing. Maybe it is a fear that they will revolt in my absence. Had a wonderful trip, next one I’m walking though.
      Ed

  4. When we vacationed last fall I definitely missed the farm as a whole. It was surprising during the evacuation what we each missed the most. For me it was absolutely the chickens. Husband it was his sheep (still missing those), oldest son the rabbits, oldest daughter it was/is the sheep, and the younger two it is the cow (both allergic to milk except raw from the cow so they are having to drink almond milk right now). I guess our farm has a little bit for everyone.

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