10.24.2010 Odds and Ends

Today was a day for miscellany. Always first in the morning is the poultry. Feed, water, drag the tractors forward one length and today, leave the hatches open and see what happens. Yesterday, we experimented with the black chicken tractor. The chickens stayed within their netted enclosure and went back inside their tractor just before nightfall. In other words, yesterday, everything worked like it was supposed to. Today, both the black and brown chickens behaved and did what their jobs correctly. The turkeys, however, had to complicate things. (Like I couldn’t see that one coming.) Right out of the gate, two of them went for a test flight and landed outside of the netting. Being the idiot savants they are, they panicked as they tried to charge back through the netting to get to their buddies – over and over again. Pick ’em up, toss ’em over, walk away, sort through the chaos at the end of the day. Not chaos exactly, but Edith was pacing the outside of the fence and the rest were loitering at the end of their run, not roosting at home like proper poultry. My daughter, my dog and I herded them all back into their tractor and put them all on lock down. The good news is feed consumption was way down today. But it was a warm day so the birds weren’t spending a lot of calories trying to ward off the cold. Time will tell.

After spending an hour playing with Ophelia in the round pen and the arena, I managed to fritter away the rest of the day fixing the papasan chair, mucking stalls, hauling wood to the burn pile, moving the brick and rock piles to permanent locations and just some general tidying up. My husband, Michael, strung the wire for the electric fence and by 3:00 the chicken pasture was live. Unfortunately, the charge fails to keep our dog Moose on our side of the fence, which also means hunting dogs won’t be discouraged either. Gonna have to replace all the four strand with woven wire eventually, but that stuff doesn’t come cheap and there are other priorities.

Speaking of Michael, he’s been on a mission to complete the chicken house. In its former life it was the first barn on the property before the big steel quonset hut barn was built. We called it the beer shed because that’s where the former owners kept their recyclables. We stripped it down to the posts and roof over the summer and about two months ago, we hung a floor. There’s not a square angle anywhere on this monstrosity, and Michael said every piece of the framing was custom cut. Today, we began hanging the sheathing. Everyone helped, but mostly it was the menfolk who did the barn raising, as Karina and I had to cut out around 4 to go to her riding lesson. The guys got about half the sheathing up before dark.

Then dinner and more fun with cushaw pumpkin. Two more pies tonight as we tore through the one I made on Friday. I’ve also made three loaves of pumpkin bread and a batch of pumpkin biscuits off this one cushaw and I still have enough left for two more batches of bread. Everyone agrees, the cushaw makes the best pumpkin anything. But I still have two more pumpkins to try out. One is a Jarrahdale the other is most likely a Musque de Provence. Both are reputed to be fabulous for cooking. I wish everyone could have bee guy to bring them such wonderful presents. World would be a much nicer place.

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