"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority ... the Constitution was made to guard against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." - Noah Webster

"There is no worse tyranny than forcing a man to pay for what he does not want just because you think it would be good for him."
-- Robert A. Heinlein

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Things Are Jumpin'

There are some pretty mundane and even unpleasant chores on the farm. Cleaning the chicken coops, or arks is certainly one of them.  But it's actually more pleasant to clean them out with the bedding of straw or pine shavings than to clean the ground.  The plant matter bedding absorbs most of the moisture and limits the amount of contact my hands have to have directly with the feces.

I move the arks around the yard by lifting an end and putting the axle under it, and then picking up the handles and rolling it onto a fresh area of grass and clover.  But after a days worth of scratchin' and poopin'. I've got an area that's rich in fertilizer.  Since we've only been here just over a year, I'm still dealing with a lot of stuff left over from the previous owners.  One being what originally was a circular driveway of granite gravel, or what is known in the building trade in these parts as "crushed run."  But you see, I didn't know it was there  until this spring.  It was laid down years ago when the black walnut I cut down was just a sapling, I would guess.  When I cut down the walnut, which, last year was over a foot in diameter, there was grass and weeds blanketing the entire yard and the chickens had not had months of free-ranging over the area to scratch it all up.
Before chicken ark sat over it . . . . . . . . . . . After chicken ark sat over it

Then the heavy rains came and eroded down the scant soil that had collected at the base of the heartier weeds and subsequently covered over the gravel.  I had previously placed all the blame on the enzymes emitted by the black walnut for why nothing of value could grow in that area.  It was only part of the problem.  Now I have to deal with all that gravel.  So I park the arks over the areas where there are some decent weeds for the chickens to eat and when they have scratched through it all and loosened up the rocks, I move the arks to new spots and then pick through the poop and soil and unedible weeds and get the rocks out and dump them in the driveway.

Eventually, over a couple or three years, I will have eliminated most of the rocks and the soil will slowly have been reconditioned to grow some decent clover and grass and maybe even some grains.  After I've picked out the rocks, I rake up what's left of the organic remains and the blended chicken feces and either dump it in the compost bin or put it directly on certain plants as mulch.  Some plants can handle it, such as tomatoes.  Other plants might be too tender for it.

This morning, I had moved the arks, fed them cracked corn, and filled the water containers and was proceeding to pick rocks.  There I was, squatting down, focused on sifting and picking. I'm squatting because I'm wearing shorts that stop well above my knees and I really don't care to put my bare skinned knees in dirt that has chicken feces in it.  So there I am, balancing on the balls of my feet, even though it can get tiring pretty quick.  Out of the corner of my right eye, I see the mighty hunter, B'wana (a.k.a. "Pickles") trotting toward me with what seems to be a limp chipmunk in his mouth, as if to say, "Daddy, look whut I brung ya!"  Then he drops it in front of me.
A previous kill 

Chipmunk wasn't dead.  Chipmunk figures this is a good time to run for cover.  The only thing that seems like cover is the farmer squatting in the middle of the yard, barely one foot from where he'd been unceremoniously dumped by the cruel feline.  By the time he was coming across my shoe, I was moving to the erect position so fast I think most of the blood in my brain was pulling G's to my abdomen.  I think the chipmunk then realized that moving cover is no cover at all and headed for the nearest maple tree, and the cat thought, "Oh goody, play time isn't quite over!"

It's not that I'm all that scared of rodents of any kind.  But they do have sharp little incisors and their little jaws are powerful enough to open up walnuts.  The idea of that little critter having found his way into the leg opening of my shorts is something that my brain processed in about one tenth of one second at the moment his little paws touched my shoe.

So, that's the fun moment of the day.

Shalom Y'all

1 comment:

Please don't make me disable comments because you couldn't maintain decorum and civil discourse. You can disagree all you want to, just don't get nasty.