brianrdu: (Default)
Of course, as I typed that, I just remembered that a friend on Facebook reported they just saw the HBO dramatization of "Grey Gardens" (which I loved), and is calling everybody "chicken" like Big Edie Beale. I need to watch this again ASAP, followed by the original documentary and then "The Beales of Grey Gardens", both of which I currently have on hand via Netflix.

ANYWAY...the framework of my new chicken house is up in my back yard. I went to the Habitat ReStore store and bought a used window (to be mounted sideways on the inner wall of the coop for easy cleaning, etc.) and a used door for the exterior. I'm putting enough dough into it that the guys building it are laughing that it's WAY too fancy for a bunch of chickens. I don't care, bear! I want them safe and secure, and I'd like it to be presentable. We'll see. If it looks like a pile of shit, it won't be for lack of trying.

So far, the mystery plant of 2009 in my compost pile is a potato plant, obviously from a rogue potato skin thrown in there at some point during the winter. This is a welcome surprise, as the past two years, there have been myriad tomatoes (from squeezing plum tomatoes when cooking, and this ends up in the pile) and some previously noted butternut squash (including last year's Audrey, which generated 12 squash, 3 of which are still on my dining room table). I'm trying to talk my parents into making a compost pile. The plants in the yard really love the results when it's added to their environment, much more than just chemical fertilizer. Plus, diverting all that sort of stuff really makes the trash a lot less smelly.
(deleted comment)

Date: 2009-05-04 02:21 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] brianrdu.livejournal.com
Probably at some point, after it's presentable.

Date: 2009-05-04 12:44 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] dturing.livejournal.com
I have a new-found respect for you, sir :)

Date: 2009-05-04 02:20 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] brianrdu.livejournal.com
Really? Just now? lol

Date: 2009-05-04 02:37 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] dturing.livejournal.com
I <3 Grey Gardens, I've toyed with the idea of raising chickens for a while now, and I also am an avid composter :)
I also love all your flickr botanicals!

Date: 2009-05-04 02:38 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] brianrdu.livejournal.com
Aw thanks! I checked out your Flickr stuff, is that your Mom and sister? They are pretty ladies. And your eyes! Wow...

Date: 2009-05-04 12:50 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] restoman.livejournal.com
I have had potatoes growing in my compost pile for several years now. I harvest the ones that get big enough. I used to have pumpkins growing in the compost pile every year, but haven't had any decent sized ones for 4 years.

My friend John, ([livejournal.com profile] jarlsberg71) also started raising chickens this year. Are you doing it for the eggs? ...or for meat? ...or both?

Date: 2009-05-04 02:19 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] brianrdu.livejournal.com
OMG *not* for the meat. These bird will have names!

Date: 2009-05-04 02:20 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] brianrdu.livejournal.com
Birds, that is. I'm thinking three of them will have names like Polly, Dolly, and Molly. Not sure about the other two, as a Mexican friend of mine is naming them. The only thing I said about that is that I have to be able to pronounce them.

Date: 2009-05-04 11:39 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] restoman.livejournal.com
I am relieved to hear that you are naming them. I couldn't picture you slaughtering chickens in the back yard!

Date: 2009-05-04 04:48 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] inbhirnis.livejournal.com
I was going to ask that, too.

I had this vision of you dispatching them, and I was thinking, 'wow - he's so macho!'

Date: 2009-05-04 12:51 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] brokn2pieces.livejournal.com
oh! what kind of chickens are you getting???? I used to raise chickens. Have I told you this?

Date: 2009-05-04 02:18 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] brianrdu.livejournal.com
From what I am told, and this is all I have to go by, three Buff Orpingtons and two Ameraucanas. We'll see.

Date: 2009-05-04 04:05 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] brokn2pieces.livejournal.com
are they chicks? full grown? hens?

Date: 2009-05-04 04:26 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] brianrdu.livejournal.com
They just hatched last week. I told him I want them when they first get feathers, no fuzz.

Date: 2009-05-04 04:31 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] brokn2pieces.livejournal.com
but they're so cute with fuzz!!!
(deleted comment)

Date: 2009-05-04 02:17 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] brianrdu.livejournal.com
I feel so bad when I see those come up...they are really a fish out of water, you know?

Date: 2009-05-04 04:07 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] brokn2pieces.livejournal.com
also, when making a compost pile do you just sort of, you know, pile it up or do you put it in something? i'm concerned about mice and such

Date: 2009-05-04 04:25 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] brianrdu.livejournal.com
Mine's away from the house, about 25 feet away, in full sun. There are 4 old pressure treated posts (used to be a handrail in front of my house, one of the first things to get ripped out when I moved in), with hardware cloth nailed around 3 sides with galvanized U nails. It's sort of like layer cake. There is a layer of scraps (peels, rinsed eggshells, coffee grounds, tea bags), then a layer of grass clippings (in a separate pile on the other side of the yard), then some old compost or dirt, then it starts over. When I get dead leaves, I get them in there too. I always make sure the scraps are buried by other stuff, leaving them on top is an invitation for trouble (raccoons, possums, who knows what else). The pile heats up when it gets going; during the summer, flies lay eggs in it and when I turn it with a pitchfork, there are tons of maggots in it. I don't view this as a bad thing; they are not the gross maggots on meat, they are soldier fly larvae (http://extension.oregonstate.edu/news/story.php?S_No=802&storyType=garde)...I don't consider this a bad thing. Not especially pleasant, but they speed everything up, which is all I care about. In the cooler months, and when the pile isn't as "hot", earthworms show up in it. I let it sit in there for around a year or so, and pretty much empty it out in the spring, when I use it for planting things, mixed into the soil, and also put it around the base of some stuff after disturbing the soil, such as roses. I pretty much use this and Osmacote to make everybody happy.

Date: 2009-05-04 04:32 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] brokn2pieces.livejournal.com
i want to garden with you!

Date: 2009-05-05 01:13 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] mwittier.livejournal.com
Hullo, gardener.

I have been mulling the chicken thing, too. In Minneapolis, you have to get written permission from anyone that lives within 100 feet. One of my immediate neighbors is a doctor, and a bit tightly-wound: she will definitely bring up the avian flu thing, and I am already inclined to tell her to shutup, so I dunno. Also, I worry that I won't be able to travel at all.

I want to name my potential hens (in a way) after my mother and her sisters: Anna, Mary, Jeannie and Martha, only more antagonistically: I want to name them Annabald, Maribald, Jeannibald, and Marthabald. Like Archibald, only feminine. Sort of. So I guess, yeah, if a big part of the reason that I want them is to aggravate my family, maybe I should A) reconsider and B) grow up.

Will you flickr your progress? I hope so.

I have a big ol' rotating compost drum on a stand, because I am impatient like that, so nothing grows in there. Except sweet, earthy black goodness. When I remember to turn the crank.

Stuff is finally sprouting here (late spring this year) so I sit out there a lot and grin at the fern nubs and heuchera stubs. Life is good again, no?

Also: cam4.com: good lord. I felt like a freelance proctologist for a minute.

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