this past weekend was all about hanging out with our new chickens and working in the garden. we let the girls out of their run to explore the rest of their new home and they seemed to have a great time. they poked their beaks into almost all of the garden areas, but spent most their time around the hydrangea bushes and underneath the bunny hutch. they really loved scratching around the dried leaves under the bushes and in the big pile of hay and compost under the hutch. estelle made herself quite a nest in the hay and when she was tired of that spot, nedra took it over. they’re so silly – estelle mostly buried herself with only her tiny head visible above the nest but nedra sprawled around and squirmed her bottom on the ground to get a good dust bath.
while the girls were out and about, we did some work in and around their coop. we shoveled some of the garden soil around the bottom of the coop to fill in the gaps between the coop bottom and the ground. we cleaned out the run, added more soil to cover the chicken wire at the base of the run and then piled hay back on top of the soil so that chickens have something to scratch around (and poop) in. we set in a few large stones to create a path to the back of the coop and a place to stand and access it for cleaning and egg-gathering. we transplanted some hostas and ferns around the coop and the stones and bought some red cedar mulch to lay down around the plants and stones to pretty up the space. we haven’t laid the mulch down yet but it already looks much better now – more like the beginning of a garden area, rather than a muddy bare spot.
we transplanted in some tomato and pepper seedlings too and gave the garden a good soaking. i mulched in the seedlings with some skirting wool that i picked up during my recent trip to juniper moon farm to keep the moisture in and the weeds out. i also put some chipped christmas tree mulch around the blueberry bushes and strawberry plants, too. there are still things we need to do in the garden (there always are) but yesterday was a good productive day. and the best part was having a beer on the patio and surveying our garden after all our hard work.
getting the ladies back in the coop after their adventure is a bit of a challenge. veronica actually strolled right into the run on her own, as soon as she heard farmer woob say that she was going to try to lure the girls in – she’s clearly the brains of the trio. we tried luring estelle and nedra with cabbage but they’re not that trusting of us yet. and they’re pretty difficult to sneak up on and catch – they escaped easily when we tried to corral them behind the blue hydrangea bush. but in the end, we more or less herded them towards the run entrance and, after one false start when the door wasn’t open enough and they scampered behind the run instead of in it, we managed to convince them that the safest spot to flee was into the run where we wanted them to be.