Their little house is here, though, of course, they are not. Pretty cute!
We’d ordered this from Central Oregon Coops, and the owners, Steve and Sarah Herbert, hauled it over to us Friday afternoon on a flat bed. While Steve put the segments together, Sarah told me how they’d gotten into this. Steve was working with his dad in home construction when the great crash of ’08 knocked the business out from under them. He used his skills to build a coop for their back yard, and Sarah was inspired to create a web site to see if there would be a market for them. Turns out, they caught the great back-yard chicken craze that swept the land and he suddenly had so many orders that he was able to make it into a full time job. Sarah went to work for an accounting firm in order to secure health insurance for the family. Nice!
They told us enough about chicken husbandry to turn Larry a little green — like how to “dispose” of the flock when they stop laying. Yep. Wring their necks, toss the bodies into the trash, although one could always use the hatchet on a stump method.
No, you can’t introduce a new adult chicken into the flock if one is lost to an eagle or fox. They’ll kill the new-comer, pecking it to death. If you lose too many, you’ll need to start over next year or buy an established flock. Where to buy established flocks was not made clear. Laying hens are not good to eat, so don’t bother. If a hen gets broody, find her eggs and do not let her try to hatch them. Ever since I mentioned chickens, Pinterest has been tormenting me with advice, but I haven’t noticed any pins about what I suppose is the reality of the thing, see above.
“It’s easy,” Sarah and Steve say as, full of good humor and sunshine, they drive away to leave us alone with our thoughts.
The first of these being that the coop is in the wrong place. We hadn’t visualized it well enough to understand that the roof can’t fit into our orchard, as we’d planned. But next time we see Grant, we’ll ask for his help in moving the structure around to another side of the orchard where it should be more convenient. Then we’ll sail away on our Baltic cruise, putting the acquisition of actual birds off while we see the cities of ancient Europe, and a ballet performance of Swan Lake in St. Petersburg. I don’t anticipate that my college minor in Russian will be useful, though I once imagined that perhaps I would have this very interesting multi-lingual international life. Right. You were young once, too.
Larry’s garden looks lush and productive, from the distance of the driveway. Up close? Well, those zucchini haven’t gotten any better, the second planting beans simply refuse to prosper, the withered tomatoes send out an occasional fruit, and we almost made the mistake of the year. We wanted to continue the fence which lines the road and circles the house to enclose the garden as well. This will be augmented with a hot wire, because the cows will simply lean against the wooden rails to scratch their backs, potentially pushing the whole thing down. All good, and the fence is in place, the hot wire buried to allow machine access through the gate, but with no way for a simple human to get in without taking down two wooden rails lining the drive, unhooking the wire, then repeating the process into the garden. Oops. But Ian figured it out, and will build a man-gate in a corner by the lawn where there is no electric wire. Save!
It’s been so hot, as you probably know. Don’t want to do any work in the daylight hours, but we do love to sit out and watch the sun go down, count the stars. We hired a landscape service to come and provide watering to our porch plants, but, sigh, the system is drowning the geraniums,etc. Fine farmers we turned out to be. Can’t even grow zucchini? Seriously.
But I’ll close with a photo of the sunset I’m talking about. We’re not discouraged!