Friday, January 3, 2014

Chickens or a Dog

The age old question, shall we get a dog or have a family of chickens? Well that was my age old question having always been a dog lover and owner until the demise of our last dog two years ago. I have held off because of the logistics of looking after a puppy when we both work full-time. Reality has won me over so chickens get the vote. 

But chickens need a home.  What an eye opener pricing chicken coops has proven to be, cheap imports on Trademe are readily available but common sense tells me their life will be short lived and I am in for the long haul. Well made coops start at $1017 and then you have to make a run. So what are the solutions?  Talk nicely to the man of the house and buy marine ply, wire and framing, spend two days supervising most of the build, lend a hand when needed, make suitable suggestions and wallah you have the most perfect chook house. Hubby added some lovely touches like the handles that I love and the door that slides up and down with a chain and roller mechanism he designed from the many "bits and pieces" stored in his garage.  We have his and hers garages.

Now once I have applied the red paint, when the weather decides to reinstate summer, I would like to find some chicken decals to apply. Or maybe a metal chicken plaque or a rooster if all else fails.

And you are wondering where the chickens are coming from. Well as luck would have it, I had already decided I wanted Aruacana hens and one visit to Trademe and I found an auction from a Greytown seller. Sunday is the big day for going to collect my four ladies, the seller is away at a wedding this weekend so I have to be patient. And hubby has yet to put the iron on the roof, as I said the weather has been awful, gale force winds that would make trying to handle roofing iron a bit problematic.

While hubby has been building. and when not supervising, I have been gardening. The wind has given my plants hell. My Monty's Surprise apple tree has lost more than half its crop, last year each apple weighed in at 800gms, today five were knocked off by the wind. As I hate to waste them I am going to try and use them as the setting agent for my currants.
I have a wonderful crop of basil, best I have managed to grow here. Will make some pesto with walnuts and cashews - pine nuts are too expensive.
The winds are proving troublesome for my tomatoes, fruit fell off the little salad tomatoes. The beans are doing well, a solid crop will result as long as they get pollinated. The bumbles are out and about but the bees are elusive.

 I harvested my garlic today.  I was so pleased with the results, and the elephant garlic which are the purplish bulbs are a good size.  Can not wait to roast the elephant ones remembering to keep some for next years seeds.

And finally I bandicooted a few new potatoes for dinner tonight with a freshly cut broccoli. Gardening and establishing a new home is very rewarding.

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