Monday, October 6, 2008

Speckled egg, tiny transplant, coop expansion

This is the prettiest egg so far from our hens!  This one was Pauline's, but with wonderful, purple-ish spots.  We are buried in eggs right now.  I just gave away 18, and by the end of today there will be 24 more sitting in the fridge.  No matter how beautiful they are, I can't come up with enough ways to cook eggs.  4 a day is just way too many for two people.  Soon the hens should slow down and maybe even stop laying for the winter.  I need to savor the feast of eggs now, in preparation for the possible egg famine.

We have added an expansion to the chicken coop, another 5 x 3 foot section.  This is necessary because their garden foraging is forcing me to keep them penned most of the time now; at least until we can figure out a way to keep them out of the vegetables.  We had not yet roofed the new pen section this morning, but we figured the 6 foot tall wire and relatively narrow space would be enough to keep them in.  No such luck.  Expresso and Lena were casually walking around the yard when I went to leave the house.  A temporary fish netting roof should hold them in until we buy some roofing.

I worked this weekend on salvaging what I could of the vegetable garden.  The chickens had left the broccoli as mere stumps, without a leaf in sight. There were tiny leaf buds forming, however, so I left the stumps in place to see if the plants actually recover.  My husband had put fencing over one part of the garden, so some tiny new kale plants survived.  I spent the weekend transplanting every other tiny plant to a space in the garden left bare by the hens.  The plants were pretty small, as you can see, so I don't know if they will survive.  

I have high hopes that, despite all the setbacks this fall garden has experienced, we will see some very late greens.  I planted some leftover lettuce seeds on Sunday, and plan to order more.  Part of a row of carrots and a few beets also survived under the hen-proof wire, so they remain as well.  Although the hens had nipped the tops off most of the new arugula and russian kale plants, a few retained their growing points, so I thinned out all the decapitated ones, and hope the others fill in.  With the hens restricted to their new coop, there is some hope for my poor garden at last.