Wednesday, December 1, 2010

At the moment, it is 39F in Palmdale! Ouch! and it is only December 2nd. It may be time to begin looking further South for a place to live. 39F is too cold for December. We normally do not get those temperatures until late in January or early February. We may be in for a cold one. We will have plenty of sunshine today, but it will only reach a High of 70F. We hit our Low of 39F this morning right at Sunrise (6:54am). Our relative humidity is 81% and our dew point is 34F. The Barometer is steady at 30.18. Our winds will come out of the North at 10 to 20 mph. Our Sunset will occur at 5:28PM.

Yesterday, we began the day with a trip over to Todd's to look at the fiberglass shed he has offered us. I measured it up, and we headed to Sebring to get materials. Once we arrived at the Lowes, and I started shopping, it became apparent I was not going to be able to build the coop I had envisioned. The costs were prohibitive. I settled instead on a floor package for Todd's fiberglass shed, and headed south. We made a stop at the Habitat for Humanity and Tractor Supply. We got what we needed to complete the pen, and get a good jump on the laying box (as opposed to a 'coop', which I will build next year). We arrived home, Sherry made Pressed Cuban Sandwiches for lunch, and we started in earnest on the raised beds and varmint proofing the pen. I completed all of the repairs to the kennel, got it in place and everything bolted together. I sprayed undercoating along the bottom rail, and dug a 6" trench all the way around the kennel. Once the trench was dug, and the kennel placed in it, I replaced the dirt, and got started on the wire roof covering. Sherry was working away on the raised beds. She got all of the pole bean starts, tomato starts, squash starts, onion sets, peas, Lima beans, Egg plant, and corn starts, all planted in two raised beds. After she finished, she started filling the two remaining beds. She is quite the worker she is. I got the wire cover on the top of the pen (again, with Sherry's help), and all of the wood blocking done. I have a few things to do on the final varmint proofing, and then I am ready to start the laying box.

Today, I started the day by running over to Todd's to pick up "Pinky the Pig" (Sherry's name, not mine. I was going more for something like Jimmy Dean, as in Sausage). Todd promised he would tell no one of the name. After some time trying, Todd finally roped the sow and held her fast while Ethan jumped into the pen, and captured Little Pinky (which happened to be the first sloat he could get his hands on).
It was quite an effort to get the old sow roped, as she had been lassoed before, and managed to avoid the process for the better part of a quarter of an hour.

The old girl is protecting her litter. She continually rushes the fence, trying to keep us from her little ones.
Here is Pinky the Pig in her new home. She went straight for the chicken feed. Sherry fed her up on Papaya, corn and pizza, as well as the laying mash Pinky got to before the chickens found it.
She went right to the fence and tried to run through it. Once she realized she had no hope of excape, she started rooting around in the pen.
Here is the Donkey we met while collecting our chickens and a rooster at the Gateway Farm, which was little more than a trailer, a corral, and a make shift chicken coop. I was lead to believe I would be able to get some straight run poultry. No chance. We got an Old English Game Hen and Rooster, and two Cochin's. This was $30.00. Normally, you would pay no more than $20.00.
As soon as we got home, Sherry left for the farm store in Lake Placid to purchase the three chickens we saw yesterday. She got all three for $24. This bunch consisted of a Polish, and two Frizzy's (a cock & a hen). A much better deal then we got from the "Gateway Farm".
Once intact, the mixed flock got along surprisingly well. Pinky the Pig ruled the roost, chasing all of the chickens away from the food. The frizzy's and the Polish went straight to scratching in the dirt, as they had been confined to cages for quite some time. The Cochin's and Game Hen were still nerve shattered, having come from a stressful and confined environment. Once they figure it out, they will come to realize they have hit the Poultry Lottery.
Pinky the Pig even went at The Blue Dog. Before it was over, I was scratching Pinky's ears and belly. These razorback's get domesticated quickly.
Two feet in the trough, Pinky dined the entire day.

Once settled in, I went straight to work on the coop/laying box. Todd gave me a wooden shelving unit that consisted of 14-1X12X8 pine boards. Along with the 2X4's I picked up at the Builder's supply this morning, it was pretty much a cinch to throw together the coop.

I dug four holes and installed the landscape ties, attaching them at the top to the pen roof rail I installed yesterday to hold the wire. This served three purposes, 1) stabilize the top rails, 2) fence posts for Pinky's Pen, and 3) corner posts for the coop. After the post were in and fastened, I started on the floor. I installed the frame two feet off of the ground. This will give Pinky the Pig and good covered area to sleep in, should she so choose. Once the floor was on, I went to work on the roof frame. I followed this with the back and side walls, the roof sheathing and half of the front. Night caught up with me, so I was unable to build the laying boxes or the wire door front. Sherry and I collected up the birds, placed them in the box with some bedding, and secured them in.

While all of my work was going on, Sherry was filling the last of the raised beds, as well as making an exceptional meal of Tangy Baked Chicken in Guava sauce with baked sweet potatoes and peas. Wow, what a meal.

All in all, a very productive day. Tomorrow, I'll finish up what is left, and get ready for our show on Saturday.

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