Sunday, December 5, 2010

Today it was generally clear, with a High of 75F. The relative humidity is 60% and the Dew Point is 55F. The barometer fell to 29.97. Our winds were out of the North/Northwest at 10 to 15 MPH. The sunrise came at 6:58AM this morning, and set this evening at 5:29PM. A cold front came through this afternoon between 2PM and 4PM. We had some rain with it, but the temperatures did not drop that noticeably. However our temperature tonight is predicted to drop to a Low of 39F. The coming week is to bring temperatures in the mid-20'sF. This is extreme for South Central Florida, especially in early December.

Today we cleaned up around the yard, installed tempered glass panels on the top oif the coop (for waterproofing) and built a platform for the coop. I sprayed the citrus as the bugs are feeding up in front of the cold front. We covered up all of the really sensitive plants. We built frames around the banana's and papaya's. We covered up the coffee tree, the orchids, the staghorn ferns, the star fruit, the mango, the pomegranate, and many other sensitive plants. We did not cover the citrus, although by tomorrow night we will probably have to, if the predicted Low of 30F is correct. This is a grueling process. We have over 25 citrus trees, plus many other tropical fruit and nut trees. This is in addition to the many Palms, Bird of Paradise, Dutchman's Pipe, Lilly's and other tropical and sub tropical species sprinkled throughout the yard. It is impossible to keep up with. However, we have so much time and money invested in these plantings, it is hard to stand idly by and watch as they all succumb to the cold. Mostly, they die down, and in a year or so they come back, much reduced from their original size. So, we will see what Old Man Winter has in store for us.
At 3:00PMn we headed over to the Prevatts for cake and ice cream, in celebration of Ethan's Birthday. The Grandparents, and Great-Grandparents were there, as well as Bill and his brother Mathew. Nancy makes a beautiful cake. We all jumped in and it vanished in no time. Nancy made Jess & John's wedding cake, and my birthday cake last year. I love her cake, and told her I was going to get married again, just to get the cake. Maybe in January...

We got back home and checked on the chickens. I had built a platform and placed it at the entrance to the coop about 6-inches off of the ground. The Frizzy's are unable to jump/fly to the coop entrance (I elevated the coop, 24" off of the ground, so Pinky the Pig had a manger to sleep in on cold nights), so a mid-level step was necessary. We watched as the Frizzy's tried, to no avail, to jump the 6-inches to the mid level step (they have a vertical leap of about 1-inch). I quickly threw together a couple of ramps and temporarily placed them on the coop. They worked! The Frizzy's made it into the coop on their own. This is a milestone in the flock's development. It is important the birds go to roost at night, and can get in to the laying boxes during the day, should the need arise. The one thing we do not want is to have the birds lying their eggs in Pinky's manger. This would present two problems; 1) it would necessitate crawling into the manger to get the eggs, and 2) Pinky the Pig would soon develop a taste for eggs, neither of which is a good situation if you want to collect eggs. So the hens must be made to go to the coop, and their laying boxes to lay their eggs. This is not difficult with 'normal' chickens, but the Frizzy's are vertically impaired, and so get special dispensation. Tomorrow, we will build a more permanent ramp for the Frizzy's, and, once the flower bed is complete, be done with the chicken coop. At the rate of $2.00 / dozen (the going rate for fresh eggs in Palmdale) we will need to collect only 176 dozen eggs, or 352 eggs per chicken to make the coop begin to pay. At this rate, the coop, pen, chickens, and all of the furnishings should be paid for by the time I am 70 or so. At any rate, it is all done now, and we are very much enjoying the experience. I have built a number of coops. It is always a great diversion. It seems I have always been fortunate enough to build them with someone I love. In this case, my wonderful wife Sherry. We really had great fun with it, and now that it is done, it was well worth the effort. This is something I have wanted for some time, was hesitant to do it, but with Sherry's encouragement, decided to go forward with the project. We did not need it, could not afford it, and really did not have the time to attempt it, but here we are, and I am happy we did it. It was a great diversion at a time I really needed to be diverted.

Tomorrow, Glass Glass Glass. It is time I get back to the busy business of life.

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