Weather has been beautiful so far this fall. Apparently mother nature is trying to make it up to us for having no summer until late July. I was sure we wouldn't get tomato one and it's sort of true since we haven't had any normal size tomatoes get ripe. However the cherry tomatoes are taking over the kitchen and although it was time intensive I made salsa.
Since it is October and this is the Pacific N.W. I am going to go pull the rest of the green and red-ish tomatoes tomorrow. I am ready to plant garlic in that spot and need the tomato plants gone.
In the mean time I am getting the chicken coop ready for winter. First a very thorough cleaning is in order so today I took everything that wasn't fastened down (and a few things that were) out of the coop and cleaned every square foot. All bedding was removed, walls and wire dusted off, feathers removed, nest boxes cleaned out, and the whole inside white washed with a mix of hydrated lime and water an old fashion way to clean and beautify your coop. Ok maybe it isn't on the top of the list for interior decorating but it does disinfect and repel pesky bugs and I don't want another round of Northern Fowl Mites this winter. White washing
A couple days ago I tackled the chicken run. Last winter, spring, and most of the summer this was a mud pit. Every hole and depression in the soil held standing water, a no no if you want healthy birds and the soil was so slick when it rained that you would slip and slide around the run like an ice rink. Every feather (and there were plenty from all the molting going on) was raked up and disposed of just in case there were any lingering mite eggs. Then I rototilled with my little cultivator. Perfect for this job. After raking the area smooth and
even, I shoveled and raked a yard of sand on to the top of the whole thing giving a 2 to 4 inch depth of sand on top. Not sure if this is something I want to leave or if I am going to lightly mix it into the top of the existing soil. The chickens don't really like to dig around in the sand since there are no bugs but it does seem to keep them from digging holes for dust bathing. I just wanted a little drainage and some grit to keep from falling on my butt in the mud.
In addition I have asked the man to build me a frame from treated 2x4's so I have a box that is 3 or 4 foot wide by 8 ft long. I will fasten 1/4 inch hardware cloth to the top, place it in a corner of the run and plant grass seed. As the grass grows up through the wire the chickens can eat it without digging up the roots. I will post pics when I get that done. If anyone out there has a suggestion I am all ears. Leave a comment. I really do appreciate any input.