Monday, March 30, 2009

The Turtle

On Saturday, March 28 Ed(the guy who runs the cattle on Maggie) and his sons found a turtle by the side of the road. And he put it in the crik that flows by our house.Ed came by the house to tell us the news and I went to the crik to see the turtle

Fearing that he might be invasive(as there are invasive turtles in the region) I brought him back to the house for identification. if he was invasive I planned to take him as a pet .Turns out he was actually a Western Pond Turtle(a threatened, native species).
Like this one we found by the side of the road and blogged last summer. The one we found Saturday was right in the middle of the mating season(when they go on to land to breed) and was probably heading back to the Umpqua. The Summer one was probably just heading through.
One of Dad's favorite poems:

The turtle lives 'tween plated decks
Which practically conceals its sex.
I think it clever of the turtle
In such a fix to be so fertile
-Ogden Nash

so we put him back in the crik

As he got close to the crik he started to grasp for it. He came completely out of his shell.

He happily swam away. From the crik he probably swam to the Umpqua
I guess the moral of the story is to rescue turtles you see on the side of the road

The turtle
A near impenetrable shell
Yet outcompeted by invasives

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Chicken Coop Construction Chaos Chronicles

Recently we have built a mobile chicken coop. Why build a chicken coop? For one, the farm fresh eggs will be infinitely better than what they sell at the super markets. Also, it will reduce our carbon footprint and the carbon footprint of anyone we give surplus eggs to. If we have surplus eggs (which hopefully we will). Also, over the long term, it will be cost efficient. Other reasons are the chickens will be highly entertaining and right now are very cute. And watching chickens is cheap and uses absolutely no electricity. Plus it will help our ongoing attempt at off the grid independence. (shooting the elk, getting cattle meat from ranch, heating the house with a wood stove). We are not really carpenters, but we did a great job. I actually helped, but the pictures are obviously of Dad working.
We made it mobile to move the chickens around the plum orchard so they will fertalize, eat pests, and when their fenced off area is always moving predators have a hard time figuring out how to get in. Or so we've heard. We started with an old '50-somethin' ford pickup truck bed that had been converted to a trailer and than forgotten for more than a decade.
'After some wrenching...
and some leverage...and some acetylene torch cutting...we finally removed all but the frame and wheels.

We bolted on the the support beams.We built the floor.We built a wall.and another.We used the winch in the dryer to place the first wall on the floor.
We put up the other walls.
The roof beams were installed.We put on the sheeting.

We hung the door and window.We built the nesting boxes and attatched them to the coop.

Mom had the honor or releasing the chicks into the coop we built especially for them.

We got two breeds. Black sex-links and barred rocks. All hens.

We parked it in the field behind the house. Sadly one of the chicks is sick and might die, but hopefully she will recover and be stronger. Do you see William in the back of dad's pickup? We're planning on painting the coop white with murals. Here is a link to the plan we used as a basis for the build. I want to name the coop "Battlestar Galactica"
I actually see no resemblance between the two, but that is the point.