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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Busy Saturday

Steve wanted to brew today, so we went into Portland after brewing supplies.  We first stopped at The Urban Farm Store for me to get bone meal and rock phosphate for amending a patch of soil at the back into which I hope to plant most of our winter vegetables.  The Tour de Coop people are raffling off this coop/tractor, which I thought a very good design.  I signed up/paid for three chances on the coop, but took several pictures to give me ideas for my coop.  Interestingly, the City of West Linn has finally put definitive information on the city's website regarding the keeping of chickens, and although it's a little more restrictive than I would have liked to see, at least it's finally something concrete regarding the subject and I'm glad to see it.  I also think it's amusing that they prohibit roosters (no surprise) but then represent chickens, i.e., hens, which are allowed, with a picture of a rooster.  Anyway, I liked this coop/tractor design, although I don't think it quite perfect. But it does give me something to think about.

This afternoon, I chased a mother coon and kit out of the backyard twice (they evidently didn't get it the first time), and a little while later I heard Steve holler that they were up the gum tree.  So we managed this:
That's mama coon, and don't you dare say she's cute.  I'll spare you the details of what I'd do if I could get close enough with my spading fork.  The fact that they were in the yard twice makes me realize that I need to move quickly on making the back fence impenetrable.  I have corn ripening as I write this.

We also put together our outdoor kitchen.  It is not a sixty-thousand dollar monster that would frankly, embarrass me, but a modest two-burner propane number with folding card table.  It is all I really wanted (save the outdoor oven, but we can't manage everything all at once) to have in place to be able to can out of doors when the weather gets awful.  As it is, it's been really lovely lately- in the low seventies, but I imagine that along about the time that the tomatoes are ready to can, the weather will be pretty awful.  Which means that we'll be canning outside.  I will probably move the table closer to the stove for that, but it's fine where it is now.  Besides, it's currently closer to the outdoor electrical receptacle, which means, you guessed it: blender drinks! 
Anyway, getting this together is a load off my mind because I really wanted to be able to can outside and now I can do that.  The other, important reason for getting this set up together is now Steve can brew outside if necessary. (And the really, really important thing is, if he decides to get a bigger brew pot than five gallons, now he's not constricted by the height of the hood over our indoor stove- he can brew as much as he wants!)

And then last, but not least, is how I hang up the wash when wearing my bibs.  They come in really handy for parking clothespins.  What makes this strategy especially important is that I asked Steve to leave the clover patches for the bees the last time he mowed the lawn, which he did, and I'm happy to report that the clover patches are now full of bees.  The only problem is that most of them are in the vicinity of, or right under, the clothes dryer.  So I have to pick my way carefully, and pretty much stay put.  Having the pins clipped to my bib makes hanging the wash a lot easier- I'd still do it this way if there weren't bees.  But, a bunch of them were in the clover, and the pumpkins, and the cucumbers, and the summer squash today, and I'm really relieved to see them at last.  Accommodating them however I can seems no big deal, and I find that I'm fascinated by them- how much worse that addiction will be when I have my own hive!


Strange Angel said...

I will say she's terribly cute in that picture, but that wouldn't stop me from either trapping or chasing her AND her baby.
Is there no reasoning with the neighbor that's feeding them, explaining that while HE might not be getting bothered, it's YOUR yard that they're using as a freeway?

Paula said...

Honestly, no. My neighbor Larry had a cat and he couldn't get Dick to stop feeding her. He even confronted him on it once, and Dick said he'd stopped, and Larry asked him then what's that? pointing to a little pile of cat food at their feet and Dick said, oh that? that's just a snack.

I don't think Dick can help himself, but he's a menace, just the same.

Diana (Di) said...

Beer, raccoons and outdoor canning - now that is a trio on which to comment. I keep asking my husband to start making beer, but so far we have friends who make a lot of it and always want to share it with us. How can we refuse to partake of his wonderful Porter? Red wine or dark beer, red wine or dark beer... ;)

Paula, those raccoons are dangerous; your neighbors won't think they're so cute when one tears into them. And anytime I see them out in the daytime! is not a good sign. One came after my husband years ago to its demise.

Canning outside: great idea. We even fry fish outdoors.

Miriam said...

Glad to see you replaced your done-in overalls - no farmer should be without!

That's a great coop/tractor design. I can't see it in the picture, but it should have handles to make it easier to pick it up and move it. How do I know? Because ours doesn't, and it's a wee bit of a pain!

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

That's a nice coop/tractor! You could probably build one for not much $. While you're at it, maybe make it a little bigger? The one in the picture looks like four hens might be a little crowded.

As for that raccoon, you just have to reconcile yourself to the fact that something can be a villainous varmint and also cute as hell.

Paula said...

If I give in to the idea of cute, I may not be able to lunge when I need to. I'm convincing myself that they are not cute. I just concentrate on how hard I've worked to grow food, and to let them near it would be something unconscionable to me.

But off the coon thing on to the coop thing for a minute- yeah, it's a great coop, but not perfect, as I'd mentioned. It does need to be a little bigger as I want five hens, which is the max number allowed here, and I want to be able to lock them in. This coop has an open bottom, and the door on the inside is not covered and locked, so my concern would be with burrowing animals. But- as designs go, it's pretty darn good! I also like the way it looks.

Jennifer Montero said...

I never think that there are regulations regarding the keeping of chickens. Is it only for residential zoning? Is there agricultural zoning for farms?

Are your 'coons protected or can you shoot them?

Paula said...

Any incorporated municipality can regulate whether or not you can keep chickens in your yard. The last place we lived, Beaverton, does not allow backyard chickens. Once you're outside the municipality then you can, of course.

Regarding agricultural zoning- there are farming communities out there in the sticks that have 'right to farm' laws on the books, because wealthy people buy a country property and then complain about the smell of cow poop, which I think is ridiculous and I feel for the farmers and country people that have need of passing right to farm ordinances.

Here in West Linn, chickens may be kept as pets, and not as livestock.