Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Chickens and Electric Fences and other Goings on at Tiger Way Gardens

Hello there! We are now moved into our new home and adjusting to life in the country. I thought I'd update you all on a few things going on in the new Tiger Way Gardens. Looking out my front windows I see my beautiful front yard that consists mainly of dirt at the moment, but if you look further you will see the orchard; which has green grass; and you might even spot the chicken coop in the orchard.
We acquired three Rhode Island Red chickens a few months ago and they are really the best! Who says chickens are not smart? These gals are great and pretty smart too. They know exactly where there food is located and beg for it each time I visit the coop. I can't trick them by giving them anything less than the good stuff because they know the difference between cracked corn and mealworms just by sight. They follow me around looking for those handouts and they are just a delight. Not to mention my three eggs each day. I really have only one complaint about these gals and their intelligence. That one complaint is that if they ever feel like they are 'taken', they simply give up, squat down and let whatever will happen-happen. I think they should fight a bit but that's just my thoughts. To help keep the gals safe from predators we have their coop located in our fenced orchard area. The fence is quite a large and effective electric fence. The electric fence is six feet high and has seven strands which is all electrified with a a DC fence charger helped along by a solar trickle charger. It was always our intent to place the chickens inside of the orchard since we knew we had to fence the orchard in order to protect it from marauding deer. So, in a sense, we kill two birds with one stone by putting the chickens in this area.
Looking through to the chicken coop area we can see the strands of the wire and the cabinet that houses the electric fence equipment. Lately I have been feeling good about my gals and have decided I would try letting them free roam in the orchard area. I knew I could pretty much keep them safe from ground based marauders but was not too sure about hawks. So far so good as the chickens have all remained safe and intact-that's a really good thing. When my hens are out and about they really focus on only one thing-eating. Since they associate me with food they seem to love me by following me around-even when they are inside the electric fence and I am outside of the fence. Mr. Fix-it and I were wondering what would happen if one of the chickens happened to run into the electric fence and I recently found out. The electric fence puts out about 7000 volts so it is powerful enough to stop predators as well as deer. You would think it would stop chickens too but not so. When I recently ventured close to the fence and the girls one of them decided to come and visit me. As soon as she stepped on the bottom wire she zoomed through the fence to my side really fast. Lightening speed fast. Right when I was about to panic about her being outside of the 'safe' area she actually zoomed right back through the electric fence! I was relieved that she was not injured by the electricity, and doubly relieved she went back to her safe place. What a smart gal! Chicken brained not!
In other going ons at the farm we are working on a new dog ramp. One of our dogs has hip problems and while we don't have too many steps going into the house, any steps can be tough on a living being with hip problems. Hopefully I'll finish up this ramp soon. Right now the dogs are running around on their own with only a wireless fence collar keeping them close to the house.
To the right of the dog ramp and dog pen area is our new koi pond. You might remember the postings I did a few years ago on my koi pond in Tiger Gardens. I can hardly believe that pond is nearly two years old now. It has been such a joy to me and the grandchildren love it so much I desired to have one in the new house. Our backhoe digger dug this pond while he was doing backhoe work (thanks Mike!) and he did an excellent job. The pond was dug exactly 40" from the high side of the backyard and has a few plant shelf ledges. This pond is about four times bigger than my previous pond and has really been a bear to get going. You might remember I hand dug my last pond and put it together slowly over a period of weeks. This pond has been dug for several months now and while it is getting closer to being completed, it is still not finished. There seems to be one setback after another. Here we are trying to level up the lower side of the pond so that we can begin the rock process. At this point in the process most of the rocks are in place with exception of the small waterfall, and the liner is pretty much set the way I'd like it. We had planned to finish everything by Thanksgiving weekend but I failed to order enough tubing to complete the plumbing. Once that tubing comes in I'll finish that up and rock the waterfall and turn her on! Wish me luck in getting it going soon. 

Other going ons in Tiger Way Gardens include: starting the vegetable garden (outlined in block and backfilled but waiting on beds to be made), the completion of the iris beds along the outside edge of the vegetable garden, staining the concrete in the garage and on the front and back porches, moving and sorting things from the old house, and trying to get ready for the holidays. Here's hoping everything is going well for you all....

in the garden....
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Friday, November 14, 2014

Irene's Garden Part III

We start with whimsy the first thing in this post and I know a lot of you all love whimsy! This bowling ball 'caterpillar' is a lot of fun. The bowling balls for this garden caterpillar actually came from my garden. Irene posted on that she desired some bowling balls and since I am cleaning my garden up I told her she could have mine. Have you ever participated in a Yahoo email group? That is what Freecycle does. Freecyle is actually a email group of local people who are interested in keeping things out of the dump while sharing with others. So, for instance you happen to have a lot of extra bowling balls or irises and someone needs some you can send an email to the group and offer your extras and the person who may need them will respond. It is then up to you to set a place and time to transfer the items. This needs to be done with common sense as meeting strangers can be a not so good experience. Fortunately, I've been very lucky in many of my dealings with Freecycle members. This is actually how I initially met Irene and her husband. They responded to an email I sent giving away irises. I am betting those irises are still growing well in Irene's garden. You just never know who you might meet on Freecycle as I've met a lot of people who have the same interests as me. Oftentimes we become good friends as in the case of Irene and I.
Here is the other side of Irene's foundation garden. Don't you love the curved sidewalk? We had curved sidewalks poured at our new house too. I don't know why more people don't do the curved sidewalks as they make getting to the front door easier than walking along all those right angles. As a bonus, your garden will be less formal with curves versus straight angles.
More of the foundation beds.
Here we have evergreens mixed with deciduous plants. Even when the 'Red Rooster' is bare of leaves the spent seedpods provide winter interest. I love the variety here and am a stern believer that foundation gardens need not be all evergreen boxwoods. I will soon be posting some pictures of my new foundation beds at Tiger Way Gardens. 
This butterfly garden out in the field was really lovely. Irene had taken old tires and painted them bright colors with her grandson, and then filled the tires with soil and planted plants. Mainly drought tolerant plants and plants that need good drainage or need to be contained. This garden was a hot, hot garden; which is good for butterflies.
Now here is the big greenhouses a thing of beauty and what most of us would love to have in our gardens-me included!
An ornamental garden looking toward the raised vegetable beds.
'Henry Eiler' coneflowers were stunning on this hot August day.
Lastly, I leave you with a long shot from the driveway. This is indeed a country garden with lots of great vistas and nice diverse plant material....

in the garden....
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden