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 three 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