Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Great Chicken Experiment WORKED!

When I moved last August, I downsized my flock from 35 8.  I was moving from 290 acres to a TENTH of an acre, and needed to start from scratch with my chicken fencing and accommodations.  I made the chicken tunnel (see photos below), gave them access to underneath my back deck, and then fenced in a far corner off of the deck for a small hen house.  Then came the tricky part...creating a basement winter shelter.  I knew I didn't want to keep them entirely outdoors in winter.  Although I have a water heater, I don't want it on constantly.  I also don't want to set up heat lights in the coop...too much of a fire hazard.  So my idea was to make a winter coop in the cellar.  Everyone who heard about my plans thought it was a horrible idea.  "It will smell!"  "It will be dirty!"  "Chickens don't live in the house!"  Well, I am pleased to say that after having them come in every night for the last 3 months, it's been perfect.  I clean the poop daily, and the girls go out at dawn.  At dusk, they line up and come right back in when I open their trap door.  It's awesome!  There's a thick bed of hay on the floor, and they have ladders and perches to get around on.  They go in and out thru the little trap door at the top (an old cellar window frame) that leads right into their tunnel.  I don't think that any visitor to the house would know I had chickens in the cellar unless I told them.  I'm quite pleased with this whole arrangement!

The grain feeder hangs from a chain, and they get fresh veggies every day as well.  In fact, they get almost all of my kitchen waste. 
The chicken tunnel is made out of metal piping from a plumbing supply store.  The corners were built with scraps of wood and translucent panels for light, so the girls can see where they're going.  The piping starts at their trap door into the cellar, and ends at the deck.

There's a door in case I need to access the trap door area from outside of the cellar. You can see the start of the tunnel, and the trap door is in the upper corner of the enclosure.

Their outdoor area is an otherwise neglected corner of the back yard,  They come into this section from under the deck, and have sunshine, fresh air, a perch, and a nice little doghouse to lay eggs in (or to stay dry in wet weather).  Come spring, I will train them to sleep in the doghouse at night again, instead of the cellar.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

House photos

House and animal images. There have been some changes in the house that I'm proud of.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

India favorites

The trip to India was not the first, but it was a new experience in many ways.  For the first time since 2008, I went on a couple of tours, to use "tour credits" from GAdventures.  I always said I'd explore more of India.  This time, it actually happened.  The trip started in southern India (Kochi) and brought me up the east coast, into Kolkata.  From there, a second tour brought me Sikkim, and the start of the Himalayas.  Why I ever thought being at those elevations in winter was a good idea, I will never know.  But it was certainly an experience.  I survived.  Then I went to Udaipur for 2 weeks to recover from my tours.  :)  This photo above is one of the few of me from the trip...and definitely a favorite.  Clayton was a crazy Canadian and he got to fake kiss me 15 times while Ian looked for the shutter button on my camera.  :)

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.  Fort Kochi.

Chinese fishing nets, Fort Kochi.

Can't get further south than this.  Kanniyakumari.

Backwaters, south India.



I went to a temple.  I photographed this.  I have not a single photo of the temple.  Kanniyakumari.

Trash rabbits were everywhere!

Wedding party.  I followed them through the streets for quite a ways. Kanniyakumari.


If all the street dogs were spayed, treated for mange, and given a rabies shot SO much would be better for them.

Kolkata.  Santa devils.

4 weeks of train travel.  I love trains. They have simple sleeping setups that are just perfect.

Entering Sikkim.  If I had known at this point how completely AWFUL the next week would be, I would have signed off of the tour and split.  But it was...pretty. 

Gangtok.  It was fucking freezing here.  I can write that.  This is my blog. I looked it up, it was up to 50 during a good day, and then plummeted to 35 at night.  Not quite enough to freeze the water but that was what you were in ALL THE TIME.   Night and day.  They DO NOT have heating systems in India.  Go light a fire on the street if you want to be warmer.  I'm serious.

Darjeeling.  Toy train tracks.

Darjeeling.  After freezing for 6 days, we went to LEAVE the hills.  The clouds lifted, and I finally saw the Himalayas.  It was ALMOST worth having been frozen for 6 days.  Almost.  (See?  Those aren't clouds.)

Varanasi.  By the time I got to Varanasi, I was getting sick from having been so fucking cold for so long.  I spent the whole time feeling like crap.  It's too bad.  Varanasi was one of the places I specifically went to again because I'd liked it so much the first time, in 2008.

Varanasi.  Across the Ganges.


Udaipur.  City of my heart.


Every house has a motorcycle entrance ramp.  I love this.

Udaipur, out by Badi...where Animal Aid is.

City Palace, Udaipur.


Suraj bottle feeding a calf at Animal Aid.

Chai in the rickshaw.

Cows in the street.  Of course.  Udaipur.