Two of our favorite fisherman-friends came over on Saturday and within a few minutes, one of them had caught this bass. The poor thing was way too skinny, a testament to the fact that the pond really needs to be thinned out. The fish inside are starving because they have to share with so many others. I think I'll try going fishing sometime this week. It's been too long. The fish scraps went into our compost heap, which so far has been only consisted of animal poop and straw. We've gotten out of the habit of putting fresh food scraps into the heap because they've been given to the chickens for so long. The pile was HOT, but very dry. We really need to feed it more often.
Being in the barnyard on a 103 F degree day was QUITE the experience... The flies were out of control, reminding me how much we've been pretending that there's nothing that needs to be done outside in this heat. (We've been in the middle of a heatwave for weeks now and being outside with such high humidity is sickening in the midday sun.) So, with a sudden burst of necessary evening motivation I hiked up some Jamie-socks, pulled on my boots, and finally took a pitchfork to the buzzing floor. Jamie came out to help. It was so hot in there that I couldn't even keep my glasses on. I've gotta say, it feels weird working with blurry eyesight, but when all you're doing is forking up flakes of a year's worth of straw, urine, and poop, it's probably best not to see every single icky detail. We really need to patch the tiny holes in the ceiling. When it rains, the water drips in, making the deep-bed method more gross than practical.
When we were done, we sprinkled the barn floor with diatomaceous earth and hung eight fly-tapes. By the next day every single one had dozens of flies on it. Gross. Hopefully that will knock out the population around the barn. Thankfully our animals have escaped getting attacked by flies this year. I attribute it to hand shearing because you don't cut so close to the skin.
On Sunday we decided that the baby chicks were big enough to handle their own with the big ones. We transferred our old chickens to the new coop and they were SO happy. The old coop had a tiny run and there was no plant life left inside. The poor things were just living in misery over there, especially in this heat. The new run has a huge bonsai tree for them to get shade and a large pasture area on the hillside for grazing. We cleaned out the old coop, and that's all I'll say because it was an extremely disgusting job. I feel ashamed for not giving it a good cleaning sooner than I did. Those poor chickens. Their pine shaving-poop mixture brought our compost heap to triple the initial size. At least they're living in luxury now...
Here's a shot of some updates we added to the new coop. Gene's homemade laying box still needed a lid, so we used some of the chalkboard signs from our wedding. If there was one thing I wanted in our new coop, it was a slanted lid so the chickens wouldn't make it their roost and poop all over it. I think that problem is solved now, and in addition, we have a chalkboard in our chicken coop! I'm excited to see new doodles from all of us around the house. (I'll put some chalk in there guys...) We also built a much needed roosting bar, brought over the galvanized feed bin, hung the large feeder, and replaced the small cinder-block with a larger one under the waterer. Ducks are messy. The coop looks so fresh and new now, and all of the birds seem to be getting along just fine.
ps. We harvested the softneck garlic today. This is our first year growing it, and next I think we should opt out of planting it between potato rows. It made it hard to access and probably stunted its growth a little bit. Oh well, it smells good though! We'll just have to plant some autumn hardneck varieties.