After church this morning, I hurried home to make some breakfast for Nathan, and read the paper for a bit before going outside in the wonderful spring morning. Yesterday was rainy, cold and blustery, but today....for the first day of Spring it was a winner!
I had decided that today would be the day I would try to clean as much of the big henhouse as I could. I got the little cart and began shoveling. I had cleaned half of it about six weeks ago, when we had a break in the weather, but I had worn myself out that day lugging the full cart across the yard to the garden beds, and I stopped halfway through. The waterer had sat on a heated base all winter, and it was wet and nasty where it had sat, because starlings were still coming in and out, though not daily. Also, so many birds roost in the rafters.... and the waterer is beneath... need I say more? It is a daily chore to clean it out.
I got the big shovel out and began ferrying dirty bedding across the yard to my garden beds.
I'll layer them with good dirt and peat moss on top of the henhouse cleanings, which are on dirt and straw.
I finally got down to a sort of clean floor, as I had to have help getting up some of the dirt that had formed a solid pad.
Keith suggested I put diatomaceous earth down under the bedding, and I did. The block on the left holds the feeder.
I do have one egg-eater, Birdie, so I am praying she doesn't use this box. 3 of the hens are using the nursing cage.... and we could not find Rosewitha, so finally Keith stopped in and climbed a short ladder, and found her on the last piece of ceiling still up there.... ON FOUR EGGS. As she has hatched many a chick for me, we are going to get the regular ladder in there tomorrow, get her down, and she can go in the little henhouse again and help hatch the now fifteen Cunningham eggs in there.
You can see in the top photo where the closet is, and the box is back in the dark corner.
I got five good eggs from the big henhouse, also the four under Rosewitha, and 3 good eggs from the little henhouse. I am collecting eggs for a lady at work who wants to hatch some, so I am taking her 18 tomorrow morning, and another seven during the week. Rosewitha's are going to her.
In the meantime, these guys were laying in the corner of the pasture, watching me going in and out of the henhouse, and watching our neighbor's grandkids, who were out in the yard playing.
Pretty soon I sat down to rest, and I heard Troy and the kids calling to me to come quick.
When I got there, I saw this:
Coming out of this
If you click on this picture to enlargen it, you will see a pile of old cement blocks to the left of the tree. The tree was planted close to an old cistern or well. When we moved here, we found this pile of blocks in the fenceline at Troy's property (Troy going by on his tractor).... and little by little, Keith began to pour things into it to fill it in, because we did not want the little horses OR Oscar or Ranger to fall in. The dogs are fenced out of the pasture now, but there is a hole on the other side of the tree where the snakes are coming in and out, and you can see down into the cistern. There were actually three other big snakes, whose pictures I don't show.
There was also THIS one, and this is why Troy, Kathy, Jeremy and the kids called me....
Tony the llama did this!
You don't mess with a llama, even if you are a black rat snake!
It is cooling down now (6:31 PM), but got up to 82 degrees today on the first day of spring. No wonder it drew the snakes out of the cistern.
I'll get the trash ready for the trash man, and feed the big dogs, and then come in and rest for Sunday evening. I am so looking forward to retirement, when we don't have to push to get everything done in two days. It will be such a relief.
Have a good start to the week and HAPPY SPRING!