Building Projects & Chickens Are Still Coming

Building & Cutting

Timber is the flavour of the season. Building projects continue around here and I have been using up a lot of our supply of timber that’s been lying around. This is good. And bad.

After building the raised Mandarin Bed by the deck, I decided to take to the deck with the circular saw. Not in a severe way, but I just felt the need to cut off the sticking-out ends of the decking planks so they were flush with the framing underneath. So I did. It looks a lot better now. Except for the weeeee bit that I shaved off the framing at the start *cough*. Now everything is nice and straight, which will work a lot better for the time when a step gets built along there too. The Mandarin Bed was filled with dirt and compost courtesy of the chicken pen, the ‘Encore’ mandarin tree was planted in the middle and the soil was mulched with old wood shavings courtesy of the chicken coop. I just need to decide on some low-growing plants to plant around it.

The Mandarin Bed is complete. Since this photo I have mulched the soil with chicken coop wood shavings.

I’ve built two wooden plant tables for my nursery plants, which is very pleasing. Some of the building process wasn’t all that pleasing as the small child was adamant that he was the contractor. He kept trying to confiscate my tools and add his own holes to the timber. Corrections resulted in some high scale tantrums beside the neighbours’ fence. Building with a small child requires much patience, which I am still working on. The tables I have now are just the beginning. Before I build any more, I’m working on cardboarding and mulching more of the Plant Alcove and doing other projects.

The plant tables are on a roll.

The Husband felled two small trees. One was a young privet that had shot up behind the sasanqua camellia and needed to be dealt a swift blow.  The other was the least significant tree on our property, which we usually forgot was there. It was right next to the side fence out the front and was so narrow, tall and sparse that it didn’t contribute much to the landscape. I found out that it was a weed species, sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus), that threatens native bush. Also, I figured I could plant something better along there if we got rid of it. Goodbye, weedy tree. Thanks for the firewood.

It’s not Zacchaeus up the sycamore tree, it’s The Husband.


The young chickens are growing fast and it’s been tricky sussing out who’s who of all the black ones. Here’s what I’ve sussed out.

Oldest hatch (10 weeks old):

  • 6 black crossbred Paris ones
    • 3 girls (helpfully, all with rose combs)
    • 3 boys (all straight combs)
  • 3 Australorps
    • 1 blue one (most likely Frodo’s), probably a boy
    • 1 black Tiggywinkle boy
    • 1 black Tiggywinkle girl

Younger hatch (9 weeks old):

  • 2 black crossbred Paris boys
  • 1 blue Frodo girl
  • 1 blue Jemima boy
  • 1 black Tiggywinkle one of unknown gender

I feel like there are a lot of little boys running around the place. Some days I don’t know who is more boisterous: the human child, the fur child or the feather children.

There are eggs in the incubator again. What winter break…? I am curious to see how Dorking cross chicks will turn out. The two Dorking girls have been in a pen with the crossbred son of Paris, Sandy Whiskers, for a month now for the Dual Purpose Meat Bird Side Project. Mittens either stopped laying eggs for winter or is doing something naughty with them. Moppet has been much more accommodating. The eggs I put in the incubator were 3 1/2 – 4 1/2 weeks after separation from the Australorp roosters, so it will be interesting to try and figure out whether Sandy Whiskers is a father. He is extremely fascinated by Moppet.

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Moppet (front) and Sandy Whiskers.

Since I only had one of these hens cooperating I put some Australorp eggs in the incubator as well. They are laying pretty well and I have to take Frodo eggs while I can when she’s not broody. Frodo is also starting to show her age, sometimes snoozing in the nestbox while laying her eggs and some haven’t been fertile, so I need to hatch more while I still can. She’s 4 1/2 years old now. I also saved eggs from Tiggywinkle and Jemima. Then I decided to add a few of Blaze’s. She’s the least best quality hen, but, I had just gotten rid of Pickle due to ongoing ill health, something I’ve had trouble with with that genetic line, a shame since she was such an excellent layer last year. Darrington and Blaze have been the exception, so I thought I owed it to Blaze to see how her chicks would turn out before deciding what to do with her. She’s the last one of that line, aside from Andrew who has half that line from his father Darrington.

So, there are 32 eggs in the incubator:

  • 8 Moppet eggs
  • 7 Frodo eggs
  • 7 Tiggywinkle eggs
  • 7 Jemima eggs
  • 3 Blaze eggs.


I knitted myself some boot cuffs, the first ones I have had. Now I can say that I like bootcuffs very much, although the yarn I used from my stash isn’t quite up my alley for the apparel department. I will have to knit some more when I get my hands on some nicer yarn.

My boot cuffs.

Then I moved onto knitting a scarf for The Little Fulla, as adult scarves just don’t quite work on a 3-year-old. I started knitting in stocking stitch without really thinking about it, so the sides of the scarf roll inwards, making it narrower. This is ok though, because he has a small neck. It sits just nicely on him and the yarn was all leftovers from my stash too. I am trying to decide what to knit next. Well, trying to decide which one of my 10 million desirable projects I should begin next.

The Little Fulla’s scarf.

The biggest thing I’m working on now is the return to The Great Vege Garden Expansion Plan. Yes. Things are happening!

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Winter’s delicate snowflakes are out.

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