Comments: 38
Elentarri's Book Blog 3 months ago
Very pretty ponds and cool chickens. Good luck with the self-maintaining fish habitats though. I've tried that and the water always goes mucky.
Murder by Death 3 months ago
So far the bowls have been great - both are going on almost 12 weeks and clear. I think what's worked best for us here (so far) is the floating bare-root plants. I put a few in our bird bath back at the start of April - that thing has ALWAYS gone green and murky if we neglect it for more than a week but since plopping them in (after cleaning, of course), the water has stayed clear (although the bottom, atm, is pretty gunky from the birds ... bathing).

I suspect the big fountain will be more delicate, at least at first. It's got a solar pump, which is why we haven't added the fish yet; I want to see how reliable the panels and battery are before I go adding more life to it - though I don't want to wait too long and let the algae get a foothold. Plus, I doubt either MT and I can hold off too long because we're both big children when it comes to critters. :)
Elentarri's Book Blog 3 months ago
Just thinking - if my dogs ever got into your yard - they would be chasing the chickens and the shepherd would be sitting in your fish pond eating the pump.
Darth Pony 3 months ago
This is simultaneously a delightful and horrifying image.
Murder by Death 3 months ago
He'd only fit in one of them, lol. The bully might fit in the fire pit though. :D

Paws off the chooks though. ;)
Darth Pony 3 months ago
I love your garden/critter posts! That bluestone turned out lovely! I hope your local fish poachers don't wreak too much havoc.
Murder by Death 3 months ago
Aww... thank you. I'm always amazed anyone finds these interesting - grateful! - but amazed.

Can I say, I am so proud of how that bluestone turned out! I can't believe I pulled it off, both because I managed to move the freaking things, and also because I nailed the curves. :D (I admit there's at least one piece in the path I beat with a hammer to get it 'curvier'.)
Darth Pony 3 months ago
I'm proud of you and your bluestone-curving skills, too! And I'm also impressed, because I would not have thought of enhancing curvyness with a hammer. ;D
Murder by Death 3 months ago
It might have been a case of creative solutions flowing from irritation and frustration. Maybe. ;)
Great fountain!
Murder by Death 3 months ago
Thanks. :)
BrokenTune 3 months ago
Beautiful post. :) Love fountains and fish, and the chickens are just so cool.
Murder by Death 3 months ago
The chickens, who were so timid and terrified at first (not least because little eggy was acting like Napoleon) are brave as brass now. They walk right up to us, and one of them even stoops to having her feathers stroked voluntarily now, (you can't believe how *soft* they are!). They're personalities are really coming out and it's hilarious fun to watch. :)
Tannat 3 months ago
I, for one, am amused by one fountain/fishpond turning into three (potentially). And I agree with you on the album cover pic.
Wow. That's some amazing piece of garden landscaping! (And, like Tannat, I had to grin at the speedy and miraculous increase of fountains -- and associated number of fish.)

Looking at that path, I marvel that your back is still in one piece ... never mind sore muscles (though those too, obviously). What a moment for MT to be prohibited from doing any physical work ...
Murder by Death 3 months ago
@Tannat and TA: You aren't the only ones; even as I was running around putting them together, MT and I were joking around about the snowball effect - and I haven't even mentioned the old wheelbarrow a neighbour left behind that we're contemplating turning into a dug-in pond to attract frogs - the nursery even gave me an off cut of pond liner for free for it, but we've held off doing it, telling ourselves it's because MT can't quite do 'hard' work yet, but really because ... how many fountains can one have before they look like a fetish?. I really want to set up a water bowl too, so I can have a lotus (requires still water), but the previous question comes up again, although I think I can get away with the lotus without any raised eyebrows. :D But yeah, in the space of just a few weeks, we've gone from almost no water (we do have a wall fountain, but we don't run it often because it sounds like someone ... um... peeing) to having water, water everywhere!

@TA: I know! I was VERY careful with my back though. I did this over a week, used a trolly when I couldn't roll the stones and made sure to always be sitting properly before trying to roll them or manoeuvre them into place. I also used a tire iron as a lever when I needed to adjust them. I've being going to an indoor heated pool 3x a week since December, and that's made a big difference too.
Char's Horror Corner 3 months ago
Wow, you have created a beautiful haven for all creatures, including yourself! It looks very soothing and peaceful. I bet that fountain, (LOVE IT!), sounds wonderful too.
Murder by Death 3 months ago
Thanks! We're really happy with the way it's turning out. Being autumn here, as the leaves in the pics make obvious, everything is a tad ratty at the moment, so I can't wait to see what it'll all look like in spring and summer, with everything filled in and (hopefully) flowering. :)
Murder by Death 3 months ago
It does sound nice ... it was the first item on our requirement list: the fountain couldn't sound like a men's bathroom during halftime. :D The solar pump's battery has adjustable voltage too, so we can control the strength of the water flow - a stronger flow sounds nice and soothing, and doesn't make bladders within earshot panic.
Bark's Book Reviews 3 months ago
Fantastic job! Do they hens have the run of the yard and do they ever get out? I ask because I'm nosy and I want hens but fear they'll fly over my fence if I let them free range and I'll lose them or they'll bug the neighbors. I want a small coop but also want them to have the run of the yard occasionally.
Murder by Death 3 months ago
TL;DR version: sometimes and sometimes. :)

We'd like to let them have the run of the garden SO BADLY, but the white ones dig. BIG holes (when they sit in the holes, you can't see them), and they're not fussed if a plant happens to be where they want the hole to be. So we give them the run of the place several times a year, but do it when we're out there working, so we can supervise the excavations and arbitrate on behalf of the plant life. They also have permanent use of an old alley that's walled in on three sides and fenced in on the fourth and we 'seed' it with treats and greenery.

They do fly, but they don't get a lot of height and can't sustain it for long. The white ones do occasionally fly over the alley fence, but it's bordered by a parking area and more alleyway; when they do 'escape' they stick to the alley (thank god) because they can see weeds and dirt they want to dig through. The neighbors think they're amusing.

Both of those answers might sound discouraging, but they shouldn't be: both the digging and the flying are very breed specific. The two black chickens (Molly and Auburn) don't dig; they scratch a bit, but have no interest in excavating anything. We could easily allow them free range all the time. They can fly, but rarely clear the fence (once, I think, accidentally after something scared them). Some breeds though, aren't able to fly much at all, or if they can, can't get enough lift to clear a fence.

My white chickens are Aracaunas, which I chose knowing they could fly (no one told me about the digging though) but I wanted them for their blue-shelled eggs and now I love them for their personalities. So, you could definitely have a small coop and do the free range thing, but just choose your breeds accordingly. :)
Murder by Death 3 months ago
I should also add that even if they do get 'out' you won't lose them (assuming they don't get injured): they always return to the coop at night. :)
Bark's Book Reviews 3 months ago
Thank you so much for the info! I like hearing it straight from the source of someone who knows. When I do internet searches I get so many different answers. I don't mind the digging, My old retriever used to dig holes big enough for 2 of him to lay in comfortably. I'm more worried about them getting into the neighbor's garden and having him pissed at me if they eat his plants. He spends a lot of time perfecting his garden. I'm thinking I'd probably give them a large run and maybe supervised free range time. Or maybe find some birds that wouldn't be able to fly over the fence. We border two houses and the back is all woodsy where the fence is shortest (4', it's about 5' - 6' everywhere else). It would probably be too much temptation for them!
Murder by Death 3 months ago
Happy to help! Online info can be incredibly daunting - hours of my life have been lost to researching chicken stuff.

The 4' fence would be the weakest point, but only for certain breeds of chickens - most would struggle to clear 4' unless they had a REALLY good reason to do so (i.e. fox or other predator). Very few breeds will be able to clear a 5-6' fence. Our lowest point is about 4', and the Aracauna's clear that at will, but only just; another 6" and they'd be out of luck.

Saying that though, if they can see your neighbour's lovely garden and think it has more nomnom potential than yours, the stronger breeds will definitely find the strength to clear a taller fence. Chickens can be very inquisitive and determined. There's one breed though, called Barnevelders (Dutch breed) that is very docile. So docile in fact that some breeders recommending making sure they get out in the yard daily - they're so lazy that left to their own devices they'll just sit around getting fat. :D They're also steady layers without being machines, and lay rich dark brown eggs.

There are charts out there on the 'net that list breeds and their attributes: size, average eggs/year, personality traits, energy, flight, etc. I'll see if I can find the one I used...
Murder by Death 3 months ago
This was one of the charts I liked best because they added their own experiences of each breed in:

http://www.sagehenfarmlodi.com/chooks/chooks.html
Bark's Book Reviews 3 months ago
Thanks so much for all of this great info! Those Barnevelders sound a lot like Patrick on a warm day, lol. I’m going to research them and see if they do well in my area. Thanks so much for the link, I’m off to get lost in it.
Murder by Death 3 months ago
You're welcome - have fun! :)
Bark's Book Reviews 3 months ago
I found some that will do well in our harsh winter climate.Now I just have to convince my husband to let me get a coop before we get new windows, a porch and insulation!
Murder by Death 3 months ago
Excellent news - which breed? If you're going to have a big run, you should be able to find all sorts of smaller coops that are reasonably priced - just make sure whatever coop you get has enough room for them to spend a day or two in during the really crap weather. All day rain or snow will keep the chickens inside/protected; if the coop has enough space for them to move about a bit, that'll keep 'em happy. (And just my observation: if I had the yard space to spare, I'd get one of the moveable coops - they're easier to clean, I think.)
Bark's Book Reviews 3 months ago
I'm looking at the Easter eggers Americauna's. I was thinking of a movable coop or one of those fancy Eglu things with the walk-in bigger run because I want me and the birds to be friends and because they look easy to clean and I'm all about that. They are rather pricey though so it won't be for at least two years while I save up to pay in cash. We don't make any improvements/buy anything non-emergency unless we have it to pay upfront. So I must wait for everything!
Murder by Death 2 months ago
I WISH I could get Easter Eggers here... I can get the fertilised eggs, but not the older hens. I'm a cash girl myself, so I totally understand both the waiting and the frustration with waiting. :) But on the plus side, when you're ready you'll *know* you've scoped out all the options.
Hooked on Books 3 months ago
Very pretty! You did a really nice job! I wish I had the plants you have when my boys had to have aquariums- fish, turtles, crabs, etc. etc. It seemed like I changed those things every few days and I'm not really a fish or reptile person so I cringed everytime I had to do it. Luckily, they've outgrown that phase. : )
Murder by Death 3 months ago
Thank you very much! :) I'm not sure if it would work as easily in an aquarium, since it's such a small, enclosed space, but it should, in theory. From what very little I've learned so far, the free floating plants seem to be key players, as they absorb the ammonia from the water that the fish produce. Of course, it's still early days and we're heading into winter when algae isn't normally a problem anyway - the real test will be come spring and summer. o_O
Hooked on Books 3 months ago
YW! - yeah that makes sense. I'm curious to see if they work in the summer too. You'll have to update us. Not that I plan on buying anymore aquariums, lol, but I'm still curious. : )
a TeMPLe of WoRDS 3 months ago
Your garden looks great and I LOVE that fountain. Wow!!
Murder by Death 3 months ago
Thanks! It was a ... process ... finding one we both agreed on. :D
a TeMPLe of WoRDS 3 months ago
I can imagine. My mother and I share a garden, and there are times when I feel like everything I want is vetoed, but we're actually very proud of it :)
Rachel's books 3 months ago
That looks like an awesome backyard retreat!