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Scruffy’s Garden and Chickenrun Preparation

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Post  scruffyfeathers 6/7/2015, 11:18 pm

At risk of sounding a bit giddy over my first garden allow me enough latitude to explain that for years having a garden has been a dream. Never had a plan been drawn nor a site selected. I had neither; just the dream. As a builder, as a matter of rote I employed my skills to follow the direction, sketches and plans of faceless architects. More often than not I was proud of the results but the catch was, it was always someone else’s dream.



Brenda and I lived in a city where I actually mowed my lawn with a weed-whacker: it was that small. Brenda had scores of potted plants about the house and the kitchen window always had a few herbs and spices sprouting. I had my wood shop in the basement; a good thing to be sure, but not what I really wanted.



A long story cut short: for medical reasons we retired early. Brenda is 51; I am 63. For just under a year we made specific demands on our plans to exit the city to find our forever home in the country. We immediately liquidated our assets, made our selves debt free and began our search. As children on Christmas eve explaining to Santa what gift we wanted; we were all over the map. So many plans and no direction. Just short of a year found our “Forever Home” with several acres of land. The bits were clenched in our teeth and it was off to the races to fulfill repressed dreams we had thought to be years away.



My dream was a garden and our new home could not only allow for a garden but actually a mini farm with chickens and such. The Murphy’s catch was daunting. The back of the property had been left dormant for years where thistle and thicket claimed every inch all the way to the tree line: there was work to be done.



In my previous posts I have given most of you a fairly generous idea as to what I was up against so I won’t belabor the point here. I finally have a pictorial thrown together. Again, no plan as I have just come in from toiling about with some “fine tuning” and decided I had enough energy left to let you in on the know with a few pictures.



I started my project in January with a chainsaw and blazed away at the thicket and underbrush. Where feasible I would dig away and expose the trunk where I could cut below grade. I actually cleared more than 60% of this area before I decided to record my efforts digitally.   This area actually was not as thickly overgrown which, I suspect, is why I started here. It runs East and west on the south side of the property. During the summer the canopy provided by the tall pines allows only filtered sunlight (PIC 2)to make its way to the ground. This shaded area is where I will summer my layers in their chicken tractor.



In another post I told you the intent was to move the layers every 4 days but Mark, of Cedar Creek Farms, (Pic of Mark) has since explained I should move the tractor every other day. According to him such frequency will help stem the possible outbreak of varied ailments by lowering the accumulation of parasites and bacteria. Much to my chagrin I needed to expand the area if I wanted to stick with my grazing schedule of 13 weeks.



These before and after pictures (PIC) accurately depict the new task at hand to clear an additional area. The total area is approximately 8800 sq. ft. which will give the land 54 days to regenerate naturally before I begin again at the original starting point.



With the temperatures lower and the angle of the sun less severe in the fall and winter full sun is not an issue for the chickens. These two pictures show what had to be cleared for the second leg of my chicken run. I pulled enough building debris from this area that I was able to create a makeshift compost bin. (Pic of Bin) I merely stacked the blocks because I am not certain I want to keep it in this location.



This leg runs North and South along the tree line. The other day I broadcasted millet seed in this area to augment their diet during the colder months. The area is slightly larger than the summer run but rather than repeating the grazing routine after 60 days I intend on moving the tractor out into the garden. (Picture of timmy.)
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Post  scruffyfeathers 6/7/2015, 11:45 pm

Sorry, I obviously goofed up on posting the pictures.  Will re-do in just a second.  Wish me luck.
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Post  scruffyfeathers 6/8/2015, 12:18 am

At risk of sounding a bit giddy over my first garden allow me enough latitude to explain that for years having a garden has been a dream. Never had a plan been drawn nor a site selected. I had neither; just the dream. As a builder, as a matter of rote I employed my skills to follow the direction, sketches and plans of faceless architects. More often than not I was proud of the results but the catch was, it was always someone else’s dream.



Brenda and I lived in a city where I actually mowed my lawn with a weed-whacker: it was that small. Brenda had scores of potted plants about the house and the kitchen window always had a few herbs and spices sprouting. I had my wood shop in the basement; a good thing to be sure, but not what I really wanted.



A long story cut short: for medical reasons we retired early. Brenda is 51; I am 63. For just under a year we made specific demands on our plans to exit the city to find our forever home in the country. We immediately liquidated our assets, made our selves debt free and began our search. As children on Christmas eve explaining to Santa what gift we wanted; we were all over the map. So many plans and no direction. Just short of a year found our “Forever Home” with several acres of land. The bits were clenched in our teeth and it was off to the races to fulfill repressed dreams we had thought to be years away.



My dream was a garden and our new home could not only allow for a garden but actually a mini farm with chickens and such. The Murphy’s catch was daunting. The back of the property had been left dormant for years where thistle and thicket claimed every inch all the way to the tree line: there was work to be done.



In my previous posts I have given most of you a fairly generous idea as to what I was up against so I won’t belabor the point here. I finally have a pictorial thrown together. Again, no plan as I have just come in from toiling about with some “fine tuning” and decided I had enough energy left to let you in on the know with a few pictures.



I started my project in January with a chainsaw and blazed away at the thicket and underbrush. Where feasible I would dig away and expose the trunk where I could cut below grade. I actually cleared more than 60% of this areaScruffy’s Garden and Chickenrun Preparation South_15 before I decided to record my efforts digitally.   Scruffy’s Garden and Chickenrun Preparation South_16  This area actually was not as thickly overgrown which, I suspect, is why I started here. It runs East and west on the south side of the property. During the summer the canopy provided by the tall pines allows only filtered sunlight to make its way to the ground. This shaded area is where I will summer my layers in their chicken tractor.



In another post I told you the intent was to move the layers every 4 days but Mark, of Cedar Creek Farms, Scruffy’s Garden and Chickenrun Preparation Cedarc11 Scruffy’s Garden and Chickenrun Preparation Cedarc12has since explained I should move the tractor every other day. According to him such frequency will help stem the possible outbreak of varied ailments by lowering the accumulation of parasites and bacteria. Much to my chagrin I needed to expand the area if I wanted to stick with my grazing schedule of 13 weeks.



These before and after pictures Scruffy’s Garden and Chickenrun Preparation Chicke14  accurately depict the new task Scruffy’s Garden and Chickenrun Preparation Chicke15at hand to clear an additional area. The total area is approximately 8800 sq. ft. which will give the land 54 days to regenerate naturally before I begin again at the original starting point.



With the temperatures lower and the angle of the sun less severe in the fall and winter full sun is not an issue for the chickens. These two pictures Scruffy’s Garden and Chickenrun Preparation East_l15 Scruffy’s Garden and Chickenrun Preparation East_l16show what had to be cleared for the second leg of my chicken run. I pulled enough building debris from this area that I was able to create a makeshift compost bin.  Scruffy’s Garden and Chickenrun Preparation Compos12 I merely stacked the blocks because I am not certain I want to keep it in this location.



This leg runs North and South along the tree line. The other day I broadcasted millet seed in this area to augment their diet during the colder months. The area is slightly larger than the summer run but rather than repeating the grazing routine after 60 days I intend on moving the tractor out into the garden. 

Scruffy’s Garden and Chickenrun Preparation Mother14



In another post I believe I mentioned I had no agriculture equipment.  I got this lawn mower for just pennies on the dollar and the "Timmy" trailer is actually what we use to haul Brenda's wheelchair.  The combo actually works out nicely.



It is late.  I will follow up with more pic's on the morrow.  G'night,

Scruffy
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Post  sanderson 6/8/2015, 3:37 am

Wow!! Shocked Keep the photos coming. What a great journey. Very Happy

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Post  AtlantaMarie 6/8/2015, 8:14 am

You've accomplished quite a bit in a short amount of time.  I'm really impressed!

Keep in mind that while pines do offer shade, they also draw in heat.  That's good at night to keep chickies warm, but can be bad in the daytime.

Can't wait to see what's next!!  Laughing
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Post  Kelejan 6/8/2015, 10:29 am

I am really enjoying reading about your journey, especially as you are doing all the work.

Both the narrative and the pictures are so interesting.
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Post  scruffyfeathers 6/8/2015, 9:37 pm

AtlantaMarie wrote:You've accomplished quite a bit in a short amount of time.  I'm really impressed!

Keep in mind that while pines do offer shade, they also draw in heat.  That's good at night to keep chickies warm, but can be bad in the daytime.

Can't wait to see what's next!!  Laughing


From what I have read, heat stress can be an issue which is why I chose the south side of the property for the Summer Run. After reading your post I went out to that area. It was 90 today. The one thing I noticed was there was a little air movement which made it appear a few degrees cooler under the trees. Out in the open I could not detect any breeze at all.

The trees are rather tall (70 to 80 feet) Scruffy’s Garden and Chickenrun Preparation Coopru10and widely spaced. Most of them have no lower branches until 30 or 40 feet above grade and the canopy is rather thick.Scruffy’s Garden and Chickenrun Preparation Coopru11 Scruffy’s Garden and Chickenrun Preparation Coopru12



It is just a guess on my part but I suspect the convection currents are resulting from regions of different temperatures and different densities of the air thus rising and falling creating the local air movement.

I have never noticed this before today. I hope it proves to be consistent. This area is a little more than 300’ from the house. One of my concerns was running power out to the tractor/coop to run fans. Hopefully Mother Nature has solved the problem for me. I will keep you posted. Thanks for the heads up.
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Post  scruffyfeathers 6/8/2015, 9:41 pm

Kelejan wrote:I am really enjoying reading about your journey, especially as you are doing all the work.

Both the narrative and the pictures are so interesting.

Thanks. I really enjoy writing and taking the pictures. What I really detest is having to do all the work myself. Laughing
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Post  AtlantaMarie 6/9/2015, 8:32 am

lol!     funny post    

Hear ya!
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Post  Razed Bed 6/9/2015, 10:54 am

That's about 300% more work than my muscles can do.  Of course, you are still young at 51.  Wait until you are 54 and see if you can do all that.

Seriously, I hope you are extremely proud and happy with the progress you have made in such a short time.
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Post  scruffyfeathers 6/9/2015, 5:50 pm

Razed Bed wrote:That's about 300% more work than my muscles can do.  Of course, you are still young at 51.  Wait until you are 54 and see if you can do all that.

Seriously, I hope you are extremely proud and happy with the progress you have made in such a short time.

Thank you.  Yes, there is a certain amount of pride.  I am actually 63, my wife is 51 and I do ache at days end but I love it.  Friends and relatives are kibitizing to help me tweek this or that.  This year is just a trial and error run.  I want to see what the garden will produce on its own.  Next year I hope to have a better ideal as to what, where and when to plant. 
The land has been idle for decades and the only amendments I have made is to mix soil pulled from the forest floor.  The clay behind the house is 7.1 to 7.5 so I am hoping the mix will do the veggies good. Smile
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Post  Marc Iverson 6/9/2015, 7:16 pm

I admire hard workers. Ideally, from far enough away that they won't ask me to help. Very Happy
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Post  kauairosina 6/9/2015, 9:31 pm

Thank you so much for the pictures and narrative about your progress.  We sure all do have widely different circumstances.  Kudos to you and your spouse for going for your dreams at your young age (I'm in my 80th year).  

This sort of story is one of the things that makes this forum so very interesting.
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Post  AtlantaMarie 6/10/2015, 9:15 am

Marc Iverson wrote:I admire hard workers.  Ideally, from far enough away that they won't ask me to help. Very Happy

snicker...
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Post  Judy McConnell 6/10/2015, 9:58 am

Good Heavens - I'm tired just by looking at your pics of the work that you have done.
Congrats!!
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Post  Kelejan 6/10/2015, 2:57 pm

I could not manage what you Scruffy and Brenda have done and I really admire both of you.

On the other hand I am old enough to be your mom, but I am quite satisfied with what I have accomplished so far. Smile One day I will try and get my pictures sorted out again. At least a few before and afters.
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Post  scruffyfeathers 6/11/2015, 12:07 am

Kelejan wrote:I could not manage what you Scruffy and Brenda have done and I really admire both of you.

On the other hand I am old enough to be your mom, but I am quite satisfied with what I have accomplished so far. Smile One day I will try and get my pictures sorted out again. At least a few before and afters.
Thanks mom! Very Happy

What I find to be a short coming is that I have an idea or thought about making a change here or there and then jump right into the project.  I don't give "before and after" a thought until it is too late.  To late into the game or project I realize that just a thought or idea to tweek this or that makes a considerable difference and I have failed to record the project accordingly. Sad

Not to worry, I do enjoy what I am doing to this place and find that it is not that important remembering what I started with as much as it is to enjoy what we have accomplished.

I would love to see some of your accomplishments.
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Post  scruffyfeathers 6/11/2015, 12:32 am

kauairosina wrote:Thank you so much for the pictures and narrative about your progress.  We sure all do have widely different circumstances.  Kudos to you and your spouse for going for your dreams at your young age (I'm in my 80th year).  

This sort of story is one of the things that makes this forum so very interesting.

The pleasure is on this end. I am glad to have contributed to this site.



It is really strange how Cancer and a Heart Attack can have such a positive and profound effect people's lives. Brenda was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 and I had a massive heart attack in 2014. Since those dates our lives have been blessed in so many ways.



Both of us had the drive of Bulldozers and our reward was a paycheck each week. The drive has not gone away. However, the reward nowadays is to stand back to smell the roses, admire our accomplishments and enjoy the life we never realized we were given.



Our dreams are coming true and we love the opportunity to share.
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Post  scruffyfeathers 6/11/2015, 12:39 am

Marc Iverson wrote:I admire hard workers.  Ideally, from far enough away that they won't ask me to help. Very Happy

We admire hard workers as well.  Unfortunately they want too much in compensatiion so we are left to the toil.   It is so sad that they are missing out on all the fun Wink.
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Post  Kelejan 6/11/2015, 12:49 am

Scruffy, you do choke me up a little.  Sniff!  So happy for the both of you that you can get so much joy after two bad happenings.
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Post  kauairosina 6/11/2015, 2:42 am

Thank you for letting us in on your personal life.  It makes your correspondence that more poignant.  Such an important reminder.  We get so used to going fast, even here in Hawaii, that we do forget to stop and smell the roses - and the plumarias and the gardenias and the coffee blossoms.... Ooops, got carried away.  On purpose.
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Post  scruffyfeathers 6/12/2015, 8:34 pm

kauairosina wrote:Thank you for letting us in on your personal life.  It makes your correspondence that more poignant.  Such an important reminder.  We get so used to going fast, even here in Hawaii, that we do forget to stop and smell the roses - and the plumarias and the gardenias and the coffee blossoms.... Ooops, got carried away.  On purpose.

Wow, that's a lot of smellin to do! It must be a real bummer having to live in the aloha state.  Have faith; if you play your cards right a stiff wind may come along and place you in the middle of Kansas. Wink

Yes, it is a blessing to slow down every now and then. Very Happy
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Post  kauairosina 6/12/2015, 8:51 pm

Yeah, me and Toto.  

When we were first married we (husband and I) Californians lived in the mid west for a while.  Chicago, Milwaukee.  Boy! Did we high tail it back to the golden state when we could come up with an excuse.  Too chicken for that ice and snow and stuff and swore we would never leave California but then we came further west and don't even want to visit California, or Honolulu for that matter.  We have grown accustomed to a slower life but I'm afraid "civilization" is roaring up on us.  Fred died back in 1998 so he didn't get to enjoy as much as I have of this wonderful place.
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