Monthly Archives: June 2008

The Chicken Taj Mahal Gets a Fence

Our egg fac­to­ries con­tin­ue to receive far too much atten­tion and far too many lux­u­ries. Espe­cial­ly con­sid­er­ing they haven’t pro­duced a sin­gle egg yet.

Over the week­end we built a fence to sur­round the Chick­en Taj Mahal. The fence isn’t designed so much to keep any­thing out as to keep the chick­ens in. Chick­ens are a major pain in the gar­den.

When we first moved the lit­tle chick­ens out to the coop we built them a lit­tle yard using some exer­cise pens and bird net­ting. The dan­ger for lit­tle birds is that the crows will kill them.

previous fence

The chick­ens are now plen­ty big enough to be out of crow dan­ger but they were quick­ly out grow­ing their lit­tle “play pen” so it was time to build a prop­er chick­en yard.

Because the coop is inside the elec­tric fence there’s not too much prob­lem with coy­otes or dogs. So the fence only has to keep chick­ens in — mean­ing it can be 3 or 4 feet tall. (Fliers get their wing feath­ers short­ened)

The first step is gath­er up (buy — ouch!) your fenc­ing mate­ri­als.

fencing materials

Then you dig some post holes. Here at Black Dog Farm that means you put the back­hoe on the trac­tor and make big holes in the ground.

how to dig a fence post hole

You get some­thing that looks like hole

Some of the rocks have to be tak­en out with a pike. Ones like the one next to the five gal­lon buck­et.

rock the size of a five gallon bucket

Then you set up the posts. As demostrat­ed by our ded­i­cat­ed engi­neer.

jim taking a break

Get­ting the posts in is the first chal­lenge. Then you have to wres­tle with the fenc­ing and install the rails.

I ran out of patience for the pic­ture tak­ing and smashed my thumb — it’s very pur­ple — while we were tack­ing the wire fenc­ing up.

But here it is assem­bled and doing its job of con­tain­ing the chick­ens. We kept the gate sec­tion from the orig­i­nal playpen yard because it was much eas­i­er than build­ing a gate.

taj ma-chicken shack with fence


A few months ago I moved some things — includ­ing the files for this blog — around on the servers. It all seemed to go just fine — until…

I upgrad­ed the word­press installs. All the old­er image links broke. Luck­i­ly I fig­ured out just how they broke. It’s tak­en a cou­ple of hours but all the images and links in the old­er posts and gallery pages should work again.

What’s Blooming

Last week in the gar­den we had:

Daisies every­where. The pas­ture is cov­ered with them. daisies in Jun

On the west side of the house we have the slen­der deutzia in bloom at the back of the herb bed.

slender deutzia

And sea pinks sur­round­ing the inceeas­ing­ly tall lily stalks.


My peonies are almost ready to bloom. Actu­al­ly this pic­ture is form sev­er­al days ago and the first two blooms have appeared. (And imme­di­ate­ly been cut and tak­ing into the house!)

peony  buds

Last week­end we cleaned up a few more beds. This is the one next to the garage. On the east side of the house it gets a lot of shade and stays fair­ly moist. So I have hostas, iris­es, and a cou­ple of grass­es in it. Also a bunch of stuff that I put in three years ago and am to lazy to go dig through the files to fig­ure out what it is.

bed next to the garage

My iris­es are odd­ly pale this year. The cat is a stan­dard issue gin­ger barn cat. So the col­or of the pho­to isn’t off by much.


Playing with (paper) Dolls

This lit­tle har­le­quin dancer is sit­ting on my work­table wait­ing for a face. That’s always the hard part.

paper doll harlequin dancer

I start­ed with the doll parts and some fan­cy red and gold paper that became her tights.

Then she got a skirt.

harlequin dancer with black skirt

I start­ed with some organ­za and cut two lay­ers. the upper lay­er is notched and then the edge is fin­ished with a blan­ket stitch and some gold beads. Get­ting the beads to sit just right was a bit fid­dly and I had to wear my read­ing glass­es to see what I was doing. I don’t think I’ll try this with small­er beads!

detail of beading and edge stitching on the skirt

Words Found Today

In the cor­ner of the page con­tain­ing a pat­tern for cut­ting out a joint­ed paper doll.

1. Enlarge or reduce tem­plate to desired size.
2. Cut out.
3. Embell­ish and attach pieces togeth­er.

I think these may be the lost direc­tions for life.