Possum visits

Below is a guest blog by Arianne Waseen about a visit by an opossum.  Thanks, Arianne!

Possum

“Possum come aknockin’ at the door.”

“I went out in the afternoon a few weeks ago to look for eggs.  I opened up the large door on the front of our coop, and in the nest box was something grey and furry and curled up in a little ball.  My first thought was that it was a cat, but looking more closely it was definitely possum fur.  I yelled and jumped a bit, and ran in to tell my husband and mother-in-law to come take a look.  By the time we got back the possum had woken up.  We opened up a little door we have at the back of the nest box and my mother in law encouraged the possum to jump down by prodding it with a broom from the front of the nest box.  It jumped down and ran off.  The opossum has come back a few times, and while it has not harmed our chickens, we are getting fewer eggs than we should be, and the possum has suspiciously glossy fur.”

Enjoying Rhubarb

Rhubarb Leaves

Rhubarb thrives in almost any soil.

About seven years ago we moved from a small house near downtown to Winding Pathways. We looked forward to our new home but didn’t want to leave some plants we’d cared for in the former yard. One was rhubarb. Fortunately, our move happened in early spring, so we were able to dig up dormant roots and plant them in our new yard.  Now, they are thriving.

Rhubarb grows wild in parts of China but was domesticated centuries ago. It has been a valued garden and yard plant in temperate climates ever since. It is vigorous, attractive, and makes delicious food. Because it’s a perennial, it never needs replanting and pops out of the ground like magic each spring.

The plant thrives in rich soil and full sun but isn’t fussy. As long as it gets some daily sunshine and moisture, rhubarb grows well nearly everywhere. Few pests bother it, although deer eat the leaves in late summer or fall.  Deer somehow resist toxins in rhubarb leaves that can sicken people. Fortunately, the stalks are delicious and nonpoisonous to humans.

Rhubarb is useful in landscaping and delicious in recipes.

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Wapsi-Ana Gardeners Visit

What fun Winding Pathways and the Wapsi-Ana Garden Club had on July 26th! Charlene George gathered fifteen avid gardeners and close friends who followed “rooster” Rich around like chicks. They chatted about gardens and childhood experiences, explored the yard with a “Treasure Hunt”, learned about solar and rain barrels and took in the Phoenix Harmony Labyrinth. The members used their senses as they listened to various natural and human sounds.  They judiciously tasted plants on their “Treasure Hunt”. Many verified that healthy lawns have diverse plants.  Great descriptions of the phallic looking “Stinkhorn” fungus. Cicadas and Rattlesnake Master fascinated members. These amateur sleuths would have impressed Sherlock Holmes himself with their collective knowledge and hilarious manners.

Enjoy the photo gallery below of our morning with the Wapsi-Ana Garden Club. Come again!

High Summer Labyrinth Walks

What fun hosting  Bankers Trust staff and clients and welcoming an out of town visitor to the Phoenix Harmony Labyrinth.  Tuesday, July 11 was steamy and threatening storms.  But, the hardy crew engaged in lively discussions and asked probing questions about the more simple lifestyle we embrace at Winding Pathways.  Now, simple does not mean easy.  Tending a large yard and five circuit labyrinth are work.  Rewarding work. And, people are curious about chickens, managing small gardens, maximizing space, retaining water on our property, heating with wood, and creating diversity that welcomes wildlife. Topics like ways to save energy which saves money to be invested or used caught their attention. And questions on managing pests like ground hogs and deer. We touched on a lot and had a great time.

Go to 1080 Labyrinth for a photo album of the afternoon and evening.

Then, with storms obviously to the south showing off cumulus and anvil clouds but no threat, all walked the Phoenix Harmony Labyrinth.  Mike T’s comment summed it all up.  As he and Terri entered the center a cool breeze touched their faces.  Mike paused and said, “I never want to leave.”

Thanks Terri Doyle for organizing and promoting!

Chickens with Hoover’s Hatchery!

If you missed our first Facebook Live watch this Hoover’s Hatchery video.

We chatted about Chickens and Gardens, Insects and Pests, Keeping Chickens cool in the summer and free from insect bites and predator invasions, and gave some tips on keeping water and feeders “poop” free.

We’re live with Winding Pathways talking with Hoover’s Hatchery about gardening with chickens!

Posted by Hoover’s Hatchery on Thursday, June 15, 2017

 

Join us next time.

Save Baby Chicks From Certain Death

 Hand Warmers

Keep hand warmers nearby in case of power outage.

We weren’t worried when a 37-degree north wind took to blowing on Saturday, March 25th.  Our chicks were safe inside the barn brooder.  Then, our electric power went out.   Normally that wouldn’t be a problem. Our wood stove keeps the house warm without electricity and we have camp stove for cooking. And the adult chickens do well in most weather.

However, the sudden unexpected loss of electricity threatened our 50 baby chicks living in a plywood brooder under heat lamps out in the barn. Electric heat lamps normally keep them snugly warm in the otherwise cold barn.

We heard about the power failure while shopping. It took a half hour to get home and we found the cold chicks huddled together in a vain attempt to keep warm. We had no idea how long the power would be off so immediately put our back up plan in place. Here’s what we did:

  • Filled two plastic jugs with hot water and placed them near the chicks. The babies immediately snuggled up to the warm bottles.
  • Tore the plastic covering off six chemical hand warmers to activate them. These are sold to farmers, carpenters, and hunters to keep their pockets warm during winter outings. They get very warm but not hot. We put them under the chicks.

The milk jugs and hand warmers didn’t warm the entire brooder, but they did keep the chicks warm enough to survive three hours until the power came back on.

Huddled in corner

Chicks huddle together when cold.

Anyone brooding baby chicks should have a back-up plan to keep their peeping friends warm in case the electricity goes out. A couple of milk jugs and a few hand warmers can prevent a disaster.