Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Who Needs Sheep When You've Got Peeps?

Toodie fancies herself a Peep Herder...forget sheep! Peeps are more of a challenge

OK, so they're not really "peeps" anymore, but to me they'll always be my peeps, even when they're laying eggs. Peeps is just such a cute word. I normally refer to them as my "chickapeeps" when talking to them, or about them.

Ameraucana teenager--looking (mostly) all grown up and just one month old today!

Australian shepherds are known as outstanding sheep herders. Toodie is, perhaps, the world's first peep herder. And it's far more fun than herding cats...peeps can fly! Toodie knows the word "peeps", and when I open the gate and tell her to "go check the peeps", she's on it like a scalded dog.
She will do a perimeter check, and herd any peeps back in that have made an unexpected jail break. This fence isn't entirely peep-proof, though now that they're getting a little bigger they're having a harder time squeezing through the openings. I've been feeding them a lot hoping for just that.
Toodie watching over the flock

NEWS FLASH!! Pasty Butt is better! PB is back in the Peep House with his/her commrades and enjoying life. MY life is so much more enjoyable now that I don't have peeps in brooders upstairs as well as out in the Peep House.

I think we've finally solved the pecking problem. I started turning the heat lamp off at night so the peeps would have to sleep and not be awake, bored, pecking each other all night long. Problem is, the last few nights have been downright chilly to the tune of 37 degrees F., and my little peeplets are just a month old. Hubby Dean rigged up the Peep House to reduce the interior size by about half, and we hung a heating pad in the corner where the peeps normally sleep. We also lowered the interior roof (tarps are amazing things!) to keep the warmth low, and the peeps have made it through those chilly nights with no problems. It feels pretty toasty in there when I let them out in the mornings.

Camo Peeps investigating shrubs

Yesterday I mowed the dog yard/orchard and had three huge wheel barrows full of grass clippings to use as one of my compost ingredients. I love making compost! It's almost as much fun as baking bread or something. Anyway, we can't find our grass bagger for the lawnmower (since when could those things sprout legs and walk away?!), so I've had to rake all the grass clippings. Normally we don't mess around with the bagger or raking, but the dog yard is growing such lush grass, and at a phenomenal rate with all the rain, I can't let it go to waste. (Speaking of waste, I make sure no dog waste goes into the compost!) I've got two nice piles of compost cooking away; I just can't wait to use it in the gardens. There's never enough "black gold".

You can call yourself a true gardener when you break your hoe. Yesterday I was hoeing some weeds in my berry patch, and the hoe just broke. Snapped right off, broke the metal. I wonder, do I get a patch to wear on my jacket now? I really do need to get another hoe, and soon. The weeds, like the grass in the dog yard, are growing at a phenomenal rate since I don't have a good layer of mulch down in the berry patch yet. That's another to-do on my ever-growing list.

Speaking of berries, picking off blossoms from newly-planted blueberries and strawberries is one of the hardest things to do. Even knowing that it will help the plant thrive and produce more fruit next year, it's just....difficult! I pinched blossoms from the Sparkle strawberries that I planted near the patio. Several of my new blueberry bushes are growing like gangbusters and had popped out quite a few blossoms. Thankfully I've got 12 more blueberry bushes that produce a fair amount now.

On my way home from work this morning I stopped by our friends' house that had some black raspberry canes for me to dig up. Got those out of the ground and planted here at their new home. I'm not sure what variety they are, but hopefully they're not "Jewel", which is the type I planted last month. Even if they are, you can never have too many raspberries!

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