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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cleaning day the hen house way


First a lovely petunia wave. This is one of my favorite flowers and the only annual I will purchase. The potted ones spread to three feet. I wait until Lowe's forgets to water them and buy a marked-down pot. This was the case last year. Later, I just dumped all the dirt onto and between the rocks covering a rotting stump. It's been rotting deep into the ground for about 26 years. I covered the hollow stump with rocks because I could not afford a stump grinder service and did not want anyone falling in and getting hurt. These rocks are where I place flowers and herbs in their pots. It was such a lovely surprise when the flower above came up between the rocks.


Usually, my ex bf comes up on Wednesday to help me with things that I cannot physically manage. Above, we are in the midst of washing, raking, and rearranging. This week, he said he would come on Tuesday if I did not mind. I had a doctor's appt and he came with me. It looks like I will have a endoscopy and colonoscopy two weeks from today. It sounds like a fun day.

Since we were both exhausted, him from work and me from three hours sleep last night, we took an unplanned nap and then got busy. While I put on a roast, carrots, potatoes, onions and celery, he started cleaning the hen's pen. I forgot the steam the broccoli when we ate!

The winter water heater was replaced with a plant stand. Hopefully, the hens will not knock the stand over or the waterer off the stand. The waterer for the pen, their outside water bowl, my red wagon, and their night cage for in the house were all hosed down and washed by me with Dawn and a holey knee sock. Of course, I managed to soak myself. The night cage for inside my house is the dark blue, upended thing to the right of the picture.

The hens have several "watering holes." The metal waterer is in the pen. A pretty bowl is near a bench in front of their pen. They think the bird bath near the swing and picnic table is for drinking. Then, there is a bowl of water near the back door.
I bought the bowl above because I was breaking antiques by leaving them outside. This was a $2 bowl about 14 inches in diameter bought at a yard sale, cheap to begin with, so I was sure it would not last long. It has been in use for 2 years.
Can you see the three-legged, metal plant stand on which it sits? It must be off the ground in order for the water to stay reasonably clean since their scratching throws trash in it. One day, a robin was having a lovely time, bathing in the water bowl.

He got out all the vegetables they don't eat and put those in the compost hole by the fence. They scratch all the leaves out the pen, so those went over the vegetables in the compost hole by the fence. He hosed out their Rubbermaid boxes and put fresh, dry leaves in there. The ladder is for their amusement. There is a tree stump with short branches that they don't appreciate, just lying down in the picture. The blue garbage can he is using to transport leaves is for them to sit in when it lies in their pen. When it is windy or especially rainy, they hunker down in there amongst the leaves put in for them. You cannot see the holes the hens have dug in the floor of the pen. Neither will I be able to see them and will just stagger around in the pen when I go in to check for eggs or deliver food and water. So far, I have not fallen down in there! I just look drunk.

At the left of the picture in the background is the blue tarp over my generator. Anyone want a generator full of

I watered my two squash plants in the pink box behind him. So far, that is my only garden. I am sort of demoralized about having more garden since my life seems in flux right now.

I had to stop typing in order the line the hens' clean box with paper. They whine and fuss so when they are ready to come into the house.

Your turn
I am averse to buying annuals but am often surprised that they return from seed the next year. Do you have a favorite annual that you cannot resist, no matter the cost? If one must clean a hen pen and nest boxes, today was a lovely day, full of sun and fluffy clouds, and a mild temperature. What does your hen house or pen cleaning consist of?


  1. I've been moving away from annuals unless I buy the seeds and plant them myself. By the time we started to garden at the farm, I was much more into perennials but I can't resist marigold (they do reseed) and geranium (they die even if I bring them indoors). Geranium especially is a favorite.

  2. I have a packets of flower seeds and a place to just sow on the ground. Unfortunately, that is where hens like to scratch. Marigolds keep insect pests away from plants, so you might integrate these into your gardens.

  3. Linda, did you not get the portable pen I had delivered to you? UPS said it was delivered to the Clyburne St. address on April 18.

  4. Ye, Jan, I thought I posted a thank you in the comments for the generous gift. Thank You!

  5. Or, that could be "Yes" instead of ye!

  6. I've been resisting annuals so far, thinking it was a waste of money to have a plant that won't come back the next year. This information that they do come back if you start them from seed is news to me ... in that case, I'd totally start planting annuals from seed!

  7. Paula,
    Hi! My friend told me her beautiful annuals in front of her shop reseeded. So, that is the word of the day, okay, year for me. I had marvelled at her beautiful flowers that she had year after year. I cannot remember the name of them. She was having money problems, so I asked her how she could afford all those annuals. That is when she told me. I had a moment when I could not resist a little annual that came back for about four years. They were eventually doomed by lack of light or the hens, not sure which. My Wave Petunia is so much larger than it was two weeks ago. It makes my heart happy. Thanks for dropping by and commenting. Now, I will go read your blog. The name is catchy.

  8. Paula, I remember the flower--impatiens. They come back thicker and beautiful in a bed that has no care over the winter. Hybrids or heirlooms? Someone else will have to supply that information.


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