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Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Rockpile: Spiders, Ants, Chickens

What do you want?

Long ago, I had a hickory nut tree cut. I could not afford to have the stump removed. So, it sat, not unattractive at all, cut just above the ground. Eventually, grass grew over the stump. The tree was hollow in the middle, destroyed by ants and then healed over after we killed the ants. Grass growing over the tree stump obscured the danger in the hollow tree and eventually obscuring the hollow places and rotting tree trees stump holes.

In order to keep me and others safe, I moved huge rocks, given to me from my elderly neighbor's yard by her daughter. Yes, I moved those stones myself up a hill and around a corner to my house.

People refer to this as a rock garden. I think of a rock garden as having plantings. Do you? It is not really a pile of rocks, It just looks like it because some are sinking as the roots are decaying. It was a nice even, rounded mound of rocks.

I believe there are hornet under the rocks, but they leave me alone. I just don't know anyone brave enough to kill hornets. Hornets do live under rocks? Right?

jewels in the rocks

The other day, at around noon I found a spider web with dew making the web shine like many diamonds. I left them alone. The spider web I found last week going from the clothes line to the wisteria hit me right in the face. I could hear a ripping sound. That was weird. Have you found jewels on spider webs?

fire ants
As I straightened up, I glanced to the right. Fire ants! Those I will kill. The mound is over a foot long.
view from the side porch
I took this picture because of the hens. They are just digging up the yard for their own pleasure and food. They are very busy. Most of the junk in the yard is gone now.
The rocks don't show as sharply as they would if I gotten all the stuff that was destroyed with a weed eater from the top of the rocks.
Let's look closer.

Are you still here?
Thelma has been bathing. See the dirt? She took turns digging and  and bathing. Finally, after all this, there was a hole in the yard!

I am ignoring you. See my behind?
I love her fuzzy/feathery behind! I cannot believe the guy that clipped all his hens feathered behinds in order to get clean eggs. Poor hens. The picture looks funny, but her legs were in motion as she scratched furiously.
They have managed to destroy a large area.
This summer, I had an experiment going on that was never completed. So, there were foot tall grasses of all sorts here. I asked exbf to weed eat it, finally, deciding the experiment will be saved for next year. He never edges anything down to a level. He digs up the dirt and leaves areas bare. He has done this for over six years, so I doubt he will ever stop. . . .sigh. So, the chickens take advantage of the visible dirt and just rip up the whole area and beyond. When they started, there were only about three inches of dirt showing by the rocks!
 Your turn
Do your hens just dig until they have caused so much destruction? Got any fuzzy butt chickens? Thelma has always had the most beautiful feathers on her behind.


  1. My hens would dig to China if I let them. They are molting right now, so they are kind of scary looking....

  2. jandM,
    That is so true of mine, also! I keep hoping they will move on. I may fill the hole and put something over it. They seem to have focused on this side yard for digging lately. Mine have never had a molt, just loose feathers that have not fallen off yet. Several times, one or the other has had no or few tail feathers, but I figured it was due to bullying. Maybe not. But, it is a very strange molt and apparently normal.

  3. My partner's sister has much loved chooks. And says that she can have chooks or a lawn - and has made her choice.
    Love that fluffy butt.

    1. EC,
      I suppose I have made my choice, too. Yes, that butt just blows in the gentlest wind. In a hard wind, it is funny to watch as the fluffy butt blows around furiously.

  4. sorry. hurry up and forgive me. I miss you. the rat

  5. I love the photo of Thelma's fluffy butt. I wish my chickens were that clean. Meat birds can't roost (they're too fat) so they can't get away from their droppings at night. :-( But, they are going to the butcher's today and it will no longer be a worry.

  6. Sue,
    Mine don't roost, never have. I did not give them a roost, so they just sit on the top of a Rubbermaid box, right in the poop! Exbf does put new pine straw up there once each week. However, it is only clean for one night. How many meat chickens will go to the butcher.

    1. Well, they keep mighty clean for not having a roost. I took 9 birds to the butcher. They'll be ready for pick-up tomorrow around supper time.

    2. Sue,
      I have wondered how they keep clean since they sit on poop. The top of the Rubbermaid box gets cleaned once a week and more pine straw put on it to sort of absorb the poop. Still, even when they had nothing but a bare box, they never had poopy butts/ Well, the butt feathers would look dirty and straggly, then it would all be clean. I never see them cleaning themselves.

  7. I would MUCH rather have fuzzy butt chickens than muddy pawed dogs! Thanks for visiting my site yesterday!

    1. McVal,
      Me too! Even if I had muddy-pawed dogs, they would be outdoors.


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