Sunday, February 26, 2012

Eggs and Options

All the hens are back online and in fact, this has been a fantastic February with 21 eggs as of yesterday. Not bad for our aging flock of 3 hens. Here's a picture from yesterday, our second three-egg day this month:

Last night a friend visited and showed us a picture of her freshly hatched duckling and that got the whole conversation started about how much longer our current hens (our first hens) will continue to lay and what we'll do afterwards. If we lived someplace outside of the city, we could have ducks and chickens. But here in the suburbs, we can only have three animals (other than "regular" household pets).

One of the several chicken-keeping neighbors in our block stopped keeping chickens recently. They said it was because of the math. They weren't getting enough eggs "to offset the costs." We keep chickens for many reasons, so it's not primarily a math equation for us.

I'm not sure yet what we'll do once they stop laying. I know it's not really a light switch occurrence -- they don't just wake up one morning and go from laying many eggs a week to laying zero. So at some point the gradual decline will become noticeable and we'll have to start buying eggs again. Then we'll decide.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Preparedness -- One More Step

Today I finished putting together the emergency kit for our pets. We don't have a zoo-ful, but we do have three chickens and two cats. I filled a Gamma Vittles Vault with chicken food and another with cat supplies. The containers are a bit spendy but I got them on sale and the lids make it so the food will last and not get discovered by insects. We'll rotate the food every couple of months.

I also put a 5 gallon bottle of water into the shed as well. One thing I keep forgetting to do is print out pictures of the cats for the go bag. And this is plain silly! Today I cleaned off the desk in the office as well the table by our front door and found 4 separate notes reminding me to "print cat pics" -- sheesh!

Now, what to do with the remaining 2.5 days of the weekend?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Annoying Trees (Part Three)

Ok, the arborist guy insisted on leaving two trees and I wasn't there to say no. So, we'll give it a week or two and if we don't like it, we'll call in this other guy who will happily remove them and plant a birch for us. Regardless, here it is:

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Annoying Trees, Part Two

In our city, you need a permit to remove (or even "prune" or so we're told) any tree. We have neighbors who have removed trees sans permit and have had the city show up at their door with an order to replace said tree (a neighbor told us that the city inspector said "I noticed on google..." when referring to the missing tree). I don't like it, but that's part of the price of living in a city and not really "owning" the land you pay so much taxes for...

Because we wanted to do this one "by the book" we made sure the arborist was someone who was comfortable working with the permit process. Today the city Tree Inspector General (my name for him) showed up and perused our place. He agreed vehemently with the assessment: remove the palm, remove most of the camphors. He showed us how someone had "topped" one of the camphors a long time ago. Honestly, I just don't care. I want those ugly trees out of there. I love trees, but not camphors. Would love a nice birch or three...

On the way out, the tree guy offered his thoughts on every other tree we have. "Yes, you can prune this one." "That's what we call a specimen tree, you can't even touch that one!" etc. He kept saying "just call me if you want to prune that..." I wonder if he really meant we could get his phone number and he'd race over to the house with a permit.

Begrudgingly, I guess he's a good guy, even if he is in charge of permits for tree pruning.

So it looks like we're all set to go and we'll get the tree guys out here soon.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Bye Bye, Annoying Trees (Part 1)

Here's what the corner of our yard looks like now.

The jungle corner. You can see the fence damage in the red square, and the tangle of camphors in the blue.

The palm is incredibly out of place and it's grown so much since we moved in 12 years ago that it's now pressing up against the fence. This means that we have to constantly repair the fence and hack off branches of the palm tree.

Over on the left is a group of camphor trees. When we moved in, I think we only had two or three "trunks" but now there's a good four or five of them. They're pushing up the cement patio, ruining the other fence, shading our lawn/garden, and annoying the heck out of our favorite neighbors. Oh, and did I mention that the camphors also sprout berries that fall all over and cause a giant mess?

Our view when we step out to the patio

That's not to say that it's all bad. We love having the shade on the patio.

But out they must go.

One plan was to remove all of the trees and even bring in a stump grinder to remove as much as possible. This was a lot more expensive and also removed the habitat (the tree houses squirrels (boo) and birds). I liked this plan, as we were going to replace the trees with a trio of small birches.

But we had several arborists out and the one we liked the most suggested we leave one of the camphors and then wait and see if we're able to live with it. If not, we can always have it removed. Otherwise we'll have the shade and the birds keep some of their tree.

Yep, right up and over the power/etc. lines...

This is suboptimal for me, and our neighbors (well, most of the trees will be gone, so it's an improvement either way). Plus, the tree is so tall it's grown right over the power (phone? cable?) lines. I think this is a disaster waiting to happen. But I've told myself I'm going to keep an open mind and try the less severe approach recommended by the arborist first.