Chickens, Landscaping and a New Koi

We had a pretty busy weekend – exhausting but we got a lot done. I started a new hobby this weekend. I purchased two chicks that will be laying hens later this summer. I was hoping to get a pair of ameraucaunas (they lay blue eggs) but ended up with some reliable brown egg layers. Maybe next year I’ll start a little earlier and get some ameraucauna day old chicks and raise them in the garage.

Vida, the white DeKalb Amberlink and Chi Chi, the brown Golden Comet. We anticipate the point of lay will be late July.
I need a brooder for a few weeks until the chicks can be put into the outdoor coop. I purchased two dish pack boxes from U-Haul and made a little cardboard brooder. The heat lamp keeps part of the brooder around 90 degrees.

I checked the city ordinances regarding chicken and Minnetonka does not allow free ranging chickens or roosters. We bought a coop kit and it looks okay. We’ll probably stain it to match the shed and move around some more plants to make it less visible.

We put together a chicken coop for the two new chicks. Since we won’t want to see the coop, we moved one of our arctic willows to break up the line.

Getting the ponds ready for the koi involves cleaning and hooking things back up. The pond digger has purchased a few new items and created a different aerator for the upper pond.

New 4″ valves for our ponds. The UPS guy loves us…

My pond digger fabricated an aerator using some aeration tubing. He’s going to run it directly under our waterfall so that I have some calm areas in the upper pond.

The pond digger emptied the upper pond and spent some time sweeping out leaves and worms. A little pressure washing and it’s looking pretty good.

Landscaping took up a lot of our time and while we’re far from being finished, we’re off to a good start.

Day 1. These arborvitae have been moved a fourth time now. After the first two were such a pain to dig out, we decided cutting the third down was better. The pond digger loves to play with equipment. He moved a lot of heavy, clay soil to make a new berm. Our intent is to camouflage the filtration equipment from the street view.

Day 2. We had to wait out some rainy weather and began to reshape our berm. We’ll be working on this over the next fewer weekends but we’ve started with some grass that will hold the berm’s shape and moved some spreading evergreens. We have rocks and junipers heading to the berm but ran out of hours this weekend.

I haven’t seen the deer lately but they clearly come through the yard frequently. One left a guilty hoof print and of course there were plenty of plants nibbled down. Once again my tulips did not make it. The deer have favored new iris plants over hosta. I wish they would go after the hostas since we have so much in our yard.

Indoor koi land is getting old. I think Wild Bill tried to jump and got a little cut from the netting. He was sporting some red patches and I was worried he might get the other koi sick. So while it was a little overkill, I decided to treat the entire pool with some broad spectrum medication. I think the koi definitely look fine and will be ready to go outside next weekend (if we get everything hooked up!)

Hanging around, eating a lot – hoping to get outside soon.

Last year I started looking more carefully at shiro utsuri koi and this year I am starting to learn more about showa koi. Both varieties of koi take a few years to develop and will tax my patience. Devin and Mikki Swanson of Koi Acres received their spring koi shipment and sent me some Showa candidates. I’ll let you know in May, which one has my name on it (not too hard to pick out…)

Koi Acres spring koi from Japan came in this past week. I had asked for a special showa and they gave me a choice of Danichi tosai. Which one do you think I picked? I’ll be bringing this Showa home after it completes quarantine.

Had a great Easter weekend with plenty of outdoors time šŸ˜„