The new pond’s nitrogen cycle is finally measuring perfect after twenty days. Between time, a good UV light, and some bacteria, the pond has cleared up and parameters are great. The only icky job of maintaining this pond is emptying the skimmers each morning. We have at least four frogs every day caught in the basket. This morning I was surprised by a small (or young) bird in the skimmer, so gross. The koi are eating lightly right now and I am gradually increasing their feedings now that the pond’s nitrogen cycle is working.

Last week two cute little tosai flew in from PS Koi. Young koi are so much fun to watch, feed, and they always have the promise that maybe they’ll be a star. Always a gamble. So Russ Peters carefully packaged up a 9 inch kujaku (left) and an 11 inch showa (right). The insulated box arrived on time and the little tosai were not stressed at all. Unfortunately things can go downhill quickly. Less than 24 hours in the quarantine tank, the little white and copper kujaku swam too close to the exit opening and somehow got stuck. The kujaku tosai was unable to break free and perished. I felt bad because it was such a pretty specimen – very shiny, even scales, even coppery shading. We probably should have put some kind of basket cover on the opening.

After the kujaku failure, my next project was adding to our little flock of hens. I had pre-ordered two easter-egger pullets (the chicks with light brown heads) and the farmer happened to have two barnevelder pullets (the dark chicks). So four chicks, about 6 weeks old, came home. I spent the afternoon making a coop for them because they are able to fly a short distance. They are little but very active. These pullets will move into the little blue coop in about two weeks and can join the rest of the hens when they are about the same size.

Our hens are quite amusing and have their own little personalities. Some of them are bullies and of course one of them is at the bottom of the pecking order (the white Colombian wyandotte). It’s pretty hot outside so the chickens enjoy eating watermelon.

We are finally getting around to building the new hen house. Since we will be using the old blue coop for the new pullets, the new henhouse will be for the older chickens. We looked up colors that chickens like and settled on a reddish exterior, pink interior, and yellow trim. The floor is covered with a sheet of laminate for easy cleaning. I need to source some coffee ground mulch which other chicken owners swear by. We will have six nesting boxes and I have wallpapered them with three different designs. I’m hoping to figure out if one design encourages more egg laying. The side panels will have windows and a solar powered fan will be installed. We should be able to finish up the coop over the weekend, unless we are distracted by European hornets.

There is always the unexpected project, like getting rid of another European Hornet nest. We were having a new HVAC system installed for our second floor and the installation team saw two hornets flying in their work area. We walked around the house and noted that the hornets were accessing a little hole in the southwest corner of the house. The pest professionals will not be here for another ten days so the pond builder is always willing to play exterminator. We have plenty of spray cans and some special dusting powder that is very effective against hornets. I’m just hoping that we are not visiting Urgent Care for any stings or ladder mishaps.

My blog ends today on a sad note. My favorite hen, Beth, did not come home to the coop tonight. I spent two hours looking for her but she has vanished. No feather pile so I’m guessing a hawk, fox, or coyote might have taken her away. I am hoping that by some chance she is hiding and I will see her tomorrow morning. I guess it’s probably best to not get too attached. Pond builder is thinking we should make a larger run or multiple runs for the hens so that they will remain safe…another project.

The next morning – happy addendum: Beth is safe and alive. She must have spent some part of the day up in the shelves and was unable to figure out how to come back down. I’m relieved!