As the nights get longer and colder, the harvesting gets more urgent and I start to look at the little buds and leaves that are still growing and give them little peps talks to hurry up! In the coming weeks, I will be putting most of the planting beds to rest for the season. A few will be planted in some biennial/perennial seedlings that were started from seed in mid-summer and others will be cover cropped or planted with cold-tolerant veg and flowers to test what can survive.
The tufts of feathers that appear in the and around the coops have begun. It always makes my heart race for a moment thinking that some predator must have gotten in during the night, but a quick head count (and a reminder that this happens every year) assuages my anxiety since it is just the chickens dropping their old and worn out feathers as new ones come in. It doesn't hurt to be cautious though as excess feathers around is also a main sign of predator attacks.
Fall is also when the hawks make a renewed attempt to snatch up a tasty bird, but so far no sign of them, but their cousin, a Great Horned Owl, did stop by a few times one night and chose to perch on top of the guinea fowl run which they informed me about very urgently, so I ran out into the dark, prepared for battle with an unknown foe. Only to run about the barnyard flapping my arms about until the owl left. It was most likely after the many rodents that I reluctantly share the field and farm with but they don't discriminate between tiny prey (rats) and not as tiny prey (chicken) and it is hard to ignore the very urgent cries of a guinea fowl at 2am even if I know they are all locked away safe in their huts and runs for the night. I tried asking it nicely to perch elsewhere in the field, as then the guineas probably wouldn't raise a fuss, but I don't think it understood.
It may look like Iris the Golden Girl has fallen down and can't get up, instead she is 'sunning' where a chicken lists over to one side and stretches out her leg (sometimes her wing as well). They often do this in the first warmth of the morning sun but also while dust bathing as a measure of using the sun to help keep their feathers clean of icky bugs and parasites.
What's available this weekend?