Category Archives: pigeons

Snomageddon 2019

So the Pacific Northwest is having snow like I remember when I was a kid. This used to be normal. Now, it’s a “snomageddon’ and the authorities have declared a state of emergency. Seriously? It’s just a little bit of snow.

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And granted, some areas of the state are hit a lot harder than me. But still, look at what’s happening in grocery stores:

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As one person in Seattle put it, it’s “combat shopping“.

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Even in my much smaller city, the grocery stores were cleaned out of some items. Thursday night, ALL the shopping carts were in use, and there was a line out the door. And this is just a tiny event as far as natural disasters go.  People weren’t even prepared enough to go for a long weekend without shopping. Look how quickly everything went.

Now imagine it was a serious storm. Or an earthquake. Something that would keep the grocery stores from being able to restock the next day.

Now no fault to you if you’re in serious financial difficulties, or something else that keeps you from being prepared, but if you’re an average human with a decent job, and you’re NOT prepared for at least a two weeks without having to hit the grocery stores in panicked combat-mode, than you are an idiot. I’m sorry for being blunt, but you are. Natural disasters are picking up in frequency and severity all over the globe, and the odds are that someday you will be affected by something. It could even be something personal to you: a job layoff or an injury. Whatever it is, when it is so simple to just start buying a few extra canned goods every time you shop, make sure you always have toilet paper and other necessities on hand, and stick a few bottles of water underneath your bed – why wouldn’t you? Seriously, why not?

I wrote a post a short time ago with suggestions on how to get started, but really, looking at these grocery store pictures, if you at least have enough food to get you through a weekend without having to go to the store, you’ll be ahead of so many people. Thursday night, one of my co-workers was worried about having to drive on the snow to go shopping after work because she ‘didn’t have anything to eat’ in her house. Seriously? Being prepared is not some sort of fringe wacko conspiracy nut thing…it’s just common sense. It used to be the ordinary, common thing for everyone. People just always had food in their houses. Often, they had fresh food sources in their city backyards. It’s sad, and it’s insane how things have changed.

The only thing I bought since this snow started was a gallon of milk. Not because it was a necessity, but only because I wanted to make a new batch of yogurt. I could easily have gone without, and been perfectly fine. There is food in my pantry, and the freezers are stocked.

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The only reason I want this snow to go away is because the chickens and I hate cold weather. I want to start work on the new Muscovy duck coop, and finish prepping my garden for planting!

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Oh – and I have ordered my first pair of Utility King pigeons! They should arrive in the mail within a week or two.

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Of Pigs and Pigeons

The plans to get Muscovy ducks is moving along. I called the farm I want to buy them from, and confirmed that they can ship to me. Actually, they can’t ship to me, because my city is too small for one-day shipping, but they can ship to the larger city right next to me, and I can go pick them up at the post office there. I think I’ll have them sent in May. The weather will be nice by then, so I can move them asap out of my house (ducklings are incredibly messy) and out into the grow-out coop.

Brand new on the agenda for this year is pigeons! I have this wonderful pen that has never really lived up to its potential. I’ve had quail in it, rabbits, and most recently, guinea pigs.

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It’s wrapped in plastic right now because of the guinea pigs. None of these critters use the entire space, ground and upper flight areas, which is a shame. So I moved the pigs into a vacant quail coop that gives them ample floor room, freeing up this pen for pigeons. And I’m planning to wire over the rooftop garden, incorporating it into the cage as even more space for the birds.

I’ve long been interested in pigeons because I love pigeons, but I have a little hawk that lives in the field next door, and I’ve watched her take down the wild pigeons in my yard. While I definitely don’t begrudge her a dinner, I don’t want her dinner to be my animals, which has kept me from getting homing pigeons. The whole reason to have those is to let them fly free, which they couldn’t safely do in around my house. But recently, I stumbled across a website about utility pigeons – pigeons raised for eggs and meat. I had pigeon when I was in London, and really liked it, and I like the idea of having animals that are useful in several ways. Plus, pigeons helped many people make it through the Great Depression – and since we’re headed toward even worse times, another source of sustainable backyard protein is highly appealing to me.

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These are king pigeons, the variety I would most likely get. They are extremely domesticated, calm, and gentle. They are heavy enough that they don’t really fly well at all, so being kept in a pen is preferred for them.

And how are the guinea pigs doing? When I first got them, all the American websites said you absolutely cannot keep them outside. The British websites were full of people doing exactly that. So of course, I went with the British way of doing things…with the knowledge I may have to bring them inside during the coldest parts of winter.

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I haven’t had to do that. I wrapped their run in plastic both to warm it up slightly, and to protect from wind and rain, and they’ve been happy as two pigs can be. When I open the door, they come running for treats.

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So yeah. These are definitely outside pigs now.  I did, as I said above, moved them to a smaller pen, also winterized in plastic for the winter.

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You can just barely see Freddie in there.

We’ve been having some decent days lately, and the past couple of weeks I’ve been out working in the garden. Last year, I moved one of the quail coops out of the garden, and where it used to be, I built a small wall out of mason blocks, and added a new garden bed behind it.

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The wall both adds a bit of privacy and definition to the garden, and it also provides some protection for the mini fireplace in front.

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I also moved a couple of cold frames behind the greenhouse, and put in a larger raised bed where the cold frames used to sit. It’s a prime “hot” area, and will be terrific for tomatoes.

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All winter long, I’ve been dumping the rabbits litter boxes into the chicken’s compost area, and now I’ve started shoveling that out into my veggie gardens. It’s great stuff – even fresh, rabbit poo won’t burn plants, and this is partly composted and full of worms and other beneficial stuff.

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Just about a month left, and I’ll be able to start planting! The garden is ready for spring. The trees are budding out, the roses are sprouting leaves, and the bluebells are green.

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Now the race begins…which will happen first: spring or the rapture of the church? Hopefully the second, but at least if I’m stuck here on earth a little bit longer, I have ducklings to look forward to!