Monthly Archives: June 2019

What Nature Wants

I noticed last week the lily-of-the-valley at the end of our lane were in bloom. There is no sweeter scent in early summer, even though my plant book tells me they are highly poisonous. This morning I set off to pick some.

Many trees came down in wind storms last winter, some large ones that were very much alive (including one giant that just grazed the gutters on our house!). One completely blocked my path to the patch, but I figured I could just squeeze by it .

As I reached out to move a branch, a robin flew off, and there was the most perfect nest, about two feet off of the ground, containing three eggs. I hurried past.

Seems the flowers had hurried past, too, and were starting to turn brown, so I’d missed my chance. I snapped a quick picture of the nest on my way back, mother robin sitting nervously in a nearby tree. She started shouting, and her mate joined in. I sped off, and calm returned.

It is good forestry practice to not be active in the woods this time of year while birds are still nesting, and this nest is a good reminder of why. It would take me less than a minute with my chainsaw to cut this skinny spruce up so I could toss it aside. I should have done it in late winter, but something always kept me from it.

But, really, nature doesn’t want or need me to cut that tree. The green needles will turn brown and fall off next year. The lower branches will decay and snow will pile on top year after year, and the branches will snap off. In a few years, the trunk will be on the ground, and the insects and microbes would really take over. In a couple of decades, the tree will be gone, having nourished other plants and trees.

In cutting the tree, I’m shaping nature to suit my needs, and I need to always be mindful of that. For now, what nature wants is for those three eggs to have a safe home, and for me to walk around another way.

Perfect nest made of mud, straw, moss, birch bark, and seaweed

(Only as I am getting ready to publish this post do I realise my first two posts heavily feature eggs. I suppose a blog should have a theme, but I rather thought the theme would be “what I’m obsessing about right now.” Guess I’m taking the hatching of a blog rather too seriously!)

Pullet Eggs

We got two new hens at the end of May, red ready-to-lay pullets. The two older hens welcomed them with lots of squawking and some feather pulling, but they are slowly getting used to each other.

On Tuesday morning, I found the first tiny egg in the dust bath the new gals had created in their section of the run, then another in the afternoon by their feeder. I decided to let the four of them run together all day on Wednesday after nearly three weeks of living next to each other.

Within a couple of hours of being together, the two new hens figured out from the older ones that the nesting boxes in the big coop are where you go when you get that feeling that you have to lay an egg. Without a handbook, wiki or support forum to consult, they figured it out, just like they did making their dust bath only minutes after leaving the cage they came home in. The older hens are still doing some chasing and yelling, but things have calmed down a lot. 

Pullet eggs are about 2/3 the size of regular hens eggs. They will lay these small eggs for about a month as they grow to their full hen size.

Start small, follow your instincts, watch those with more experience, don’t be fancy, and find the right nest box. Good lessons learned from our new hens as I start a blog for the second time. I have a feeling this one might stick if I start small, so this is my pullet blog.