This past weekend we were reminded that fall is indeed on its way. The air was cool, even during the day, and the sky was that deep cornflower blue you get when a cold front moves in. We spent a good deal of time just sitting and watching the world go by, though we did get the storm windows made and mostly painted for the chicken's coop. We had two fires in the evenings and it was cool enough to sit as close to the fire pit as possible. Fall is definitely my favourite time of year, followed closely by Spring, and then Winter.
Since we were outside so much the chicks got to free range. Not really free range so much as spend several hours outside in the temporary yard we made for them. We used some bamboo posts and the left over fencing from the garden to make a yard that connects to their coop and to their tractor. They love being able to spend time in the yard chasing bugs, each other, and on a couple of occasions small wrens that flew a little to low to the ground. That last one surprised me. Who knew chickens would stalk and chase small song birds?
Allowing the girls to run free until dark we did discover that they put themselves to bed around 7:30 pm. I'm not sure if there is a signal from the leader or if they just all live and work on the same internal clock, but at 7:15 they all start moving single file up the ramp into their coop. They then spend the next 15 minutes jostling for the best location on their roosts, which seems to be next to the smaller window on the west side of the coop. By 7:30 all is quiet and a quick peak in the window shows heads either tucked under wings or drooping down in front as they sleep soundly.
We sat out by the fire until 9:00pm or so, moving inside as the neighbours all started their weekend parties with loud song, chat, and laughter. This will be the first of many weekend fires for us, but the last for most of the neighbours. That suits us just fine since we prefer quiet evenings and lots of stargazing as opposed to listening to other people's stories and frantic chatter as they try to stave off the coming darkness. For us, the darker and the quieter it is makes for a better evening for us.