Jessica Padgham

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since Jan 27, 2014
Denver, Co 6000ft bentonite clay soil
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Recent posts by Jessica Padgham

Cool grey spider found when I removed the side of a raised bed.
IMG_20170927_140356 by mrsgalihad, on Flickr
My spearmint was covered in all kinds of pollinators.  
IMG_20170811_103303 by mrsgalihad, on Flickr
IMG_20170811_103557 by mrsgalihad, on Flickr
1 year ago
Deb, I like that frozen peas idea too.  Besides not wanting to actually injure the bird I'm in suburbia so rocks or clay balls would be putting my neighbors windows at risk.  

I won't be killing any hawks.  Besides being illegal I just admire them too much.  I did lose a hen to a Red-Tailed Hawk about 6 months ago.  I put up a few more hides for the hens after that but Coopers are awfully agile.  I'm not going to fault either bird for doing what it's designed to do.  In a way these close encounters have been really amazing.

Bryant, thank you for the fishing line idea.  I have some predator net to put up but the trees in the run were making it difficult to figure out how to cover a few spots and I think that will do the trick.  

R Ranson, I've noticed similar patterns to the visits.  Today though had been gray and drizzly and it just showed up an hour ago.  One of my hens is good at alarm calling as soon as she spots it.  They are locked up now.  I have one of those indoor/outdoor backyard coops so they can be in for a few days.  

1 year ago
Ugh, I hope not.  Chickens are awfully big prey for a Coopers.  I don't think I could get away with any kind of permanent elimination.
1 year ago
Let me start by saying that I'm not terribly concerned about this bird.  It has had plenty of opportunity to kill my hens but hasn't done so.  Mostly I'm sharing because this experience has fascinated me but if anyone has any insight that would be great.

This all started about two weeks ago.  I've seen Cooper's Hawks around before and even witnessed one chase a dove.  One morning a CH starts up this whistling sort of calling.  It's making a huge amount of noise for what is a stealth predator.  The noise continued all day and after a while it kind of felt like the bird was circling our yard.  It was doing a lot of hanging around in surrounding trees then later in the day in the tree immediately over my hens run.  I even went out and shooed it away once.  My hens several times that day made noise alerting me to the fact that the hawk was too close for comfort.  I decided to lock the ladies up early as a precaution.  I look out later when the hens should be going to bed and the CH is perched on the corner of the coop.  The next day we get more noise and a few more visits from the CH.  

A few more days go by with nothing then one morning the CH is in the tree over the run again.  I was out in the yard at the time so I shoo it away.
Another day I'm watching TV and the hens start making a ruckus.  I go out to see what's up and CH is sitting on a shoulder high branch in the chicken run.  I locked the ladies up as a precaution and 10 minutes later they were making noise again because the CH is sitting on the coop roof again.  Later that day I let my hens have run of the yard for a little while while I was out and could watch them.  Guess who showed up in a tree nearby?  One of my hens saw it and let me know.
Another day or two later and my pet cockatiel startles and flies off his perch that is attached to the sliding glass door.  I managed to look just in time to see a wing and tail wheel away.  Looked out the back door and CH is sitting perched on the top of my patio umbrella.  It didn't hit the glass but I'm pretty sure it tried to eat my cockatiel.
A few more days and I'm sitting out on my deck in the morning and the hawk swoops across my yard and lands in the neighbors tree.  I went over to that fence to have a look and decided I'd pull a few weeds while I'm there.  My yard is only 100ft wide in the back but that seemed to be far enough for CH to go land on the chicken coop again.  I shooed it away again but it came back a few minutes later.  I think it didn't see me behind a tree and it left as quickly as it came.
Today I happened to look out my back door just as the CH swoops down and lands in the chicken run.  I go running out there and it's just standing on the ground and flies about 20ft away and lands on the fence.  I think my hens were confused because they didn't make any noise about the hawk this time.
1 year ago
Get in touch with PAWS of PA.  http://www.pawsofpa.org/  I used to live in Mechanicsburg and know that they are a no-kill rescue group.  The folks I dealt with were very dedicated.  They do both regular house pet adoption and barn cat placement (at least they did 10 years ago).
1 year ago
If the plants are fully dormant and your soil is not frozen you can plant them as soon as you get them.  You could also pot them up and put them in your garage shed or some place similar.  Better though would be to order from a garden catalogue where they will wait to ship them until the correct time of year.
2 years ago
I think the closest irrigated area is 15-20 ft.  I have a few things on the far side of the pear tree that I watered a few times this year.  I gave up trying to keep my lawn watered.  The neighbor behind the fence waters his lawn but there is a large unwatered space between the fence and his lawn.  Also my shrubs are elevated compared to his lawn.  I'm sure it helps a little but I don't imagine it's much.  Another thing to know is that my neighborhood seems to have a bit of a rain shadow effect.  I'm on the south side of Green Mountain in Lakewood and when rain rolls through we only get hit 1/2 to 2/3 of the time.  Though on the plus side we get much less hail.  I do think that part of the reason for the success is that the soil in that area is the best in my yard.  It had more organic content and held water better than where I put my vegetables.
2 years ago
I'm growing gooseberries underplanted with mint with no irrigation after the first year.  Just two bushes so far and they are in bright shade between a pear tree and a fence.  Last year they didn't produce berries but neither did any of my trees.  This year they made a decent crop for their size and age.  I can dig up the variety names if you are interested.
2 years ago
I would get them in the ground or in a pot and get what growth you can out of them for this year.  It's going to give them a better chance of surviving the winter.  I'd be surprised if you get any blooms but at least they will be able to photosynthesize for a couple months.
2 years ago
What about filling the area with as many carbon sources as you can get your hands on?  Pile in the leaves in fall and let the chickens shred them all winter.  In spring you have compost.  That's what I'm trying to do anyway.  My chicken run is under some established apple trees to protect them from hawks.  So far I haven't been able to get all the woodchips I would like for the area but my neighbor gave me a few garbage bags of pine needles.  Hopefully it's enough to absorb the manure from four hens.
2 years ago