Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘nature’s course

Orange Rust

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It’s a sad year for our wild black raspberries. An outbreak of highly contagious orange rust disease has infested many, if not all, of the brambles that are scattered about our property. It’s the first time we’ve faced this calamity in the nine years we’ve been here.

The devastating thing we’ve learned about this disease is that it can’t be cured. The infected plants must be dug up or killed. Before moving on to a different stand of plants, the tools need to be cleaned to avoid spreading the disease to healthy plants.

The thing is, the spores spread in the wind and we’ve already seen evidence of infection in so many places that it feels rather hopeless to assume we still have plants that aren’t already infected. At the same time, we don’t have much choice if we ever want to have black raspberries again. The fungus doesn’t kill the plant, but there will no longer be any flowers or fruit.

Part of me wants to just let nature take its course since that’s how the multitudes of berry brambles showed up in the first place. Easy come, easy go, as they say. But Cyndie has been making the most delicious black cap jam from the bounty of fruit we were finding the last many years, I’m finding it hard to face the possibility that might come to an end.

I’m also lamenting the addition of the unexpected chore of hunting down and digging up the infected plants when there are so many other tasks needing attention.

One consolation I am going to cling to is the fact we have recently planted some red raspberry canes that our daughter, Elysa, brought from her house (originally transplanted from my sister, Mary’s plot!) and orange rust does not infect red raspberries.

I know Cyndie can make a worthy raspberry jam out of red berries, and I’m willing to adjust my desires out of necessity, but oh, that black cap jam was somthin’ else!

Dang orange fungus.



Written by johnwhays

June 14, 2021 at 6:00 am

Bird Bath

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So much for letting nature take its course. Cyndie decided to try a little intervention on our ailing Wyandotte. Looking up the hen’s symptoms online pointed to the possibility of her being egg bound. That meant a trip to purchase some supplies and then redecorating the downstairs bathroom into a triage and recovery center.

A twenty-minute soak in epsom salts treats a myriad of afflictions. Even if it doesn’t help, there’s not too much threat of causing harm.

Well, Cyndie’s efforts didn’t produce definitive results, so we are pretty much back to letting time be the arbiter for an outcome.

It’s tough, because you want to help. We don’t want the poor hen to suffer, but we are both disinclined to take this to a level of seeking professional examination and treatment. Our chickens could be considered a hobby at this point, and as such, they end up receiving hobby-level vet care.

We are not real doctors.

Meanwhile, our cat, Pequenita, is vying for attention by throwing up three times this morning. My hobby-vet analysis points to the fact that I caught her violating house rules overnight, on the island countertop, chomping on Cyndie’s flower display.

I think we should give her a bath in epsom salts.



Written by johnwhays

May 4, 2019 at 8:37 am

Egg Failure

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Someone in our chicken family isn’t feeling like her old self lately. We weren’t completely certain which one, so all of them will receive the benefit of some supplements in their diet.

There were some hints in the last couple of weeks when, twice, we found an egg with an incomplete shell in the nest boxes. At first, I wasn’t sure whether one of the hens had pecked the egg, or just laid one with an incomplete shell. Later, we found an egg that was complete, but it had a flat side.

It struck me that the egg that looked pecked was lacking the classic egg symmetry, too. That was enough to establish a trend. Unfortunately, it got worse before it got better.

Yesterday, Cyndie found that an egg failure didn’t even make it to the nest box. The poop board under the roost held evidence of an egg-saster.

Didn’t take long after that for Cyndie to make her way to Fleet Farm for an oyster shell calcium supplement. Will it be enough?

Last night, when Cyndie closed the chicken door on the coop, she found a wyandotte had chosen a nest box, instead of the roost. She had seen a wyandotte in the nest box other times this week, without getting an egg. We think this is the hen having a problem. She was making some unusual sounds.

We’ll keep an eye on her, as much as possible. Generally, we are inclined to let nature take its course, which ended well enough for our buff orpington earlier in the year. Hopefully, the extra calcium will prove helpful, and the wyandotte will ultimately have a good outcome, as well.



Written by johnwhays

May 1, 2019 at 6:00 am