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7.20.2011

Necessity

You know the old saying, "necessity is the mother of invention."  Cliche, but true.  So it's been around 100 degrees here for almost a week now, and the heat index has been over 110 due to humidity in the 80's and 90's (that' percent, just FYI).  So this has affected my life in two ways.  First, it has killed all motivation to do anything and sapped all my energy... which wouldn't be a huge deal if it only affected my outdoor activities, since most of my huge jobs are done for the moment (still need to trellis my beans, but I figure that can wait until the heat breaks), but even in my lovely cool house I don't want to do. anything.  I need to fold and put away laundry, deal with the two monster heads of cabbage in my fridge (but to my own credit, I started with five of them...), generally clean, make zucchini bread before the zucchini I shredded two days ago goes bad, and sew up the gathering apron that I've been thinking about for two weeks (check out this link... only (no offense to the poster, we all have different tastes) with cuter fabric, no rick rack, not quite as long, and probably no pockets).

Secondly, it has made me freak out a little about my chickens.  This, in fact, may be the reason behind my lack of motivation, as anxiety about things tends to knock me flat, figuratively speaking.  It is SO uncomfortably hot, and there isn't much shade in their run until early evening.  Although it would have been a pain in the booty to build around, it makes me wish the huge oak that used to stand right next to my coop was still there.  That would have made a huge difference.  I guess I should be grateful it fell before I built my run instead of after.

So I've been spending a bit of time outside, sweating my proverbial balls off, coming up with ways to bring my chickens a little relief.  I looked for misters, but no one around here carries them (and with this humidity I doubt they'd do much good anyway, since their cooling power lies mostly in evaporation).  I've replaced their water multiple times a day, often adding ice to it.  I've put a tray of ice in front of one of the large fans I have running in their coop.  I put some small sprinklers in their run and turn them on a low mist during the hottest part of the day... this was a shot in the dark, as chickens don't like water, but I caught several of my chickens walking in and out of the water, so they seem to enjoy it.  And today, with the heat index of 119, I tried something else.  I put a splitter on the hose I have the sprinklers connected to, attached another short hose, and re-hooked the sprinklers.  Then I ran the hoses over the top of the coop so the other side of the splitter is pointed across the roof.  I opening the valve just enough for the water to spray out, covering much of the roof.  I had been reading about roof sprinklers to cool down houses, and thought this may be an effective way to cool the coop. 

Of course, I hate wasting water, and as I watched the trickle of water run off the roof in a stream two feet from the opening of my rain barrel, I had an idea.  My intention is to put up gutters and run them to the rain barrel, I just haven't had the time with all my other projects.  But I have the gutters.  So I took one of the gutter lengths and laid it across the open window, with a little piece of wood the create the proper grade so the water runs into the barrel.
 Nice, right?  So it wasn't quite as much of a waste of water...

I'm not at all sure that it cooled the coop.  In theory, it might have.  But I believe we shall have some relief tomorrow, so maybe my anxiety about my chickens will ease up and I'll get something done around here!

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