Our Araucana hen, BJ (Betty Jo Pickens), went broody. That's when a hen is ready to set and hatch her eggs. You have a pretty good indication of this when she won't move from the nesting box and pecks and squawks at you as you try to remove the eggs. After sitting on her eight eggs for 21 days, only one little chick hatched. The Hen will not let that chick out of her sight! If you've never had the opportunity to watch the interaction between a mother hen and her chick you are missing a delightful treat.
On the subject of chickens, I found a great use for my old terra cotta pots. These are a perfect fit for a chicken. What a simple solution for a nesting box. They are easy to move, easy to clean and they don't rot like wood. Besides, I think I heard my husband mention that he didn't think he could build one more chicken box!
No, you're not at the beach, these are our summer sun umbrellas. I keep an eye out at yard and end of summer sales for market umbrellas to shade my garden vegetables. They are a big help and easier than spreading shade cloth. The only drawback is when the monsoons arrive. You should definitely make sure that they are all closed down. We have had one sail away in the wind.