Friday, March 21, 2014

Sadness

Our chickens bring us such joy. We love them so very much. Even the ones we ended up eating.

A few days ago, we came home to a gruesome sight - most of the 'pet' flock lay dead in our yard. 7 of the ten were gone.

We *think* it was foxes. Or maybe a neighbor's dog. It wasn't ours... they were tied up at the time... just out of reach to save them.

We still have a flock up top in the meadow. We still have the 8 babies and 4 turkeys. We still have Waddly Wanda, Mystery, and our Silke rooster Fluffernutter.

But we lost two of the original girls that I got oh so long ago, on sale, my first spring here. We lost Cindy.

And we lost Henrietta.

We miss our chickens :(

Henrietta, poised.

When she was all molty and having issues, we gave her an epsom salt bath and got to spend the night inside with us. She even got blow-dried.


Henrietta was a great companion while I waited for Mr Snarkles to arrive. (Those are my really pregnant feet)

The morning I went into real labor, I walked up by the meadow with my mom and the meadow was covered in beautiful mist... and chickens.

No matter how many times Mr Snarkles yanked on her feathers or her comb, she never pecked him. Not once.

Fast friends.

Cindy indignant stare while she molted was quite the thing...
Awkward stage...

Lookout scouts.

Henrietta looking for Mike. Per usual.

The first few weeks of her laying life, she would only lay eggs on the couch...

...and I would come home to this...

... and sometimes this.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Holiday Layaway Plan

With housebuilding, working, 3 kids to shop for, etc, etc, by the time Thanksgiving and Christmas roll around the thought of shelling out some serious dough for a bird for the table just seems to hard to do.

This year, I'm going with a layaway plan:
Baby Turkeys. Cute. For now.
Four baby turkeys. I only wanted 3 but the nice young man at Southern States held them for me and I couldn't help but feel bad to leave him with just one.

And before you get all "oh but they're so cute and if you name them you can't eat them" and blah blah blah on me, yes they have names, and YES we will eat them. Their name are: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Alternate-In-Case-We-Fuck-Up, and.... (wait for it)... Bob. Everyone should have a turkey named Bob.

Since I was firing up the brooder anyway, I got 8 Easter Eggers:
Baby Easter Eggers. Floooooofy.
The child put them in their new home:
Hard at work
The two groups are mingling fine and getting along well!
Hello?
Bob
And for no reason at all:
Mr Snarkles!
Oddly looking forward to the holidays this year!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Antsy.

Antsy.

Antsy antsy antsy!!

We are so close and yet so far from our house being done.... we were on a roll and making great momentum, and now life is getting (irritatingly) in the way again. SO ANNOYING! Stupid things like work and kids and this and that and the other thing getting in the way....

I *am* however, allowing myself to picture a not-too-distant future in which I have the luxury to DO things because I have a kitchen again. And it makes me so happy, despite current cramped conditions. What kind fo things you say? Many things. My beautiful friend's wedding cake, another batch of blueberry wine, ressurectling my Kombucha brewing, preserving, baking, cooking again....

The problem with allowing myself to picture having a kitchen, is that it spills out into other areas of the house. We'll have room for a proper dining table...which means family dinner AT THE TABLE. Something I miss so so SO much from my own growing up.

And the gleaming play kitchen in the shed (we bought a stove and dishwasher when they were drastically on sale and we couldn't not take advantage), and the fact that my parents were kind enough to bring me all the stuff from my last house I had stored in their basement is NOT HELPING. It's just taunting me....

Maybe it's just because it's been cold outside and I've been cooped up....

Soon. Very very soon!

This is not relevant to this post. Obviously.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Holiday Spirit

It took my mother coming out from Vancouver for us to finally get into the holiday spirit. But into the holiday spirit we got.

We sang Christmas carols. Loudly.

We put up a tree. A Christmas tree. And we even broke with tradition and put up a not-so-Charlie-Brown tree.

We went out and it was dark when we came back. It was nice to be greeted by it at the end of the driveway.

Because OF COURSE it is outside!

Cutting utensil
Making a stand
Tree!

*My mom took the first two pictures.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Cindy

Cindy is one of our original batch of Tractor Supply Rhode Island Reds. She came home with me with 5 other peeping little furry bodies in a box with holes in the sides, despite the fact that we had some New Hampshire Reds ordered to come in the mail, because I could resist a sale (they were on clearance!).

To alleviate fears, let me state that Cindy is not dead.

K. Cindy was always the fattest of the 6, and stands quite a bit taller than the other girls (we ate most of the boys). She also has the deepest red color of them all, and I *think* the Acorn's Sissypantstacular named her. I think.

A couple of months ago, Cindy - despite her product chicken origins - decided to go broody. She sat in the nesting box, stole everyone's eggs, the whole nine yards. With 4 clutches of eggs hatching out this year, the last thing we really wanted was another group of little cheep-cheepers running around everywhere. Especially with the brutal winter winter we're expecting. (because we're experts, the house isn't finished, and, you know, we're due) We tried to break her of it - dunked her in cold water, ran her out of the nesting boxes repeatedly... nothing. I should mention a Wyandotte and an Australorp went broody on either side of her at the same time, and so we were triply eager to break them of it. The girls only use 3 nesting boxes (they are provided with 9....) and now they were all occupied. The Australorp took one swipe out of the nesting box and decided her heart wasn't in it. Thankfully. It was her THIRD TIME THIS YEAR. The other two, not so much.

Eventually the two birds took refuge in a part of the coop that we really can't get to (when accepting a free chicken coop, inspect even more carefully for design flaws. Lesson learned). The hunkered down on the ground and soldiered on. We did our best to rouse them out daily - I think we gave up on breaking them of broodiness, but I at least wanted them to get a fighting chance at eating and the like.

Th Wyandotte didn't make it. She just would not give up the broodiness, and it is our fault for not making sure she had something to hatch. If she had, she would have been triggered out of the broody trance when the chicks started peep-peeping. I am sorry Miss Wyandotte.*

Cindy did finally make it out of her Broody state, although the lack of eating, exercise, and sunshine has surely taken its toll. She has red sores/lesion thingies on her face, and is so so skinny. We weren't sure if they from laying in the dirt on the floor of the coop (and therefore transmittable to the other chickens) or not, but it is clear that her compromised immune system couldn't fight whatever it is off. We have her in the brooder by herself where she has her own food and water and is close to us for observation.

Cindy's older flockmates all started gradually molting over the past few months. You don't notice it in our flock immediately - you kind of suspect egg production is down and feathers on the ground are up, and then one day you realize you have NO EGGS (AGH!), your driveway looks like chickens have exploded on it there are so many feathers, and you can see spikey little new feathers here and there on your chickens. No biggie.

Cindy has apparently decided to catch up all at once on the molting front. The poor thing looks like she lost 75% of her feathers all at once, and has turned into some half-porcupine, half-chicken thingy:

They don't hold still when you're trying to take unflattering pictures of them
Or ever




We love her dearly, though, and the number of huge brown eggs she has given us over the past 3 years means that should she not recover from this latest bout, she will still have a home with us until she is no longer happy.


Which by the looks of it, could be a very long time. She eats and drinks with gusto, and woe to the unassuming chicken that tries to get some of her food through the chicken wire...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Growing Things

Things seem to grow around here.

Things you pay no attention to:
Neglected Asparagus or weeds?

Child is for size reference, only.
And then things you DO pay attention to:

Halloween shenanigans

Bathtub box!

Cousins!

Hanging out on a beautiful fall day.

Monday, November 11, 2013

House Update

No. We're not in it yet, but goodness we've made progress. The Redneck would argue that it's quite slow, and with forcasts of snow this coming week I'd be happy to agree with him, but considering all involved we've done quite well. Thankyouverymuch.

Or rather HE'S done quite well. I just leave him stuck with Ze Bebe and go off to work.  Thanks again dear Redneck (who does not reads this blog as he gets the email subscription but has a general 'ignore all emails from the potamus' policy, so...) for all you do.

Those will soon carry water all over the house!

My super pricey bathtub we got for like 60% off. Woot!

And we have a shower in the upstairs bathroom...

Septic tank. In the ground. BOOYA!
Next up: electrical! Yay!