Tuesday, April 24, 2012

(almost) wordless.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Terrapins, yo.

There was a brief little stint here on this humble blog that my Lone Reader (Hi Mom!) will remember as 'the age of the terrapin' (here here here. For starters). We have turtles GALORE. They are everywhere. There's a big log in our Big Pond that they all sunbathe on, and as you walk down the drive to go to the pond, you can hear the plop plop plop! as they all dive in when they here you coming.

And I just made our fist sighting of the year. Welcome back terrapins!

About 8 inches long.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

(almost) wordless.

Overwintered Artichokes in zone 7. Booya!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cheepy Video

This is the first time I put anything green in the chick's run. Last year's batch was wary and afraid of the first green thing I chucked in with them, at about the same age ( a very scary cabbage leaf). These (mostly) wyandottes are a whole different story! You can clearly see the difference in size between the batch I bought and the batch of RIR's given to me by my buddy, and I think it clearly showcases what a difference a week makes in the growth of a chick!

Guest appearances by (in order of said appearance): The Greenery, weeds pulled from the garden; Red, the rooster that was spared this past weekend by our lives being too busy; Henrietta, the prodigal hen that should need no introduction; and Zora, the ever-lanky guard German Shepherd.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Little baby chicks are the cutest thing ever. Seriously. They're tiny little cheep cheep cheeping balls of fluffy down. They have their little feet that stick out at a roguish angle, and they look at you with their teensy little faces....

And then they start putting on feathers. They double in size in about a week and a half, and their feathers come in in sheathes... so they look like they have weird colored needles sticking out of their bodies some places, with scraggly bits of down hanging on in others, and full feathers in yet other places. To sum up - they look awkward. They start CHEEP CHEEP CHEEPing, and zooming around while doing so. They start taking dust baths in their pine shavings, and pounce on anything that moves (sometimes their flockmates' heads).

And it's only gonna get worse before it gets better.... I LOVE MY CHICKENS!

Adding to the awkwardness is the excitement over what this mystery chick will turn out to look like!

Wyandottes, mystery chicks, Australorps & RIR's...

HEALTHY Rhode Island Red.  Yup.

(almost) wordless.

Sage, and new (empty!) beds

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


(Grammy: You might want to skip this post. And quite possibly Kerri. I know there's no stopping George.)

The unavoidable-yet-I-wish-I-could-avoid-it thing has happened. We have had to put down (or "whack") one of our roosters, with another one slated for slaughter this weekend. The worst part of it is that it's really my fault. I let myself get overly attached to the roosters, and 3 is too many for 6 girls.

And the warning signs were there. The hens' backs (except for Waddly Wanda) are all torn up. Chicken saddles and blu-kote are necessary here. The manfriend and I walk around going "jeesh our hens look rough" a lot. Red (due to go under the knife this Saturday) charges the spawn and myself whenever he can.

It happened while I was at work, but before I left for work I couldn't find Itty Bitty (the teensiest of our hens, and a New Hampshire Red). The spawn's sister is in town (no. I do not have a blogname for her yet. Bear with me), and the two of us searched for her before I left to no avail. But the manfriend found her when he got home - being terrorized by Big Bunny and literally being ridden to death.

Anyone who has had chickens will tell you they are brutal. The will peck anything red as they LOVE meat, and if one of them is bleeding they'll attack it mercilessly - even if they had been besties 10 minutes before. Our chickens' favorite food (when they can get it)? Chicken. Seriously. They are kind of nasty in that regard.

Big Bunny was our first rooster and he had been through a lot. When we first got little puppy, he got a hold of Big Bunny and  tore all his back feathers out, and maimed his leg. He recovered. Big Bunny rushed the spawn one too many times, and when the spawn defended himself, Big Bunny ended up with a broken leg (in two places, I think) and a mangled foot. Most people would have put him down at that point, but we couldn't. (I told you this was all my fault!) He recovered, but was away from the flock (although visible to them through the brooder run which is right in the middle of where they roam most) for so long that he never really assimilated back into it. He was an outcast the last few weeks of his life, before he managed to catch Itty Bitty (my theory here, remember I wasn't home) and wouldn't let her up.

Itty Bitty *should* be OK - she is in the hutch with food, water with ACV, and a little nest thingy to sit in. Her back is completely bare, and her comb is a bit pecked out. She is COVERED in blu-kote, and if we can keep her from getting an infection, all should be well. We will pop her back in the coop at night so she can stay with the other chickens enough to (hopefully) not get ostracized, but she is absolutely not up to walking around or foraging for food. I hope she does make a full recovery - she is a great member of our flock.

Big Bunny did not suffer and again I am amazed and thankful that I have kids in my life that can be around life and death (as surely it is around us!) and for the opportunity to have a chance to educate them about life and death here on our 'farm'.

Big Bunny and Cindy as teenage sweethearts.

Sunbathing Big Bunny.
RIP Big Bunny.

Belated Epiphany

So... As you know, the clothesline is king around here. I am proud to admit that a) the manfriend brought a dryer when he moved in with me (whoopee!), b) it has never been used (or plugged in*), and c) I have solved the single most annoying laundry conundrum I have had my entire laundry doing life: the single sock issue.

Oh? You didn't want to read a blog post about single socks? Ptooey.

Contrary to popular belief, single socks do not have their own planet that they disappear to.** And crafty as I may be, I do not have a single sock hamper or any such nonsense. I don't have the time, space, or energy, frankly.

I had a sock related epiphany recently and am proud enough of it to share. Also I thought it'd be a nice break from a chicken blogpost :)

So what I do is... I hang up the socks on the clothesline in pairs. I don't bother rooting around in the hamper among the wet clothes for matches, I just hang up single socks on the line and match as I go. Then when I take in the clean clothes....wait for it....WAIT FOR IT....

I leave the unmatched singles outside on the line.

This way when I next do a load of laundry, any single sock in the hamper has a chance to meet its match up on the line. Oddly enough this has greatly reduced the number of single socks I have been stuck with. As in I now I have a single sock every other load or so. (I know. Mind blowing.) This is awesome as well as I have a 7 year old that has the habit of taking his socks off every- and any- where. While I know he owns maybe a gazillion pairs, this helps ensure that every lost sock he owns has a pair :)

Obviously this also means that I am OK with my socks staying out in a rain shower or two, but honestly I can only imagine that the sun and rain do nothing but help our assortment of sports socks that get some pretty heavy wear. 

Yet another upside to this method is that I do not spend copious amounts of time sitting on the floor surrounded by a pile of socks trying to match them while TV's, DS's, laptops, child, roosters, chickens, dogs and whatnot are blaring in the background on the equivalent of a Sunday night on the equivalent of no sleep.

It's the little things!

That little guy met his match in the next load.
* it lives in the barn as a storage vessel


Friday, April 06, 2012

Chickens. Class of 2012.

Oh yeah. I have been a way for quite a while, but in that time a LOT has happened. Most notably (cue audible groan from those I work with and speak to regularly - they are so tired of this topic!), we got more chickens.

If you remember, or even if you don't, we weren't planning on getting chickens last year. We were going to wait until this past spring to get some, and then through a weird turn of events we got 8, and then yet another 8. We gained another one from a friend, and lost a few a long the way. To heat, to the new dog, and to the knife. But currently we are holding strong at 9 from last year's batch.

This year, so far, I have the 9 chickens from last year, and 26 new little ones. Bringing the grand fowl total to THIRTY-FUCKING-FIVE chickens. (I have become the crazy chicken lady). I bought 20 chicks, and 6 were from a friend who needed to re-home some itty bitty little red pullets.

The original 20
I bought:
15 Silver-laced Wyandottes
5 Australorps. (the same as our rooster Dexter)
 We had wanted to get some Americaunas and the store thought they still had some, but by the time we go there they thought they were out. I do have 2 chicks that are most certainly NOT silver-laced Wyandottes, and so maybe just maybe they're Americaunas. And even if they're not, it will be exciting to see what they end up being.

Look at those puffy (Americauna-esque?) bearded cheeks!
And definite brown coloring...  
 They were inside for about a week, but then the rubbermaid got a bit small for all 26 of them so we moved them to the brooder. They are all running around zooming this way and about having a great day. They are already taking dust baths in the pine shavings, and stomping on each other's heads. 

Hesitant about taking that first foray into the outside world
Two seconds later they ZOOMED about.
Meanwhile, the original 9 are up to their usual antics:

Dustbaths in MY garden bed.
Their camouflage SUCKS.

We had hoped to add 6 -8 laying hens to our flock (taking into consideration the fact that we'd probably lose a few to heat, etc, and that we'd be planning on eating the cockerels out of the bunch), but we shall see what happens. Especially with the addition of the 6 pullets... Ah well, we shall see. The surprise is most of the fun!