Chicken and Garden Report

Baby goes outside! One day I looked out my window (whenever I am near the studio or kitchen window I always look out to see what’s going on in the chicken yard.) I was SO SURPRISED and excited to see Baby out in the yard. She seemed to be enjoying herself, running here and there with her little hitch, checking out the greens I had thrown out there, and mixing in with the big girls. So far she has not gotten picked on–you know, the pecking order. I have a feeling she will know to just stay out of the way. She also has a couple of “friends” who seem to stick close by. And of course, she didn’t know to go back into the house at night. It was so cute–one of the buff orpingtons had settled down next to her in the yard. Anyway, got them back inside and all was well. I think it was maybe a little overwhelming, because she hasn’t gone back outside since then…

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Another day I looked outside and there was something very large and brown standing on top of the bird netting that MLG had put across the top of the chicken yard. I ran outside–it was a HUGE hawk, who was not at all afraid of me, and was bouncing up and down on the netting to try to get in! I was SOOOO glad that I had had MLG put that netting in place. He did a very secure job. If I had done it myself, it might have been much easier for Mr. Hawk to get inside! He hasn’t been back since then, so fingers crossed that he thinks its a lost cause.

Here is the view of the garden that I enjoy when I sit on my fake patio.

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The volunteer petunias have returned, although a much smaller batch of them. along with some weeds…

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Phlox.

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Most of the oriental lilies came back. I had kind of forgotten about them, so that was a nice surprise.

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Mr. Bougainvillea is doing very well, and I love having it.

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Close-up. Aren’t those little white centers a beautiful detail?

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The Jackson Perkins rose that I complained about last year. It is doing very well, and I do love the color and the smell of it.

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The hydrangeas are doing well, but I’m a little stumped as to why the flower clusters are so small.

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This is that rose that is grown on its own root stock. Its kind of wild and crazy. I think it might need a little fence support behind it next year. Lots of little blooms.

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And that’s the garden and report and chicken update for this week.

 

Chicks at Seven Weeks

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Well, its been a little over a week, and that is a long time in the life of a chicken! Here’s the latest report from the ladies.

Remember this one? Last week I captioned her picture “a very self-assured chicken.” Well, the day after I wrote that, I was out watching their antics, and “she” crowed. Yes, the first rooster has made an appearance. Dang. I only had one of these Spitzhaubens.

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This here has become a piece of prime property in the chicken coop for the past few days.

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This. This little scooped out place in the dirt is prime property.

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And this is why. Chickens love to take dust baths. I guess the dirt was just right there next to the automatic waterer I added this week. The waterer has a top to it that will hopefully keep out dirt, and for sure will keep out chicken you-know-what. I just wanted to make sure they knew it was their water before I put the big scary top on it.

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Whaddaya say? Whaddaya say? I bet the plain girls are so jealous of our fancy hairdos.

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You know how when you chop down a little oak tree more branches grow back? Yes. This is all that’s left of a pretty hefty clump of branches. The funniest thing they do is to jump up and grab a branch and then stand on it so they can peck at the leaves.

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They really like their new water dish. (I do too, as it ย saves me a lot of time.) I believe that this is another rooster in the works. No crowing yet, but he’s got a bigger comb and fancier feathers than the other two Speckled Sussex.

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A good close-up:

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Hey what’s going on out there? Is it safe? Anybody? Anybody? Tell me its safe.

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Hey, you were just inside the house. How did you get out here? (I was inside the henhouse and ran outside to get pictures of this one coming outside. I love the look on her face.)

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And the Baby report. Baby is the queen of the hen house. Because she stays inside and does not go outside yet. Today I held her up to the doorway, and she did seem very interested in what was happening out there. But I will let her decide when to go out. She is starting to get more real feathers now.

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Here she is in one of her little hidey holes.

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This is their new feeder. They seem to have adjusted to it fairly quickly.

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And there you have it. The chickens at 7 weeks of age. They still have to eat baby food for another three weeks. And only greens for a while longer. I can hardly wait to be able to give them watermelon and cantaloupe rinds–they LOVE them!

 

Chickens Move Outside!

I love my chickens, in case you couldn’t tell! I’m so happy I went ahead with this project. They provide a lot of enjoyment for me, just sitting outside watching their antics–chicken TV ๐Ÿ™‚ ย They now look like little miniature chickens.

MLG came over Monday and helped (well, he did the whole thing) to put bird netting over the top of the chicken yard. I wasn’t worried about adult chickens, but the babies were still so small, I was worried that a hawk might decide they were easy pickin’.

So then we opened their little door to the yard. Nothin’. They are afraid of anything new. Later in the day, I carried four of them out to the yard. And threw four of them out their little door. Pretty soon others were curious. And now, four days later, they are LOVING their new yard. They scratch around in the dirt, run from one end to the other, check out anything moving, and eat any vegetation they can find (the planters of pansies I had put out there are stripped bare already.)

This morning I thought I would bring them some offerings from the garden. Oh boy–such excitement!

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This one in the picture below has stayed out past her bedtime for the last two nights. Chickens automatically go back inside their house when it starts to get dark. They are blind, as far as I can tell, at night. So I’ve had to go and rescue this little girl before I close their little door each night.

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A very self-assured chicken:

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Don’t panic. Its not a dead chicken. This is what they do to relax. They stretch out on their side in the sun.

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The same day, I had some leftover lettuce leaves. I decided to give it to the chicks that stay in the house. My favorite Baby is still going strong, and I was hoping she would get some of the lettuce. She has not ventured outside yet.

This was so fun–she grabbed a piece of lettuce and ran around like a crazy woman, going ย to all her hidey-holes, and stopping once in a while to take a nibble. But mostly just running around ๐Ÿ™‚

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And that’s the chicken report for this week. I keep saying I won’t post chicken news every week, but I can’t help it–they are just so darn cute!

Garden Party

The weather has cooled a bit, and the garden is starting to perk up. Here’s what’s blooming this morning.

This front bed is doing well. In the back, against the stones, is some new columbine. They won’t bloom this year, but they should look nice next spring. In the center is a baby’s breath. I got it to replace the carnations that used to be there. I love baby’s breath, and I am glad that it seems to be doing well. At the top of the picture you can see the rose of sharon blooming. They are so tall, in spite of me cutting them back almost to the ground last fall.

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The rose of sharon is nothing spectacular, but it is pretty to see them up so high waving in the breeze. Below the phlox is starting to bloom.

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I got a new gaillardia. This is a color I don’t usually choose, but I thought it would look pretty with the blue salvia growing behind it (when they start growing ๐Ÿ™‚ )

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I thought the bougainvillea was not going to make it for a ย bit, but then it started blooming and growing. Happy happy happy ๐Ÿ™‚

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The daisies are doing well after their traumatic move last year.

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Okay. Hollyhocks. I have some thoughts. I grew these from seeds. I got three or four plants. It takes 2 years for them to bloom. And then they got “rust” in the spring. I cut off all the affected leaves. This one plant is spectacular. But I don’t think I’ll be growing too many hollyhocks in the future.

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The hydrangeas are still just starting to bloom. These were three of the very first plants that I had MLG plant for me. They were half dead in their containers, so it is nice to see them thriving now.

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And that’s the garden report for this week. I’ll be back tomorrow with the chicken report ๐Ÿ™‚

Pre-Op!

Yesterday was my pre-op doctor’s visit. Its getting real. And just to make sure the inner me doesn’t weasel out of this surgery, I have taken to leaning on counters, shuffling when I walk, circling the parking lot for the closest parking space–all those things that really old people do (haha, I know that to some people I am already really old.)

I had a lot of nerves leading up to the visit, including worrying that they would tell me I was too fat for the surgery (even though I’ve been this same weight at all my visits for the past year.) Ah, the mind is a mysterious and wonderful place. Of course, my weight was not even on their radar.

Multiple X-rays were first. They asked me to get into and stay in positions that were foreign to me. “Now hold very still” the X-ray tech would say as he walked out of the room. “Take that picture before I topple over!” I would think back in my mind.

After a few preliminaries with a young nurse (during which I gave her encouragement and financial advice ๐Ÿ™‚ ) –my blood pressure was a perfect 114/73–it was finally time to see the doctor. The doctor was pretty impressed with how flexible my knee still is (its so nice to see some positive results from keeping up my PT exercises all these years.) And after looking at all the X-rays they took, he said what would I think about a partial knee replacement? WHAT WOULD I THINK ABOUT A PARTIAL KNEE REPLACEMENT?!! I would love it if that could be done. At the previous visit, he had said a total knee would be needed. He won’t know until he gets in there and looks around, so I won’t know until I wake up. But it would be wonderful if he could do that. I’m all for keeping original body parts if they are still useful, and of course, the recovery is much quicker. I asked him what my hips looked like on the X-rays. I’ve been very concerned that they were shot too, but he said they looked fine. That was a great relief to me.

After that, it was a visit to the lab, and then some time with the nurse specialist reviewing dates and facts and all the nitty-gritty of surgery. One of my biggest concerns is that so far, stronger pain medications make me nauseated. So she reassured me that they would work on that while I was in the hospital.

All in all, I was in the clinic for about four hours!

Did I already tell you that they will do this surgery with conscious sedation instead of general anesthesia? I am very happy about that as well. Conscious sedation is what they do when you have a colonoscopy. Its also how they did my carpal tunnel surgery. You are not aware of anything. But its much easier on your system than general anesthesia.

So, a good plan is in place, equipment has been borrowed from several friends, and all that is left is all the pre-preparing and planning that I like to do before any big change.

I totally admit to over-eating some favorite foods after the visit. A combination of stress relief and celebration I suppose. Fortunately, I don’t like how I feel after I overeat any more, so there is no danger of that becoming a habit. And today, its back to the gym for a swimming celebration!

Summertime!

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Glory be! Its HOT here! I just spent a couple of hours in the garden weeding and checking the watering system, and fixing the timer. Fun times. And here are my words of wisdom for you this week:

Growing old is not for the faint of heart.

And that’s all I got to say about that.

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When its so hot its hard to work up any enthusiasm for going to the nursery, much less actually buying plants and bringing them home to try and keep them alive. So right now I’m more focused on garden equipment LOL. I got a new hose THAT IS AMAZING. I got so tired of the Costco “kinkless” hoses constantly kinking. So I asked Sallye at the garden center if she would order me a good hose. She ordered me the same hose that they use at their nursery, a Gilmore Super Duty Flexogen. It was expensive, but so worth it for the lack of frustrating kinks. And Sallye says it really lasts a long time.

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The chicks are growing quickly in this heat. First I opened up the whole house to them. And then I turned their lamp off when it started getting so hot. They are almost fully feathered now, and look more like tiny bedraggled adult chickens. I watch them closely for signs of rooster behavior (I ordered all hens, but they don’t guarantee 100% accuracy.)

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That one that I claimed was a Rhode Island Red rooster the first week? That is my new best friend. So I’m hoping against hope that he is a hen ๐Ÿ™‚ He comes running to the door when I open it, and enjoys hopping up on my hand and getting an aerial view of everything.

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They are fascinated by anything shiny, which I guess includes light spots.

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I was proud that I figured out how to build them a lower perch. And I found scraps of wood to make little steps for their ramp. They would climb up the ramp halfway and then slide back down.

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Of course, its always fun to find a higher spot to roost on…

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And they still do the same thing–“oh look, there’s something fascinating here, come look! come look!”

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And that’s how it goes around here. I am (literally) limping towards the finish line. I guess that’s a good thing. Because if it didn’t hurt to walk, I would probably back out of the knee surgery. They moved my pre-op appointment up a week. It will be good to get more answers to some of my questions.

 

The Chicks, Week 3

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At just three weeks of age, the chicks have entered that gawky teenage stage. That’s what I call it anyway. Feathers are coming in, but not all the way. there are still odd patches of down here and there. Just enough to make them look unkempt. Not so cute anymore. But they still provide me with hours of fun, just watching their antics.

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Look everybody! There’s something very interesting here.

Remember how all the chickens were trying to escape their yard in Chicken Run? That’s what my babies are like. constantly straining their necks to try to see over the top of the cardboard. They “fly” up to the top of the waterer and try to see over the top. They run and flap their wings.

And then this happened:

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Yes, one of them, well, actually several of them, made it to the top of their cardboard surround. So that made my decision a little easier. I HAD to let them out of their cardboard nursery, and out into the big world of the chicken coop.

I still have a cardboard barrier to keep them away from the door, but that will probably go tomorrow. One of them has already flown over the top of it.

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After they got over the shock of their world being made larger (there was lots of squawking and carrying on as I worked as quietly as I could to fix up the coop and take away the cardboard,) they were VERY interested in this big new world.

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They are endlessly interested in climbing the ramp (that will eventually allow them to go outside.)

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They still find “things” to be fascinated with, and they do love scratching in their pine shavings.

My favorite baby is still alive, and she eats and drinks regularly. She just isn’t growing as fast as the others.

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And that’s the chicken report for this week.